Off-Season Baseball and... Shameless Plugs

Thursday, January 08 2009 @ 05:59 PM EST

Contributed by: Marc Hulet

You'll be able to read an article I wrote about the second base depth in the Toronto Blue Jays system at the Toronto Sun online today (Friday, Jan. 9)... The article was originally supposed to be the first in an ongoing, weekly series that would focus on the Jays minor league system and prospects, but the sports department at the paper was recently hit by downsizing so the column has been put on hold for now. Hopefully, I will get the go-ahead by the time the season starts. I should give a big thank you to Sun columnist Bob Elliott, as well as Sun sports editor Dave Fuller, for helping me get it published.

Here is one of my favourite quotes from the article, which was said by the scout that signed Brad Emaus when speaking about the second baseman's college career. "He had good knowledge of the strike zone, and showed the ability to use the whole field. His career numbers were up and down. (In) his draft year, he played in a pitcher-friendly, Triple-A park, as the field at Tulane was under construction," Matt Briggs said. "I felt like his numbers were slightly not as good as they could have been under different circumstances. We had him evaluated better than your normal 11th-round pick."

It's been a pretty slow off-season for Jays fans... There hasn't been much player movement or even juicy rumours to keep us amused. If you're bored by sure to check out the 2009 Graphical Player, which is now available at Chapters and other fine bookstores, as well as through, The Hardball Times, and Acta Sports. It features some of the best online baseball writers in the biz, as well as myself, who was honoured to write the player comments for all the Toronto Blue Jays players.

As editor John Burnson, who also writes for Heater Magazine, says, its the sixth annual edition of the Graphical Player with more than two dozen writers and more coverage than ever before! The writers include Marc Normandin of Baseball Prospectus, Jeff Sackmann of, Michael Taylor of, and Eric Seidman of

As well, for about the past year, I have been keeping busy by writing about minor league baseball in general at, which has also recently added a Fantasy Section. There is an amazing team of writers, which includes the above-mentioned Eric Seidman, as well as Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner, and Matthew Carruth of the Hardball Times, among other talented writers. If you haven't already, you should check it out. It's become a popular spot for Rob Neyer, who quite often quotes articles in his postings.

OK, enough about me and what I've been doing to keep busy during the off-season that always seems too long... what baseball Websites does everyone else frequent during these dull, quiet days of January? Do you have any good Jays minor league baseball gossip? I know I cannot wait for us to begin covering the 2009 minor league season! What Jays prospects are you excited about for 2009?? Have you been reading Baseball America's Top 10 prospect lists for all the clubs? The 2009 Prospect Handbook comes out in less than a month! The Baseball Prospectus annual should be out soon too. And I just ordered the 2009 Hardball Times Annual.