Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
(Too big a stretch?)

The Blue Jays minor-league squads were 2-2 on the night. As you might guess, in places where the pitching was right good things happened, in other places not so much. Since there's now one full week of the season in the books (okay, 8 days, humor me) , along with tonight's game updates I'll be highlighting those hot and cold starts worthy of comment.

Las Vegas 5, Fresno 8

Offensively, the struggling 51's got a long home run from Travis Snider, and a pair of singles apiece from Travis d'Arnaud and Mike McCoy, as well as a Gose (which is defined as stealing 2nd followed immediately by stealing third before scoring) but was otherwise unworthy of note.  You have to wonder though, how long you can go before there's a psychological wear & tear on the kids from knowing they are playing behind a pathetic SP most nights. Chris Woodward and the coaching staff have their work cut out for them keeping the kids upbeat.

Speaking of sucky SP, there's Bill Murphy. Four IP, five earned runs, a 10.57 ERA as he walks off the mound, just another night at the office at Cashman Field. The bullpen fared a bit better, allowing 3 runs in 5 innings of work. But every time the hitters tried to make a game of it, the pitchers gave the Grizzlies their cushion back.

For the 51's in the first week, it's hard to find many highlights. Already 4 games back of the Grizzlies at 2-6, if this team is going to make you smile it's going to be the hitting of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Hitting .406 so far and second on the team in total bases is exactly what Jays fans had in mind. He's already struck out 8 times, which is something that will need attention at some point, but given that he will be fighting the perception that his bat is a PCL illusion all year, reports of consistent hard-hit balls are very encouraging. The other offensive gem, no surprise, is Travis Snider. But the best thing everyone can do with Snider is just turn him loose and let him build up a body of work and not be obsessed with every swing of the bat. David Cooper has been fine, but on the flip side d'Arnaud and Gose have started off ice cold.
Pitching? You don't want to talk about the pitching dude. Well, there is Robert Coello – 1 walk and 9 K's in 5 IP out of the bullpen. But really, it's best not to look here, you could damage your eyesight.

New Hampshire 3, New Britain 5

Justin Jackson just won't leave me be. Every time I decide his best-by date has expired he goes on another tear. Tonight, facing the re-habbing Jason Marquis, he was 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles a pair of steals, and a run scored  In the F-Cats losing effort. Koby Clemens contributed an 8th inning home run but otherwise the offense was mostly absent.

Chad Jenkins got the start and did not fair as well as he had in his first start. The former first rounder got dinged for all five of the New Britain runs in his seven innings of work, three of them coming in the 6th inning when a HBP and two wild pitches led to trouble. On the other hand one could argue that Jenkins pitched six strong innings and one sucky one so the line might be deceiving.

Reviewing the season-to-date, the 3-4 F-Cats is still waiting for the rotation, other than Drew Hutchison, to get on-track. Hutch has a 1.64 ERA and five relievers have yet to give up an earned run in  12.1 innings between them.  Deck McGuire looks to get his groove back on Friday night.
On offense, it's the (now) lightly regarded Jackson, along with the equally unheralded Brad Glenn who've provided the bulk of the contribution. Mike McDade has been okay and the rest are still looking to heat up.

Dunedin 2, Brevard County 0

The D-Jays prevailed tonight behind excellent pitching and just enough offense. Surprise Ace Sean Nolin dominated for 5.2 innings, giving up 3 hits and walking none while striking out 11. Dustin Antolin pitched 1.2, allowing a single baserunner,  to pick up his first save.

The hitters were less eye-catching, not getting to the Manatee's Jed Bradly until Jon Talley provided their first hit leading off the 6th with a single. After an error and a wild pitch moved him to 3B, “Captain” Jack Murphy picked up the sacrifice  RBI for the games first score. Jake Marisnick followed with a two-out triple but was stranded at third. Captain Jack struck again in the 8th with a solo-shot homer off the Manatees' reliever to provide the final score.

Season so far: The D-Jays are 6-1 on the season and there's a good reason – pitching. If you are not paying attention to Sean Nolin by now, WAKE UP! Everyone's heard about Wojo, we all love John Stilson (I know I do!) and we harbor some hopes for Sam Dyson, but Nolin has yet to surrender a run in 2 starts spanning almost 12 IP, and has 13K's over against 2 walks. The 2010 6th rounder who disappointed the club in his initial appearance in the organization that year came back in 2011 rededicated and so far he's been even better this year.
That's not to disrespect Stilson, who likewise hasn't given up a run yet. He's been exactly as advertised. The bullpen can trot out six relievers who've combined for 22 innings and only given up a pair of earned runs. The team ERA is 2.56 and without Wojo's one rough outing it falls to 1.82. Among the hitters, Jake Marisnick and Marcus Knecht share the spotlight with unheralded shortstop Kevin Nolan and catcher Sean Ochinko.

Lansing 3, West Michigan 2

The 'Nuts ran their franchise-record winning streak  (to open the season) to seven games by edging the Whitecaps 3-2 behind the strong pitching of shadow-dweller Dave Rollins. The oft-overlooked left-hander (a 24th round pick last year) was drafted out of college and is in his age 22 seasons so if the Jays handle the widely praised high-schoolers who share the rotation with him gently, he might be the first in this group to get back to Florida.  In tonight's game he twirled five innings of 2-hit ball, allowing only one unearned run. Then turned it over to a typically effective bullpen, with the Whitecaps picking up another run, off closer AJ Meyer, in a collective four innings of work.

On the offensive side, the middle infield tandem of Jon Berti and Andy Burns each collected a single, a double, and an RBI. Marcus Brisker was held hitless but walked and stole both 2nd and 3rd in the seventh inning.

Looking at the collective performance of the 7-0 Lugnuts in the first week of the season, it would obviously be hard to find negatives, but the pitching has been stellar. A team ERA of 1.65 is all the evidence you really need. Another fun note, in 60 collective IP, they've allowed ONE homer. Offensively, though the sample sizes are obviously tiny, I've heard a couple of professional observers take notice of SS Andy Burns as a sleeper. Name a guy on this team that you are keeping an eye on, and if his name isn't Chino Vega (who's only played in 2 games) or Carlos Perez, you're probably pretty happy with his start.

***Three Stars***

Third star: Dave Rollins - Five excellent innings and the win
Second Star: Justin Jackson - Did it all for NH tonight

First Star: Sean Nolin - As well pitched game as you'll see in the Jays' system this year.

Keep Feeling Fascina-Sean | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
hypobole - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#254409) #
How awful is Vegas' starting staff? Of the 6 pitchers that have made starts, only Jesse Chavez has an ERA under 10.00.
mathesond - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#254411) #

The Florida State League, the Eastern League, and the Human League?
Mike Green - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#254412) #
Perhaps the Pacific Coast League and the Human League.  A neutral observer reading stat lines might very well think that batters and pitchers in the PCL are from another planet altogether. 
bpoz - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#254415) #
With LV getting no good pitching prospects, the result was that the other teams got loaded with them.
AWeb - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#254418) #

Vegas being what it is, would the expected numbers for a pitcher moving to AAA from AA be worse than if they moved to MLB? Especially with MLBs continued wilting offensive environment (AL had a .693 OPS so far, last year was .730, .764 in 2009)...

Gerry - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#254419) #
BTW TamRa, I have had that song in my head all morning.  But there are worse songs that could be in there.
See-Hech-In-July - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#254422) #
I think if Hechavarria is still batting 350 plus in July the Jays will have to bring him up regardless.

A 10 Million dollar investment that could play SS for 95% of MLB teams today defensively is not a good business decision.

The question is who do they move, KJ or Escobar? KJ and his salary of 6 mil is the obvious choice. Escobar would be a great option as a utility infielder as he gets older.

The only problem with this is if the Jays are in serious contention in July, then it would put alot more pressure on Hech.

Bring him up, let him get comfortable defensively and work on the strikouts during the offseason.
greenfrog - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#254428) #
"a Gose (which is defined as stealing 2nd followed immediately by stealing third before scoring)"

My understanding is that this sequence of events is actually called a Rajai.

I believe a Gose is when the runner on third (perhaps having arrived there via a Rajai) comes home during the catcher's too-casual toss back to the pitcher.
Kelekin - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#254448) #
Lansing is now the only team without a loss in all of the minor leagues, at 7-0.  Dunedin is one of six teams with only one loss. 

McGuire is not having a fantastic start again.

Kelekin - Friday, April 13 2012 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#254453) #
Matt Wright promoted to AA it seems.  About time.
baagcur - Saturday, April 14 2012 @ 12:49 AM EDT (#254458) #
Lansing lost tonight

Las Vegas won 14-0 with 18 hits
Carreno's line 5IP 1H 2BB 8SO

TamRa - Saturday, April 14 2012 @ 02:20 AM EDT (#254459) #
Jo-el Car-ren-O

demonstrates to the scrubs how one pitches in the PCL and wins. 5 innings of 1 hit shutout ball, 8 k.

Very nicely done.

And oh by the way, Snider was 4/5 with an RBI double and a grand slam; Hech was 3/6; d'Arnad was 2/4 - both doubles - and also walked twice.

Vegas needed that game.
sam - Saturday, April 14 2012 @ 03:19 AM EDT (#254460) #
My word, Hechevarria's play in the second inning was something out of this world. He dove to his left to catch a line drive, which in it self was incredible but in one motion upon landing turned from his behind to fire to first to double off the runner. Wow
bpoz - Saturday, April 14 2012 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#254462) #
Thanks Sam. How is Yan Gomes doing defensively. He is playing Catcher, 1B & 3B, so he is getting regular ABs.
TamRa - Sunday, April 15 2012 @ 05:46 AM EDT (#254492) #
Really liking what I see in Sam Dyson's line tonight.

I'm always up for adding yet another name to the pile of exciting pitching prospects.
Keep Feeling Fascina-Sean | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.