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.