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Dick Scott is the Blue Jays Director of Player Development and a regular interview subject here at Batters Box.  Recently Scott answered questions from Batters Box regarding the 2007 minor league season and some of the Jays prospects.  The 2006 edition of this season-ending interview can be found here.  Batters Box would like to thank Dick Scott for giving us some of his valuable time.

What is your overall assessment of the 2007 minor league season?

I think it was a solid year.  Anytime we have as many injuries up top as we had this year you just have to keep replacing them and putting guys at levels we hadnít anticipated, but the good part of that is some of them showed us more than we thought they would and they rose to the occasion.  That happened here at the major league level with our pitching staff but our AAA team got hurt with so many call-ups.  But overall we had two teams make the playoffs, we had an MVP of the Florida State League, we should have had an MVP of the Midwest League with Travis Snider, we had two other teams that went to the wire with their playoffs.  I think, all in all, it was a solid season.

What have you seen in the four top 2007 high school draftees? 

Kevin Ahrens has been doing fine.  It took him a while to get acclimated and I think for some of the kids itís tough to be away from home, especially coming out of high school, itís not the easiest transition, and when they get there they see a lot of other talented guys around.  But he made a lot of progress the last month of that season and he is doing well in instructional league.  We moved him to third base from shortstop, he has good hands and it has taken him a little time to acclimate to the different angle off the bat but he is going to be fine.  He is a hard-nosed guy and he has done a good job.

Justin Jackson is just a solid guy, he has a lot of instincts for the game, understands a lot of things, you donít have to repeat things for him, one of those guys like a sponge.  He is a true shortstop, has the arm strength for it, just a real good baseball player.

John Tolisano came out of the gate the quickest of all of them, he hit ten home runs down there.  He is a switch-hitter, plays second base.  He made a big improvement defensively this summer, I like the way he swings the bat.

Eric Eiland was a little slower adjusting, it took him longer to get used to the whole thing.  He is very athletic, he is going to be a big guy, gives us a little speed, you know he and Jackson move pretty good.  We have some guys with a different flair than what we brought in the past.

Is it unfair to compare them to Travis Sniderís 2006 season?

Travis is just one of those really talented guys, he won the MVP his first year in the Appalachian league, he should have won the MVP this year in the Midwest league and he is only 19 years old.  You see some of these guys and they are talented but Travis looks like he has been doing it for five years.  He is a strong guy, he really understands his swing well for a young guy, his defense has improved but needs more improvement and he knows that, he has been working hard.  He is going to the fall league this year and thatís a big jump for him but I think we will be able to handle it fine.

Jonathan Del Campo was a 2006 HS pick who hit well in the GCL this year.  How does he project?

He has made a lot of improvement, last year he showed some flashes but he was doing everything about 600 miles per hour and we asked him to dial it down a little bit, to play more under control and he is doing that.  He is another switch hitter, plays third base and second base, probably made as many improvements as anyone on that team this year.  He is just another guy to follow, itís just like a race that is too early to call, we just have to wait for these guys to develop.

If you look forward to 2008 and the Lansing roster, you have a lot of high school guys who could make it, can you afford to carry them all there?

If they are ready we will send them all but I donít know if they all will be ready.  I donít want all of them to be lumped in together because then it turns into ďhe is going to this level but I am not, that means I am not as good.Ē  But everyone is going to work at their own pace and thatís what we already said to them and thatís how we are going to play it.

Johermyn Chavez moved down a semi-level this year from the pioneer league to the GCL, I assume you were happy with him this year?

He is only 18 years old and played all of last year in a league at 17.  And he is from Venezuela and it is tough for him to do all those things at that age.  The guy is a really good athlete, he can run, he can throw, he is strong.  I was saying to someone the other day that if he had grown up in the States he probably wouldnít be playing baseball, he is 6í3Ē, 220 pounds, he would be playing football for someone coming out of high school.

BA named Brett Cecil as the #1 prospect in the NYPL, but they said he tended to run out of gas in the mid-innings.  What do you like in him and do you see him as a major league starter?

I disagree with that (running out of gas), anyone who said that didnít see him pitch seven innings in the final against Brooklyn.  There was a misconception that he could only pitch four innings and us taking him out due to high pitch counts.  We purposely limited his pitch counts because he was a closer, they had used him a lot in college and we didnít want to blow him out this year.  After he pitched four times we cut his pitch count back to 35-40 pitches, we kept it there for two starts, then we bumped it up to 50, and we gauged it so he would be about 75 pitches for the playoffs.  And then the last game of the playoffs we bumped him up to 90 pitches and he pitched seven innings.  It was never a case of him not being able to go longer, it was my decision and our pitching coordinators decision to limit it.  He struck out eight in seven innings in the final and completely dominated those guys.  He has fast track stuff.

Marc Rzepczynski had a good start to his pro career, what does he throw?

When I first saw him I said well thatís not a real hard fastball but he has good movement and sink on it, throws a good slider, throws a lot of strikes and he really got better as the season went on.  My first couple of looks at him were lukewarm but when you watch him more and more he has good command and has a chance to have above average movement.  He pitched very well there in Auburn also.

Brad Mills was injured twice this season, what is his status and how does he compare to the other two lefties?

He didnít pitch enough for us to get a good look at him but we like his arm.  He had a couple of minor things that had to be taken care of physically but he is doing OK in instructional league.

Evaluate JP Arencibiaís defense for me?

He struggled at times but he did a lot of good things at times but the thing we like is that he has a lot to work with.  Itís not like he is a stiff guy back there and we are saying where are we going to play him?  He throws very well, he understands calling a game extremely well and we think with a little work he will be able to do a better job receiving next year.  I look at him as a true catcher.

What are the teamís plans for 10th rounder Joel Collins in 2008?

He went down to the GCL simply because we wanted him to catch and Arencibia to catch.  He had a little delay because of visa issues which cost him about three weeks, but he did a nice job, strong arm, has some pop in his bat, he did a good job receiving, he just needs to play.

Kyle Ginley has a good fastball but when I saw him this year he was reluctant to use his secondary stuff, is that what his main obstacle is?

Itís typical of young guys, they trust their fastball, they want to throw their fastball, we want guys to command their fastball.  Even though he has good velocity he learned in a hard way that you have to throw your secondary stuff over the plate, and thatís what development is about.  The good thing is he has a plus fastball and he does have good secondary stuff, he just doesnít trust them and doesnít want to use it in games.  So we made him throw them (secondary pitches) in games and we told him that regardless of the outcome we want him to throw them and he is starting to understand that.

What is the status of Chase Lirette and Zach Dials?

We are going to keep Dials in the bullpen, he has better velocity there, has a good sinker, sinker, slider guy, has a live arm and I definitely see his future being out of the bullpen.  Lirette is another sinker, slider guy, was injured, he is in instructional league but not throwing in games, we will work on some stuff and have him ready for next year.

Graham Godfrey had an OK 2007 but didnít appear to miss enough bats, what does he need to work on?

He has a good arm, pretty polished guy, he has a good idea of things, he is going to be fine, he is an interesting guy.

Brian Jeroloman had a good year in Dunedin, his rep was good glove, weak bat, how did his hitting progress this year?

He had a good year offensively, I thought his year was very steady, I think he led that club in walks this year.  He seemed to have a walk every game which is a really good sign because if guys can walk and know the strike zone then he can just focus on getting a better swing path on those balls that are in the zone.  Most guys have it the other way, they have the swing but not the zone, I like the fact that he knows the zone.  He is very good catch and throw guy, probably the best arm in the minor leagues, blocks well, guys like throwing to him.  You know we are going to push him along next year.

Anthony Hatch had wrist surgery last season and didnít have as good 2007 as his 2006, was that injury related or higher level related?

I think itís the wrist surgery, anytime you have that, as you saw here with Lyle Overbay, itís a very difficult thing to overcome for a hitter where you need strong hands, forearms and wrists.  I think it slowed him down.  I think it took him a while to catch up, he had the surgery on both wrists, Anthony will be fine, we will push him along too, he is older than most of our guys at that level so we will bump him along.

Josh Kreuzer was a free agent pick-up, when Cannon was injured did you think of sending him up to AA?

We talked about it, Chip was injured but never really let on how bad it was until we finally got an X-Ray on it.  We thought about it but the team was in a playoff hunt down there and we thought that was important for our guys, it just didnít work out as well as we thought.  We just signed Kreuzer back and he is going to be in AA for us next year.

Brandon Magee did well in Dunedin after struggling in April, what does he need to work on?

He doubted the fact he should be in the FSL early in the season, I think he wasnít sure he belonged there and he got hit around a little but he made some adjustments and we are real happy with his progress.  He pitched the last half of the year, maybe a little more than that, like the guy we saw last year and we are real happy with that.  He will probably either start there and head to AA, or start the season at AA.

Adrian Martin seemed to take a step forward this year; what was the key to his improvement?   What is his repertoire?

He is a strike thrower, he is a real good competitor, mixes his pitches well, he just has a real good idea of what to do, plus he throws three or four pitches for strikes.  He is not a big guy, his fastball is around 88-89, he holds runners well, fields his position well, has a good idea of setting up hitters.  Those guys keep plugging along, you canít have enough guys who throw strikes.  He spots his fastball well, its not a sinker or a cutter, he just has good command.

A.J. Wideman, like Martin, took a step forward in 2007.  What does he need to work on in 2008 to further improve?

Just continue doing what he has been doing, he threw a lot more strikes this year, he had a respectable year the year before, he was probably Dunedinís most consistent starter this year.  He is not an overpowering guy but he keeps you in the game.

Ricky Romero had a mixed 2007, he doesnít seemed to have locked into how to pitch.  How are you working on this with him?

He hasnít commanded his fastball like he is capable of or needs to and at higher levels, including AA, if you canít command your fastball itís not going to work.  Heís understanding that, we spent a lot of time working with him, Dane Johnson our pitching coordinator and Dave LaRoche worked with him, we had Pat Hentgen come in and talk to him and he needs to understand he canít be afraid to throw his fastball, he canít be all about his curveball and his change-up.

What is David Purceyís status?

He has recovered, he is throwing in the instructional league, he is going to the fall league and he will be a starter in the fall league, he is throwing the ball well.

David Smith had a big second half, did he change his approach this season and what do you see for him next season?

He did a lot of good things this year, he is probably one of our most improved players in the whole organization.  He was a dead-pull hitter last year, he wanted to jerk balls out of the ballpark and Ken Joyce and Dwayne Murphy worked with him, talked about hitting to right field.  He is a strong guy, he can hit the ball out to both left field and right field.  The other thing that happened with him is that his defense improved.  Last year we talked with him about being a bit of a liability out there and we talked to him and said you have to be able to do this (play defense) too to get to the big leagues.  And he worked hard, took balls off the bat, took a lot of pride in it and he was considerably better defensively as well.

Ryan Patterson had a mixed season, how would you evaluate it?

Patterson broke his forearm in the spring, but he will be fine.  We need to tighten up his swing a little bit, he is going to the fall league.  We will have Dwayne Murphy, who lives in Arizona, work with him a little bit.  He needs to dial it down a little bit, we told him itís not like football Sunday when you go to the plate.  You have to do this 500 times a year, we are not playing once every Sunday.  He has that go-getter mentality that doesnít always work in baseball.  You have to have a little slower approach and he is working on that.

Robinzon Diaz has had issues working with his pitchers, how do you think he improved on this in 2007?

I think he did improve, when he first started it was a reputation that was warranted, he was a 18 or 19 year old kid playing in the sally league and he hadnít the experience to do those kind of things.  In the past Robby, when he wasnít hitting didnít want to play good defense, but he can hit, and he has a good arm and when he is into the game, and this year I thought he was more mature than he has been both offensively and defensively.  I think if he hadnít been hurt at the end of the year he would have been a call-up here.  He had a hamate injury and had to have surgery but he will be fine for next year.

Anyone who stood out in the instructional league?

We have a kid named Bartolo Nicholas who is playing in the outfield there, he is a good looking player, he is 22 this year, a little old for the GCL, but he can do a lot of stuff.  He have a Canadian kid, Kevin Dennis-Fortier he has made a lot of strides this year, he has a good swing and some power that is going to develop, he has good hands.  We have a lot of good young kids and I think it has rejuvenated our staff having so many 17, 18 and 19 year olds around and we have a chance to mold them to be the player we want.

Thanks again to Dick Scott from all of us at Batters Box.

An Interview with Dick Scott, 2007 edition | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
jerjapan - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#175085) #
Great read!  As memories of that 2005 draft fade, I'm starting to feel some renewed optimism in the system.  The top affiliates have a number of relief pitching / 4th outfielder / backup catcher types who can help out next year and the lower minors (finally) have some strong looking position players.   Now if only our top minor league options at SS and 3B weren't named Luna and Olmedo ...
Mylegacy - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#175088) #

I've read the report three times already and will re-read it several more times over the next few cold, lonely, months. WONDEFUL work! Great questions.

I subscribe to scout.com (a pay site) and love their frequent inside interviews. I LOVE this site even better and it's free. Speaking of free...do you guys need any donations to help pay for the site? I'd be happy to donate a few pennies; if I can pry them from Piggy's belly.

If DaBox was a real place instead of a cyber place and if it was located on the 200 level of Rogers Center and if Toronto wasn't so cold in the winter and hot in the summer...I could live there! We spoiled westcoasters are a pain, eh.

92-93 - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#175089) #
You could of course pull a Roberto and live in the Renaissance Hotel, Mylegacy.
Mick Doherty - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#175090) #
Oh man, that could be a thread in and of itself ...
What does it mean when you tell someone to "pull a Roberto"?
ANationalAcrobat - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#175091) #
Fantastic stuff. It's just as interesting to see what Scott doesn't say about certain players as what he does say. The next couple of years should be very exciting, as the college pitchers and highschoolers from 2007 develop.
jgadfly - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#175092) #
RE: Dwayne Murphy ... How long has Murphy been working with the Jays?
jgadfly - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#175093) #

Of note...the "Gronk" is off to Tapei in November representing the good ol'  US of A as per ... http://mlb.mlb.com/usa_baseball/index.jsp

mendocino - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#175102) #

Chris Demons signed by the Jays at the end of the season made BA's Independent Leagues Top 10 list

From the chat:

Q: Tobias Funke from Railcat Island asks:
Any love for Chad Blackwell? Where did he end up? Any consideration for the top 10 ?
 A: 

J.J. Cooper: Blackwell is definitely a guy to watch and one would have made the list if it went 20 deep. He's one of a number of indy leaguers the Blue Jays snapped up this season as they've started scouting the leagues heavily this year. The former South Carolina Gamecock and Kansas City Royals prospect has an interesting delivery that makes it tough for hitters to pick up the ball. He was effective in a relatively short stint with Dunedin late in the season and could get a chance to make it to Double-A New Hampshire next season.

Gerry - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#175104) #
Dwayne Murphy was the hitting coach in Syracuse in 2006 and the roving hitting instructor in 2007.
jeff mcl - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#175109) #
Oh man, that could be a thread in and of itself ...
What does it mean when you tell someone to "pull a Roberto"?

"Catch da taste" with a delicious glass of McCain Fruit Punch?


jgadfly - Monday, October 08 2007 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#175111) #

"Dwayne Murphy was the hitting coach in Syracuse in 2006 and the roving hitting instructor in 2007."

              Thanks Gerry... any odds on the possibility of a promotion to the vacant position ? He must have someone's confidence if he's tutoring Snider & Patterson in Arizona ... I believe his approach is one involving more patience and walks. Any insights or more info on him?

ramone - Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#175113) #

Wasn't sure where to post this but Blair reports that Toronto has hired Gary Denbo, the yankees organizational hitting coach to replace Brantley.

 

http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071009.wsptdenbo8/GSStory/GlobeSportsBaseball/home

ayjackson - Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#175119) #
Thanks to Gerry and Mike and the crew for all the work put into the prospects review and interview.  I thoroughly enjoy reading and re-reading the material.  I just wish they were not categorized under MLU so I didn't have to sift through the pages of updates whenever I wanted to refer to the reviews.  Great work though.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#175131) #
Scottsdale, with Travis Snider, David Purcey, Ricky Romero et. al,  starts their AFL season tonight.
Jdog - Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#175150) #

Does anyone know where I can find boxscores for the Arizona Fall league games??

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#175151) #
You can get there circuitously through milb.com, or you can click here.
ANationalAcrobat - Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#175152) #
Percey starts today and Snider is in at DH for Scottsdale.

http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/

ANationalAcrobat - Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#175155) #
Jays looking good after two innings... Purcey with 3 groundball outs and 3 strikeouts, no hits/walks allowed... and Snider with a hit =)
China fan - Wednesday, October 10 2007 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#175159) #
   Purcey allowed one hit and one earned-run in 2.2 innings.  Snider was one-for-one with two walks.
    Interestingly, Santos played at 3B in the Scottsdale game.  The Jays may have decided that this is his future, if he can continue to develop his power.   Or maybe they see him as a future utility man to back up at SS and 3B.

ayjackson - Wednesday, October 10 2007 @ 01:17 AM EDT (#175161) #

http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=l119&t=g_box&gid=2007_10_09_peswin_scowin_1

Ryan Patterson played LF and was 1 for 4.  Snider was DH and was 2 for 2 with 2 walks.  Purcey struck out 4 and walked 1 in his 2.2 innings, referred to below (or above, depending on your settings).  Santos spelled Longoria at third and was 0 for 1.  Longoria will leave for Team USA next week.

Ricky Nolasco got the start for the....erm...team that the Jays' affiliate was playing.

China fan - Wednesday, October 10 2007 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#175163) #
     Santos also had an error in his brief appearance at 3B......     sigh......
NashvilleSounds - Wednesday, October 10 2007 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#175164) #
The 24-year-old was seen taking a bullpen session at the end of the season with the Blue Jays Director of Player Development, Dick Scott, looking on in New Hampshire. He can throw a fastball, curve and a cutter. (source: scout.com)

Is a move to the mound in the future plans?
An Interview with Dick Scott, 2007 edition | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.