As per the title, I’m currently on a course deep in the heart of Texas. The end of the two weeks is going to afford me a chance to go to the Ballpark to see the Rangers take on the hated Red Sox, but unfortunately the intervening time is pretty intense. Giving me little time to look at any baseball, let alone write about it. For that reason, this is going to be a bit of a speed round version of Org Filler (In). It may also seem a bit dated in parts due to having to write it over a couple of days. Apologies.
Last time I checked in with the Bisons they were putting up a twenty-seven spot on Syracuse. That was for their fourth win on the spin. Since then, they have reeled off five more, taking their winning streak to nine. Now, normally I don’t give a rat’s about how the affiliates are actually faring. I do agree with the Jays philosophy that playoff baseball at any level will only help players in their development, but for the most part, the development of the players is more important than the team’s record. With that in mind, the Jays have made it clear that they need to win in Buffalo to ensure the relationship develops and hopefully continues beyond the first two year contract that was signed. Hence the plethora of quad-A players signed in the off-season.
I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that Kevin Pillar‘s hot start in New Hampshire should see him in Buffalo before long, but with the Bisons winning and their outfield already pretty crowded, it is feasible, for the reasons mentioned above, that the Jays put winning before player development. Not something I particularly agree with, but sometimes you need to see the ocean for the water. And, who knows, could be Pillar gets called up tomorrow and this is all moot.
Quickly, before I move on. The one prospect that Buffalo do have is off to a pretty nice start. So far, Anthony Gose‘s numbers are better across the board. You could argue that is necessary given this is his repeat year in AAA, but considering the fact he played in the Las Vegas launching pad last season, the Jays management must be pleasantly surprised. And it’s where he is improving that is the most satisfactory. Cutting down his strike-outs and improving his OBP. His defense will still be his calling card, but I haven’t read up enough on UZR and how trusted it should be for minor league numbers. Will endeavor to do that when I have time.
For those that have been reading this series, you’ll know I have a particular fondness for Dalton Pompey. A lot of it has to do with his passport, but beyond that I do think he is a player. I won’t say my belief had wavered during his early early season struggles, but there were a few worries. Those have been allayed somewhat with eight hits in his last five games. More impressively, he’s tacked on eight walks, putting his OBP over .500, and scored nine runs . He is still striking out a bit much and his ISO is sitting at a pretty meager .060. Still, baby steps. This could be a breakout year for Pompey.
Staying in Lansing, I’ve been all over the starts coverage wise, and for good reason. There are two genuine prospects, a guy that I hadn’t really paid much attention to, and a couple of 2012 Vancouver Canadian stalwarts. I was so wrapped up with them I hadn’t paid much attention to the bullpen at all. There are two reasons for this:
a) I didn’t think the bullpen was all that good. In fact, it contains two guys that I broke my ‘no release’ rule when making my off-season predictions and had them as saying goodbye to the Jays organization.
b) I don’t pay much attention the ‘pens at the lower levels. If you’re a middle reliever in Low A, my theory is your future isn’t all that rosy. May be narrow minded, but we don’t have all the time in the world here.
That being said, with the Lansing starters averaging around five innings per start, the bullpen does have a part to play. And when I checked in on them last week, they were getting the job done. Averaging 9.3 K/9, a 1.58 WHIP and 2.61 ERA. After a bit of a rough week, the ERA has taken a battering, rise to 4.01 but the other numbers remain relatively similar.
Will Browning, Ian Kadish, and Andrew Sikula have been especially effective. I was surprised to see Kadish back in Lansing, I would have thought he’d be in Dunedin before long. The others have a big job to do this season with the Jays not piggy backing their starters. Hopefully they’ll able to continue with their early season success.