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Toronto Blue Jays series preview: Not your older brother’s Jaybirds

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After being swept in consecutive home series, the Royals get to play host to the Toronto Blue Jays. Though hardly as good as either of the last two teams to visit Kauffman Stadium, the Blue Jays are just 11 games under .500, making them 18 games better than the Royals in a decidedly tougher division. Needless to say, these former ALCS foes have both fallen on hard times.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Monday, August 13 — 7:15 PM CDT — Sean Reid-Foley versus Brad Keller
  • Tuesday, August 14 — 7:15 PM CDT — Ryan Borucki (L) versus Heath Fillmyer
  • Wednesday, August 15 — 7:15 PM CDT — Marco Estrada versus Burch Smith
  • Thursday, August 16 — 7:15 PM CDT — Sam Gaviglio versus Danny Duffy (L)

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference

Blue Jays at Royals pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Game 1
Sean Reid-Foley* 15 82.1 94 27.4 27 7.9 3.50 3.04 3.30 - - -
Brad Keller 33 88.1 58 15.6 38 10.2 3.57 3.64 4.41 4.73 1.3 2.0
Game 2
Ryan Borucki (L) 8 48.0 32 15.5 14 6.8 2.81 2.97 4.55 4.72 1.4 1.1
Heath Fillmyer 9 37.1 21 13.6 17 11.0 3.13 4.52 4.93 5.24 0.2 0.7
Game 3
Marco Estrada 20 106.0 80 18.0 32 7.2 4.84 4.76 5.40 5.10 1.1 1.4
Burch Smith 30 60.2 59 21.7 30 11.0 6.97 5.84 4.80 4.41 -0.7 -0.9
Game 4
Sam Gaviglio 18 83.1 81 22.0 27 7.3 4.86 4.51 4.03 4.02 0.7 0.6
Danny Duffy (L) 25 143.1 128 20.1 64 10.1 4.90 4.77 4.93 4.76 0.8 0.8
*major-league debut - stats from 15 starts in AAA this season

Sean Reid-Foley makes his major-league debut tonight. Heading into 2017, he was generally seen as a top 100 prospect, but he struggled mightily at Double-A last year. This season saw him put things back together in 44.1 innings repeating Double-A before making another 15 strong starts in AAA, getting him the promotion for this game. Reid-Foley joins a Blue Jays rotation featuring another rookie, Ryan Borucki. Borucki has succeeded early thanks to his 46.5% ground-ball rate and his avoidance of dongs.

Marco Estrada’s K-rate has taken a dip. He’s still living and dying by the fly ball. His performance has been down this season, but this is probably tied as much to aging as anything.

As the Royals continue to trot out the overmatched Burch Smith every fifth day in an effort to retain his services past this season, Sam Gaviglio—the man who was designated for assignment to make room for Justin Grimm on the 40-man and then traded for cash considerations or a player to be named later (pretty sure they settled on cash)—has been a solid and cheap back-end option for the Blue Jays. He is not a Royal because reasons. If he were, he’d be tied with Kelvin Herrera for the fourth-most fWAR on their pitching staff.

Toronto Blue Jays position players

Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Justin Smoak (S) 1B 460 18 50 59 0 .258 .363 .476 .361 128 1.6 2.4
Aledmys Díaz SS 309 15 44 35 3 .263 .294 .471 .324 104 1.2 0.8
Kevin Pillar CF 398 9 47 41 13 .246 .276 .406 .291 81 1.2 1.3
Luke Maile C 199 3 21 26 2 .236 .322 .356 .300 87 1.0 0.7
Randal Grichuk RF 316 16 44 43 3 .228 .288 .460 .319 100 1.0 0.9
Russell Martin C/3B 303 10 35 24 0 .201 .342 .349 .315 97 0.9 1.7
Teoscar Hernández LF 409 18 50 45 3 .243 .301 .492 .335 111 0.6 0.1
Curtis Granderson (L) OF/DH 318 10 41 31 2 .233 .331 .415 .325 104 0.2 0.4
Devon Travis 2B 269 8 29 35 2 .251 .301 .398 .303 89 0.2 0.6
Richard Ureña (S) IF 24 1 2 3 0 .261 .261 .391 .280 73 -0.1 0.3
Kendrys Morales (S) DH 351 13 32 38 2 .243 .322 .414 .315 97 -0.1 0.3
Danny Jansen* C 360 12 45 58 5 .275 .390 .473 .386 146 - -
*major-league debut - all stats from 88 games in AAA

As a squad the Blue Jays position players have been worth 8.8 fWAR. Nearly all of this worth has been accumulated offensively, as their defense has been the second-worst in baseball per FanGraphs’ defensive WAR component. With the lumber, they’ve hit .243/.312/.425 with a .318 wOBA and 99 wRC+. Joining the club for this series is the man commonly thought to be their catcher of the future, Danny Jansen. He will likely make his debut behind the dish Monday, catching Sean Reid-Foley in his debut. Jansen has done nothing but rake over the past two minor-league seasons and has absolutely earned this promotion.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Blue Jays?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Royals sweep
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    Royals take three of four
    (5 votes)
  • 34%
    Split
    (37 votes)
  • 41%
    Blue Jays take three of four
    (45 votes)
  • 14%
    Blue Jays sweep
    (16 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now