Nobody Beats the Blue Jays in Humiliating Fashion Three Days in a Row (Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (38-28) vs. Chicago White Sox (31-33))
Some win on Sunday! Shame that the rain broke through the Dome and rained out the other two games, cancelling them permanently. Just such a shame!
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A handful of transactions were announced over the weekend, though the expected recalling of catcher Zack Collins has yet to occur as of the time of writing. Prior to Friday’s game, Matt Gage was optioned to Buffalo to make room for Dominican-Canadian super utilityman Otto López. You may remember López from his sole appearance last season, during which he had exactly one plate appearance consisting of a strikeout by Washington starter Erick Fedde.
The 23-year-old López is currently ranked as the Jays’ 12th best prospect according to Fangraphs’ THE BOARD, while MLB Pipeline has him at fifth. His versatility is by far his strongest asset, as he’s spent sizeable amounts of time at both middle infield positions, as well as the outfield. However, while he runs very well, he’s not generally seen as a plus defender at any position, and his arm is best suited to second base. Offensively, his biggest strength is his ability to put the bat on the ball, though he’s never displayed much in the way of power, and he’s usually drawn walks at a league-average rate. While he had an excellent start in Double-A last season before regressing to the mean at Triple-A, he’s gotten off to an abysmal start with Buffalo this season (.225/.318/.342, 78 wRC+), with a career-low .255 BABIP indicating the possibility of some bad luck.
With Matt Chapman and Bo Bichette both nursing minor injuries at the start of the Yankees series, López was called up both for insurance and to get out in front of the July 20 deadline to remove a pitcher from the roster in exchange for a fourth substitute position player. He never made it into a game against the Yankees, and may be on his way back down if Collins ends up coming up. Also worth noting is that Vinny Capra, who filled in a similar role to López earlier in the season, has not gotten into a game with the Bisons since June 2 for reasons that elude me.
Gage’s trip back to Buffalo was abruptly cut short when Trevor Richards was placed on the 15-day IL with a neck strain, with the lefty being recalled to replace him. While I have nowhere near the medical education necessary to declare that the reason for his recent struggles, we can sure as fuck hope that’s it.
Finally, on Sunday, the Jays optioned Casey Lawrence prior to Sunday’s game, swapping him out for a fresh arm after he performed a four-inning shift of garbage time on Saturday. In his place, the Jays selected the contract of 23-year-old Venezuelan right-handed pitcher Maximo “Max” Castillo. Otherwise known as “La Papa”. Right-handed pitcher Bowden Francis was outrighted off the 40-man roster to make room for Castillo.
Max Castillo has been playing in the Blue Jays’ organization since 2016, when he debuted in Rookie Ball as a 17-year old. A starting pitcher for his whole career, he’s generally projected as a bulk reliever, though he’s had an excellent season as a starter in Double- and Triple-A this season. In 11 games across both levels, Castillo has a 1.92 ERA in 56.1 innings, though it’s worth keeping his .203 BABIP in mind as you read that. Despite lacking a ton of velocity, he’s struck out a fair bit of hitters while also allowing above-average walk rates.
As for his arsenal, let’s check out his Savant breakdown from Sunday.
Heyyyy, that’s a lot of swing and miss on that changeup! And it looked damn good, too.
So, how’d our Potato Boy do?
Yeesh. That cropping job is god-awful. Almost distracts you from the fact that he gave up three barrels. Good lord.
We will not be holding a bad first-ever MLB appearance against our pal La Papa though. For as long as he’s with the team, he will likely serve in that lower-leverage multi-inning relief role.
While Bowden Francis did make his big league debut this season, it’s been a year to forget otherwise, as he’s seen his strikeouts dip harshly and his walk rate climb slowly while also getting crushed by home runs. He’s posted an unsightly 7.78 ERA in 12 games (six of them starts), and his outright would seem to indicate that he’s fallen out of favour on the vaunted “depth starter ranking”, behind Castillo, Casey Lawrence, Thomas Hatch, and the injured Anthony Kay. However, it’s not over for Francis, as he’ll remain with the organization and attempt to work his way back into that conversation.
No, I did not forget about Hyun Jin Ryu undergoing Tommy John surgery. That will be the subject of a bigger post, as he damn well deserves.
Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (4)
Honourable Mentions: Raimel Tapia, George Springer, Alejandro Kirk
Pitcher: Alek Manoah (9)
I mean, sure, I guess???
Honourable Mentions: Yimi García, Jordan Romano
Best Bird Standings:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.- 4
Bo Bichette- 3
Santiago Espinal- 3
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.- 2
Alejandro Kirk- 2
Danny Jansen- 2
George Springer- 2
Teoscar Hernández- 1
Matt Chapman- 1
Zack Collins - 1 (Optioned to Triple-A)
Alek Manoah- 9
Kevin Gausman- 5
Yusei Kikuchi- 3
José Berríos- 2
Ross Stripling- 1
Jordan Romano- 1
Monday, June 20 (8 p.m. EST/6 p.m. MST)
José Berríos (4.65 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 20.5 K%, 5.6 BB%, 34.9 Groundball%)
Lance Lynn (6.23 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 18.2 K%, 0 BB%, 44.4 Groundball%)
Tuesday, June 21 (8 p.m. EST/6 p.m. MST)
Kevin Gausman (3.21 ERA, 1.75 FIP, 26.1 K%, 3.6 BB%, 43.3 Groundball%)
Dylan Cease (2.91 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 32.9 K%, 11.5 BB%, 45.7 Groundball%)
Wednesday, June 22 (2 p.m. EST/12 p.m. MST)
Ross Stripling (3.28 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 20.0 K%, 5.3 BB%, 52.8 Groundball%)
Lucas Giolito (4.78 ERA, 4.86 FIP, 28.9 K%, 9.9 BB%, 32.2 Groundball%)
Pythagorean Record: 28-36
Season Series vs. Blue Jays: 0-3
Record since the last series vs. Blue Jays: 8-7
Last 10 games: 5-5
Best (Healthy) Players in the Series:
Tim Anderson, Shortstop, .356/.393/.503, 161 wRC+
José Abreu, First Base, .263/.361/.441, 135 wRC+
Luis Robert, Center Field, .294/.329/.412, 115 wRC+
Liam Hendriks, Relief Pitcher, 2.81 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 34.6 K%, 7.5 BB%, 34.4 Groundball%
Dylan Cease, Starting Pitcher, 2.91 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 32.9 K%, 11.5 BB%, 45.7 Groundball%