Jays Lose Tight Game, Make First Draft Signing of the 2011 Class


The Jays are showing all of MLB that they mean business. Whether it’s fighting in a game versus KC all of the way to the end, mostly due to some great pitching from Ricky Romero and the gang,  or making the first signing of the 2011 class of the draft, the Jays are showing strength.

Game Review:  Jays Lose 3-2

First of all, I want to talk about the lineup. How great does the run of Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, and J. P. Arencibia look? All of them are capable of great things, and all seem to be in synch right now. Jose is ahead of the class and isn’t seeing much to hit because of it, so it’s vital to the performance of the Jays that Adam Lind make them pay for how they pitch to Jose. Well, that’s exactly what he and JPA are doing, as they went 4-8 in yesterday’s game with a run and 2 RBI – the only 2 the Jays could manage. This a day after Lind hit a grand slam after the Royals walked Jose to load the bases, and two days after both Lind and JPA hit one HR each and drove in 5 RBI while scoring 3 runs. To have a productive and consistent core of the lineup, the Jays will need for these kinds of performances to continue. Other teams will take note of it and won’t be as eager to walk Jose if that trend continues. It’s something to look for in the next few weeks.

Let’s be honest, Luke Hochevar had the Jays bats baffeled for most of this game. They coudn’t get much of anything going, looked a little lost at the plate, and the Royals won the game because of it. That’s really the story of this game. You can’t get any kind of rally going with that kind of day at the plate.

There were some positives to draw hope from. Mike McCoy drawing 4 walks while leading off was excellent and provided every opportunity you could expect for others hitting behind him. It was surprising to not see Yunel Escobar pinch hit late in the game since he’s supposed to be healthy enough to play today, but Mike did his job well nonetheless.

All-in-all, it wasn’t a bad game as the Jays did get to watch Ricky Romero pitch himself out of jams all game long. It’s incredible how well he pitches with runners on.

Next Up

The Jays now get the priviledge of facing one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Red Sox, who have won their last 6 and now sit 4.5 games ahead of the Jays. The first game has Jo-Jo Reyes facing off against Clay Buchholz. The Jays will send out Brandon Morrow saturday, and Kyle Drabek Sunday. If the Jays can go on a little run here, it could really help to get them back within range of the top guns in the East, so this is a very important series.

In The Minors

AAA:  David Cooper is doing everything he can to get called back up to Toronto. He has hit .432/.523/.595 with 3 doubles, 1 HR, 7 BB, and only 4 SO over his last 10 games.

AA:  Moises Sierra hit his 10th HR of the season recently, while Travis d’Arnaud hit his 6th yesterday in a 8-2 win over Bowie. Both have been doing great work thus far in 2011, and each may attract attention both in terms of promotions, as well as on the trade market if it ever heats up.

HiA: Sean Ochinko has been one of the hottest Dunedin hitters of late. He has a .342/.390/.711 line over his last 10, along with an impressive 5 doubles and 3 HRs. Needless to say that the 23 year old C/1B/DH is finally figuring things out. Meanwhile, Asher Wojciechowski had a great outing yesterday, allowing only 4 hits over 7 innings, no walks, while striking out 5. The lone run he allowed was on a HR, the 9th he has allowed this season.

LoA: If you thought Asher’s stats above were impressive, take a peek at Drew Hutchison‘s! He threw 6 innings of 3 hit ball, with no walks allowed and 9 Ks! Outstanding! In fact, over his last 2 outings, Drew has allowed only 5 hits in 12 innings and no walks while striking out 18!! Umm, I think a promotion is right around the corner for Drew who seems to have reached his peak in LoA. On the hitting side, I’d be foolish to not mention Marcus Knecht and his very impressive .410/.465/.692 line over his last 10 games. He has 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, and 8 RBI over that stretch. Knecht will turn 21 in 11 days and has also shown that he is more than ready for a new challenge at a higher level.

Draft Signings

I am a huge supporter of signing picks early, and the Jays seem poised to do just that as they made the first signing of the 2011 class by inking RHP Joe Musgrove to a contract. Terms weren’t disclosed, but he’ll likely receive somwhere between $600,000 to $900,000. I’ll have a feature post out on him this weekend, but Musgrove is a pitcher who knows exactly what he does best. He knows he could become a workhorse in a rotation who keeps the ball down in the zone. He was extremely happy to be drafted by the Jays and his quick signing now allows him to get to work early, something extremely valuable to such a young pitcher.

For the Jays to sign the 46th overall pick so quickly shows just how aggressive they are being not only in drafting some of the best and hard to sign HS talent out there, but also in getting them under contract so quickly after the draft. Now they can concentrate on getting the others under contract. It’ll be interesting to see just how much the Jays had to pay to get him signed, but the speed of the signing – the first 2011 drafted player to sign – is definitely impressive and encouraging overall.

With a new affiliate to fill – the Bluefield Blue Jays – the Jays are already working towards getting their SS rosters loaded. Where Musgrove begins his pro career remains to be seen, but he will definitely benefit from the experience if he does pitch a good amount in 2011. He is now officially a Jays prospect, so welcome aboard Joe!

– MG

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