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The Dunedin Blue Jays are the team's high-A affiliate in the Florida State League. The team's top college prospects, from Russ Adams and David Bush to David Purcey and Adam Lind, usually begin their first full season there. With the move of the low-A affiliate from Charleston to Lansing, Dunedin also has the nicest spring climate of any of the team's minor league franchises. This makes it a natural destination for pitchers recovering from arm surgery.

The Florida State League is a famous pitcher's league. League averages for hitters in 2004 were .256/.332/.374. The D-Jays play in Knology Park, the big club's spring home. The dimensions of the park are: left field: 335 feet; left-center: 380 feet; center field: 400 feet; right-center: 363 feet; right field: 325 feet. It's a tough park for a right-handed hitter.

2004 season in review

The D-Jays cruised to their 4th Florida State Western Division title in 6 years in 2004. As has been the pattern for a number of years, the D-Jays had great pitching. Josh Banks blew 'em all away in the first half of the year, Shaun Marcum was almost as good in the second, and Ismael Ramirez stuck around all year and went 15-6 with a 2.72 ERA to garner the Most Valuable Pitcher award for the FSL.

The offence featured outfielder Ron Davenport and shortstop Raul Tablado, each of whom provided unexpected punch. Vito Chiaravallotti, Carlo Cota and Miguel Negron made noteworthy secondary contributions.

In 2004, as in 2003, the D-Jays exited quietly in the playoffs, losing 2 straight to Tampa. Now, there's something for the club to work on!

2005 club-pitching staff

Wow, what a rotation to start the season. Dustin McGowan, David Purcey, Davis Romero and Zach Jackson are likely to occupy the 1-4 slots. McGowan will be returning to action after almost a year off following Tommy John surgery. The success rate from TJ surgery has improved markedly in recent years, but recovery can be long and uncertain, so he will be watched with anxious optimism. David Purcey and Zach Jackson are first rounders from 2004, who pitched very little in Auburn last year. They get their first real test in Dunedin. Davis Romero is a short, thin lefty, who has been quietly making his way up the system and racking up great numbers, walking very few, giving up few home runs and striking out more than a batter per inning. Romero turns 22 this month, and has 5 minor league seasons under his belt. This is the year of decision for him and the Blue Jays. One hopes that he performs well enough that he gets a shot in double A to show what he can do. All four of the top starters are good prospects. The fifth starter may be DJ Hanson, who is also returning after surgery.

Down in the pen are likely to be closer Brian Reed, some combination of Danny Core, Tracy Thorpe and Andy Torres to fill the set-up and middle relief roles, and Justin James in long relief. James could very well find himself in the rotation quickly if Hanson or McGowan is unable to go, or if a promotion occurs.

Jordan's top 30 prospect list provides more information on Purcey, McGowan, Jackson and Romero, as well as hitting prospects Adam Lind and Robinson Diaz.

Player	Age	Draft	Level	IP	H	BB	K	HR	% KBF	ERA
Core	23	7th-03	A	157.3	137	53	132	15	20.0	3.43
Hanson	24	6th-99	Did not play							
Jackson	22	S1st-04	Low A	15.0	20	6	11	1	15.5	5.40
James	23	5th-03	High A	50.0	59	19	41	2	18.0	5.40
			A	78.0	67	24	83	2	25.5	3.00
McGowan	23	S1st-00	AA	31.0	24	15	29	4	22.0	4.06
Purcey	23	1st-04	Low A	12.0	6	1	13	0	30.2	1.50
Reed	24	27th-03	High A	31.3	38	8	31	4	22.3	3.16
			A	26.0	17	5	28	0	28.0	0.35
Romero	22	AmFA-99	A	103.3	77	30	108	6	25.9	2.53
Thorpe	24	11th-00	High A	59.3	39	30	53	5	21.5	3.64
Torres	27	35th-02	AA	20.7	20	8	18	3	20.3	3.05
			High A	78.7	64	16	71	7	22.6	2.52

2005 club-lineup

Minor league assignments have not been made yet, so we will make our best guesses about the everyday lineup of the 2005 D-Jays. Catching is Robinson Diaz, who played in low A Charleston in 2004. He's an adequate defender, who will hit for a good average with few strikeouts. It will help his career if he adds a few more walks or more power or both to his repertoire. It is possible that Curtis Thigpen, who we have ticketed for Lansing, will end up in Dunedin, either sharing the job with Diaz or with Diaz in Lansing. Ryan's Lansing preview has some notes on Thigpen.

At first base will be 2004 draft Adam Lind. Adam played the outfield in Auburn last summer and hit well. He will have to improve his hitting still further to make it as a first baseman, but he's only 21 so he has a little time.

Ryan Roberts will play second base. After dominating the South Atlantic League, he stagnated in the Florida State League. Playing both 2b/3b and with fine strike zone judgment, the possibility of a major league career as a utility infielder is still there for Roberts. Slick-fielding Juan Peralta plays short, with Eric Arnold at third.

The outfield is likely to consist of Christian Snavely, David Smith and Rodney Medina. Snavely showed increased power and strike zone judgment last year in Charleston. He turns 23 in May, so his clock is ticking. Smith and Medina both must take a leap forward if their major league dreams are to come true. Jayce Tingler will probably get some outfield time.

Player	Age	Draft	Level	AB	HR	BB	K	AVG	OBP	SLG
Lind	21	3rd-04	Low A	266	7	24	36	.312	.371	.477
Snavely	23	6th-03	A	331	14	53	115	.254	.362	.459
Smith	24	15th-02	A	436	12	53	119	.278	.365	.431
Arnold	24	10th-02	A	378	5	29	114	.280	.329	.378
Tingler	24	10th-03	High A	447	1	74	25	.251	.373	.300
Peralta	22	AmFA-00	A	437	2	39	78	.229	.293	.281
Diaz	21	AmFA-00	A	407	2	27	31	.287	.341	.361
Medina	23	AmFA-98	High A	197	3	16	20	.259	.321	.386
			A	103	1	4	10	.330	.352	.427
Roberts	24	18th-03	High A	205	7	36	51	.239	.350	.356
			A	226	13	55	50	.283	.440	.496

2005 outlook

This team promises to allow and score few runs. Will they find themselves on the winning or losing end of 3-2 and 2-1 games more often? We'll see.

Dunedin preview | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gerry - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 09:48 AM EST (#106828) #
I received my Baseball America prospect book last week and Davis Romero did not make the top 30. I am not sure if it is because of his size, or because they don't think he has the pitches to get there.

Justin James did still make the top 30. Another surprise in the top 30 was Kurt Isenberg, who despite his 2004 struggles, still has a chance according to BA.
Mike Green - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 10:30 AM EST (#106831) #
Interesting. John Sickels has Romero among his top prospects, but not Isenberg nor James. Chacun a son gout.

For myself, Romero's performance/stuff combination make it a fairly easy call. I don't really attach that much "weight" to the size issue. And, if you believe the stats sheet, Davis has put on 15 pounds since last year, and now weighs a hefty 156.
Brian B. - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 11:32 AM EST (#106837) #
Here's something that might be interesting to Blue Jay minor league watchers - the New Hampshire Fisher Cats web site has been posting the box scores of some of the "team's" spring training games, so you can get a look at some of the players that they've been trying out at the AA level and in what batting spots.

Check it out on the front page:
Gerry - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 11:42 AM EST (#106839) #
There is one unfamiliar name in the boxscore - Hammond. Don't know who he is.

Back to Dunedin, last year Dunedin won the division on good pitching and good hitting, Tablado, Davenport and Negron had good years. I agree with Mike that the hitting might not be there this year and Dunedin are probably not favoured to repeat. If they do the pitching will have to be outstanding.
Rob - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 12:04 PM EST (#106844) #
Derry Hammond made it to A-ball in 2002 and was in an independent league the last two years. The lineup needs an outfielder (Jova-Waugh-???), so it's probably him.
Lugnut Fan - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 12:19 PM EST (#106849) #
Great job Mike,

I agree with your assessment that Dunedin will be a top destination for pitchers recovering from surgery. If I was in the system, I would do all I could to avoid Lansing in April. Nothing says baseball better than a 25 deg. F temperature at first pitch. It's a little tough on the hands for the hitters and a little tough to get loose for the pitchers.

Being a newcomer to observing the organization, I can't offer any insight on anything yet, but does anyone have any information on where the minor league spring training schedules may be posted for the organization?
Mike Green - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 12:40 PM EST (#106857) #

Thanks, Lugnut fan. Dunedin hasn't posted its schedule on its website yet, but here is the entire FSL schedule, including Dunedin's games. Here is the April schedule for New Hampshire. The full-season schedule isn't up yet, but you can check by months. Here is Syracuse's schedule. I am assuming that you have Lansing's schedule, but for those who don't, here's the link.

SparrowOD - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 01:47 AM EDT (#109200) #
You guys forgot about Mike MacDonald. He'll be Dunedin's third starter this season.
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