Jays Minors Update: Good News, Bad News, and Great News

 

There’s a ton of information to pass along when it comes to the minor leagues for the Jays, more than I can cover in only 1 post. However, I’ll do my best to list the most prominent or most obscure of them all. Here they are, broken up into some good news, bad news, and great news from the depths of the Jays minors system.

Good News

  • The Jays 1st round pick, Tyler Beede, Tyler’s dad Walter has informed us that he is in California with fellow Jays pick SS Christian Lopes, enjoying watching their friends play in the Area Code Games. Apparently, it was DanielNorris who was sighted hanging around the Bluefield Blue Jays game yesdterday. If true, it may point to an agreement beeing close, or reached, between he and the club and would be welcome news since so few draft picks have been signed. With word that Tyler may have taken a physical, it seems the duo could be poised to join the Jays ranks very soon!
  • Travis Snider has kicked things off well in AAA, getting 2 hits, 2 RBI, and stealing 2 bases. Although most of us agree that he really should be playing full time with the Jays, it’s still great to see him putting up 100% effort and not sulking about his demotion.
  • Through his first 10 games with the DSL Jays, Jairo Labourt has a 1.50 ERA, 20 hits given up in 30 IP, and 12 BB to his 24 Ks. Hitters have a .194 average against him, and he has yet to give up a hit to a LHB through 10 LHB faced. The big 17 year old LHP Dominican pitcher is definitely doing well in his first season in the Jays system and should have no problem reaching the GCL next summer.
  • SS Peter Mooney, drafted in the 21st round of this year’s draft, has already earned one promotion since signing fairly late, moving from the GCL to the Bluefield squad. He has continued his hot start in Bluefield, accumulating a very nice .292/.370/.625 line that also includes 5 extra base hits in only 24 ABs. It’s an extremely small sample size (hence the “good news” vice “great news”), but it’s still very encouraging to see the 20 year old SS do well from the beginning. The most encouraging part may be his 3 BB and only 2 SO over his first 6 games.
  • If you’re wondering why Mooney was moved to Bluefield instead of Vancouver, it’s because the 11th rd picks from last season and this season, Shane Opitz and Andrew Burns, are vying for the position there. Burns was recently promoted to Vancouver from Bluefield and was able to manage a hit and a BB in his first game there, this after hitting .625/.650/.813 in Bluefield over his first 16 ABs there. This 21 year old may be on the move again very soon, as it’s obvious that Opitz needs more time in SS while Burns – with College experience – may be more polished.
  • RHP Tucker Jensen did so well in the GCL this season that he had been promoted to Lansing. After only 1 start there, however, he was demoted to Bluefield and has since started 2 games. He allowed 7 ER in 3 IP his first time out for Bluefield, but settled down last night with a better 2 ER in 4 IP outing.
  • The Jays are seemingly being cautious with Justin Nicolino‘s innings of work this season, as they have used him in relief twice over his last 3 outings, both times for 3 inning stints. Last night’s 3 inning output included 1 ER, 1 hits, 0 BB, and 2 Ks, and he continues to impress with his overall stats. His season totals include a meager 1.20 ERA, 45 IP, only 23 HA, 11 BB, and 58 Ks. This 19 year old Southpaw is one to watch in coming years to say the least and it’s nice to see the Jays are protecting his potential by being careful with his workload.
  • Although he is not showing much power yet, Shane Opitz has shown potential in 2 areas this season, hitting LHP and bringing out his speed as he gets more comfortable reading pitchers. This (and the end of the 2010 season) is the first time Shane has concentrated solely on Baseball after being a 3 sport star in HS, so it’s nice to see him getting comfortable as a pro ball player. He has done very well against LHP so far, to the tune of a .361/.395/.361 line, and has stolen 4 bases over his last 10 games played (1 CS). Shane still has a lot fo work to do, but at only 19 years old, he has plenty of time to figure things out.
  • Canadian OF Dalton Pompey has been getting on base at a decent .348 rate this season. What’s more impressive, however, is that he has stolen 17 bases without being caught at all this season, including 5 steals in his last 10 games with a .302/.375/.442 clip. He has 22 BB and 34 SO this season overall, showing good patience at the plate. If he can learn to do better against LHP (.118 AVG in 34 ABs), Pompey has a good chance at making a decent jump up the ranks in 2012.

Bad News

  • So far, the Jays have only signed 3 of their top 15 picks, 5 of their top 20, and only 25 of their 55 picks overall (47%). Some point to the Jays being forced to way until the last minute to announced their expected many overslot signings, and I hope they’re right, but, we won’t know if that’s the case until August 15th rolls around. I do expect the Jays to sign both Daniel Norris and Tyler Beede, increasing the quality of their minors pitching stock to levels never seen before, but am curious to see whether they can get Dwight Smith Jr, Matt Dean, Christian Lopes, and Cole Wiper signed. All are expected to be hard to sign prospects, and all would be big steals in the draft in terms of draft position versus talent. Although the lack of draft pick signings is bad news, there’s hope that the Jays will sign the majority of these players, making this great news in the end.
  • Although his bat seemingly has a ton of potential, it’s becoming evident that Santiago Nessy‘s time behind the plate may eventually come to an end. He has a whopping 4 errors in one game recently and leads the team with 11 errors overall. It’s way too early to give up on his remaining behind the plate entirely, but that’s what I have deduced from his errors and his size, 6’2″ 230 lbs.
  • LHP Griffin Murphy was expected to be the best Southpaw in the Jays system in short order when he was selected in the 2nd rd of the 2010 draft. So far this season, while playing at a level he should dominate at 20 years old in the GCL, he has a 5.64 ERA and has given up 40 hits in 30.1 IP. That’s a little worrisome for a pitcher that was fairly well hyped and should have moved as Justin Nicolino has in the Jays system.
  • Both Adaric Kelly and Nicholas Purdy are struggling this season in the minors. Kelly has a 7.07 ERA in the GCL, while Purdy had a horrific 8.62 ERA in Vancouver before being demoted to the GCL. Thankfully for Purdy, he has turned things around in the GCL, managing a good 2.20 ERA there during his first 4 outings.
  • Possibly the worst news of all, however, is the fact that Kyle Drabek isn’t showing much in the way of signs of life in Las Vegas. His latest start yesterday did have him last 6 innings, which is encouraging, but he also allowed 9 hits and 3 walks while not managing a single strike out. This after John Farrell came out and said that the Jays may consider adding him to the roster in September. I hate to say it, but the Jays may have to think about changing his role to the pen at some point if he doesn’t catch on as a starter. He does have the bulldog mentality, could add 2-3 MPH on all of his pitches, making him much harder to hit, and could finally stop dancing around the corners and attack hitters instead. I’m not sure it’ll happen any time soon since he’s only 24 years old, but if he does head to the pen and excels, as Marc Rzepczynski did last season, the Jays may decide to keep him in that role for a while to help build his confidence back up.

Great News

  • When I say that Griffin Murphy, who is 20 years old, should be dominating the GCL, this is the perfect example to show why he should: 17 year old Adonys Cardona (a young 17 years) threw 4 innings of 1 hit ball his last time out in the GCL, allowing no walks and striking out 6 in the process. If he can do that, Murphy should be able to dominate. Cardona is more than holding his own in the GCL now and his latest start is great news because it comes after an up and down period for him. It seems that he is likely to remain in the GCL this season and we could see him in Bluefield or Vancouver next season. Whatever happens from here on out, the pitcher everyone thought would be pitching in the DSL this season has to be turning heads overall.
  • Staying on the pitching side of things, a trend when you’re talking Jays minors system, Noah Syndergaard has held his own since being promoted to Vancouver from Bluefield. Went 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA, 9 IP, 9 hits, 3 BB, and 12 Ks over his first 2 starts there. The still 18 years old Texan told me during an interview that his goal was to reach the majors “in 3 years at some point“. Discounting the year he was draft, this is a pretty good start to making that happen, as he could easily reach HiA Dunedin by the end of next year in Drew Hutchison fashion if he continues his dominating results. One year in AA after that, and it seems possible that Noah could make his mark with the Jays at some point in 2014 as a big part of “the next wave”.
  • Big Joseph Musgrove, the first 2011 draft pick to sign after being drafted, has finally come out of his shell  in the GCL with a dominant start. He didn’t allow a hit or a walk over 3 innings of work his last time out while striking out 4.
  • Colby Broussard continues to place himself in the conversations of Jays fans as he is absolutely dominating  the GCL and should be promoted ASAP. He has only allowed 7 hits in 20.1 innings, has only allowed 1 ER, and he has 5 saves to his credit. Look for him in Vancouver fairly soon.
  • Think David Cooper is sulking in AAA or giving up on the season because of a lack of room for him with the Jays? Think again. He has hit .444/.565/.556 over his last 10 in Las Vegas, this after losing Eric Thames, Brett Lawrie, and Travis Snider in the lineup for the bulk of that time. At the same time, he has managed 10 walks and only 3 strike outs!! This kid can flat out hit, even if he does lack some power, and may wind up being a Billy Butler type hitter when all is said and done. He now has 45 doubles, a whopping .454 OBP, and a magical 1.024 OPS in the minors in 2011. How long can the Jays keep him in the minors with this performance?
  • Drew Hutchison has been simply amazing this season. His latest start (6 IP, 1 hit, 0 BB, 5 Ks) was yet another gem in Dunedin, and could be the final straw before his being promoted again, this time to New Hampshire. It’s evident that he’s just too good for HiA ball, as he has only allowed 36 hits in 51.1 innings of work, has only allowed 11 walks while striking out 51, and has only given up more than 3 runs in an outing once, the sole time he didn’t start the game when he allowed 7 ER as a result. If we take that outing out of his repertoire in Dunedin, it leads to his allowing only 8 ER in 47 innings of work.

Overall, there are many more positive sotries to follow from the Jays minors than negatives. I obviously can’t list all of the stories going on in the system, but I do try to hit on many that may not have been discussed, as well as those that I feel are most prominent in terms of importance.

 Here are the latest minor league transactions from all of the Jays affiliates:

  • OF Eli Boike promoted to Lansing (LoA) from Bluefield
  • 1B Kevin Howard demoted to New Hampshire (AA) from Las Vegas as Mike McDade was placed on the DL
  • LHP Zak Adams, pitching in the GCL, was place on the 60-Day DL
  • OF Kenen Bailli was assigned to the GCL squad
  • SS Andrew Burns was promoted from the GCL to Vancouver (SS)
  • RP Dustin Antolin was activated from the inactive list in Lansing
  • OF Michael Crouse was placed on the 7-day DL in Lansing with a Strained Quad
  • UT Jayson Nix was activated from the 7-day DL in Las Vegas
  • SP Scott Richmond was place on the 7-day DL in Las Vegas

- MG

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Tags: Kyle Drabek Tyler Beede

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