Minor League Update II

Friday, April 01 2005 @ 04:00 PM EST

Contributed by: Gerry

It is time for a new Minor League Update thread.

Minor League rosters are expected to be finalized over the weekend, club officials are still making decisions on the last few spots on each team. But as a means of getting there the Jays have made some more player releases.

Before we move on to the releases we should point out that the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have a hitting coach. John Valentin had been appointed hitting coach but resigned at the start of spring training. Gary Cathcart was the manager at Pulaski last year, and was tabbed to head back there this year, before the Jays reassigned him to fill the vacancy. Cathcart was drafted by the Yankees and made it as high as AAA before retiring, he has been in the Blue Jay system since 2003.

The Jays released the following players today:

Seung Jun Song RHP
Andy Torres RHP
Joaquin Canizal RHP
Jonathan Chappell CA
Matthew Dalton RHP
Derry Hammond 1B

As I noted in the Syracuse preview Seung Song was claimed by the Jays in the off-season as pitching insurance. Once a prospect, Song's stock had dropped along with his velocity; the key to his future was regaining that velocity. It looks like the velocity did not come back, added to the fact that the Jays had signed several pitchers in the off-season, and the Jays no longer needed their Song insurance policy.

The release of Andy Torres is a surprise. In 78 innings for Dunedin last year Torres had an ERA of 2.52, and in 20 innings at AA Torres had an ERA of 3.05. Torres' peripheral numbers were good also, his H/IP was 0.85; his WHIP was 1.09; and his K/9 was 8.1. On the other hand Torres is 26 years old, that is very old for Dunedin. Torres was a 35th round pick in 2002.

Joaquin Canizal pitched 80 innings for Charleston in 2004 with a 4.16 ERA. Both Canizal and Torres were long relievers, usually not a position that makes it to the major leagues. Major league relievers were more often converted starters or minor league closers. Canizal is 24 years old and was a 31st round choice in the 2003 draft.

Jon Chappell is a 25 year old Australian. 2004 was his first year playing in the system, he was the backup catcher in Pulaski. Chappell hit well, he had an OPS of .960, but when you are older than some Blue Jays and still in rookie ball, your baseball future is not bright.

Matt Dalton pitched 32 very effective innings for Charleston in 2004. His ERA was 1.69 and he conceded 22 hits in his 32 innings. Dalton also pitched briefly for Auburn. Dalton is 25 years old and was an undrafted free agent, signed in 2003.

Derry Hammond was discussed earlier in the week. The Jays had signed him out of the North East independent league.

Over the winter the Jays signed several free agent pitchers and claimed two more in the minor league rule 5 draft. This created a log jam at AAA and I don;t think we have seen the final impact. Jamie Vermilyea and Jordan DeJong had hoped to jump to AAA in 2005. In Florida they have been playing with the AA Fisher Cats and it looks like they will not be jumping to AAA. Similarly Buzzie Buzachero and Tracey Thorpe hoped to move up to AA, they still might but as JP has noted, the competition is getting tougher and tougher inside the system.