Tuesday, November 10, 2009

101 Reasons for Offseason Optimism - Brian Dopirak

Did you see that the Jays added Brian Dopirak to their 40-man roster? Can you get excited about the prospect of an aging prospect (25 years young) who can put up some serious numbers (27 HRs, 102 RBI, .921 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A last year)?

We can. And we can also envision a scenario where Dopirak plays on the big club, and doesn't suck. And that's a good thing. Especially if the Jays are going to let go of their woefully under appreciated first baseman.

Don't get all negative about my negativity
We've been accused lately of being a bit of a grumpy Gus about the Jays and the decisions made in the past few weeks. Somehow, people are reading some degree of negativity into our lack of faith in Alex and the Ants and what in our view amounts to an underwhelming start.

Part of this we'll confess is for fun: We know that we're being impatient. But the idea of a blog post per day telling people to just hold out hope for a few more weeks (or a few more years) doesn't exactly inspire us to start tickety-ticking away on the keyboard. And we're not here to cheer you up.

Look, we're pulling for AA to rip it up and pull together a wicked awesome franchise. And we've actually got some faith that they'll be able to do it, except for two things.

1) Bringing back Cito is a kick in the nuts, and we're not going to get happy about this decision until he's gone.

2) AA's press conference last week was a pretty clear indication that this team has no intention of spending anytime soon. Nor do they feel any particular urgency in competing any time soon. The road is long, with many a winding turn, and all that sort of thing.

We recognize that these are still early days, in the newish regime. But we'll confess that like many other Jays fans, our patience is wearing pretty thin. Not that I'm going to leap off the bandwagon and find some other team to cheer for. But I'm not in much of a mood to indulge the young Mr. Anthopoulos and his doddering benefactor.

The Eternal Building Process might sound like a wholly rational plan. But it doesn't give us the giddy offseason excitement that a few interesting moves might. And at a certain point, this is a business that is about creating excitement and inspiring a dedicated fan base. Planning for the future is prudent, but don't expect your fan base to tag along as you meander back at your own pace to respectability.

Yes, the Tao is impatient.

40 comments:

Tony said...

He's not heavy, he's my manager?

Tao of Stieb said...

He AIN'T heavy. (If we're being lyrically correct.)

The Ack said...

DOPIRAK!!!!!!!!!

Maybe good Cito will take him under his wing a la Lind. Hopefully bad Cito doesn't get his nose out of joint if "The Player" (h/t: Ricciardi) resists certain of his advice a la Snider.

Oh, and I'm totally running with the "101 reasons...." theme this winter. Unless you lock it down exclusively for Tao content only, of course. I ain't crossin' the boss.

Tao of Stieb said...

No, have at it, son. I said 101 Reasons because it sounded good.

I'm sure that I could come up with about 6 or 7 tops at this point.

Cheer me up, Ack!

Tony said...

A'int! Damnation!

Chill said...

"doddering benefactor"

Brilliant. Thank you.

plain_g said...

wilner and others have made a good point about this team being better than 75 wins, and that in the al east, you have to load up every year so that when things break your way, you're ready. building for the future is a great idea, but nothing is guaranteed.
live like you're dying.

Peter D said...

Brian Dopirak, 1b, Blue Jays: Given up for dead after the Cubs released him during spring training '08, Dopirak signed on with the Blue Jays, in part so that he could play for high Class A Dunedin, his hometown club. In two years with the organization, the righthanded slugger has bashed 56 home runs. The Cubs' second-round pick in '02, Dopirak, 25, hit 39 home runs as a 20-year-old in the Midwest League back in '04, so the power always was there. He delivered on that promise in '09, ranking third in the minors in hits and total bases (300), sixth in extra-base hits (71) and 11th in both doubles and RBIs in stops at Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas.

Dopirak's New Hampshire manager, Gary Cathcart, offered his take:

"He was not a professional hitter when we got him. He didn't know how to use the whole field. For whatever reason, (our Double-A batting coach) Paul Elliott really clicked with him last year, and opened up the whole field for him.

"He has taken to instruction and uses the whole field now, and his BP round is all to center and right-center field. He has power to all fields. He's also a real leader, a natural leader for us. He's an easy guy to root for."

eyebleaf said...

"Live like you're dying."

Nice one, plain_g.

I read somewhere that the Dopirak move is simply to keep him from being picked up by another club. Means nothing in terms of whether he might actually crack the roster. If Overbay sticks around, there isn't room for Ruiz and Dopirak.

As for the negativity, you nailed it with 1); negativity comes part and parcel with The Cito.

Peter D said...

From and August BA Chat:

grant (wpg): Any future for Dopirak? Seems like he should be passed being a prospect, so long ago that he was hyped, but he's still just 25 (or about the same age as Clay Bucholz), and tearing up AA and AAA.

J.J. Cooper: Dopirak is a favorite of mine from a "don't give up on his yet" standpoint. The tools were always there, even when he fell apart at the plate. He seems to have figured it out again. Playing in Las Vegas will help inflate a hitter's numbers, but Dopirak has now been producing again for two seasons. Before it's all over, I'd be shocked if he didn't get a shot at the big leagues, but because of his past failure, he's got a smaller window for success than a more highly-regarded prospect. I could see him having a Jack Cust type career (although he's not the same kind of hitter as Cust as he has less patience and less strikeouts) where he bounces around but eventually runs into 400-500 at-bats somewhere because of his power potential.

Anonymous said...

With regards to Overbay, he wasn't the same hitter after he injured his wrist a few years back. Defensively great, but then again a first baseman's work is always easier when you have good middle infielders.

Hope Dopirak gets a chance with the club, though not sure what this means for Ruiz.

Tao of Stieb said...

Okay, hold on to your socks and hose for a bit of hyperbole:

Lyle Overbay is the most under appreciated player in Blue Jays history.

(Actually, that was going to be my post today...Overbay had a good year last year and no one seemed to notice. Including his manager.)

Peter D said...

Overbay had a good year last season because the team finally started platooning him which starts only against RHP. However he complained like a cry-baby that he should be an everyday player and has never been so mistreated in his career.

He was most likely one of the guys causing unrest in the Jays clubhouse, and because of one of the things Cito was doing that was actually good for the team.

The Ack said...

Using Millar was good for the team?

Overbay may have struggled (mightily) against LHP, but I'm not going to give Cito credit for platooning him with Kevin Millar.

Peter D said...

Millar was a much, much, much better hitter than Overbay against righties. The point is that Overbay obviously can't accept the reality that he's now a platoon player and has become a negative influence on the team. He's got to go. Not that trading him for Bradley is a solution though.

Peter D said...

I mean against lefties.

The Ack said...

Well, Overbay set the bar so low against LHP that anyone would have looked "better" in a platoon. Millar may have been better, but he was still shitty.

...and don't you recall Ruiz languishing on the bench? What, Millar's defensive upgrade (over Ruiz) was so great that it couldn't be sacrificed?

I do accept your point about Overbay vs LHP - but not the whole "he's a negative factor in the clubhouse." I seem to recall pretty much the entire team lining up against Cito at season's end. Wells, Hill, Barajas....all veteran guys who said things were as bad as they'd ever seen in the locker room.

Wait, I guess I didn't read any quotes from Millar....

Peter D said...

Here are the numbers:

Overbay vs. Lefties (OPS)
2008 - .540
2009 - .534

Millar vs. Lefties (OPS)
2008 - .736
2009 - .723

Where Cito when horribly wrong was that he didn't pinch hit for Millar once a RHP came in. As well, you'd think that he would have still found someone better than Millar to use.

plain_g said...

as ack points out, all ruiz did was hit a home run every 11.5 abs (over 115 abs, a decent sample size) and ops 1.020. for which he continued to ride the pine while millar was pooping all over home plate in the clean up spot.

Tao of Stieb said...

Well, Cito also had better choices than Millar later in the season, and hit Millar inexplicably in the cleanup spot.

Wait, why are we rehashing this?

Oh, yeah. Because Overbay basically said that he was having trouble getting focused when he was sitting so much. Which, to me, was fair comment.

Peter D said...

Obviously starting Ruiz would have been a better option, however this is an entirely separate argument. My only point was that Overbay was justifiably benched against left handed pitching, and he had no right to complain about it.

As for his comments that he was having trouble getting focused, if this was the case, why did his hitting improve against right handed pitching this year?

He also made additional critical comments during a radio interview, which led be to believe he was part of the unrest.

Peter D said...

You'd think I'd know better by know and not get upset about this:

The American League Gold Glove winners were announced on Tuesday, with Adam Jones of the Orioles taking home his first award.

Jones, Torii Hunter and Ichiro make up the outfield while Mark Teixeira, Placido Polanco, Derek Jeter, Evan Longoria comprise the infield. Joe Mauer was recognized as the American League's best receiver while Mark Buehrle captured his first Gold Glove. Longoria is another first-timer. 2009 was the first time Jeter and Teixeira have been recognized with the award since 2006. Jones qualifies as the biggest surprise, as he ranked in the middle of the pack among center fielders with advanced defensive metrics. Franklin Gutierrez of the Mariners has a legitimate gripe here, but these awards aren't the be-all end-all anyways.

Darren Priest said...

Peter, you make excellent posts here, but I can't help but picture them being typed by the baby in your picture. It gives me a chuckle -- kinda like that baby in the eTrade commercials.

Yeah, I have nothing to add, but I think everyone knows that by now.

eyebleaf said...

I can't imagine Overbay leading the FUCK CITO brigade. But what the fuck do I know?

FREE LYLE OVERBAY!!!!1

Tony Viner said...

2010 Jays lineup:

McCoy SS
Hill 2B
Lind LF
Ruiz DH
Snider RF
Dopirak 1B
Wells CF
Encarnacion 3B
Barajas C

= 200+ HR

Marcum
Romero
McGowan
RZep
Litsch

Jays = 85-90 wins

Tony Viner = Handsome, smart.

Sven the Swede said...

Hi guys, some questions; Tao or Ack do your best Wilner:

1) Could either Ruiz or Dopirak play a corner OF position?

2) Is there any chance that Hoffpauir or McCoy will become Scoot 2.0?

3) Is there any chance that Cito will spend the summer reading Bill James and turn into Earl Weaver and learn how to use guys like Ruiz, Dopirak, Overbay, Encarnacion and whomever else (other corner dude they sign, speed for the bench) and put some decent platoons to support the big boys?

3) Nominate a pitcher to make a big jump next year. Or the next Tom Filer.

Gil Fisher said...

I think our three closest starting pitchers yet to appear in a big league game are probably Rei Gonzalez, Andrew Liebel and Chad Jenkins. With the depth above them, I don't see any making the jump next year.

The Ack said...

I don't see any way either Dopirak or Ruiz can play even a below average LF. Ruiz has had some time in the OF in his minor league days, but even those are long behind him. Dopirak has youth on his side....but he's strictly been a 1B at all levels (per baseball cube). So it's 1B/DH or bust for both of them, I think.

I'm pretty intrigued by Hoff....he's always been an on base guy throughout his minor league career, was a 4th round pick (I believe) - so he has some pedigree (it's not like he came out of nowhere)....just seems like he hasn't had a shot. Maybe being in the "fundamentally sound" Cards system has limited his chances, b/c defense is the knock against him...but we've got Butter! No, seriously, if he can even be slightly below average defensively, but keep getting on base like he has, he could play, man. Of course, Hill would probably have to move off 2B to SS/3B for Hoff to be anything more than a utility guy....

I think Cecil will take a big step forward. It seemed his velo was down as the season progressed, and I'm going to delude myself into believing it was fatigue. I'd like to say RZep....but I fear his inability to consistently throw strikes. Minor league guys? How about Timmy Tim Collins?

Tao of Stieb said...

You know what? I've actually met Tony Viner. And he is handsome and smart.

Although I'm not sure about his baseball knowledge.

Anonymous said...

"
2) AA's press conference last week was a pretty clear indication that this team has no intention of spending anytime soon. Nor do they feel any particular urgency in competing any time soon. The road is long, with many a winding turn, and all that sort of thing."

Personally, I appreciate financial prudence... and I'm sure many other fans do too. This is especially true when a team realizes where it actually is in the grand scheme of things, and doesn't spend for the sake of spending, but rather spends the money available wisely and judiciously.

That is unless you want to deal with comments sections filled with rants similar to "Wells/Ryan/Thomas/Rios/Overbay ARE OVERPAID!!!1"

Gil Fisher said...

Ack, if you're not average or above average, you're below average. Sorry to be pedantic.

BTW, didn't anybody notice Ruiz' wheels last year. Definitely not one of our slower players.

As for down velocity, Sportsnet's Gun was completely crap towards the end of the year, so unless you're going by Gameday, I'd be careful with those conclusions. I think Fangraphs probably tracks velocity by start or month or something.

Rzep is the next Jimmy Key. End of.

brainiac said...

Tony Viner is also a giant! Very intimidating...he is also my boss of sorts...

eyebleaf said...

Rzep is the next Jimmy Key.

Where do I sign?

Ian H. said...

Sign me up too! I believe in Rzep!

Mylegacy said...

Tony Viner's 2010 lineup as edited by Mylegacy (in other words as IMPROVED by Mylegacy)

2010 Jays lineup:

McCoy SS or Angel Sanchez 305/363/428 @ AAA

Hill 2B
Lind LF
Ruiz DH
Snider RF
Dopirak 1B in a platoon with Overbay

Wells CF
Encarnacion 3B
Barajas C

= 200+ HR

Halladay - remember him?
Marcum
Romero
McGowan
RZep
Litsch

Jays = 85-90 wins

IF HALLADAY is traded at least one offensive position above will be improved.

Anonymous said...

I know the Halladay trade talk will get out of control.

How bout a 3 team trade, and swing prospects from another team to San Diego to get Adrian Gonzalez?

bkblades said...

Cecil put up monster stats in the minors before this past season. Why are the projected lineups all leaving him off for guys that have neither the same pedigree and/or coming off major injuries?

Anonymous said...

Brian Dope is the real deal! The Blue Jays will find they are lucky to have him. Go Brian!

Anonymous said...

Brian Dope is the real deal! The Blue Jays will find they are lucky to have him. Go Brian!

Anonymous said...

Brian Dope is the real deal! The Blue Jays will find they are lucky to have him. Go Brian!