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Jays Minors Kick-Off 2011 and Other Minors Notes

Finally, we get to see some game action from the most recent class of draft picks and best prospects the Jays have in the minors. Unfortunately, they really made use of the number 1 a lot, and not in a good way as all 3 teams only managed 1 run against their respective opponents. Here are those and other details.

LAS VEGAS 51s: Lost 10-1 to the Fresno Grizzlies (SF)

  • Game Notes: The LV offense was stimied by Fresno starter RHP Ryan Vogelson, a 33 year old veteran who has lots of majors experience. He struck out 9 hitters over 5.1 IP and the pen was dominant thereafter. Brad Mills started for LV, allowing only 1 run over 7 innings of work and managing 7 Ks while walking none. It was a great start for Mills, but a horrible kickoff for the pen (it’s a good thing the Jays pen is deep!). Josh Roenicke and Chad Cordero both allowed 4 ER and struck out none. Roenicke was particularly horrible as he didn’t manage an out and walked 3 of the 5 hitters he faced. Offensively, both David Cooper and Chris Woodward managed 2 hits and Woodward had the only extra base hit, a double. For those interested, Brett Lawrie went 1 for 4 with 1 strike out in his first game in the Jays system.

NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHERCATS: Lost 5-1 to the Trenton Thunder (NYY)

  • Game Notes: The 1 run thing was contagious for the Jays affiliates as the NH team also only managed 1 run to open the season. The squad only managed 1 more hit (4) than errors (3, 1 by Adeiny Hechavarria on a throw, 1 by Mark Sobolewski on a fielding error, and 1 by Jonathan Diaz on a pickoff attempt). The highlights of the game for NH were that Anthony Gose showed off his speed with 2 SBs, that John Tolisano managed an OF assist by throwing out a runner at home plate, and that Alan Farina struck out 3 hitters in his 1 IP. Zach Stewart took the loss after allowing 4 ER in 5.1 innings of work. He walked 3, struck out only 2, and allowed 7 hits.

DUNEDIN BLUE JAYS: Lost 10-1 to the Clearwater Threshers (PHI)

  • Game Notes: All of us are hoping that Brandon Morrow‘s arm (elbow) is fine after needing a DL stint to work on it, but yesterday’s outing did nothing to prove that much. He only managed 2.1 innings, allowed a whopping 8 hits and 1 walk while only striking out 2 hitters. That led to a total of 5 runs being scored on him, 4 of them earned. Ouch. Let’s hope the next outing is much, much better. Also throwing in this game was Frank Francisco and he wasn’t lights out either. He allowed a walk and then a HR in his 1 inning of work. The only hitter of note for the Jays was Sean Ochinko, who was manning 1B in the game and had 2 hits, including a double – the only extra base hit of the game for Dunedin.

Overall Take: It was a horrible start of the season for the majority of the Jays minors system. It’s only 1 game of many to come, so hopefully all 3 squads are able to turn it on in the second game and beyond!

OTHER MINORS NOTES

Matt Eddy of Baseball America provides us with a list of Jays minors moves, available here. The majority of the moves this week are releases and there is also 1 more transaction to add, so I’ll list them in order with notes on their releases or demotion.

Released:

  • RHP Vince Bongiovanni: Vince came to be property of the Jays after being drafted in the 24th rd of the 2005 draft by the D-Backs. Both teams linkered with him as a reliever and as a starters, but he never did do very well in either role. In 2010, while pitching in relief for NH, he was 6-7 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.592 Whip. At 28 years old, I’d be very surprised if he did land a job elsewhere.
  • RHP Ross Buckwalter: Drafted in the 26th rd of the 2007 draft, Ross never did make it past HiA with the Jays but did show some dominance as a reliever in 2010. He finished the season 2-4 with a 2.64 ERA and 1.173 Whip. Still, as a 25 year old pithcing in HiA, that was to be expected.
  • RHP Dave Sever: He was drafed in the 16th rd of the 2009 draft, so this quick release comes as a bit fo a surprise. He didn’t show any dominance in his 1 season in Lansing in 2010, as he finished the year 6-9 with a 4.41 ERA, 1.428 whip, and an ugly 3.3 BB/9 ratio. Now 24, Sever will have to look for work on another club.
  • LHP Ryan Page: Drafted in the 20th rd of the 2008 draft, Page is 25 years old and had a terrible 2010 in HiA (3-9 with a 5.00 ERA, 1.441 Whip), so the writing was on the wall. Still, as a lefty and only 25, he could get a shot as a RP on another team.
  • C Karim Turkamani: He was really added to the wrong franchise since the Jays have an embarassment of riches at the C position. The 24 year old Venezuelan was drafted in the 22nd rd of the 2008 draft and only managed 6 doubles and 1 HR in his 204 ABs that were spread out over 3 seasons. With little playing time, he never really got a shot to prove himself.
  • OF Leonard Davis: The Jays had just recently re-signed Davis (in February), so something had to change for them to release him. At the time of his signing, I had posted the following about him: Speaking of depth pieces, the Jays also signed OF Leonard Davis (27) who had last been with the Washington Nationals AA and AAA affiliates in 2010. He has shown more power potential than Stansberry, hitting 20 HRs and 18 doubles in 2010 while also stealing 10 bases. His line overall was .253/.307/.457, but it’s interesting to note that his OBP was better in AAA (.318) than in AA (.275). Another interesting note about Davis is that he played all outfield positions, as well as 2B and 3B in 2010. Davis has been added to the New Hampshire roster, not the Las Vegas roster.”
  • OF Eric Eiland: From Matt Eddy – “Like the Red Sox’s separation from Jason Place, the Blue Jays found themselves in a similar predicament with Eric Eiland, their second-round pick in ’07. A raw, athletic Texas prep product, Eiland stole bases efficiently (80 percent in four pro seasons) but batted just .221/.319/.290 in 1,121 plate appearances, none above low Class A.”
  • OF Joey Hage:

Demoted to Las Vegas from Toronto:

  • RHP Casey Janssen: With Octavio Dotel returning from the 15-day DL and others pitching so well - or being out of options – he was the right choice for the demotion despite not allowing a run in 2.1 IP. He’s now likely the first in line for a callup when needed and he may not be in Las Vegas long. Still, the 29-year old can’t be too happy about this demotion, something that has to sting when you’ve done nothing to “deserve” it.

- MG

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Tags: Adeiny Hechavarria Anthony Gose Brad Mills Brett Lawrie Casey Janssen Chad Cordero Chris Woodward Eric Eiland Frank Francisco Josh Roenicke Karim Turkamani Leonard Davis Mark Sobolewski Ross Buckwalter Ryan Page Vince Bongiovanni

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