AFL Update 3- I know there are many ways to live there..

Tuesday, November 21 2006 @ 07:22 AM EST

Contributed by: Mike Green the sun or shade...without the busy pace back east.

The Phoenix Desert Dogs went all the way this AFL season with Blue Jays farmhands playing a lead role. Chip Cannon, Kyle Yates, Curtis Thigpen, Ryan Klosterman, Dustin McGowan, Jordan DeJong and Tracy Thorpe all contributed to the Dogs' success. Shall we take a look at how some of them did, and how it affects their prospect status?

Chip Cannon, 105 at-bats, .352/.474/.714

It is lucky for a left-handed power hitter to slug .714. Cannon turns 25 next week, and now finds himself in a position where he might be ready to make a contribution to the big club in the second half of next year. He has the same strengths and weaknesses that he has always had, excellent power, the willingness to take a walk, and the propensity to strike out in bunches. For the season (580 at-bats), he hit 38 homers and struck out 191 times. That is not a recipe for success, but 42 homers and 175 strikeouts is. He still needs a small step, but it is possible that he will take it.

Kyle Yates, 24 IP, 19 H, 1 HR, 6W, 25K, 1.13 ERA

Yates' excellence in the AFL puts a completely different spin on his season. His Eastern League tenure would have to be considered treading water, but after the AFL, he now is a 23 year old who has thrown 150 good innings at the double A level. He may very well start 2007 in Syracuse, and could be contributing at the big-league level later in the year.

Curtis Thigpen, 88 at-bats, .307/.392/.500

Thigpen continued producing at a reasonable rate for a catcher, and honed his defensive game in the AFL. It is noteworthy that he earned the start over Landon Powell as the Dogs' catcher in the final. He too will likely start 2007 in Syracuse, and should earn a cup of coffee with the Jays at the end of next season.

Tracy Thorpe, 12.1 IP, 10 H, 0 HR, 5 W, 18 K, 0.32 G0/AO, 4.38 ERA

Thorpe turns 26 next month, but brings major heat. Check out that K rate and the ground-to-air ratio. He continues to get pop-ups at the rate of 15% of balls in play. The Jays added him to the 40 man roster. This appears to be a wise decision. He will start 2007 in Syracuse, and may be ready to help out in the bullpen, if needed, later in 2007.

Dustin McGowan, 19.1 IP, 18 H, 1 HR, 9 W, 18K, 5.53 ERA

One can safely ignore the ERA. McGowan pitched well enough, as he did in Syracuse this past year, but lacked the good control that he once had. He remains an interesting prospect despite his health issues.

It was a very successful AFL season for the Jay farm system, with all of the prospects either holding their own or improving their standing.