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You have to go all the way down to Charleston before you get a dominant pitching performance from a Jays' minor leaguer, in what was a slugfest-kind of day. But what a performance it was.


Pawtucket 10, Syracuse 9

Hitting: Whole lotta hittin’ going’ on. Everyone in the lineup either had a hit or scored a run. Playing shortstop for the first time was Jimmy Alvarez, who had two hits and two runs scored. Alvarez is in his first season at AAA, having spent 2002 at second base at AA Tennessee, where he posted a .278/.383/.402 line with 20 steals (but 11 CS) and a 79/121 BB/K rate. He’s off to a decent start with the Chiefs, .286/.310/.429 in 28 ABs. If the walks come along as expected, Alvarez could get a cup of Skydome coffee in September. With Alvarez, Adams and Rich behind him, the O-Dog should rent, not buy.

Pitching: Batter’s Box fave Corey Thurman had his second consecutive rocky outing, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits (2 HRs) in 5 innings. No walks, at least. Possibly Thurman’s been working on developing that curve. Dan Reichert also allowed a HR and three hits in an inning and a third, and was followed by the equally ineffective Scott Wiggins, Brian Bowles and losing pitcher Scott Cassidy. Bowles’ ERA is 0.90 in 10 IP, but he’s walked 9 and struck out just 6 in those frames.


Trenton 8, New Haven 5 (Game 1)

Hitting: Doubleheader action! Third baseman Simon Pond continued his hot streak with a single, two walks, two runs and an RBI. Pond, who ran up a .284/.357/.479 line last season at Dunedin, is at .345/.500/.564 this season. But at 26, his upside is likely to be Patrick Lennon. John-Ford Griffin drove in two runs with a double. More hitting heroics in the second game of the doubleheader, below.

Pitching: First he lost his wallet to Pasqual Coco, then Diegomar Markwell lost his touch to the Trenton Thunder. Markwell was ripped for 6 runs in 5 innings on 7 hits (including 3 HRs) and 3 walks, striking out 4.

New Haven 4, Trenton 3 (Game 2)

Hitting: Shortstop Kurt Keene went 5-for-8 on the day with three doubles, two runs and an RBI; he’s now hitting a sparkling .318, but his prospect status is dimmed by his solitary walk in 44 at-bats. Centrefielder Alexis Rios went 4-for-9 with two ribbies and a run. In his first 27 ABs, Rios has a gaudy .519/.552/.704. Previously white-hot Gabe Gross cooled off with an 0-for-6 day, dropping his average to .322.

Pitching: Cameron Reimers continued to find success, allowing 3 runs in 4 innings, but striking out5 against just one walk. His young-season totals are now 17 IP, 14 H, 3 BB and 15 K.


Dunedin 4, Lakeland 3

Hitting: First baseman Mike Snyder continued to emerge from his slump with two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Nobody else did anything particularly interesting.

Pitching: Bright-line prospect Dustin McGowan won again, allowing 5 hits and 2 runs in 5 innings, walking one and striking out three. His ERA now stands at a sterling 2.08, with 26 IP, 18 H, 7 BB and 19 K. Jordan DeJong saved his sixth game. Woo-hoo!


Hickory 2, Charleston 1

Hitting: Catcher Jason Schneider had two hits, raising his season’s line to a scintillating .143/.211/.171 in 35 at-bats. On a happier note, right fielder Mikail Jova had two hits, and his numbers now stand at .323/.377/.403 in 62 ABs.

Pitching: The pride of Victoria, B.C., Vince Perkins fired the game of the night for Charleston: 6 shutout innings, three hits, two walks and 9 whiffs. Perkins, whose season totals now stand at 23 IP, 8 H, 11 BB, 34 K and an ERA of precisely 0.00, is gaining a name for himself in a hurry. Reliever Eric Stephenson, who blew the game in the last two innings, is not.
Minor-league update | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_DS - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#89931) #
Who wants to take the over/under on Perkins promotion to Dunedin? I say 2 weeks, tops.
_Cristian - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#89932) #
Did Pascual Coco ever tell his side of the Walletgate debacle from spring training? I remember him mentioning that he would tell his side of the story when he was picked up by another team. He was then signed by Milwaukee but I never heard him speak about what happened after he was picked up.
Coach - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#89933) #
We need a Vancouver Island correspondent. I wonder if Perkins and Rich Harden (they are the same age) ever hooked up in a high school game there? It would not have been much fun for the hitters on either team.

The other night on the radio pregame, Jayson Werth raved about two of his Dunedin teammates: that he was impressed by Russ Adams was no surprise, but among all those other talented pitchers (McGowan, Pleiness, Maureau, Bush...) Jay singled out DeJong for special mention.

Rios is a very pleasant surprise. That step from A to AA isn't supposed to be this easy, and while he isn't exactly a walks-and-power guy, he hits triples in bunches, is just 22, and his batting eye seems to be improving as he faces tougher competition, which is a terrific sign.
_R Billie - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#89934) #
As it stands, Rios could develop into a much taller version of Shannon Stewart. Though probably with fewer walks. If his power ever matches his size, watch out.
_Rob Andrew - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#89935) #
Well I live in Victoria, but I have to confess that I'd forgotten Harden and Perkins were from here. Amazingly, sports columnist Jeff Rud hasn't done any feel good pieces on them in the Times Colonist.

There isn't any high school baseball in BC (is there anywhere in Canada?), but they undoubtedly crossed paths at various other levels. The webpage of the Midget AAA Victoria Capitals lists links for Harden and Perkins (as well as Steve Sinclair), so maybe they both played for that team. Harden would still have been an outfielder back then though.
_DS - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#89936) #
With the Jays having so many young OF prospects seemingly ready to break through at the same time, where are they going to play? Wells is here to stay, but for the other 2 corner spots there is a plethora of choices: Werth, Rios, Gross, Griffin. All of these guys should be in the majors by 2005 at the latest. It will be interesting to see who is kept and who is traded away.
_R Billie - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#89937) #
I think it will all depend on whether Stewart gets traded and for what return. There's also some thinking that JF Griffin could hit enough and make the transition to first base once Delgado's contract is up after 2004.

It's still likely though that at least one of the outfield prospects will end up being traded. Assuming Griffin converts to first base, that leaves Rios, Gross, and Werth for two outfield spots, Wells having centerfield through 2007.

Rios is a regular centerfielder and Werth can play center so that gives them some flexibility. If the Jays can bring in one more young starter to compliment Halladay, Arnold, and the youngsters who might arrive in '05 from the lower minors, they'll be in good shape.
_Jabonoso - Thursday, April 24 2003 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#89938) #
Pond batting as he is now, may have a higher ceiling than normal development data may tell!
Our "close to the majors" pitching semi-prospects are sucking big way. The young ones are getting better and better, to bad they are 3-4 years away.
_Pfizer - Friday, April 25 2003 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#89939) #
The idea I got was that he stole to money to force the Jays to release him. Because we were holding him back.
_DS - Saturday, April 26 2003 @ 06:15 AM EDT (#89940) #
Since this is the most appropriate place to put this, here is the abridged version of yesterday's prospect chat at BA. Surprisingly they fielded a lot of questions pertaining to Jays' prospects.

Q: Thomas Magnum from Honolulu, HI asks:
Josh, I'm a huge fan! I was curious about one of Hawaii's own, Brandon League of the Blue Jays. Is he on the fast track? Does he have #1 starter stuff?

A: Josh Boyd: Thanks Thomas. I think his stuff could classify as No. 1 type stuff, but it's safer to expect him to be a solid No. 3 type starter. He hasn't completely overmatched the competition yet, which I'd like to see from a future ace. But his velo is still in the mid-90s. My other concern is that he throws from a low three-quarters slot, and that presents a problem getting lefties out consistently.

Q: Joel from Toronto asks:
With Vince Perkins and Brandon Lyon, Toronto has shown they can play the draft-and-follow game as well an anybody, when they want to. Is there anyone from their 2002 draft worth signing?

A: Josh Boyd: Don't forget Orlando Hudson in that discussion, and Charles Talanoa is an interesting one to watch from the 2001 class. These guys are often late-bloomers, so it's early to say on the 2002 crop, but they are looking at signing 16th rounder Aric Van Gaalen, 39th rounder Nick Thomas and 45th rounder Brandon Bailey. They could also get fifth-year senior Dewan Day done before draft day.

Josh Boyd: Also, Chris Woodward is another fine draft and follow selection by Toronto.

Q: Shane from Syracuse, New York asks:
Hi Josh, Revisting the Jeff Weaver deal, your extensive coverage of the Yankee farm system used to speak very highly of Jason Arnold and John Ford-Griffin, how do feel they've progressed since you covered them, and what's the buzz on their seasons thus far? Thanks a lot.

A: Josh Boyd: The Tigers still made out the best in that deal getting Pena, Bonderman and German. All that for Jeff Weaver! Wow. Arnold just continues to dominate in Double-A, and I wouldn't be surprised if he got a shot in Toronto by the second half. His stuff is solid average, not spectacular in terms of velo, so it will be interesting to watch him against hitters in the majors. Griffin is about the same as he has been since the deal. He can hit, and hit line drives. I'm not sure the power is going to be there, and there are questions about his defensive liabilities. If he has to play first base, he will have to hit for more power. But the A's and Jays like him because of his plate discipline.

Q: Manny from Georgia Tech asks:
Afternoon Josh, I was just flipping through some of BA's minorleague stats for this season, and I was shocked to see former Tech star Jason Perry struggling after his blistering introduction to short-season ball last year. He's showing zero power, what's happened? Injury?

A: Josh Boyd: Perry was in the Pioneer League after a career at a major D-I program. The PL is known for producing some pretty loud numbers, and Perry feasted on younger competition. His slow start is probably just that, a slow start, but don't expect a return to last year's performance.

Q: Palmer from Thomasville, Alabama asks:
Mr. Boyd, great work as always. In the BA Prospect handbook I notice you only had five outfielders in your top 50, including the likes of Baldelli and Bochard. Someone who really seems to be coming on fast as a potential 5-tool-guy is Alexis Rios. He was sort of a dubious draftpick a while back, but since coming off his quad injury he is having multi-hit games on top of multi-hit games, while also showing new found patience at the plate. How much excitement is he generating at the BA world-wide headquarters? Thanks Josh.

A: Josh Boyd: Rios is one of my favorites. We've been predicting big things for him over the last couple years, last year especially. Injuries haven't helped him develop, but he's continued to go out and hit line drives and find gaps. He's a tremendous athlete, who scouts and player development officials project power for as he fills out.

Q: Mick from Chicago asks:
Would you rank these current day SS's in order of the likelyhood of them staying at the position when and if they turn pro. Kelly Johnson, Drew Meyer, Russ Adams, Tim Olson, Mike Rouse, and Brian Specht. How well do you think your top choice will do? Thanks.

A: Josh Boyd: 1. Adams, best chance to stay at short, or could be an all-star, leadoff type second baseman. 2. Meyer, very little chance of staying at short, especially in the Rangers system. 3. Johnson, probably ends up at third. Others: Specht, could stay at short because of arm strength, might make a good utility man, Olson, same as Specht, probably headed for a utility career. Rouse is in this same group.
Coach - Saturday, April 26 2003 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#89941) #
Thanks, DS. Since Boyd is trying to follow 30 teams' prospects as closely as we monitor Toronto's, I'll forgive him for not noticing JFG has fully recovered from last year's hand and wrist troubles and was mashing the ball all spring. But he makes a good point about Perry "feasting" on younger pitching, and Jason's got a long way to go to pass the studs ahead of him on the LF/DH/1B depth chart. Boyd's comments on League seem reasonable, and his raves on Rios and Adams are not surprising; those kids can play.

I'd love to see New Haven sometime this year, and envy those who can. Rios was 1-for-4 yesterday in an 8-3 pounding of Portland, so his AVG is down to a mere .484; Gross homered, Quiroz continues to hit, and righty Chris Baker tossed a complete game, allowing just one earned run.

The Syracuse SkyChiefs are in last place (6-11) in the IL's North division. Yesterday they scored just three runs in a doubleheader, but managed a split, as lefty starter Dave Gassner and closer Brian Bowles pitched well in the 2-1 nightcap. Reed Johnson (1.030 OPS) is batting leadoff, playing CF and keeping a close eye on Jayson Werth in the AL box scores. Howie Clark's season is just beginning, and our old pal Ken has five "Huckaby hits" in 16 AB for a .313 average and identical SLG. Kevin Cash (.642 OPS) has really cooled off at the plate and it's obvious he needs more time in AAA before exposing his offensive weaknesses to big-league pitching.

Doug Linton, whose numbers in Toronto were better than his actual effectiveness, got hammered in his first AAA appearance, and he joins some other arms who have been disappointing so far: Mike Smith, Vinny Chulk, Scott Cassidy anf Tim Young. I would add Corey Thurman to that list, but am giving him a break as he's working on a number of things in the change back to starting; still, Corey needs to step up with a good effort soon.
_Jonny German - Saturday, April 26 2003 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#89942) #
Padon my ignorance, but could somebody clarify what a "draft and follow" pick is? I could wager a guess, but I might just appear less informed than I do by asking.

Hey while we're at it, how about when people refer to a guy "consolidating his gains" when he repeats a level in the minors... what's that all about? Proving that what he did at that level previously wasn't a fluke? I'm suspicious that it's a buzz-word concept that people use as filler, i.e. maybe it's just horse-hockey people throw out there as a smoke screen when they don't know what they're trying to say.
Coach - Saturday, April 26 2003 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#89943) #
Teams have 51 weeks to sign their draft picks, and "follow" many of them through fall and spring junior college (not NCAA) ball before making an offer. After 30 teams have each taken 25 or 30 players, everything is guesswork, and it doesn't make sense to offer the longshot picks a signing bonus until they've indicated genuine pro potential. There's a great explanation on the Baseball America site.

Consolidating gains, which I agree is a pretentious phrase, is much the same as building confidence. For example, Jason Arnold will be in a far better groove when he finally faces AAA pitching than he might have been in early April. He made a smooth A-to-AA transition last summer, and nobody thinks it was a fluke, but you don't have to rush youngsters into constant new challenges, either.

DS, and everyone: I know the above excerpts were not from the BA Subscriber section, otherwise I would have had to delete them to avoid copyright infringement. But even a large copy-and-paste might not be appropriate. This isn't a zero-tolerance policy, more of a suggestion, for all of us -- even if it's "public domain" (i.e. a free site) include a link to the source and use a brief quote or two, then add your own comments. We don't want to step on anyone's toes.
_Shane - Sunday, April 27 2003 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#89944) #
Ya, he did field a lot of Jays questions, three of 'em were from me. I was playing the part of Shane, Manny and Palmer. It might not have been a well attended chat.

Anyone know what happened with David Bush on saturday? He came out of the game after facing only one batter.
Coach - Sunday, April 27 2003 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#89945) #
Shane, Bush actually pitched Friday. After one hitter, the game was washed out by rain, and made up on Saturday as part of a doubleheader. I guess they figured it was too much of a change in his routine to get him ready to start on consecutive days; with an arm like that, you can't be too careful.
_Shane - Monday, April 28 2003 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#89946) #
OK, that explains it. Nice, no injury.
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