Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
There are nine days to go until the start of the minor league seasons and the roster shuffling has started already with six pitchers released by the Jays.

When we took an early look at the 2005 minor league rosters last month there was one big issue, where do we put all the pitchers? The Blue Jays appeared to have an excess of pitchers in the organization. The Jays took care of some of this excess by releasing six pitchers yesterday. The six are:

RHP Dan Jackson - Released from New Hampshire roster
LHP Christopher Leonard - Released from Auburn roster
LHP Justin Maureau - Released from New Hampshire roster
RHP Derrick Nunley - Released from New Hampshire roster
RHP Michael Smith - Released from Syracuse roster
RHP John Wesley - Released from Lansing roster

In some ways none of these releases is a surprise but in another way several of them are surprises. By that I mean that none of these pitchers were ranked prospects but some of them were ranked at the start of last year. It is a testament to the depth in the organization now that the Jays can release these players.

Dan Jackson pitched in 53 games for the Fisher Cats last year with an ERA of 4.80. Jackson conceded less than a hit per inning and had a K/9 rate just under 9. But in the new competitive Blue Jay world of rule 5 picks, minor league waiver claims, and pitchers pushing up from Dunedin, he did not make the cut.

Chris Leonard is a story of arm surgery that did not work. Leonard was a BA rated prospect of the Jays back before the 2004 season even after Leonard missed all of 2003 after surgery. But Leonard never regained his velocity and now he is another example of the frailty of pitching prospects.

Justin Maureau was a third round pick of the Jays in 2003 and had a great season that year. But 2004 brought arm problems and a demotion back to Auburn.

Derrick Nunley in 2004 had a 7.68 ERA with Dunedin and a 6.75 ERA with Charleston. Nunley's 2003 numbers were excellent but 2004 was a major disappointment.

Michael Smith did get a chance to pitch in the major leagues but it was a brief appearance. Last year Smith spent the season with Syracuse and even made 15 starts after the club was hit with injury problems. But Smith's ERA last year was 5.28 and it did not look like he had a chance to make it back to the big leagues with the team.

John Wesley appeared in only ten games between Auburn and Charleston last year. Wesley had potential as a hard throwing pitcher but was never able to put it all together.

In other minor league news.....

The Jays signed Derry Hammond a free agent outfielder who played for Bangor in the North East league in 2004. Hammond is 24 years old from Tupelo, Mississippi who was a third round selection of the Brewers in 1998. Hammond has been in independent leagues for three years and hit .280 with 20 home runs each of the last two years.

As was reported last week it looks like Jason Arnold might be a reliever. He has saved a couple of games for Syracuse and does not appear to be building up his arm to starter length outings.

Minor league scorecards are sometimes available. From the ones I have seen Vince Perkins had a six inning, one hit, no walk, start for New Hampshire. Shawn Marcum also had a good appearance. Jamie Vermilyea was shelled in his start and the Jays have not exposed him to major league hitters, so perhaps he is struggling with his stuff right now.

Feel free to add minor league news as it comes in.
Minor League Update | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Tyler - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:45 AM EST (#107850) #
The Jays signed Derry Hammond a free agent outfielder who played for Bangor in the North East league in 2004.

Anyone else wonder if the Jays would even know about this guy if he played anywhere but the NE USA?

Jordan - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:14 AM EST (#107853) #
Leonard was a good gamble, and would have been a coup had he worked out. But the cost was minimal, and the opportunity was worth taking. I hope the Jays continue to take those kinds of shots.

Maureau is a disappointment, no question. Pitchers are, as Gerry says, inherently crapshootish, and that's one of the reasons why you draft so many and hope you get enough wheat to make the chaff worthwhile. The 2002 draft gave the Jays Russ Adams and Dave Bush, and those players alone will always render it a solid draft. But Maureau was a washout in the 3rd round, and Chad Pleiness (Round 5) looks like he'll soon follow Maureau out the door. Teams like the Jays can't really afford to draft two complete busts in the first five rounds. But the current administration's subsequent drafts look better, so I think we can grant them a mulligan on their debut performance.

Time was, Mike Smith was considered one of the organization's top pitching prospects, along with the likes of Pasqual Coco. His release underlines vividly how much richer the system is today.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:26 AM EST (#107855) #
Good luck Jaxx (Dan Jackson) - we'll miss you. Keep chasing the dream.

Pistol - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:26 AM EST (#107856) #
"The 2002 draft gave the Jays Russ Adams and Dave Bush"

And Hillenbrand! (from the Peterson trade)

MatO - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:29 AM EST (#107857) #
As recent draft analyses in Da Box have shown, if at least 2 of your first 5 picks aren't busts then you have had a brilliant draft. Maureau and Pleiness not working out is simply par for the course for drafts. Our expectations are much too high for 3rd and 5th round draft picks.
Jonny German - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:29 AM EST (#107858) #
That's a really strange question, Tyler. Are you saying that JP personally scouts players like this? Are you saying he instructs his scouting staff to cover the north east more thoroughly than other parts of the country?
Tyler - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:50 AM EST (#107863) #
It stems from something NFH reported JP as saying on the FAN a few months back in relation to Omar. "When the hosts brought up the targeting of Latin players, J.P. pointed out that he himself would target northeastern US players because he's scouted that area extensively and knows it, and that Minaya is just doing the same thing." Others argued that it was an offhand comment, but I think it's indicative of more.

Now this guy isn't a NE player per se, but I think JP, for whatever reason, has a weakness for scrappy dirtbags (his words) and guys with ties to that area. It's just a perception I've acquired over the past few years of observing and listening to him. Obviously a guy like this, it doesn't really matter-he's unlikely to ever have an impact of any sort, but I think it's indicative of a broader problem. Tanyon Sturtze is a more compelling example of this.

Pistol - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 11:43 AM EST (#107867) #
Sturtze came to the team to be an innings eater and made $1 million for 1 year. I don't think there was any expectation that he'd be anything more than that. That he was from the same area as JP is more of a coincidence than anything else. Said another way, if Sturtze was from North Dakota I think the Jays would have signed him to the same deal.

Looking through the Jays drafts they've drafted players primarily from the South, and last year there was a focus (intentional or not) on Big 12 players early last year.
Ducey - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:05 PM EST (#107871) #
Tyler, I agree with you regarding JP's love of scrappy players but when I saw Hammond's signing I thought the discussion went like this:

JP: Law, we are going to lose Godwin in a trade and need another AA type outfielder - get on your damn computer and find me one.
Law: (hours later) Here you go JP, here are 5 or 6 guys for you. My secret computer formula says Hammond has a NORF of 7 and BRAT of 1.2. He was a 3rd rounder in '98
JP: Hammond... I remember him from when I was involved in that draft, pretty toolsy but maybe the numbers show he has turned it around. Get Lacava on the horn...

binnister - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:40 PM EST (#107879) #
My secret computer formula says Hammond has a NORF of 7 and BRAT of 1.2.

NORF of 7????? Please.

Even Jose Canseco had a NORF of 7 in his last year. (True, his BRAT level was very high, but a solid ROID of 21.9 offset that a bit).

R Billie - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:11 PM EST (#107989) #
Josh Banks' line from a recent spring start:

4.1ip 7h 4r 4er 0bb 5k 0hr

The hits came in bunches as they were all singles. He allowed two runs to score in the 3rd inning and 2 more were charged to him in the 5th though I suspect it was Ogiltree giving up inherited runners.

7 hits isn't great but that they were all singles is a good sign. 0 walks and 5 strikeouts is also good news.

I would love to see the line from Vince Perkins' start. If the Jays can get him going in AA this year they'll have another fine arm to possibly use in 2006.
BupperNA - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 10:37 AM EST (#108085) #
Doubt many people care that much, but Matt Foster is coming back to play this year. He is currently awaiting the final paperwork to be signed for final release from the Navy, so he should be down to extended spring training by the end of April. He's been out for 1 1/2 years now, but it's better than the expected 5 years his commitment was going to be. Don't count him out just yet...
MatO - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 11:10 AM EST (#108088) #
Those of us who follow the minors closely are well aware of Foster and his naval commitments. This would be great news as he was an intriguing prospect and a lefty to boot.
Jam123 - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 11:42 AM EST (#108097) #
I'm surprised to hear that those 6 guys are gone. Maureau and Leonard are the biggest surprises. But they were hampered by surgeries and never fully recovered and returned to old form. They were once prized prospects. And Leonard was not a minimal cost. Not true at all. Actually he was tabbed as a 1st round talent a month before the draft and Maureau was rated as one of the top 5 pitchers in college baseball his draft year. They carried big labels.

Wesley was also a huge hard throwing savy pitcher with plenty to offer any team. I think last year he just never was able to put it all together. Nunley hit speeds up to 98 mph in 2003, and posted good numbers every year and then lost a step last year and with the Jays having so many pitchers they had to make moves even if guys deserved to still be playing.

And yes I certainly care to hear that Matt Foster is returning. Thats good for him. I saw him last year down in extended when he came to visit, and he said he really missed it a lot. But that he had 5 more years with the Navy to serve. I wonder how he got out of it. Bold move by him. He put on 20 pounds and he loves baseball, so I'm interested to see what he does. Truly a good pitcher and a good friend. Best of luck fella's.

Big Jim
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 12:07 PM EST (#108101) #
Matt Foster's return to baseball is very interesting news. He was only available in the middle rounds when drafted due to his naval commitment. We will be following him, and we wish him well.
R Billie - Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 02:06 AM EST (#108242) #
Marcum turned in a great start in Fisher Cats camp on Mar 29th:

5ip 5h 0r 0er 0bb 7k 0hr

Nothing wrong with that at all.

The pitching will likely have to be the strength of the Fisher Cats and the rotation has a decent start with Banks, Marcum, and Perkins.
Gerry - Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 09:20 AM EST (#108256) #
More minor league news....

Chad Pleiness has retired. Pleiness never quite lived up to his draft position and looked to have peaked at Dunedin. He spent time starting and relieving last year.

Quiroz is out three weeks with a shoulrder muscle injury.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 09:27 AM EST (#108258) #

Q's injury is to the upper back behind his throwing shoulder, according to the Toronto Star. This is obviously worrisome news. Collapsed lung, hand injury and now this. Sigh.

Thomas - Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 11:11 AM EST (#108277) #
I'm a bit suprised by Maureau's release. It seems to me that after a decent year and an injury-plauged year there'd still be space somewhere on the minor league roster for a third-round pick, given the potential the team apparently sees in him when selecting him that highly. It's very possible the injury problems could have caused performance problems that are apparent to those observing him.

However, I'm still a bit suprised they would just cut bait on a third-round pick after two years, especially when the first year wasn't a bust.

Great news on Foster, btw.
MatO - Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 01:28 PM EST (#108313) #
Actually, Maureau has had two bad years. His good year was his signing/draft year in 2002. The problem is we have very little info on the non-top prospects and their injury problems or struggles. We do know that Leonard was throwing in the low to mid 80's (about 5 mph lower than in college) and that info was from one of Da Box interviews with Jays brass, but that's the exeption.
cptfat - Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 09:17 PM EST (#108449) #
Leonard was a huge surprise, even though his arm wasn't full strength, he still has the ability to pitch and showed that in Auburn last year. Way to early to let him go.
Jam123 - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 01:19 AM EST (#108491) #
Well not really. I played with Chris for 2003, and 2004 and he didnt appear in a game until his 3rd season and he had good control, and his other pitches were sharp but he was throwing in the range of 76-81, and while in Auburn he bumped it up to about 82-86 but he never was like his old self. Sometimes injuries dont heal, sometimes they do. Same thing with Maureau. He used to be 87-91, now he throws 84-86. Still skilled, just damaged goods. To bad for those guys. Injuries happen. To bad they end careers.
Mike Green - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 03:30 PM EST (#108596) #
Jamie Vermilyea got the start in New Hampshire's March 30 game. It looks like he will start the season in double A. Hopefully, he'll be promoted to Syracuse quickly.
Minor League Update | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.