Toronto Blue Jays minor-league notes for December 30th
The Blue Jays’ minor-league all-star team was named by MiLB.com earlier this month, and a handful of the lesser-known players deserve a longer look. (The team includes top prospects, of course, with Rowdy Tellez, Richard Urena, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Max Pentecost, Jon Harris, Angel Perdomo, and Sean Reid-Foley). Outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. was also included, and was profiled here in-depth.
Catcher Ryan Hissey earned some recognition after his second season in the organization, appearing in 111 games for the single-A Lansing Lugnuts. Hissey, a 2015 college pick, hit .246 with four home runs, 36 RBI, and an OPS of .647. He hit much better against left-handed pitching (.777 OPS), and could see time in high-A Dunedin at some point in 2017.
Outfielder J.B. Woodman quickly landed on his feet after being drafted this summer out of the University of Mississippi (Round 2). Between Vancouver and Lansing (63 games), the left-handed hitter put up a line of .297/.391/.445 (.837 OPS). Woodman just turned 22 and is a candidate to rise very quickly through the system as he rounds out his development. If Woodman can stick in centre-field (some evaluators believe he’s got a chance given his athleticism), his value will remain high.
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Another outfielder, Jonathan Davis, didn’t get the credit he deserved for a strong all-around season in high-A Dunedin. Davis played in 120 games for the D-Jays, trailing only Ryan McBroom in the power categories with 14 home runs and 54 RBI while leading the team in walks (70) and stolen bases (33). There are reasons that Davis hasn’t crept on to many prospect watch lists, of course. At 24, he balanced those 70 walks with 111 strikeouts, is a 5-foot-8 corner outfielder, and came from the University of Central Arkansas (not a baseball hotbed) as a 15th-round pick. His 2016 should earn him a longer look, though, perhaps with the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Finally, second-baseman Christian Lopes gave the double-A Fisher Cats 108 games after an April promotion with a .295 average and .357 on-base percentage. Once considered a potential prospect riser in the Blue Jays system in 2012-2013, Lopes has re-established himself after a couple of down years. Depending on Toronto’s upper-minors depth situation this spring, he could return to double-A for another season.
Triple-A manager Bobby Meacham
Another from the file of minor-league news worth noting in 2016… Back when the triple-A Buffalo Bisons named Bobby Meachem their new manager, he made an interesting comment about the use of analytics to Mike Desmond of 88.7 WBFO Buffalo.
“If I can get these guys to learn how to exploit it offensively and send them up there, we’re a better big league club,” Meacham told WBFO. “If I can take situations defensively and work with our guys here at this level in the minor leagues, in Triple A, and send them up with a wealth of experience of using the shift and things of that nature that they’re using up there with the experiences that some teams don’t bring to that table up there, then they’re already ready and equipped to run with what we do with analytics up there at the big league level.”
It will be particularly interesting to monitor if, or how, this ties in with the MLB roster (or full system) and the new position of quality control coach Derek Shelton.
“The game has changed where there’s a lot of information coming in from different areas,” Shelton said on the Jeff Blair Show earlier this month. “I think part of my role will be getting that information and breaking it down so it’s more suitable for the players so it’s an easier conversation.”