Blue Jays top positional prospect Anthony Alford returned to action this week
We’ve entered into the second month of the Blue Jays 2016 MiLB season, and as temperatures begin to become more consistent, the hope is that players’ performance will start to become more consistent as well. It’s time to leave that early-season slump in April and focus on making the most out of each at-bat.
The Buffalo Bisons remain in last place in their division in the International League, four games below .500, however just 4.5 games out of first place. A 4-6 record in their last ten games hasn’t helped them gain any ground, but it also hasn’t put them too far back. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have also gone 4-6 in their last ten, but an overall record of 11-17 is not looking all too pretty. Only the Portland Sea Dogs are keeping them from last place in their division.
Down in Dunedin, the Hi-A Blue Jays have been in terrible form of late, picking up just two wins in their past ten which has dropped them to a 13-16 record after what looked like a promising start. Finally, the Lansing Lugnuts continue to be the Jays’ top minor league affiliate, posting a record of 16-11 which puts them near the top of the Midwestern League.
A Look Back:
Anthony Alford returned to Dunedin this past week, which allows Blue Jays fans to take a sigh of relief after his extended trip to the DL. He’s posted 16 strikeouts in his 6 games back (including a pair of 4 K games in his first two appearances) but he can be given a pass due to the lack of in-game action he’s seen this year.
After a brief stay in Toronto, Matt Dominguez was sent back down to AAA this past week following 8 plate appearances with the big club. He struck out three times, while drawing a walk and not registering a single hit. The Jays also called up Andy Burns, a utility infielder who doesn’t figure to see all that much time in the field.
Jonathan Davis, Outfielder- We labeled him a ‘riser’ last week, and his hot start hasn’t yet shown any sign of coming to a close. Davis is absolutely lighting up single-A pitching, which is shown through his OPS of .908. Davis has done it all for Dunedin: getting on base, stealing bases, hitting home runs, driving runners in; you name it, Davis has done it this season for Dunedin. Here’s a scary thought for opposing pitchers: if he could begin to cut down on his strikeout numbers, Davis’ numbers will only continue to climb.
Rowdy Tellez, First Baseman- Due to the Jays’ current hole at first base, a strong 2016 season could have given Tellez an outside shot at spot on the Jays’ 2017 25 man roster; however; Tellez will need to turn his season around if he still wants that chance. With just five hits in his last 35 at bats, it’s obvious that Tellez isn’t yet himself at the plate. Out of all the players in the Jays system, Tellez may have been the happiest when the calendar flipped to May, but unfortunately the new month hasn’t brought better luck at the plate for Tellez.
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Ryan Hissey, Outfielder- In his first year in at the A level, Hissey is enjoying what so far has been a seamless transition to the new level. Not a power hitter by any means, Hissey has rarely gone hitless this season, and has been one of the top hitters for Lansing in 2016.
Andrew Guillotte, Outfielder- Guillotte carries a .319 average, the highest of anyone in the Blue Jays farm system. He has shown he possesses an excellent eye at the plate, having drawn 14 walks this season while only striking out 14 times. It’s likely that Guillotte will see a promotion in the near future.
Jorge Flores, Shortstop- The New Hampshire offense has struggled this season, but that can’t be blamed on Flores. The 23-year-old shortstop is beginning to heat up at the plate, registering a couple of multi-hit games in his last five contests, and may be able to provide the spark that the Fisher Cat lineup needs to get going.
Anthony Alford, Outfielder- In the opening, I said that fans should be happy to see Alford on the field and not worry about results at this point, which is true. However, it’s hard to ignore the strikeout totals Alford has posted since his return to action, and has yet to produce a multi-hit game. The fact that he hasn’t attempted a stolen base may be a sign that his leg injury isn’t fully healed (or this may be due to the fact he hasn’t been on base enough to get a chance to steal), but given his skill, Alford should be able to turn his fortunes around soon enough.
Jon Berti, Second Baseman- Berti absolutely raked against AA pitching to start the season, earning him an early call up to the AAA Bisons. Following his promotion, Berti had just three hits in 20 at bats; it’s expected that a prospect struggles when they are first promoted but Berti struggled early and returned to New Hampshire on May 5th.
Justin Atkinson, Catcher- 11 strikeouts in his last five games have earned Atkinson a spot on the ‘fallers’ list for the week. Atkinson isn’t anything more than organizational depth for the Blue Jays, but if his recent struggles continue Lansing may begin to look for a replacement.
Player to Watch:
Jon Berti, Second Baseman- For the first time in 2016, a player appears in the same stock report article twice! As mentioned in the previous section, Berti got off to an excellent start but has struggled following his promotion to face better pitching in AAA. It will be interesting to see if Berti can shake off this rough stretch and get back to the level he was playing at for New Hampshire, or if he will continue to struggle and show that his .228 average at the AAA level in 2015 was a sign of things to come. For this reason, Berti is the player to watch for the upcoming week.