Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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Brian Van Kirk led the team in OPS (regulars only) with an .879 mark. He didn’t do anything one thing particularly well and he didn’t lead the team in anything else but he was very reliable. His 17 home runs were third on the team and his 89/50 strikeout to walk ratio was solid enough. He was particularly good against lefties with a .325 batting average.
Brad Glenn led the team with 26 home runs. He also drove in 80 but he didn’t show much patience with 123 strikeouts and just 30 walks. Still, he was good for an .833 OPS.
Brad McElroy led the team with 31 stolen bases and his 63 runs were third on the team. He doesn’t strike out much and there’s not a lot of power but this guy could make a solid table setter down the line.
Nestor Molina led the team with 115 strikeouts and he was 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA. He also had a really nice showing in five starts at Double-A so this guy looks like a keeper. Oh yeah, and he just turned 23 and he walked only 14 guys.
Deck McGuire struck out 102 in 104 2/3 innings and he finished 7-4 with a 2.75 ERA. Fly balls are an issue but this kid still has some time to develop.
Wes Etheridge was the team’s closer and he struck out 38 and walked only 7 in 47 2/3 innings. He saved 32 and he finished with a very nice 1.89 ERA. This is an extreme ground ball pitcher. He had 3.57 ground balls for every fly ball with Dunedin in 2011.
With the hitters, the Fisher Cats also had their share of solid pitchers. Here’s the best of the lot.
Joel Carreno – The ace of the rotation, Carreno only went 7-9, but he struck out 152 in 134 2/3 innings. His solid performance eventually led him to the big leagues where he had a solid finish in the Jays pen. Walks are a concern (he had 68) and while his batting average against is .208, he gives up a lot of fly balls so he could have a rough transition to the big leagues.
Reidier Gonzalez – Gonzalez is more of a pitch to contact pitcher and it’s a little surprising that he went 8-3 with a 3.36 ERA. He did it while having a .292 batting average against and he struck out just 52 batters in 99. He only had 27 walks and two home runs though. He was hammered in five starts for Las Vegas so it’ll be interesting to see if his luck holds out in the PCL.
Nestor Molina – Molina only made five starts, but he gave up just one earned run in 22 innings with a 33/2 strikeout to walk ration. This was after a very solid season with Dunedin. This kid is only 22 (soon to be 23) and he looks to be a keeper.
Here’s the Top Ten Prospect list released by Baseball America
1) Travis d’Arnaud C
2) Anthony Gose OF
3) Jake Marisnick OF
4) Daniel Norris LHP
5) Justin Nicolino LHP
6) Aaron Sanchez RHP
7) Noah Syndergaard RHP
8) Deck McGuire RHP
9) Drew Hutchison RHP
10) Asher Wojciechowski RHP
New Hampshire won their division and when you look at some of their offensive standouts, you can see why. Here’s a look at the best of the best.
Travis d’Arnaud – d’Arnaud raked all season long. He led the team in home runs (21), RBIs (78) and OPS (.914). Oddly, he hit better against left handers but 20 of his 21 home runs came off of right handed pitching.
Mike McDade – McDade led the team with 37 doubles and he was right behind d’Arnaud with 74 RBIs. McDade is a solid switch hitter but he did a lot better while hitting from the left side of the plate. He didn’t draw many walks (28) so hopefully he can work on his batting eye going forward.
Moises Sierra – Sierra was second on the team with 18 home runs and he led the team with 81 runs. He struck out 93 times but he did draw 39 walks and that all equated to a .778 OPS. He’s having a tough time in the Dominican Winter League though but he’s only 23. There’s some time for him to develop further.
John Sickels put out his list of the Blue Jays top 20 prospects and unfortunately there’s no A players. Topping the list is Travis D-Arnaud with a B+ rating. This could be the Jays catcher of the future Sickels even said he could have been an A.
Number two is Nestor Molina. You’d think he’d be a catcher but he’s the top pitching prospect in the system. Sickels talks about how he’s underrated in the system. Jake Marisnick (OF), Noah Syndergaard (RHP) and Justin Nicolino (LHP) round out the top five.
The Las Vegas 51s had their share of hitting stars in 2011. Here are the best of the best.
Brett Lawrie – Despite playing just 69, Lawrie led the team in home runs with 18. Throw in six triples and 24 doubles and it all adds up to a 1.076 OPS. Of course Lawrie got it done for the Jays too and this guy is going to be a stud for years and he and Bautista are going to scare AL East pitchers while they’re on the field for the Jays.
David Cooper – Cooper led the team with 96 RBIs and he hit .364 in 120 games for the 51s. He also had 51 doubles and nine home runs in a really good season. That all adds up to a .974 OPS. This is the PCL so numbers are inflated but those are some really nice numbers.
Adam Loewen – Loewen led the team with 83 runs and he was right behind Cooper with 46 doubles. He was also second on the team with 85 RBIs. He hit .306 and his finishing OPS ended up being .884.
The PCL isn’t kind of pitchers but the guys in the Jay’s farm system had a pretty good year considering the circumstances. Here were the best of the pitching staff in 2011.
Brad Mills – Mills led the team with 157 1/3 innings and he had 11 wins, 136 strikeouts, and he was tied for the team lead with 24 starts. Mills did give up 20 home runs and his fly ball rate isn’t great and this may have been why he struggled with the Jays in limited time. He also gave up a lot of hits considering his strikeout rate.
Sean Henn – One of the better relievers on the team, Henn struck out 61 in 61 1/3 innings. Henn is 30 so he’s well past having a prospect label but he finished with a 2.79 ERA and pretty good ground ball rate. He didn’t see the big leagues but this is the guy you like having down in the minors because he makes for a solid reliever in the event of an injury.
Danny Farquhar – The 51s closer, Farquhar led the team with 15 saves. Farquhar had an odd season. He had a batting average against of .300 but he didn’t give up many home runs and he kept the ball down so the damage was limited. His 4.70 ERA was also high. He didn’t get into many big league games, but he struggled when he did.
Las Vegas 51s – 71-73, seventeen games back of first place Sacramento
New Hampshire Fisher Cats – 77-65, first place in the Eastern League
Dunedin Blue Jays – 40-30 in the second half, first place in the International League
Lansing Lugnuts – 39-31 in the second half, nine games back of the first place Dayton Dragons
Vancouver Canadians – 15-23, seven games back of first place Eugene
Bluefield Orioles – 40-28, first place
The Fisher Cats took care of Richmond in their best of five game series with a 4-3 win. The Fisher Cats took the series in four games and all four games were decided by two runs or less. Evan Crawford was impressive on the mound and he struck out three in 1 1/3 innings. Bobby Korecky picked up his fifth save of the season with a shutout ninth inning.
Jonathon Diaz went two for four with an RBI. Kevin Howard went one for four but his one hit was a two run home run.
Dunedin came up short in their playoff run as they gave up four runs in the eighth inning in a 4-3 loss to Daytona. Frank Gailey gave up most of the damage with three runs in his two innings of work. Aaron Loup gave up the losing run and he got just one hitter out.
Brad Glenn went two for four with a home run and two RBIs. Brian Van Kirk went two for four with an RBI.
Las Vegas took it to Salt Lake in their final game of the season with a 10-2 win. Darin Mastroianni went four for five with two runs and an RBI. Maney Mayorson went three for three with two doubles, a walk and an RBI.
Brad Mills gave up two runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. The win pushed his record to 11-9 on the season.
Asher Wojciechowski improved to 8-9 on the season with a pretty good start in Dunedin’s 10-1 win over Clearwater. He gave up a run on two hits with four strikeouts in seven innings. Harold Mozingo struck out the side in a shutout ninth inning.
A.J. Jimenez went three for four with two doubles, four RBIs and a run. Sean Ochinko went two for five with a home run and three RBIs.
Chad Jenkins improved to 5-4 on the season with a really nice start in the Fisher Cats 3-0 win over the Erie SeaWolves. He gave up five hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Clint Everts pitched a shutout ninth and he picked up his third save of the season.
Kevin Howard went three for four with a double and two RBIs. Travis d’Arnaud went one for three with a walk, a run and an RBI.
Brad Mills improved to 8-7 on the season with a fantastic start in the 51s 5-1 win. He gave up just one hit and two walks with six strikeouts in eight shutout innings. Winston Abreu struck out two in a shutout ninth to close out the game.
Jayson Nix had the big hit with a three run home run in the third inning. Darin Mastrioanni went just one for five but he scored two runs.
Drew Hutchison improved to 2-0 on the season with a solid start in the Blue Jays 5-0 win over the Flying Tigers. He gave up three hits and he struck out four in six shutout innings.
Brian Van Kirk went two for four with a double, three RBIs and a run. Brad McElroy went three for four with a run and an RBI.
When the rain stopped Chad Beck took the mound and he didn’t allow a base runner in his 3 1/3 innings of relief. He gave up just two walks and he struck out five in an impressive outing in the Fisher Cats 2-0 win over the Curve.
Travis d’Arnaud belted a solo home run in the win. Mike McDade also went yard with a solo shot of his own.
Brett Cecil improved to 8-2 on the season with a really nice start in the 51s 3-0 win over the Sky Sox. He gave up four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in his first shutout of the season.
Kevin Howard hit a solo home run. David Cooper doubled and scored a run.
Ryan Tepera improved to 4-1 on the season with a really nice start in the D-Jays 5-0 win over Palm Beach. He gave up three hits and no walks with two strikeouts in seven shutout innings.
Jon Talley belted a two run home run in the win. Adam Lind went three for four with a double, a run and an RBI.
Deck McGuire improved to 3-2 on the season with a really nice start in the Jays 5-0 win over the Hammerheads. He gave up two hits and he struck out six in seven shutout innings.
Justin Jackson went three for four with a run. Brad Glenn went two for four with a double, a home run, two RBIs and two runs.
Chad Beck didn’t get the win but he had a solid start none the less with seven shutout innings. He gave up six hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Mike Hinkley threw a shutout ninth and he improved to 1-0.
Anthony Gose went two for four with a run in the 1-0 win. Moises Sierra went two for four with an RBI.
Luis Perez improved to 2-1 on the season with a really nice start in the 51s 7-0 win over the Isotopes. He gave up just six hits and a walk with six strikeouts in eight shutout innings. Wil Ledezma threw a shutout inning in the ninth to wrap up the game.
Brett Lawrie went two for five with a double and two RBIs. Manny Mayorson went two for four with two runs in the win.
The Jays Triple A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, are off to a rough start and they’re in last place. 9-14 isn’t horrible, and the good news is they’re only five games back. And three games separate second place from last place. Travis Snider was sent down to work on his swing and it looks like he doesn’t need much tuning at this level. He went four for four in his first game. David Cooper has been one of the better hitters with a 1.055 OPS and Brad Mills has been the best pitcher with 28 strikeouts and a 2.18 ERA in 33 innings.
Fortunately the Fisher Cats aren’t doing as bad. They’re 12-9 which is good for a tie for second place. Moises Sierra has been their best hitter with an .849 OPS, 12 RBIs and 12 runs. Joel Carreno has had a befuddling season. He’s 0-3 but he has 23 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings with a 6.56 ERA. The strikeout to walk ratio is nice, but he’s giving up hits by the bushel.
Dunedin is in dead last with an 8-14 record. Brad Glenn leads the team with four home runs and twelve RBIs while A.J. Jimenez has a .365 average with ten runs. Deck McGuire is 1-2 but he has a 3.65 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.
And finally, the Lansing Lugnuts are off to a really nice start. They’re 15-7 already although they’ve missed their share of games like the rest of the division. Jake Marisnick leads the team in most offensive categories and Drew Hutchinson has 24 strikeouts and a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings.
Here’s a look at when each Blue Jay affiliate opens their season:
Las Vegas 51s – at Fresno on 4/7
New Hampshire Fisher Cats – at home against Trenton 4/7
Dunedin Blue Jays – at home against Clearwater on 4/7
Lansing Lugnuts – at home against West Michigan on 4/7
In 2009, Moises Sierra broke onto the scene in the Blue Jays farm system but injuries hampered his rise in 2010 and he played in only 20 games. Now with his nightmare season behind him, the Jays hope Sierra can bounce back. In a great profile, Larry Milson talks about Sierra and the challenges he faces. He’s still young (22) but microfracture surgery is always iffy. Let’s just hope he can put his name back on the prospect map with a strong 2011.
Kevin Goldstein’s top prospects lists are one of my favorite. He’s more sabermetrically bent and his write ups have the most useful information. This one even got done after the Brent Lawrie trade. Anyway, there’s two five star and one four star which makes for a pretty nice list. Kyle Drabek is number one and that’s not a surprise. He should be in the Jays rotation to start the season so now the question is, how quickly will he peak in the big leagues. Goldstein thinks his perfect world projection is an All Star starter and that would definitely be nice.
Number two is J.P. Arencibia. The catcher is also major league ready and he should be the team’s starting catcher although he’ll be splitting time with Jose Molina. He had a huge season at Triple A and keeping there any longer seems like it’d be a waste.
Number three is the new guy, Lawrie. He had a nice year at Double A and he’ll probably spend most of 2011 at Triple A while he gets converted to an outfielder. He’s still young too (he just turned 21 so having a season at Double A like he did at his age is a definitely a good thing. Travis d’Arnaud (another catcher, a couple of years away) and Deck McGuire (right handed pitcher, first round pick in 2010) round out the top five.
Finally had a chance to take a look at the Blue Jays top ten prospect list that was put out by Baseball America. There’s no surprise that future starter Kyle Drabek tops the list. He’s ready for the bigs and showed as much when he got his cup of coffee at the end of the season. I’ve heard some mixed reviews saying he’s no longer considered a stud starter but even if he’s a solid middle of the rotation guy, you can’t hit a home run with every trade.
The Jays 2010 first round pick, Deck McGuire, comes in at number two. He signed too late to play, but he should make his minor league debut in 2011 with the High A Dunedin Blue Jays. Anthony Gose comes in at number three and he’s the top position player on the list. Gose came over from the Astros after the Phillies traded him in the Oswalt deal. He’s still young so he might repeat High-A but expect him to make his Double-A debut at some point in the season.
Catcher Travis D’Arnaud (couple of years away) and Zach Stewart (right handed pitcher, good season with the Fisher Cats and close to major league ready) round out the top five.
Dustin Antolin gave up three runs in the top of the ninth in a 5-2 loss to Burlington. The loss put Antolin at 0-1 on the season and a decent start by John Anderson went to waste. He gave up one run on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts in four innings.
Brian VanKirk drove in both Lansing runs with a two run blast. Justin McClanahan went two for four with two singles.
It’s finally warming up here in mid-Michigan and softball season is in full swing. I picked up a nice new Demarini bat and so far it hasn’t let me down. I also picked up a nice Rawlings glove from Baseball Rampage. You can’t beat the service or the selection.
The Fisher Cats lost their 2nd game in a row on Thursday against the Trenton Thunder 5-3 and have their record at a division worst 14-26. The Cats actually had a chance to win this game as they were leading all the way through 6 innings but when the 7th came Trenton scored 4 runs to take the 5-3 lead.
Center fielder and lead off man Aaron Mathews had a good game for the Cats but his effort just wasn’t enough. He hit 1-of-5 with 2 RBI but 2 Ks. His batting average now stands at .301 and his RBI total sits at 21. The only other RBI came off the bat of SS Ryan Klosterman who went 2-for-2 including a triple with 1 RBI, a run scored and 2 walks. His batting average is at .232 and his RBI total is 9.
A.J. Wideman took the mound for the Cats and didn’t exactly have the kind of start the team was looking for. He working 6 2/3rd inning allowing 8 hits, 4 runs, all earned, 1 walk and 2 Ks. He had a chance at the win but because of the late inning collapse he gets instead a loss. His record now stands at 1-6 with a 7.06 ERA. Sean Stidfole is credited with the blown save for his performance as he gave up 2 hits, 1 runs, 1 K and 1 homer. The BS is his 1st of the season and his ERA stands at 4.15.
Next: New Hampshire will play the final 2 games of the series against Trenton looking to at least pull out a win.
Syracuse took the final game against the Charlotte Knights on Friday 7-2, bringing the chiefs record to 25-17 and putting them in 2nd place in the INT North.
Left fielder Adam Lind had the best game for the Chiefs going 1-for-4 with 3 RBI. His batting average now stands at .327 and his RBI total is at 27. 3rd Basemen Hector Luna also had a good game going 1-for-5 with 2 RBI. Luna’s BA is now at .294 and his RBI total stands at 13.
Bill Murphy took the mound for the Chiefs and pitched a great game. He work 7 innings deep allowing 6 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks and 9 strike outs. He earned the win for the ball club bringing his record to 4-1 and his ERA to 2.77. Mike Gosling came in to close out the game and did just that getting his 5th save of the season.
Next: The Chiefs will open up a 4 game series with the Rochester Red Wings on Saturday.
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