Feb 25, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Sean Nolin (71) against the Boston Red Sox during a spring training split squad game at Florida Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Organizational Filler (In) - Positives and Negatives

Prior to the recent three game winning streak, punctuated with two fabulous come from behind wins over the arch-nemesis Rays, things were looking pretty dour for the Jays.  A four game sweep at the hands of the decimated Yankees, a soul sucking series defeat at home to the Red Sox, and finally, an embarrassing series defeat to the Mariners.  Frankly, it was getting hard to look positively on anything Blue Jay.  I have to admit, I was so down, I was even finding it tough to get excited about the affiliates.  That’s never happened before.  Let’s hope this winning streak is the start of a re-awakening.  So, in keeping with the week’s positive/negative theme (get well J.A. Happ) Org Filler will look at the ups and downs in the lower levels over the last two weeks (more specifically, am looking at the games between the 27th of April and 7th of May).

Negatives:

Anthony Gose – After giving him some props two weeks ago, Gose has had a rough ten days.  For a player with his tools to put up a .311 OBP is not good enough, nor will it get him promoted anytime soon.  I’m also perplexed by his lack of stolen bases this year.  Yes, he spectacularly executed a straight steal of home Tuesday night, but that is his one and only steal in the past ten games.  On the season he is four for eight in stolen base attempts.  Odd.  Surely the Jays aren’t holding him back in any way.  Finally, with his speed, and apparent gap power, four doubles seems awfully low.  I’m not saying he should be consistently bouncing balls off the wall, but with his explosiveness, line drives, ground balls, etc that have outfielders moving a few steps to either side should see him taking second.

Lansing Lugnuts – I know, I know.  I shouldn’t be worried about the records of minor league teams.  But when you saw the talent the Lugs had at their disposal, there was no way to predict that after twenty-eight games they would be 9 and 19, good for dead last in the Eastern Division of the Midwest League.  This is the second year in the row we here at Jays Journal have swooned over prospect laden teams, only for those teams to struggle in their respective leagues.  Good young prospects don’t always make for good teams I suppose.

Roberto Osuna – There is nothing negative about how he has thrown this year.  Despite two rougher starts in the last five his season stats are lights out.  With an unbelievable 7.75 K/BB ratio and 0.85 WHIP, the kid can flat out miss bats.  Unfortunately though, he is currently on the DL for a month as per this article from Shi Davidi after complaining of elbow soreness following the second of the aforementioned rough starts.  It may not be as bad as first feared however, per the tweet below.  Osuna is only eighteen, Tommy John wouldn’t suit him, hopefully the injury is only mild and he can get back to throwing sooner rather than later.

I have heard from the Jays that Osuna is not as bad as I was told this afternoon. I will try and get more info in the next day or two

— Gerry McDonald (@mcdogerry) May 6, 2013

Positives:

Marcus Knecht – after an absolutely brutal start which must have had the Blue Jays brass questioning their commitment to the Toronto native, Knecht has shown some signs of life lately.  Over his last ten games he has put up a .787 OPS, over 140 points better than his season average.  Overall, his numbers across the board are still down on last year.  A major disappointment considering this is his repeat year in Dunedin.  And despite the recent hot(ish) streak there are still worrisome signs.  His three walks versus eleven strike-outs equates to a .273 BB/K ratio, only slightly up on the season’s .226.  His inability to get on base will ultimately decide his fate, but for now, let’s just celebrate the recent success and hope it continues.

Christian Lopes – With my recent Dalton Pompey obsession I’d sort of forgotten about second basemen Lopes.  He was already having a nice season but his last ten games have been something else, racking up fifteen hits, good for a .831 OPS.  Three of those knocks were doubles which makes up 60% of his total.  He only has six extra base hits on the season, but as he is only twenty, hopefully the power will come.  Contact is Christian’s calling card as he rarely walks, 2.7 BB%, and doesn’t strike out a ton, 13.4 K%.  His BABIP is on the high side at .398 which could point to luck, or he simply hits the ball hard.  As this is the positive side of the ledger, let’s go with the latter.

Andy Burns – A card carrying member of the Kevin Pillar Sleeper Prospect List, Andy has, so far, exceeded my expectations on the season.  I put him on the list due to his power potential and with a .513 slugging percentage and .205 ISO he has not let me down.  What has been a pleasant surprise has been the reduction in strike outs with his K% dropping from 23.1 in 2012 to 10.1 so far this season.  That gives him a very tidy 1.21 K/BB ratio.  He’s mainly manned third so far, committing five errors in the process, but hey, with the stat line he’s put up, I’m not overly concerned.  Plus, it means late entry to the KPSPL Peter Mooney is getting the bulk of reps at short.

 

Sean Nolin – Sean had a good off-season.  Not necessarily on the health front, but after putting up a very solid 2012 the twenty-three year old started showing up on prospecters radars.  Including Marc Hulet, who put him ninth on his Jays top fifteen (which was prior to the trades that gutted the eight above him).  Unfortunately for Nolin, a sore shoulder kept him out of action until Tuesday night when he made his season debut against the New Britain Rock Cats.  As far as outings go, it wasn’t the best, but, as the big club’s hurlers drop like flies, the fact Nolin is back pitching is positive in itself.

There you go.  Positives win this week four three.  I suppose I am a glass half full kind of guy.  There has been a lot of movement amongst the minor league clubs.  Unfortunately I missed the bulk of it while away.  Will try and catch up next week and write about anything worthwhile.

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