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I caught up with Doug Davis today as he arrived in Toronto for the Webster Award ceremonies this weekend.  Those of you at the Jays games today and tomorrow will see the Jays present end of year awards to scouts and players.

I talked with Davis about some of the players headed, or not headed, to the AFL.  I started by asking about AJ Jimenez who was pulled from both a September major league call-up and a trip to the AFL.  "He still has some lingering effects from the Tommy John surgery.  With the periodic breaks he had to take during the season we thought he wasn't going to go out there and get the work in that we wanted him to.  We felt the best thing was for us to send him back to Puerto Rico and let him continue his rehab and strengthening there so that by next spring training he is ready to go."  I asked if Jimenez was likely to play winter ball.  "No, we would like to avoid that.  We are trying to keep on top of his rehab and keep in control so no I don't see him playing before spring".

Sean Nolin has been moved from the AFL to winter ball, I wondered why.  "I think it's that Sean has more innings left to throw and in the AFL he wasn't going to get the number of innings we wanted him to get.  I think we can send him to winter ball, monitor his work load, and when he gets to his maximum number of innings we can pull him from there.  It's also going to be a little higher quality of opposition there too".

Nolin is being replaced by Drew Hutchison.  I asked if Drew's control, which was not as good this year as it was before the surgery, was a concern?  Davis said he wasn't worried, Hutch had twelve months off and he was encouraged that his control seemed to get better each time out there.

The last player to be taken off the AFL roster was Tyler Ybarra, again I was wondering why.  "I think he had a great year in Dunedin and we didn't want to push the envelope any more with him.  His career has been a little up and down and this was by far the best year it has been for him.  He has enough innings, he doesn't need more.  We originally thought we could get him out there to face better quality opposition but the more we thought about it we said let's leave it alone and be satisfied with where we are at and be ready for next year."

Back in April one of the surprises with the initial rosters was the placement of Emilio Guerrero in Lansing.  Guerrero proved the coaches right with a good year including a strong second half performance.  Davis mentioned the late season promotion to Dunedin and noted that Guerrero should start there next year.   "He is an interesting guy.  It's hard when you have somebody that tall and thin.  We are hoping he goes home and puts on a little weight.  Will he stay at shortstop?  I don't know but I think he proved he can play there.  I saw him play third in Lansing and he is very good there too.  We will give him the opportunity to play every day and we will see what we have there.  We thought he could play there and it turned out good for everybody."

Another surprise was the improved play from Deck McGuire in August.  "I think he matured, I think he executed better and sometimes players get to the point where they say enough is enough.  Enough struggling, enough inconsistency, it's time to take the game into another gear and that's what he did.  I think it's more experience than anything else."  I mentioned to Doug that the AAA rotation could be pretty good next season and he was happy to point out that for him the nice part would be that the rotation should be "our guys' as in home grown players.

We all know that Franklin Barreto can hit, the big question seems to be where will he end up defensively.  Davis was non-commital noting that he believed Barreto played a lot of outfield before the Jays signed him.  That means that Barreto is now going through a learning curve at short, having to pick up all the nuances of playing the position.  Davis confirmed that Barreto is staying at short for now.  The Jays have another shortstop, Dawel Lugo, ahead of Barreto who is likely to be Lansing's shortstop next season.  Barreto's bat could probably handle Lansing but where would he play the field?  I put that to Davis. "You are thinking right along with us.  I do think he could handle that level, now whether we are able to get him there, I don't know.  But it's certainly something to think about and it's a good problem to have."

One of the new names to track this year is Miguel Castro who came to the GCL from the DSL mid-season.  Davis didn't see Castro pitch in Florida but he had seen him in the DSL before recommending his promotion to the GCL.  "He has a big arm, he is a tall thin guy too.  He has a lot of arm speed and movement on his fastball.  He is definitely going to be a starting pitcher for us next season."

I finished by asking about position changes.  The instructional league is usually the time that teams try guys in new positions but Davis said this was one of the few years where none of that was planned.

 

Thanks to Doug Davis for his time.

An Interview with Doug Davis - September 2013 | 9 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, September 27 2013 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#279389) #
Thanks, Gerry.  There was a slight hint there that Barreto might be headed for the OF rather than another IF position.  That is fine.  What little I know suggests that Barreto might not have the fine skills which would make it ideal to move him to third base or second base.
jerjapan - Friday, September 27 2013 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#279394) #
I feel strangely optimistic about our minor league talent, despite some of the organizational rankings that came out earlier this year.  Having the injured pitchers return healthy and effective certainly doesn't hurt, even if they aren't technically prospects.  Am I alone in this optimism?
CeeBee - Friday, September 27 2013 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#279398) #
You're not alone. It's more fun being an optimist than a pessimist and I've seen enough pessimism on this site to last a lifetime..... mine, anyway. I think there are some good looking prospects at the lower levels and next year will be a good one.
John Northey - Friday, September 27 2013 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#279400) #
The AAA and AA rotations will be interesting, as will the ML one.  If no one is added (unlikely) and Johnson is gone (likely) here is what I see...
ML: Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, Redmond, Happ
AAA: Romero, Nolin, Drabek, Hutchison, Stroman
AA: McGuire, Walden, Sanchez, not sure on other 2 slots

That's not putting Rogers, Weber, Jenkins, and others anywhere and all could be in the mix for AAA and maybe ML slots.  The only way I see a AAA all developed here rotation is if Drabek earns a ML slot but that would surprise me.

So, the big question is now what?  McGuire and Walden might be worthy of AAA slots and Sanchez certainly could climb up to AAA (or even the majors).  It could get extremely crowded in AAA and if the Jays sign another starter then who knows what happens.  A trade could clear out a lot of space quickly though.
China fan - Saturday, September 28 2013 @ 07:31 AM EDT (#279403) #
As Gerry and Davis imply in the interview, McGuire should be in Buffalo next year. Sending him back to AA for a 3rd consecutive season would be almost like writing him off as a prospect. His improvement in August this year suggests that he can handle AAA and could even be ready for the majors in the second half of next year. The Jays do have a lot of AAA and AA prospects who are not elite but could still handle the majors, perhaps in the bullpen or as a 5th starter. They need to get a chance at the majors at some point next season. If there still isn't room for them in the majors, the Jays should trade them and at least get some value from them.
Gerry - Saturday, September 28 2013 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#279425) #
The Rogers overlords in their infinite wisdom send me a regular copy of their Sportsnet magazine. The current issue has an excellent story by Gare Joyce about life in the GCL. It's a real life look into the issues on the field and off the field that players face.

The issue is the NHL preview issue and the story is on page 60. If you don't get the magazine its worth the 10 minutes to read it in your local magazine shop.

I haven't seen it on the web yet but it will likely show up at some point.
TJ Caino - Sunday, September 29 2013 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#279426) #
Great interview as always, Gerry!
John Northey - Sunday, September 29 2013 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#279427) #
While McGuire should be in AAA who do you put into AA or release or shift to the pen to allow for it?  Right now I have ML: Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, Redmond, Happ AAA: Romero, Nolin, Drabek, Hutchison, Stroman.  Happ and Redmond aren't stars but both are more likely to be trusted in the 4/5 holes than anyone listed in AAA and all the guys in AAA are more likely to be viewed higher than McGuire at this point.  The pens are loaded of course and I suspect Sanchez will force his way to AAA or the majors at some point in 2014.

I see trades coming, but who is tradeable?  Stroman, Nolin, McGuire and Sanchez are hot enough prospects to bring value as part of a package, Morrow and Happ have had ML success in the past but after poor 2013's neither has a ton of value except at the back of a rotation.  Redmond was acquired via waivers in both 2012 and 2013 so I doubt his value has jumped enough to make him a high value asset.  Drabek & Hutchison both are recovering from injuries, again limiting their value.  Hrm.  The more I look at it the more I fear we'll see the kids go when really the guys you want to clear out are Morrow, Happ, Romero. 

As to what can be done to add to the rotation, you have guys who were once hot stuff but now will be hunting for work like Phil Hughes (1.48 HR/9 killed him), guys who have recovered from collapse like Scott Kazmir (93 ERA+, 1.1 HR/9, 2.7 BB/9 9.2 K/9), former stars recovering (Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson from disaster, Tim Lincecum with 2 years sub 80 for ERA+), stars who will demand cash aplenty but don't require compensation (Matt Garza who had issues in Texas).  Mix in a Japanese pitcher (Masahiro Tanaka) and you got a lot of choices out there who require nothing more than cash.

Now, you can also add in David Price as a trade prospect - he is making over $10 mil a year and is arbitration for this year and next. Can the cheap skate Rays keep him or would they like to get Nolin, McGuire, Sanchez for him plus more? Would the Jays raid their minor leagues to get him?  Is there another pitcher a club might be willing to trade who the Jays would jump up for?  What about a guy at 2B or CA? 
Mike Green - Thursday, October 03 2013 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#279598) #
Dalton Pompey won a minor league Gold Glove. This isn't just for the Midwest League, but for the entire minor leagues.  Somebody apparently thought that he was the best defensive centerfielder in the minors.  This is the first I have heard that his capabilities in the field are at that level.  LF, any comments?

If that award bears any relation to reality, Pompey is in fact a bona fide prospect.  At age 20, he posted a decent offensive line in the Midwest League with pretty good plate control and a late burst of power. 
An Interview with Doug Davis - September 2013 | 9 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.