Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Lots of runs scored on a hot Sunday. The hitters are featured today, Gross, Cosby, Arnold, Cannon and Thigpen are featured. Plus bonus coverage, conversations with David Bush and Brandon League.

Syracuse 10 Richmond 6

Brandon League started for Syracuse looking to get a solid start under his belt. League gave up single runs in four of his five innings but there were some encouraging signs. The positive signs were that League only allowed one walk, and secondly League allowed only three extra base hits. It might not sound great, but it is somewhat positive for League. See below for bonus coverage of Brandon League. While League was allowing four runs the offense were delivering too, scoring in five of the first six inings before adding three insurance runs in the ninth. Justin Miller pitched a perfect eighth, and Matt Whiteside a perfect ninth. Jason Arnold gave up a run in his one inning. Gabe Gross had a big game, 3-5, two doubles, two runs and four RBI's. 2005 disappointments Anton French and Jason Alfaro had three and two hits respectively.

Game Story

New Hampshire 6 Erie 9

"Dancing" Zach Jackson made his third AA start. Dancing is my name for Zach's unusual delivery and it worked well yesterday, I do have video of his delivery and I will try to get it up somewhere today or tomorrow. Jackson is from Northern Pennsylvania and was expecting a big crowd of supporters, With that pressure his start was good, 5 IP; 8 H; 3 runs, 2 earned; one walk; 5 K's. After he left the wheels fell off, Brian Reed allowed a run on two hits and two walks and left the bases loaded for Jordan DeJong. Ex major leaguer Byron Gettis greeted DeJong with a grand slam making a loser of Brian Reed. This was the second straight game that the bullpen lost the game for the Fisher Cats. New Hampshire had thirteen hits, Rob Cosby had three hits, including a home run. Clint Johnston hit his second AA home run, after hitting his first on Saturday. Justin Singleton also homered.

Tampa 14 Dunedin 15

Tampa scored two touchdowns and lost. The scoring was like a football game, Tampa took a 6-0 lead in the third, Dunedin came back with a two point conversion to make it 8-6 after four. Tampa went back in front 10-8 in the sixth, but Dunedin came back to lead 14-10 after seven. Tampa scored one in the eighth and three in the ninth. None of the pitchers escaped unscathed, Kurt Isenberg gave up eight runs in 4.2 innings, including two home runs. New call-ups Eddie Cannon and Jordan Timm were touched for two and three runs respectively, and Brad Mumma allowed the tying runs on a three run home run with two out in the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, with two out, Eric Arnold doubled and Chip Cannon drove him in.

Dunedin had 14 hits, Eric Arnold went 3-4 with a double and a home run, three runs scored and two RBI's. Chip Cannon, Jason Waugh and Brian Patrick had two hits each.

Dayton 2 Lansing 7

AJ Wideman started but only lasted three innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks. Wideman had to leave the game after he was hit by a come-backer. The bullpen was superb for Lansing Jordy Templet, Po-Hsuan Keng and Joey McLaughlin pitched six hitless, shutout innings. Those six innings gave the hitters their chance to shine. Curtis Thigpen hit a two run home run in the fifth to give Lansing a 3-2 lead and doubled home a couple more in the sixth. Jason Armstrong also doubled home a pair of runs in the sixth.

Thigpen, Armstrong, Hicks, Yuber Rodriguez and Ryan Klosterman all had two hits each.

Game Story

Your Three Star Selection

Third star - Curtis Thigpen, home run, four ribbies

Second Star - Eric Arnold, 3-4, double, home run

First Star - Gabe Gross, 3 hits, a couple of doubles

Standings Update

Syracuse record is 29-35. The Chiefs are fifth, ten and a half games back of Buffalo.

The Fisher Cats are 33-28, and are back in second place, a half game back of Portland.

Dunedin's record is 38-26 which puts them in second place, five games behind Lakeland.

The Lugnuts are 33-29, in third place, four and a half games behind South Bend

Bonus Coverage - David Bush and Brandon League

David Bush

David Bush has made two AAA starts and I spoke with him the day after his second start. I asked him how happy he was with his two starts. "They were pretty good, I gave up a few more hits and runs that I would like to in the first game but there were a lot of ground balls that found holes, last night I pitched the same way but they hit balls at people." When Bush was sent down common wisdom suggested he needed to pitch more and work on his curveball, I asked David if that's the message he received from John Gibbons. "No, he just told me I need to go down and get straightened out, I know what I need to work on". So what is David trying to do in AAA? "Really consistency, go six every time, pretty solid outings every time, one of the problems I had in Toronto was some of my starts were 2-3 innings and some were seven innings. That's tough on the bullpen and everyone else when you are not sure what you are going to get, 6 or 7, or 1 or 2. Other than that keep the ball down, throw strikes and work ahead." And what about that curveball? "I was having some trouble throwing the curve for strikes, there's not much more to it than that, a lot of times I wasn't putting myself in very good situations to use it, when you are working ahead consistently it's a lot easier to use it, you have room for error and you can get guys to chase. When you are working behind, like I was early this year, you have to make perfect pitches, and its a lot harder to throw it."

I asked Marty Pevey about his initial impression of Bush this year versus last. "Last year his fastball had more sink, it looks like it has flattened out a little bit and become straighter. Last night it was a little better. Bushie needs to be able to pound the bottom of the zone with his fastball."

When Bush was sent down he received no promises or expectations from the Jays, here's hoping David is back soon.

Brandon League

Diving in the deep end, right off the bat I asked Brandon about 2005. "When I first came down I needed to work on my slider, now it's a bit of everything, I'm getting my fastball up too." I asked Brandon about a quote I had seen that said he could throw his fastball down the middle and just let it move to the sides. "That was one start where it was really moving, but most of the time I have to be able to hit my spots with the slider, and prepare myself for the days when I don't have my best stuff." Moving to AAA has Brandon facing better hitters but that is not the only reason for his struggles. "Last year I never had to think about pitching, I was so mechanically sound, this year I am not really in-tune with myself or my mechanics." Brandon is also working hard on his slider. "I am looking for a consistent breaking ball, sometimes it breaks a little, sometimes a lot, or sometimes not at all."

I talked with members of the coaching staff, scouts and media about League, I watched his bullpen side work, and the picture I got was that League is not able to throw his slider with a consistent break, or to where he wants to. When his slider is missing his spots, League has to rely on the fastball and the hitters are seeing Brandon's fastball very well, even if it is 96 mph. Call it BillyKochitis. There is also a question of whether League's fastball is running in on the hitters as much as last year. The final issue is consistency, League can pitch well for several innings and then see his control, and/or his release spot, fall apart. League is still young for AAA, but to succeed he will need to find consistent mechanics. Dane Johnson, the Jays minor league pitching coordinator, has made several visits to Syracuse to help League work on his delivery.

So the recipe for Brandon is (1) find a consistent delivery and grip for his slider; (2) Learn to throw his slider for strikes; (3) keep the fastball down; then (4) start pitching, as opposed to throwing.

Big Sticks and Bush League | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
MatO - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#119464) #
The good part is that all the hits Jackson gave up were singles.
MatO - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#119466) #
I heard Keith Law on the FAN Saturday afternoon when I was driving around. I haven't seen his comments posted anywhere so here's what he said.

- always happy taking lefties
- a failed lefty starter can become a scarce lefty reliever
- two Boras pitchers (forget which) would have gone top 5 if not for Boras
- not a deep college pitcher draft that's why Oakland took highschool pitchers
- thought 5th rounder Fowler would go higher (excellent breaking pitch)
- typically 2 crosscheckers will have seen anyone drafted in the first 10 rounds

- signing him shoudn't be a problem
- 10-12 scouting reports on him
- concerned about the number of innings he's pitched this year and still pitching
- will likely be limited in the number of innings once he signs

I suspect he'll get similar treatment to Purcey and Jackson last year who they had similar concerns about. Maybe that's why the negotiations took so long, the Jays were simply not interested in seeing them pitch right away.

- came out of nowhere after losing 20 pounds in the offseason

- will stay at AAA until he can spot his fastball when he needs to
- has hit 98 on radar gun

- turned season around when Dane Johnson changed his arm angle on his breaking pitches
- very intense competitor

- he's what would typically considered a high upside pitcher
- harder fastball than Jackson with movement
- tremendous curveball
- very inconsistent

- velocity is all the way back
- compared him to Chris Leonard (8th round pick 2002 who Jays took a flyer on despite Tommy John surgery) who never got his velocity back
- consider this year a consolidation year for him
Marc Hulet - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#119467) #
Any word yet on players being signed from the draft? The short season teams start playing in less than two weeks (June 21, I believe).
Jordan - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#119469) #
No signings yet. Check out this page at Baseball America to keep updated on signings.

In an attempt to ward off the numerous questions and worries that surfaced this time last year, here are some points to remember:

- A number of the Jays' draftees are still playing college ball and can't be signed till their seasons are completely over.

- The Jays do have the money to sign their draft picks (the major payroll increase is a separate account from the big-league payroll, so the team doesn't have to rob Peter to pay Paul).

- The Ricciardi Jays have never failed to sign any draftee from the first ten rounds and have a remarkable success record when signing players in the 11th round and later.

- Last year, there was widespread panic about the length of time it took to get Purcey signed. He got signed, he went to Auburn, and he was great.

- There are no Boras clients among the draftees and no reasonable chance that there will be any significant difficulties getting these guys signed.

- So basically, relax.

I'll link to this post in future if (and inevitably when) people start getting antsy about signings.

Pistol - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#119471) #
- two Boras pitchers (forget which) would have gone top 5 if not for Boras

Hochevar & Pelfrey.

There was also a good article on the draft in the Sun yesterday which detailed how the Jays decided on Romero (and also showed why BA's accuracy on the mock draft wasn't as impressive as it looked - all the teams call each other and tell who is taking who).
Jacko - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#119475) #
Small sample size caveats apply, but does anyone know what's gotten into Kevin Cash?
Craig B - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#119476) #
One thing to remember is that Durham's a great park to hit in. But Cash could always hit - he just got intimidated at the ML level, especially once everyone started giving him ten kinds of advice at once. Maybe he confuses easily?
Dave Till - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#119482) #
Rats, if we'd only known: we could have brought signs reading KEVIN HIT HOMER NOW. :-)
#2JBrumfield - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#119483) #
The missus and I watched New Hampshire throw one out the window against the Erie Sea Wolves at Jerry Uht Park. The park itself is pretty decent and it’s definitely a hitter’s park, Baseball Prospectus wasn’t lying about that with its 1049 ballpark rating. The neatest feature is the OHL’s Erie Otters home rink looms over the left field wall and serves as good target practice for the hitters. And the fact the visiting team is referred to as the “Bad Guys” on their scoreboard. The free line-ups handed out at the gate was also a nice touch. The park is nice and worth the visit but the downtown is nothing to write home about. Anyways, Zach Jackson was on the hill for the F-Cats; Jeremy Johnson started for the Sea Wolves, who definitely have one of the ugliest logos in minor league ball.

1st inning - Good start for the F-Cats as Miguel Negron lined a single to right on the first pitch of the game. Then, Negron tried to steal 2nd on a supposed hit and run as Ryan Roberts nailed one on the screws but right at the Erie 3rd baseman, who easily doubled off Negron, who had no idea where the ball was. Justin Singleton grounded out to 1st, inning over.

In the bottom half, great start for Zach Jackson, who struck out Mike Woods and Don Kelly swinging with 87 and 86 MPH fastballs. He would top out around 88-89. He gave up a Kurt Airoso single to left but then retired Juan Tejeda, BA’s #15 prospect for the Tigers, on a fly ball to end the inning.

2nd inning – The F-Cats appeared to have a run on the board with a 2 out rally. Rob Cosby spanked a 90 MPH fastball to centre and Ron Acuna tripled down into the right field corner to score Cosby. However, from our front row seats behind the F-Cats dug-out, the right field corner was blocked from our view. It took Erie RF and former KC Royal Byron Gettis forever to fire the ball back into the infield and apparenty, the ball rattled off something in the F-Cats bullpen So, after much discussion by the umpires, Cosby went back to 3rd and Acuna had to go back to 2nd on a ground rule double. That was huge for Erie as Jose Umbria watched a 90 MPH fastball from Jeremy Johnson go by for strike 3, stranding the two runners.

In the bottom half, a 1-2-3 inning for Jackson – who retired Byron Gettis (BA’s #23 prospect) with a grounder to short on a 77 MPH change up and then induced a tapper to the mound and a pop up to second with 88 and 89 MPH fastballs to end the inning.

3rd inning – More controversy this inning, but it wouldn’t matter. Brad Hassey singled and Miguel Negron popped out to 2nd despite fouling off a few pitches. Ryan Roberts lined what appeared to be a home run off the top of the wall in right but it was ruled a double. Fortunately, Brad Hassey was taking no chances, as he scored all the way from first and slid home safely, just beating the throw home to make it 1-0 F-Cats. F-Cats pitcher Steve Andrade popped out of the dugout and was yelling that it should’ve been a homer. There wasn’t a whole lot or arguing about it but it became a moot point when Justin Singleton showed some opposite field power by homering off the Tullio Arena in left to make it 3-0 F-Cats. Clint Johnston had a single afterwards but that was it for New Hampshire.

In the bottom half, Jackson ran into trouble with a lead-off walk but induced a pair of fielder’s choices, which were not exactly routine. Ryan Roberts did a nice job handling a chopper at 2nd to get the lead man and Rob Cosby made a real nice play at 3rd by ranging to his right, preventing a sure double and made a good off-balance throw to 2nd to get the lead man again. After an infield single made it 1st and 2nd with 2 out, Jackson got Erie DH Kurt Airoso swinging on a silder to end the Erie threat.

4th inning – Ron Acuna singled after an 8 pitch at-bat and stole 2nd and 1 out later; he was brought home after Brad Hassey grounded one to his shortstop counterpart for an error to make it 4-0 New Hampshire. Miguel Negron drew a walk but Ryan Roberts grounded into his 2nd double play to end the inning.

In the bottom half, Erie got on the board. With 1 out, Jackson gave up a single to Gettis, who would be a bigger thorn in the F-Cats side later on. Then Erie catcher Mike Rabelo hit one to short and it was a tailor-made double play ball that should’ve ended the inning. Unfortunately, Brad Hassey played it like a grenade with the pin pulled out and that led to a pair of RBI singles from Chris Maples and Victor Mendez to make it 4-2 F-Cats. Jackson settled down and retired the next 2 hitters on fly outs with Miguel Negron making a nice running catch in left towards the foul line to end the inning.

5th inning – I missed the F-Cats best inning because I had sunscreen in my eyes and on a hot, humid day, it was bugging the hell out of me. So with me heading to the men’s room, Mrs. Brumfield kept score of the game. According to her, New Hampshire hit a pair of majestic 2 out homers. Clint Johnston homered to right off the roof of a storage facilty? and Rob Cosby followed by lining one off the arena in left to make it 6-2 New Hampshire. After I came back, I said to Mrs. Brumfield I didn’t hear any booing, that the crowd just seemed to accept it. She says the crowd was pretty sanguine, that’s a pretty big word, I thought. Anyways, I missed the power display and I was bummed about that. I’d really have reason to be bummed an inning later.

In the bottom half, Erie did not fold up their tents. After Zach Jackson struck out the lead off man swinging, Erie came up with 3 singles to produce a run. Mike Rabelo brought in the run with a 2 out single to make it 6-3. But Jackson finished off his 5 inning outing with his 5 K’s, as he caught Chris Maples looking to end the inning.

In the 6th inning, Erie used another Johnson to pitch, Mark Johnson. Other than Miguel Negron’s solid single to right, New Hampshire was held in check.

Here’s where the game got ugly. Brian Reed came on in relief of Jackson. He fell behind the first hitter 3-0 but rallied to retire him on a fly-out. Then after getting the number 9 hitter, Gilberto Mejia, on a called strike-out with a 90 MPH heater, it looked like Reed was on his way to retiring the side. Instead, Reed surrendered an infield single to third and a bloop single to centre, then he uncorked a wild pitch to bring him one run to make it 6-4 New Hampshire. Then he walked the next two hitters to load up the bases. The final walk, Reed stayed off-speed with clean-up hitter Juan Tejada, treating him like his first name was Miguel, with his pitches 77-78 MPH. That was it for Reed and Jordan DeJong came out of the pen to face Byron Gettis. On a 2-2 pitch, and not wanting to go to a full count, De Jong threw a “hit it if you can” pitch and Gettis obliged, cranking one off the roof of the Tullio Arena in left to make it 8-6 Erie. DeJong gave up another single and uncorked a wild pitch but he struck out Chris Maples looking on a 92 MPH heater to end the ugliness.

In the top of the 7th, Mikael Jova lined a 1 out double to left and with 2 away, Rob Cosby singled to left. Jova got the wave home but the throw from left was waiting for him and despite Jova knocking over Erie catcher Mike Rabelo ass over tea kettle, Rabelo hung on to the ball and Jova was out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 7th, De Jong was still pitching and he held Erie to a single and stolen base. He struck out Erie shortstop Don Kelly looking on an 89 MPH fastball to end the frame.

In the top of the 8th, New Hampshire saw an old friend on the mound, former Jay Adam Peterson. He got some help from Byron Gettis, who made a nice running catch in right to retire the first hitter, Ron Acuna. Peterson would work a 1-2-3 frame and struck out Jose Umbria on a 90 MPH fastball. He was topping out at 92-93 MPH.

Buzzie Buzachero came on in relief for New Hampshire and the good news was he struck out 2 hitters and didn’t give up a hit. However, he still allowed a run as he plunked Erie DH Kurt Airoso in the back with a 91 MPH offering. Airoso then stole 2nd, advanced on a passed ball, and then scored on a wild pitch. Buzzachero would uncork another wild pitch after a 2 out walk but he held the damage to just one run. He topped out at 91 MPH.

In the 9th, Edwin Almonte came on to close it out and after Byron Gettis again made a fine running catch in right to rob Miguel Negron of a hit, Ryan Roberts and Justin Singleton went down swinging on 82 and 81 MPH offerings to end the game.

Three stars of the game for New Hampshire in a 9-6 loss to Erie….

1. Zach Jackson – 5IP, 5 K’s – despite surrendering 8 hits and a walk, he deserved a victory but a key error and shoddy relief work did him in
2. Rob Cosby – 3 for 4, including a HR which put the F-Cats ahead 6-2 and made a fine defensive play to help Jackson in the 3rd
3. Miguel Negron – reached base three times in 5 plate appearances with 2 solid singles and walk

Honorable mention – Ron Acuna had a double, a single, and a stolen base.

Overall, Jackson pitched well enough to win despite a couple of rough patches. Even though the BA Prospect Handbook says Jackson doesn’t have a true out pitch, 4 of his 5 punch-outs were swinging so he had enough movement on his pitches. Jackson had his own fan club there to greet him after the game. We briefly chatted with a couple of his friends, who were wearing Dunedin hats. One of them played against Jackson in high school ball. Overall, an encouraging outing for Jackson and the offence, but not the bullpen. Still, Jerry Uht Park’s not a bad place to watch a game. If you like homers, that’s the place to be with the park dimensions at 312 down the left field line and 325 down the right field line.
Ducey - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#119484) #
Cal State Fullerton was eliminated on the weekend. Good news for the Jays who won't have to worry about Romero being abused.
Gerry - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#119487) #

What did you think of Jackson's delivery?
#2JBrumfield - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#119495) #
It's a funky looking delivery and that's the first thing Mrs. Brumfield said when she saw him warm up before the game. I don't know how to describe it accurately but it almost seemed like his high leg kick is really in tight to his chest and his knee almost comes up between his arms before he comes to the plate. It almost seemed like he was going to knee himself in the chest. That's how it looked from our seats behind the F-Cats dugout.

By the way, did you think the ball Ryan Roberts hit off the top of the wall in the 3rd should've been a homer? I thought it was. I forgot to mention in the report that over the right field wall was some fencing directly atop the wall (sort of like Fenway Park) so that's why the ball came back on the field.
Mike Green - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#119497) #
Thanks, as always, #2JB, for the thorough game report.

Your description of Jackson's delivery meshes perfectly with some of the pictures I have seen.
lindsay75 - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#119500) #
Sean Shoffit the Jays 15th round pick signed on Friday. He will report to Pulaski.
Gerry - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#119508) #
I took some basic video when I was on the road last week. The attached link has avi files for Zach Jackson, Shaun Marcum, Francisco Rosario and Ismael Ramirez.

I don't know how fast my connection is, and the files are big, so be patient.
Mike Green - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#119509) #
Very nice, Gerry. The timing of Jackson's delivery is unusual, if the video gives an accurate picture. He's got the high leg kick, then a long hesitation before he delivers. The leg kick seems to me to be mostly a timing device, as it might be for a hitter. He doesn't get the deception from the high leg kick in terms of picking up the ball that you might expect because of the delay, but it would take a while for a hitter to adapt to the timing of the delivery.

Marcum seems to be coming quite a bit from the side, maybe even from 2/3 (10 o'clock).
garth - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#119535) #
How easy is it to steal a base on zach with this high leg kick and slow delivery?
Fawaz - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#119552) #
The Chiefs got into it with Richmond today. The Score showed Bush pitch one high and tight on a hitter, who headed for first but then took a turn to the mound and, on his way there, flung his helmet at Bush. Something must have been said. He jumped on Bush (who looked to be facing the other way) and it devolved into a pile up pretty quickly. Bush was bloodied and plenty pissed.
Big Sticks and Bush League | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.