Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Miguel Castro has impressed during extended spring training. Credit: MLB Prospect Portal

Vancouver Canadians Monthly Report: July 2014

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Class-A Short Season: Vancouver Canadians

The Canadians went 18-12 in July to finish the first half with a 25-13 and tied for first with the Spokane Indians. The second half of the season hasn’t started so swimmingly for the C’s with a 5-8 record. The C’s are filled with high ceiling prospects that make Blue Jays fans giddy with anticipation. Many of these prospects were honored by being selected to represent the Vancouver Canadians as members of the North Division All-Stars. Those players were: SS Franklin Barreto, 1B Ryan McBroom, 2B Tim Locastro, OF Roemon Fields, LHP Jairo Labourt, LHP Francisco Gracesqui and RHP Joe Lovecchio (who replaces recently promoted RHP Miguel Castro).

Longest Win Streak: the C’s had a 5-game win streak that included a sweep of Eugene.

Longest Losing Streak: the C’s had two 2-game losing streaks as they did a great job limiting prolonged skids.

Rotation

RHP Miguel Castro (19) – Let’s start with the newest member of the Lansing Lugnuts starting rotation. Castro went 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA….no wonder he got promoted. Castro pitched 32.0IP over 6 starts and held opponents to a .195/.270/.257 slash line and didn’t allow any home runs. Castro is an up and comer and should find success in Lansing.

LHP Jairo Labourt (20) – Labourt made 6 July starts and went 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA over 27.2 IP. Labourt struck out 32 batters and walked 19 while holding opponents to a .228/.371/.277 slash line. He did a good job of keeping the ball in the park (zero HR) and on the ground with a 1.94 GO/AO ratio.

LHP Zak Wasilewski (21) – this 14th rounder from the 2012 draft pitched 25.0 innings across 6 starts. Zak got lit up for 34 hits, 27 runs, 3 HR, 14 walks, and 12 strike outs. This resulted in an opponent’s triple slash of .311/.410/.485 and lots of extra base hits.

RHP Chase Mallard (22) – Mallard was selected in the 14th round of this past 2014 Amateur Draft. Mallard made 4 starts and 2 RP appearances in July. Chase had a 2-1; 2.05 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 22.0 IP. Chase demonstrated amazing command in July with one walk and 17 strike outs. Chase will continue to piggy back starts as he becomes acclimated to pro-ball.

LHP Daniel Lietz (20) – Lietz has spent time between Bluefield and Vancouver in 2014. In his two Vancouver appearances Lietz didn’t fair too well resulting in a 0-0 7.04 ERA record. Lietz will need to show more if he wants to stay in Vancouver.

 

The Pen

RHP Alberto Tirado (19) – The native of Nagua, Dominican Republic struggled in July finishing with a 0-0 record with a 7.50 ERA in 8 games (one start). Tirado allowed 10 runs and 11 walks in 12 innings. He was able to maintain a solid strikeout per inning, but that gets thrown out the door when you look at all his other stats. 2014 hasn’t done much for Tirado’s stock, let hope that August is better.

RHP Kamakani Usui (24) – Usui is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii. Usui converted 2 saves, struck out 8 and 3 walks in 10 innings. That is where the good news ends. Usui allowed opponents to hit .310/.362/.476 with a home run, 2 doubles and a triple.

RHP Joe Lovecchio (23) – Joe didn’t register a win in 10 relief appearances in July, but he also didn’t register a loss. In 12.2IP, Lovecchio struck out 9 with 2 walks, while only allowing one run. Lovecchio held opponents to a .163/.200/.186 slash line….this is why he ended up on the All-Star team.

LHP Michael Kraft (22) – Kraft was selected in the 37th round of this year’s June Amateur draft and after 6 appearances in Bluefield was sent to Vancouver. Kraft has been equally impressive in Vancouver as he was in Bluefield and has not allowed a run since turning pro. In 7.0 IP Kraft has only given up 3 hits, while striking out 6 and walking 6. Things are going good so far.

RHP Adaric Kelly (21) – Started the season in Lansing but after 19 starts he was sent down to Vancouver where he has been much better. In 3 July appearances, Kelly was 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA while walking one and striking out 6.

LHP Jose Fernandez (21) – Jose registered one win with a 4.76 ERA while holding generating a 1.56 GO/AO ratio.

RHP Yeyfry Del Rosario (20) – Yeyfry held opponents to a .196 batting average and collected 2 wins and a save.

RHP Andrew Case (21) – This New Brunswick native held opponents to a .268/.316/.423 slash in 10 games (17.1 IP). Case struck out 19 and walked 5, but he did allow 2 home runs on 19 hits. Overall, Case has done well in his first 2 months of pro-ball.

RHP Mark Biggs (20) – Biggs had a terrible July. In 12.0 IP, Biggs allowed 14 runs while walking 9 and striking out 10.

 

Outfield

Chris Carlson (23) – Chris was a beast in the 26 July games. He didn’t hit a home run but he did collect 34 hits in 96 at-bats which was good for a .354/.451/.406 slash line. I love a guy that shows the ability to work the count and is clutch….Carlson has shown this and more. He walked 16 times while striking out 10 times and has a .500/.577/.545 slash with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Chris also collected 4 stolen bases and drove in 13 RBI in July.

Boomer Collins (25) – Boomer is 3.8 years older than his competition, so I expected a lot more from him. He hit .289/.404/.395 in 23 games. He did hit 2 HR and drove in 11 while stealing 2 bases.

Jonathan Davis (22) – Davis only got in 7 games in July, but was able to show his skills. He hit a home run, stole 2 bases and drove in 8. He did, however, strike out 8 times in those 7 games.

Roemon Fields (23) – Fields has been everything the C’s could hope for from a leadoff hitter. He leads the league with 35 SB and 17 of those came in July. Fields has also hit .298/.353/.397 with a HR and 17 RBI. Fields will have to show more of an eye at the plate if he wants to succeed at the next level and develop into a lead-off hitter….if not he will be a 9th hitter.

Brenden Kalfus (22) – Things continue to not go well for Kalfus. In 11 games he hit .130/.130/.130….no walks, 4K and 3 singles. That about sums it up.

 

Infield

SS Franklin Barreto (18) – Barreto has a lot of Blue Jays really excited and he didn’t disappoint in July. Franklin hit 2 HR and drove in 30 RBI while hitting .287/.366/.470 in 30 games. He also collected 7 doubles, 4 triples, and 9 SB. Pretty amazing for a kid that is playing against guys 3.2 years his senior. He still needs to tighten up his fielding (20 errors in 2014) and decrease his 19.1 K%.

2B Tim Locastro (22) – Tim had a great month with 12 SB (2nd behind Fields), 7 doubles, HR, 22 R, and 10 RBI. Locastro hit .359/.429/.456 while playing flawless defense with only 3 errors all season. I would like to see this 13th rounder get a chance to show his skills in Lansing before the end of 2014.

3B Alexis Maldonado (23) – In 18 games Alexis hit .279/.338/.397 with a HR and 6 RBI. He struck out 15 times and walked 6 times. Alexis hit 3 doubles and one triple, so there is extra base power in that bat. In 24 starts he has 4 errors and a .938 fielding%.

1B Ryan McBroom (22) – McBroom was a 15th round selection in this year draft and has produced better than anyone could have hoped. His 7 HR and 40 RBI are third in the league. He hit .331/.366/.500 with 3 HR, 27 RBI, SB, and 11 doubles in July. He needs to work on drawing a walk and cut down his strikeouts (5/20), but if he continues to hit for power and average at every level I am sure the Jays can live with his K%.

2B/3B Ryan Metzler (21) – Ryan has struggled to get anything going in his first year as a pro. This 9th round selection in 2014 has split time between second and third while hitting .234/.347/.266 in July. He hasn’t been over matched at the plate with 10 walks and 17 K’s.

SS Christian Vazquez (24) – Vazquez (not Boston’s rookie catcher) struggled in July with a .219 average in 13 games.

Catchers

CA/1B Seth Conner (22) – Seth played in 11 July games and hit .259 with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. He will get in the odd game here and there and will spell Max Pentecost when he needs rest.

CA/DH Michael De La Cruz (21) – De La Cruz struggled in July with an .188/.247/.290 slash line. He did manage to run into one and limited his strikeouts with 10. He has been clutch all year and that was no different in July as he drove in 14 RBI despite not consistently getting on base. De La Cruz is hitting .435 with 2-out and RISP and has driven in 10 RBI…that is clutch.

CA Max Pentecost (21)- I don’t know what all the hype is about this kid….all he did in July is hit .302/.318/.381 with a double and two triples, while driving in 7 RBI in 15 games. He needs to slow the game down and show some more patience. He has 15 strike outs and only 2 walks. I can’t wait to see what August brings for the Jays newest stud catching prospect.

Pitcher to Watch- I am going to go with Chase Mallard. He was lights out in 4 July starts and showed really good control. It will be interesting to see how the league adjusts to him in August.

Hitter to Watch- This one is really easy. I would keep my eye on Franklin Barreto. I expect to see Ryan McBroom moved up to Lansing as some of the veteran minor leaguers begin to get phased out. Barreto has started a couple games at the top of the lineup….I wonder if this is to get him maximum AB’s.

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Tags: Franklin Barreto Max Pentecost Toronto Blue Jays Vancouver Canadians

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