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Only one game was played last night. That game was on Internet radio. The fact that it was a Dunedin game makes the previous sentence a Fort Myers Miracle.

Syracuse 0, Buffalo 0

New Hampshire 0, Harrisburg 0

Fort Myers 10, Dunedin 1
Box score

First of all, the Fort Myers radio feed might be the funniest feed I've ever listened to. In the middle of one inning, it sounded like the microphone was dropped on the floor. For five minutes, no less. Knology Park is also very, very quiet -- I could hear the ball thrown back to the pitcher each time.

Oh, the game. Right. Kurt Isenberg was done after 3.2 innings, having surrendered 6 runs (5 earned) on seven hits and three walks. Yes, a 2.73 WHIP. Milton Tavarez was the only D-Jay pitcher who didn't give up a run, with a scoreless ninth.

So with Dunedin down 6-0 after four, you could maybe forgive the hitters for giving up a bit. But just six hits, with only one double in the game? Not much of an effort. That double, however, led to the only run as Brian Patrick hit one to centre and then scored on a passed ball/wild pitch combo. Patrick also walked twice, as did David Smith. Both men reached base three times in the game, which was about as good as it got for the home team.

Adam Lind did not get a hit.

Lansing had the night off.

Your Extremely-Impossible-To-Choose-With-Only-One-Game-Tonight Three-Star Selection:
3. David Smith
2. Milton Tavarez
1. Brian Patrick

Today’s Games:
Syracuse (Glynn) vs Rochester, 6:00 ET.
New Hampshire has a scheduled day off.
Dunedin (Romero) vs Fort Myers, 7:00 ET.
Lansing (Janssen) @ Dayton, 7:00 ET.

And some minor league notes for you, taken from "Wednesdays With JP" show on the FAN radio network:
Dustin McGowan will be in a game situation soon and in the Dunedin rotation "no later than June."
Guillermo Quiroz will return to Syracuse sometime next week.

Big Rain Machine | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Pistol - Thursday, April 28 2005 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#114030) #
Guillermo Quiroz will return to Syracuse sometime next week

Well, we can certainly take his time with Huckaby having a 1.750 OPS in Toronto....

It'll be interesting to see how he does coming off of an injury this year - last year didn't go so well.

R Billie - Thursday, April 28 2005 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#114034) #
I'd be quite happy with McGowan in the Dunedin rotation by June with an eye towards getting him to New Hampshire or Syracuse by July. Probably New Hampshire assuming one or both of Banks and Marcum are shuffled up to Syracuse by then.

That would place Dustin in position to make it to Toronto by mid-to-late 2006 if his command bounces back as well as his arm. Like Rosario it could take him a while. Even Rosario has not yet found the consistency he had two years ago.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 28 2005 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#114177) #
Excellent job with the 3 star selection, Rob. You were given lemons and made lemonade.

The return of McGowan is good news. At this point, the organization has fine pitching throughout the system, and that is the ideal for a mid-market club.
Maldoff - Thursday, April 28 2005 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#114195) #
Mike, I think "fine" is the most appropriate word to describe the Jays system. They seem to have a lot of pitchers who profile to being mid-back of the rotation starters, not very many superstars. Same for hitters. A lot fo good number 7 hitters, but no one with an extraodinary amount of tools, power, or speed. This is probably because of the focus on drafting college players.
Stellers Jay - Thursday, April 28 2005 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#114205) #
"Mike, I think "fine" is the most appropriate word to describe the Jays system. They seem to have a lot of pitchers who profile to being mid-back of the rotation starters, not very many superstars."

It's a good point, but I think the depth of the system is really going to start to pay off in the next year especially on the pitching side of the ledger. Maybe by spring training but for sure by June 2006 there are going to be a lot of arms competing for shots on the big league pitching staff. Within the next 15 months if not sooner I would expect the likes of Rosario, Arnold, Gaudin, League, Banks, Marcum, Vermilyea, and McGowan to be in stiff competition for roster spots. Obviously, not all of these players will make a huge impact and there will likely be an injury or two, but there's enough quality arms and depth to help the big club in the near future. The days of having to go out and look in the bargain bin for relief help will be over soon and the bullpen and back end of the rotation will be stocked by cheap and young arms. This will free up resources to go after an impact bat or two as opportunities arrise.
Craig B - Thursday, April 28 2005 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#114207) #
A lot fo good number 7 hitters, but no one with an extraodinary amount of tools, power, or speed. This is probably because of the focus on drafting college players.

We've addressed this a million times around here. There is no connection between drafting college players and losing out on either high-ceiling or "tools" prospects. This is false, a completely unfounded fiction, one that is parroted again and again by people with an axe to grind against the current GM and his team. If anyone is willing to present evidence to the contrary, I'm more than happy to hear it, but I have seen a negligible amount of that.

Mike Green - Thursday, April 28 2005 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#114214) #
I'm with Craig. Ricciardi has wisely chosen to draft college pitchers rather than high schoolers, and has done an excellent job of it. Pitchers are not like hitters. A disproportionate number of Grade A major league pitchers are Grade B or Grade C prospects. Who knows, maybe Gustavo Chacin will be an example of that. The best strategy is to draft many fine pitchers and hope that one or two will develop.

As for the hitters, I do not agree at all that Aaron Hill and Adam Lind are likely to be #7 hitters. Time will tell. It is important to bear in mind that the focus has been on drafting pitchers rather than hitters. There are good reasons for this; the cost of acquiring even mediocre veteran pitching talent in the free agent market has been ridiculous.
Dean - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 12:57 AM EDT (#114216) #
Well Craig, without an axe to grind, I think you are wrong. No I don't have a study or time to do one, but by only selecting from one of the two pools of players available at the draft you are potentialy overlooking superior talent that may be available in the other pool. I have yet to see a study that completely backs your opinion.

The arguement that college players come with less guess work, which I agree with, also means there is less guess work to their ceilings.

BA actually did some studies about the high school/college route in 2004 that is availabe to subscribers only. I don't remember the exact findings but I stand by my arguement that by only utilizing the college pool of talent there is the potential to miss out on superior talent available in the prep pool.

Maldoff's summary of the Jays' system is seconded by BA & John Sickels - check out his site and the review he did of the system - and is one that I also agree with as well.

Ryan01 - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#114221) #
The Blue Jays do not purposely exclude high school talent. This is entirely a myth. They scout high school players, they even draft them from time to time. They don't draft many simply because they don't believe they are the best available at the time.

The whole "ceiling" concept is the problem. Everyone's obsessed with player's "ceilings". Sure, it makes for great conversion and it's more fun to think about. BA does it, Sickels does it (though maybe to a lesser extent) and we certainly do it here at the Box. But no one reaches their "ceiling". Ever. The vast majority never even come close. Sorry to throw out the highly overused Casino analogy but everyone thinks they're gonna hit the jackpot, even though the odds are ridiculously low. The house always comes out a winner, and the Jays' motto from day one has been "Be the house". So while the Jays are comparing the expected value for the players they like, all the high school players are going to be snatched up earlier than the comparable college players by GM's looking at "ceilings". If all the high school talent is taken earlier than the Jays believe they should be, then the only reason the Jays would have for drafting a high school player would be for the sake of taking a high school player. That if anything, would be excluding half the talent pool.

The Jays have not lost in recent years for their lack of superstar talent. They've had Delgado, Green, Wells and 4 of the last 9 Cy Young awards. They just didn't have the depth to surround those stars. Their was no short term pitching depth when JP arrived here and nearly every move he's made has been to bring pitchers into the organization. Yes the hitting depth has suffered a little as a result and aside from Aaron Hill there are no blue-chip hitting prospects. But they can make bigger strides by upgrading their weaknesses rather than their strengths. Between the college arms brought in and the now blossoming high school/foreign talent left over from Gord Ash, the depth is there. Soon, the Jays will no longer have to rely on AAA journeyman just to keep their heads above water. At that point they can start taking some gambles. JP has even said they may take a high schooler in the first round in the near future.

I'm sure the Jays would love to have Cameron Maybin but just because he's not available at pick #6 doesn't mean they should automatically settle for Justin Bristow.
Mike Green - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#114224) #
Come on, Ryan. Barry Bonds reached his ceiling.:)

Ryan01 - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#114226) #
I know Mike :) But even Bonds would tell you he could have done at least a little better.

Dean, I don't mean to say that the Blue Jays draft strategy is the best one. I could certainly never prove that it is. If I could prove that to be true, then it would cease to be so as the market would shift to reflect that and change everything. But I think it's a good one, and that's all you can really ask for. We can argue endlessly about college vs. high school but it's not going anywhere. We certainly can't dispute the output of Oakland's farm system or that of the Twins or Braves, for example. No strategy is optimal, but to me at least, the Jays have a very sound one and the early returns are impressive.
Craig B - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#114229) #
Well I don't disagree that the Jays system is, for what it's worth, short on top-of-the-line position player prospects - mostly because of the disporportionate drafting of pitchers under Ricciardi. Which is already starting to show benefits, since the Jays have as many good pitching prospects as any team in baseball.

And Dean, saying you don't have an axe to grind is ridiculous. You've been grinding that axe here as long as you've been around.
Craig B - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#114235) #
Of course, now that I think of it, one could just as easily say that I have an axe to grind too, in the opposite direction.
Dean - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#114243) #
This axe, as you call it, is that the college only approach has the potential to overlook talent- I advocate a more balanced approach. You accuse me of beating a dead horse, well right back at you. Where is your study???

As soon as someone questions JP's draft approach out you come with your axe to grind, fiction, show me your study post. So I think the glass is half empty as far as the system talent goes, I didn't see you bashing John Sickels for not giving all this talent higher grades. The Twins with their "balanced approach" did not get a "C" grade until their 18th ranked prospect, the Jays first "C" ranking kicked in at #12. You asked for a study, there is one for you. Did I mention that the Twins also had a couple of "A" rankings?
Lugnut Fan - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#114246) #
I will say this only being able to comment on the prospects that the Blue Jays have in Lansing. They are very good in the starting pitching department, a little shakey out of the pen. The offense here in Lansing is really starting to heat up though and I do see some power potential in a few of the prospects. Namely Chip Cannon, Eric Nielsen and Cory Patton. Chip hits the ball solidly and seems to have good power to all fields. I have seen the kid hit three home runs so far this year. I have seen him pull one to right field that was totally out of the stadium onto the street, I have seem him go out to right center which was more of a laser beam and I have seen him go out to left.
Patton and Nielsen are very similar in that they have very good power when they pull the ball.

When I look at this team, there are three or four guys here that I can see playing MLB. Is there anyone on this team that I look at and say "He is really going to be something special?" No. but I do see some legitimate MLB talent here both offensively and defensively.
Nigel - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#114248) #
Not to get in the way of all the axe grinding here, but I think context is key to this debate. When JP took over he inherited a system that had some advanced position player prospects (Hudson, Phelps, Cash; Lopez) and McGowan. After that it had almost nothing else other than a few very high risk "tools" prospects (Rios; Negron; Godwin). Whatever you think of JP, I think you have to agree with his analysis that a team with a lower payroll can only compete over time with a strong minor league system that produces a steady stream of cheap players. The one area that I think JP deserves unreserved credit for is replenishing a farm system with talent that was about to run dry. He did that with a drafting strategy that focused on more developed college players. I agree that he did that at the expense of taking some high risk/high reward players (high school or college) with lots of tools. However, if he'd have gone that route the chances are that every one of those prospects would be at Dunedin or lower and we'd be talking on this site about the complete vacuum of near major league ready prospects.

Having said all of that, I agree that if the drafting philosopy continues in the future to be exclusively with this mindset, then I'll be a little disappointed. With a deeper farm system now, I think the Jays could draft a few more high risk/high reward players and still maintain a strong system.

Two years from now if JP hasn't been a bit more flexible with his drafting approach I think there will be more room to second guess, to do so now I think is to ignore the reality of what JP was looking at when he took over.
Dean - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#114250) #
Craig, I hope to be in Toronto this summer with my family to attend a weekend set, I will gladly buy you a beer or two & kick our dead horses around.
NDG - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#114251) #
I agree with Nigel. While drafting mainly college does not necessarily mean low ceiling, JP has (until Purcey) eschewed the high risk/high reward guys in favour of the 'more projectible'. The pick of Purcey with the first pick last year hopefully is the first move towards trying to find more top of the line players, rather than just filling organizational holes.
Mike Green - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#114255) #

Here is Gerry's draft study. The Twins actually fared poorly objectively (to Gerry's surprise) in the draft since the mid-90s, despite having a number of high draft picks. Where they have made hay is in player acquisition through other means (Santana in the Rule 5, the Pierzynski trade).

Craig B - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#114269) #
That sounds like fun, Dean. I do respect your point of view... it's consistent and certainly coherent. I do think it's wrong, but it's at least logical.

Like you, I hope that the Jays are in a position this summer to diversify their draft strategy somewhat.
Pistol - Friday, April 29 2005 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#114294) #
I'll be interested to see if the Jays change their approach at all to the draft with the payroll boost.

In terms of the perception of not taking 'high ceiling' players I think that has had more to do with the budget than anything else. With a tight budget you have less margin for error, so taking a player with more certainty makes sense. If you take high risk guys and they bust you'll either be really bad or have to waste money on FAs that you'd be able to use in other places otherwise.

One thing I like about college players is that there's something there to look at when the draft comes around. I can look at, say, Alex Gordon's numbers over 3 years at Nebraska and see that he's pretty good. Give me the stats of a high school player and they're more or less worthless - you can only go off of a scouting report.
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