Sandy Alomar Jr., John Farrell, and DeMarlo Hale finalists in Blue Jays’ manager search

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According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com the Blue Jays have narrowed their long list of candidates to replace manager Cito Gaston down to three names: Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, and Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale.

Alomar and Farrell have never managed, while Hale managed in the minors prior to joining Terry Francona’s staff in Boston. Alomar has met with Blue Jays officials three times already, so not surprisingly Bradford reports that “Toronto is expected to finalize its search by next week.”

Also, the fact that Red Sox coaches Farrell and Hale are both among the three finalists has to be sort of discouraging for Boston first base coach Tim Bogar, who also interviewed for the Blue Jays’ job early on in the process. They brought in three members of the Red Sox’s coaching staff and liked two of them enough to make them finalists, but apparently their 90-minute interview with Bogar didn’t go as well.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.