Blue Jays Down Under: ABL Update
Let’s take a look at how some of the Blue Jays farm hands are performing in Australia where the Canberra Cavalry’s season is drawing to a close.
Jack Murphy– Murphy is currently hitting .370 in 36 games. He is tied for the lead of all Blue Jays representatives with 6 homeruns. He’s struck out just 19 times for a .422 OBP. He’s picked up 16 hits and 12 RBI over his last 10 games.
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The 26 year old is a 31st round pick of the 2009 draft. Like 2013, Murphy finished 2014 in Buffalo (AAA). He managed to get in 11 games there and hit just .206. He didn’t fare much better at the beginning of the season in New Hampshire (AA), hitting .225. Obviously, it is good to see a surge in production from Murphy. Organizationally speaking, the Blue Jays are going to have to figure out what to do with him. Ahead of him is the likes of A.J. Jimenez and the glut of backstops at the big league level. And, Max Pentecost is bound to sneak up on him from the lower levels.
Christian Lopes– Over his last 10 games, Lopes has been on fire. He’s hitting .450 with 4 HR and 10 RBI to go with 5 walks and only 3 Ks. With his overall performance in Australia, it would be worth paying attention to Lopes as he enters his 4th year in the organization. The 22 year old spent the year in Dunedin (A+) in 2014.
His power is somewhat of a surprise given that the most he’s hit in any of his previous 3 years is 5 when he was in Lansing (A). He managed that in 129 games. So, the fact that he is tied with Murphy for the lead in HR is surprising.
L.B. Dantzler– Here’s another guy who’s having a productive time Down Under. In 31 games, Dantzler has 4 HR and 20 RBI. He’s hitting .267 overall and .286 over his last 10 games. The 23 year old ended 2014 in Dunedin hitting just .241. So, it is good to see him having a bit more success in Australia. Now, when we look at his increased productivity, some may be tempted (as with all of these guys) to chalk it up to a less competitive brand of baseball in Australia.
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We shouldn’t be so dismissive of the strides each of these players have made. Dantzler, at 23 years old may be starting to figure out his power game a bit more. His average is only slightly higher, but his 4 HR in 31 games represents a better rate than the 6 in 91 games from last season.
Anthony Alford– His ranking on the prospects lists may be higher than Lopes, but he is having a tough go in Australia. Over his last 10 games, he’s hitting just .167. In 35 games, he’s hit 3 HR, 3 2B and a triple. One of his HR was of the inside the park variety. His power and speed are not in question (he’s also stolen 9 bases). But, his 43 Ks show he has lots of work to do. Now that he’s left football behind, he’ll be able to get the regular reps needed to adjust.
With the others enjoying success in the ABL, Alford’s time there is more to do with getting him used to regular playing time and at bats. He has the raw talents, as we’ve heard many times and his standings in the prospect rankings will only be helped by his increased exposure. At 20 years old, he has time to grow. He only managed 14 games in 2014 where he ended the year in Lansing. He did hit .320 there in a very small sample of 5 games. Look for him to at least begin 2015 there.