The Dynasty Guru’s Triple Play: Toronto Blue Jays!
Welcome to The Dynasty Guru’s Triple Play! This is a series where three of the Dynasty Guru’s nerdier baseball writers – Adam Lawler, Patrick Magnus, and Keaton O. DeRocher- bring to you a succinct analysis of a pitcher, a hitter and a prospect from each organization. We’ll be running this regularly until we cover all 30 teams!
Each team will be covered in alphabetical order. This article we’re covering the Toronto Blue Jays. And, while we here at The Dynasty Guru are primarily baseball obsessed, we’ll also be touching on some music we’ve enjoyed from each team’s home state. Enjoy, and leave us your question and comments below!
Teoscar Henandez, 25 , OF
Analysis by: Patrick Magnus
The Teominator, Destroyer of Baseballs: An Origin Story
Teoscar Hernandez, hence forth referred to as the #Teominator, kills baseballs. At the very least, when he hits a ball he certainly doesn’t get cheated.
Acquired from the Astros for Fransisco Liriano (yes you read that correctly) the #teominator has flashed some serious tools in Toronto. While Liriano proved to be a valuable asset out of the ‘pen for the Astros on their way to winning the World Series, the deal still looks very good for the Blue Jays. However, the Astros can afford to send strong prospects for a lefty specialist because they currently have the best system in baseball. But enough about the Astros! We’re talking the Toronto #Teominator.
Statcast – We Have the Technology
Hernandez has some major muscle in his game, something that appeared to be criminally underrated in initial scouting reports. For instance, Fangraphs had his raw power at 50 and in-game power at 45. I strongly disagree with those valuations. Teoscar is a Statcast darling. He’s acquired 338 plate appearances this season, and while the results on the field have been impressive, his Statcast numbers are something out of a video game.
- Top 8% Exit Velocity 91.9 MPH
- Top 1% in barrel% 16.4
- Top 8% hard hit% 47.5
- Top 7% in xSLGing .584
- Launch Angle 16.4
And with the exception of the lower corners, Teoscar annihilates pitches thrown in the zone.
Opposing pitchers have taken notice of Teoscar’s ability to crush pitches in the strike zone. They’ve resorted to throwing him breaking balls and off-speed pitches more frequently.
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A.
The Teominator doesn’t discriminate when it comes to where the baseball goes either.
You can’t ask for much better distribution than what Teoscar has shown this year: a much larger portion of his power comes from pulling the ball, but he can terminate the other way as well.
Still, looking at his spray chart, we can see that fly-outs to the opposite field are a bit of a problem for Hernandez. Ground balls to the pull side also seem to be a bit of an issue.
Yes, despite a tremendous ability to hit the ball hard and around the field, there are some defects with the Teominator. When Hernandez makes contact, he’s likely to get a hit (.492 xwOBAcon). Contact though is the largest and most profound defect for the 25-year old right fielder.
Contact – “Fall of the Machine”
As you’ve guessed there’s one small (big) problem in the Teominator’s game. Contact. I guess that will happen when you’re constantly putting your full effort into every swing. Teoscar is currently striking out at a rate of 27.2% and there’s not a whole lot in his profile that suggests it will get much lower. The baseball-destroying machine has a few holes in his giant swing.
Currently rocking a swinging-strike rate that is approximately 7% above league average and a contact percentage that is 10% lower, his hit tool is certainly far from ideal. Breaking balls and off-speed pitches have been giving the Teominator the most trouble. He’s whiffed above 40% on both those pitches this year, and zero of his 15 homers have been on off-speed pitches.
Teorminated or Teominator?
The Teominator is an interesting player. He’s got some major pop, but the lack of walks and increasing strikeouts make him a very risky asset for dynasty leagues. He’s a player who I might try to include in a deal, especially if I was rebuilding. My guess is if he can get the Ks to a reasonable level that he’ll produce a similar line to this season.
Hernandez won’t contribute in ratio categories, but he’ll get a bump if your league uses slugging percentage or extra-base hits. I’d expect a line of 25-30 home runs with potential for more if he can reign in the K’s, an average of .240-265, an on-base percentage of .290-.310, and a handful of steals. Essentially making him an OF4 for most dynasty leagues. My advice would be to sell or hold the Teominator depending on your contention cycle.
Patrick’s Artist Selection
Sam Gaviglio, 28, SP
Analysis by: Adam Lawler
Sam I Am
Sam Gaviglio is on the cusp of being a serviceable fantasy pitcher. The 28-year-old former Mariners and Royals product arrived in Toronto in late March for cash considerations. He was largely seen as an afterthought during the starry-eyed spring days of Toronto’s “maybe we can make the playoffs” phase. It was for good reason too. During that time, Toronto’s rotation was filled out by the likes of Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, and Jaime Garcia. However, the Blue Jays injury-ravaged season has led them to call on unexpected arms to fill in.
However, I have kept my eye on Gaviglio over the last few weeks. He’s been afforded an opportunity to show what he’s got for a lengthy period. Dynasty managers too have been afforded an opportunity to pick up a player most are overlooking, especially those looking for depth during the pennant chase or those looking to rebuild on the cheap.
Maybe that’s for good reason. Gaviglio is 28, after all. As our ilk overvalue the Honeywells and Reyeses, as we balloon the value of the Berrioses, Snells, and Buehlers, a market inefficiency is born. Gaviglio is cut from the same cloth of the Odorizzis, Strailys, and Junises. Good, but not great. Serviceable, but not sensational. Like those pitchers, Gaviglio hosts a similar repertoire.
Sam Shit, Different Day
In the age of plus-plus speed via overwhelming fastballs, Gaviglio’s calling card is a heavy 89 MPH sinker. This pitch generates an above-average 51.3% ground ball rate, which (1) should be jamming batters, (2) should be getting said batters to chase pitches out of the zone and (3) should be getting a ton of outs. Fortunately, per BrooksBaseball, it seems to be playing out that way.
Gaviglio’s bugaboo can be summed up in one stat: 93% Z-Contact rate. That leads the league in all qualified pitchers not named Bartolo Colon. Unlike Big Sexy, Sam can’t mask a very unsexy stat with overwhelming moxie and exterior beauty. He simply doesn’t throw enough junk inside the zone and nibbles too closely around it to get batters to miss. Again, that’s to be expected when you’re topping out at 89, largely using two pitches (one of which (slider) isn’t generating any whiffs) and the velo bands between your pitches are that small.
Sam Gaviglio, Male Jiggalo?
Gaviglio should be monitored by those in deeper leagues. One can reasonably assume that the Blue Jays are out of the pennant chase this year. After all, FanGraphs has Toronto with a .3% chance of making the playoffs at the time of this writing. It would behoove the staff to encourage Gaviglio to experiment more using the changeup and curve a few percentage points more in the lower third of the zone. If there’s even a modicum of success in either one of those pitches, you could see a major decline in the Z-Contact rate with a spike in the O-Contact rate.
These simple adjustments – adding a few percentages in a mix of repertoire, a slight spread in the velocity bands to an already effective first pitch – especially during a lost season? They turn a second-half Sam Gaviglio into the next Dallas Keuchel.
Adam’s Artist Selection
By and large, everyone knows Owen Pallett from his work with Arcade Fire. In the mid-2000s, the violinist initiated a solo project under the pseudonym Final Fantasy. The first album Has a Good Home has a number of notable tracks including This Is the Song of Win and Regine, which was written after the lead couple albums of Arcade Fire. Though for my money, I really think The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead is the best track on the album.
Bo Bichette, 20, SS/2B
Analysis by: Keaton O. DeRocher
You know the name and you know he’s good. I’m not here to convince you otherwise. Rather, over the next 500 words or so, I just get a chance to wax poetic about a dude I love and I’m not wasting the opportunity. The now might not look very good for the Blue Jays but the future looks rather promising. With both Bichette and Vlad Jr. on the way, the Jays have a couple of potential box score monsters arriving soon.
“A hot knife through butter” is a good start to describing Bichette’s swing, but it doesn’t quite do it justice. All of the usual cliches apply: quick hands, short swing, bat speed for days, masterful control of barrel through the zone and an advanced feel for hitting. He’s used them all to demonstrate his ability to hit for both average and power at every level of the minors so far. Over 22 games at Rookie Ball, the then-18-year-old slashed an absurd .427/.451/.732. Then at age 19 (in his first full season split between A-Ball and High-A) he slashed an equally incredible .362/.423/.565. Starting this season at Double-A and at the ripe age of 20, he’s slashing .269/.327/.439 across 96 games. While the average has dipped a bit this season, the tertiary numbers suggest he’s still performing at a high level while facing increasingly difficult competition.
This season his BABIP is about 50 points lower than it was last season, and even though his average has dropped, his walk rates and strikeout rates are nearly identical. This indicates that his approach to attacking pitches has actually been the same and just as successful this season as it was over seasons past (in 2017 his walk rate was 8.4% and strikeout rate was 16.2%, and this year it’s 7.8% and 16.8%, respectively). Adding to his successful approach, Bichette has increased his fly ball rate this season to 39.4% (up 2% from last season).
Here’s a look at the swing in action prior to this years future’s game:
Not only can Bichette hit, but he sure can steal a bag too. Starting slow in Rookie Ball with 3 steals in 22 games he blew the doors off the hinges last year, sealing 22 in 110 games. He then kept that going this season, leading the Eastern League with 27 so far in 98 games. He has great instincts on the basepaths and picks his spots well, only having been caught 8 times (which will help for those who play in net steals leagues).
While fielding doesn’t matter for fantasy outside of position eligibility, Bichette’s smooth skills on the dirt are good enough for him to play at shortstop or second base. Whether he ends up with eligibility at only one or both positions, he’s going to be at the top of the rankings in short order and remain there for a long, long time.
Both my fellow podcast host and TP author, Patrick Magnus and I have brought up Bo Bichette on Dynasty’s Child and with good reason. The dude is good at baseballing. If you are lucky enough to have a share of the prized middle infielder then hold on tight. If you don’t, I am sorry. You’re not alone though: the Bo Bichetteless Support Group meets the last Thursday of every month. Please bring orange slices.
Keaton’s Artist Selection
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Previously Covered Teams
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