Some items to conclude Thanksgiving Day…
- The Blue Jays are conducting an internal investigation after six minor league prospects all tested positive for PEDs within the last week, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi reports. Thirteen Jays prospects have now been hit with PED test-related violations within the last two years, a stunning increase for an organization that saw just 18 players fail tests from 2005-15. “This situation is very disappointing and disturbing to the organization; disappointing that the players made these choices, but more so disturbing that some failure of our environment allowed this to happen,” Jays GM Ross Atkins said. “It is our responsibility to create an environment and culture where our players know that PED use is not condoned, and to give them resources and education to ensure that they do not make these decisions.”
- Archie Bradley will be stretched out as a starter in Spring Training and could start in case of a rotation jury, though Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the team is still planning to use Bradley as a reliever. Once one of the game’s top starting prospects, Bradley struggled over 34 career starts before posting dominating numbers (1.73 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 3.76 BB/K rate) in 73 relief innings last season. Bradley showed the capability of being a multi-inning force out of the pen, though Hazen also said the D’Backs could deploy Bradley as a closer next year. Bradley’s versatility gives the team flexibility in pursuing bullpen help this winter, Hazen said.
- Bradley is a good example of how ESPN.com’s Sam Miller notes that closers are still hard to identify, and it is consistently hard for teams to tell which closers can consistently produce on a year-to-year basis, or which pitchers may suddenly emerge from nowhere as ninth-inning options. Citing a similar Baseball Prospectus piece from Christina Kahrl in 2000 about the closer volatility, Miller notes that one big difference between now and then is that teams are increasingly willing to groom pitchers into relief roles earlier in their careers, or even as soon as they’re drafted, in order to develop bullpen specialists.