DINGERS FROM THE 6IX
by Quinn Sweetzir
Much was made about the Blue Jays utterly terrible start, but a recent turnaround which includes a still climbing winning streak of 4 games has signified the start of an effective rebirth for the Jays. Although the 16-21 record is far from exceptional, the improvement the club has shown of late has inspired me to hand out some mid-May awards.
Forgotten Man Award: Matt Dermody
Honorable Mentions: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Melvin Upton Jr.
This one is simple really. If I told you to list every player to play for the Blue Jays this season, who is the last one you’d remember. The answer is probably Matt Dermody, who owns an ERA of 135.00 over just a single appearance. That appearance was on April 16th against the Baltimore Orioles, a game which the Jays lost 11-4. Dermody was responsible for much of that blowout, as he surrendered 5 runs over just a third of an inning and owns a -0.2 WAR as a result.
Despite having received the honor of being the forgotten man award winner, Dermody is still on the Jays 40-man roster, so it’s possible that he could reappear at some point before the seasons end. Until that happens however, Dermody must be the choice over Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who’s 10 game performance was terrifyingly bad, and Melvin Upton Jr., who doesn’t qualify for this award since he’s a minor leaguer in San Francisco’s system.
Biggest Disappointment: High Performance Department
Honorable Mentions: Jose Bautista, Gregg Zaun
I’ll confess that Jose Bautista has had an absolutely terrible start to the season. I’ll confess that Gregg Zaun’s continued idiocy is be a massive annoyance to fans and Marcus Stroman alike. But the overwhelming winner of the biggest disappointment award has to be the Toronto Blue Jays new high performance department.
Brought in before 2016 with the hopes of improving player health, the department has been nothing short of a colossal disaster to start the season. The list of important Blue Jays on the disabled list continued to grow, and there are no indications that the department is doing anything to improve recovery times, reduce the rates of injury, or improve the general health of players. Although it’s still too early to make massive conclusions about the department, early impressions seem to indicate that the department is failing and they will be the recipients of the biggest disappointment award until they prove otherwise. Or until Zaun says something really, really stupid.
Gregg Zaun’s Favorite Player Award: Francisco Liriano
Honorable Mentions: Jason Grilli, Chris Archer
Speaking of Zaun, the next award I am going to hand out is Gregg Zaun’s favorite player award. Zaun has continued to demonstrate his lack of general baseball knowledge over the course of this season, but his biggest issue this season is probably his encouragement of players policing themselves through beanballs, and other nonsense.
In the past, Zaun has supported veterans more than rookies in terms of respect and general liking, therefore the obvious choice for Gregg Zaun’s favorite player award is Francisco Liriano, who is the most experienced player on the Blue Jays who’s tied for the team lead in hit by pitches. Consideration was also given to Jason Grilli for being Jason Grilli, and Chris Archer for throwing at Jose Bautista.
Worst Commercial: Sportsnet Now Rule 73/66 Commercials
Honorable Mention: Aaron Sanchez’s WestJet commercials
Even though Aaron Sanchez’s blister was probably a result of the puppies, or the hot dogs, or the premium seating from the WestJet commercials, the impact of this pales in comparison to the atrocity that is the Sportsnet Now ads.
I don’t think Sportsnet understands what makes a good broadcast considering the vastness of unappealing commentators, analysts, and reporters; but their sure doing a good job of turning away viewers with their ridiculous statements, opinions, and lack of captivation. The commercials make unnecessary jokes including watching Sportsnet Now at your best friend’s wedding, making out with your best friend’s sister, and not knowing what split screen means. However, these ads make me more likely to hack Sportsnet Now than to use it. In fact, the commercials are so bad that there in competition with BMO’s talking ball commercials during Toronto Raptors broadcasts for the worst commercial on a Canadian sports network in 2017.
Most Loved Bad Player: Ryan Goins
Honorable Mentions: Chris Coghlan, Luke Maile
If you only listened to the Blue Jays broadcast and knew next to nothing about baseball, you might think Ryan Goins is the second coming of Cal Ripken or Derek Jeter. Seriously, the ways Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler rave about Goins is sickening, especially considering his modest 83 WRC+ and .667 OPS. His defense is good, but it far from makes up for his lack luster offensive skills.
Martinez and Tabler have spoken about how regular playing time since Troy Tulowitzki’s injury has helped Goins improve his skills with the bat, even though his actual results have continued to be well below average. Additionally, there seems to be a large Goins fan base which thinks his glove makes up for his bat, which is simply not the case considering his replacement level performance over more than 1000 career PA's. Honorable mentions to Chris Coghlan, who’s -0.2 WAR is overshadowed by his impressive “slide” over Yadier Molina and Luke Maile, for simply not being Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Josh Thole.
That concludes the different Toronto Blue Jays awards up to this point in the season. All I can say is the recent turnaround in club performance is a good thing, and that this team is finally on the right tract after an atrocious start. I hope these awards highlighted areas where the team is thriving, or needs to improve if the team wishes to continue their new found success into the remainder of the 2017 season.