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I had a chance to talk with Dick Scott for a few minutes last Friday. Scott was in New Hampshire with the Fisher Cats, getting ready to head for Dunedin and Orlando where the Farm Directors are meeting this week. Scott had seen Casey Janssen pitch for the Fisher Cats the night before and that is where we started the conversation.

On how Casey Janssen compares with Josh Banks: He is somewhat comparable but I would say Caseyís secondary stuff is better than Josh right now, he has a big slider, curveball and changeup. He (Janssen) did give up three runs in one inning last night, but I thought one ball should have been caught in the outfield, one was a broken bat single and the third was a little quail down the right field line, so it wasnít like they were hitting him around the park. And after he gave up the three runs he still had a runner on third with no outs, and he struck out a couple to get out of it, then he struck out two in each of the next two innings after that. He throws 90-92, has a good cut fastball, he has a good idea out there. You can see he has a good plan when he is out there. Hereís a guy we drafted last year, we wanted him to go to instructional but he elected to go back and finish school, he just needed a few classes for his degree.

On Marcum, Banks and Janssen, again: Marcum is a finesse guy, needs to locate and change speeds. Janssen is a little bit between those guys and McGowan, his fastball has a little pop on it because itís a live fastball, because he throws such a good cutter and he can sink it away as well. No matter how hard you throw itís about hitting your spots. McGowan throws hard but major leaguers see those speeds all the time, you have to be able to control your stuff. Marcum and Banks strikeout to walk ratio is phenomenal, they need to locate their pitches and change speeds. Janssen did a great job of that last night, I was very impressed.

On control pitchers taking longer to get to the major leagues: Itís two fold, you have to learn your arsenal first, what works for you and you have to figure that out first. Once you learn your pitching style then you can do a better job of understanding how you match up against this hitter, or that guy. AA you start that, AAA you need to do that, and the big leagues you wonít last without it. But I see those guys coming along. I see Marcum and Banks being relievers in the big leagues, they throw strikes and you cannot last in the big leagues if you donít throw strikes. Velocity is not everything, if you are below average velocity wise, you need to be above average with your stuff and command.

On Francisco Rosario moving to the pen: I think thatís what we projected for him, a lot of guys start in the minors to get their innings in. When JP and I came here, and maybe our predecessors too, envision him as a guy who pitches at the end of games in the big leagues. Itís hard to do that in the minor leagues and work on your stuff, go through the order a couple of times. We needed him to work on his other pitches but now we think its time to put him in the bullpen and look at him there. Rosey can come in and throw hard and not worry about the next inning or the fourth inning, just throw hard and get guys out right now.

On moving Purcey to AA: In the FSL guys chase so many pitches out of the zone, they chase high fastballs and breaking balls in the dirt. It was time to move Dave up and challenge him. He was a bit behind some of the other guys we moved up but we needed him to be more conservative with his pitches, not throw 95 pitches and still be in the fifth inning. This move has forced his hand because if you are not able to command your fastball, even at AA, you are not going to be able to survive. You know he had a bit of a rough first outing but last time out he threw 7 innings, he is making progress.

On Davis Romero, what does he throw?: He is not a big guy but he has a sneaky fastball, a good curveball and change-up, he has a good feel for it. He is a guy we really like, he has done a good job for us. He will be going to instructional league and will challenge for a AA rotation spot next year. He is a good athlete, his fastball is 88-91 but its sneaky, it surprises hitters.

On Jesse Litsch, another scouting report: He is pretty advanced guy for a 20 year old. He can throw his breaking ball for strikes and locates his fastball well for that level. He has a good mound presence, he is the type of guy who could move quickly through the system, although he is younger. His fastball is around 91-93.

On Matt Foster: Matt has been in the navy for the past two years and he has come out but it has taken him a while to get his arm back in shape. He will probably pitch in the next week.

On Wes Stone, the Jays first high school pick in the tenth round this year: He is doing a nice job, he has held his own down there. I was just there and he looks like he is 14 or 15. He is quiet kid, most high school guys struggle offensively but he has done a nice job. He will come to instructional league with us. He will stay at second, he needs to work on his foot speed a little, and on his lateral side-to-side movement, he is not comfortable yet turning the double play. This game is pretty fast for an eighteen year old, I donít care who you are. I am pleased with the way he has progressed from the start of the year until now.

On Adam Lind, still in A ball: He has had a great year there, he could move to AA, he would be capable of hitting there, he is just a natural born hitter. He has worked hard on his defense and I think his defense has improved significantly, he will stay in left field for now. I will be in Dunedin tomorrow and we will decide if we should move him up for the last few weeks of the season.

On Juan Peraltaís injury: I am not sure when he will be back, he has had a slow time recovering from his hand injury, it was a hamate injury, thatís usually six weeks.

On Curtis Thigpenís jump to AA: Diaz is still only 21 years old, he has had a solid year, and I didnít want to split time with those guys, I want them both catching every day. Thigpen is a guy whose bat carries him, you know we have five guys from last years draft who are at AA or higher, Jackson, Purcey, Janssen, Thigpen and Cannon, and Lind could be there too. Its just getting guys (Thigpen) at bats. They have a good pitching staff here in New Hampshire and Thigpen has done a good job of handling them.

On this yearís draft: This year we had no second round pick, and last year we had extra picks. I know the scouts are saying this years crop is not as deep as it was a year ago, so there are a couple of contributing factors. I am happy with the guys we have, if we can get two or three big leaguers out of it we will be happy. Pettway had a collision and hurt his ribs but he should be back in there this weekend.

Catching up with Dick Scott | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pistol - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#125563) #
Seems like there's a lot of starting pitchers that the team pictures as major league relievers: Banks, Marcum, Rosario, League, and perhaps Gaudin.

I suppose that's part of the reason why they wanted to add a starter to the team (Clement/Burnett).

Good stuff Gerry.

Gerry - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#125622) #
Vince Perkins was named the pitcher of the week in the Eastern League.
Mylegacy - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#125633) #
Gerry my post in this thread is only the third, and that might indicate that there is not much interest in this type or article/thread.

DON'T BELIEVE IT! This is EXACTLY what I want (need)(crave)(die for) to see! Many thanks.

The depth of QUALITY arms in our system is astonishing. And Gus and Dave are just youngsters too.
dr. haque - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#125637) #
I completely agree with Mylegacy, I absolutely love these articles and its really good to get some informaton on the Fisher Cats pitchers.

However I am confused about Janssen's pitching. See this report Dick Scott makes it clear that in fact his pitching ability lies in between Mcgowan and Banks/Marcum. So he is not as hard throwing as Mcgowan but not quite finesse either. But from all the previous threads it always seemed that he was more in the mould of Banks/Marcum/Bush. So Gerry what is he exactly? Is it that he actually throws harder than them or has better movement or is it both? And some people are really high on him and some think he will be another #3/4 starter. Since you have the most knowledge of Jays minor leaguers maybe you can clear it up for me Gerry.
Thanks
NDG - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#125650) #
I agree that this type of article is great. I think it gets few responses just because there is so little to go by on these prospects, that you can't argue with anything Scott says.

Maybe I'll ask a question I asked before (with no response), as it came up in the draft review article. In there it was mentioned that Ryan Patterson was highly thought of by the organization because he had a 'good wood bat swing'. This seems to be very true from Patterson's performance to date but what the hell does it mean?
CeeBee - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#125653) #
thanks for the interview and report. I find it extremely interesting to hear how the prospects are doing.
Gerry - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#125657) #
Thanks guys.

Evaluating pitchers is very difficult. Billy Koch throws hard and is gone form the league. Jamie Moyer, Pete Walker, Aaron Small, and a host of others, don't throw near 90 and are successful. I believe it was Grady Fuson who said pitching is about location and deception. Location, or command, means the ability to throw your pitch where you want it. Sometimes hitters say to me that a AAA pitcher might give you two hittable pitches per at-bat, while a major league pitcher will only give you one. Huge generalization I know but it kinda makes sense. So the first thing you need in a pitcher is a guy who can hit his spots, if you hit your spots with a 96 mph fastball, so much the better.

The other thing I see in minor league bullpens is a ton of guys who have 89-92 fastball and a slider. And that is where deception comes in. What is your slider like? If it has a late break that's better than an early break. Is there deception in your delivery so the hitter does not get a good luck at your pitch until it is on its way? Chacin has some deception in his delivery. So what separates a Chad Gaudin from a ton of other guys? It's location and deception.

Where I was trying to go with the Marcum/Banks questions for Scott is related to their performance. When I have seen Marcum he throws 85-88 fastball, Banks can get it up to 92. But Towers can throw 91 too, and he can get hit, so its all about deceiving the hitters. Maybe that is in your delivery, maybe it is having two pitches that look exactly the same but break differently. Towers got better this year by adding a cut fastball. Mariano Rivera has this, albeit at 95 mph. Maddux relied on deception, and Chacin does somewhat too. Scott somewhat agreed with me that guys like Marcum and Banks and Vermilyea too, need to hit their spots to be successful, and they might need a little bit more minor league time to refine their command. Today they are making more mistakes than they should, and while their stats are generally good their home run rates are high. So give them time.

So why get excited about Janssen? Scott says he has a good plan, to me thats another way of saying Janssen hits his spots. Scott also says Janssen's secondary pitches are better, to me that means Janssen has more command with those pitches and they do a better job of fooling the hitter. Marcum was successful in AA too but ran into some trouble at AAA. Janssen should do better than Marcum, but for pitchers who don't blow you away, AAA is still a good test.

A pitcher like McGowan can get away with more mistakes because he can hit 95 on the gun, but if he cannot throw his change or curve for strikes he will struggle like he did on the weekend. It's a long answer but it is a great question, what makes a pitching prospect. As Dave LaRoche told me this year "the hitters let you know".

Re: Patterson. A metal bat has a longer sweet spot, maybe 18 inches. A wood bat has a much smaller sweet spot so the hitter has to be able to move his hands to get the ball on the sweet spot. A metal bat swing just needs to get the swing plane right as if it is hit off the handle or the end of the bat it can still go to the outfield.

In Ontario, Midget rep baseball (ages 16-18) converted from metal to wood bats about five years ago. When you play with metal bats the ball goes further and comes off with greater speed, so your outfielders are very important, and ground balls are hits unless they are right at the infielder. With wood bats the balls off the handle or the end of the bat become infield ground balls and your infielders are much more important. Games that used to be 11-9 (college scores) are now 4-3 games, and personally I find them much more enjoyable to watch and a greater test of talent.
Mike D - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#125658) #
In the Meet The Doubledays interview, several of the players described their adjustment to wood bats. As Gerry described, the biggest adjustment is not being able to get away with hitting off the end of the bat or the handle of the bat -- they used the phrase "centre it up" to describe how to hit with a wood bat for power. A couple of the players told me about instances in A-ball where the ball didn't travel nearly as much as they were expecting.

It's definitely an adjustment.
Maldoff - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#125664) #
According to MiLB.com, it appears that Jesse Litsch has been promoted to Auburn. With tonight's start by Adrian Martin, I can only assume someone else will be bumped to Dunedin, unless someone is hurt.

As far as I can tell, the starters in Auburn are: Robert Ray, Eric Fowler, Orlando Trias, Kristian Bell and Randy Dicken, plus Jesse Litsch now. Anyone have any information on a corresponding move?
jim854 - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#125669) #
Another great read, Jerry! Thanks. We do have some interesting pitching talent coming up to the Jays over the next 2 seasons. I was at McGowan's 1st game at the Rogers Center and I hope to be at Jansen's.
TamRa - Wednesday, August 17 2005 @ 12:59 AM EDT (#125833) #
Great Article!

The best reasons to come to this site are articles with "insiders" like that.

anyway, that said, am I the only one troubled that so many of our best performing pitching prospects are being called "future bullpen pitchers"?

So far, I've heard serious comments that imply that League, Rosario, Marcum, Banks, Perkins, and Gaudin are bound for the Pen.

that leaves McG, R-Roimero, Jackson, Janssen, and Purcey still projected as starters?

Now, I understand there are only so many starting roles BUT our chances of turning a couple of those guys in the first bunch into a good trade are hampered if everyone sees them as potential relievers.

That bothers me a bit....
Catching up with Dick Scott | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.