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Yesterday we looked at the 200 players coming to Florida for spring training and we promised a position by position look at the rosters.  Today we start with the catchers.

There are nineteen catchers in camp plus eighteen year old Carlos Perez who has already been assigned to extended spring training.

The nineteen catchers by estimated level are:

Major league: Rod Barajas

AAA: Michael Barrett; JP Arencibia; Brian Jeroloman; Raul Chavez; Curtis Thigpen

AA: Kyle Phillips

High A: CJ Ebarb; Matt Liuzza; Jon Jaspe; Al Quintana

A: Joel Collins; Jon Talley; Antonio Jimenez; Chris House

Extended: Karim Turkamani; Luis Hurtado; Henry Rodriguez; Jonnathan Valdez

There are definite jobs for two catchers per team, some teams might carry three if one of the catchers is versatile enough to play elsewhere.  From the above list Thigpen can play around the infield, Talley has played first base and Quintana has played in the infield.

The first question is who is the major league backup, do you go with Michael Barrett who has an OK bat but is poor defensively or do you pick Brian Jeroloman and have him sit five days a week?  My guess would be Barrett with Arencibia a potential call-up mid-season.  Jeroloman could be the backup for defensive reasons but his bat would not be as good as Barrett.  Also sitting Jeroloman for five days a week could inhibit his development and it would be a sign that the Jays don't think he will develop into more than a good defense, major league backup.

If Barrett is in the big leagues then who is in AAA?  I assume it will be Arencibia with Chavez to back him up.  Jeroloman can go back to AA where he can play every day and work on his offense, Phillips can be backup there.  I don't know what the plan is for Thigpen, he could be on the AAA roster as a utility player but unless he regains his hitting stroke he won't be getting much playing time.  He probably could use a change of scenery.

CJ Ebarb could be promoted to AA if Phillips is used as a backup first baseman but he could also return to Dunedin.  The Jays could leave Ebarb and Liuzza in Dunedin and send Jaspe back to Lansing to catch alongside one of the young guys.  The jury is still out on Talley's ability to catch, he is a tall skinny guy and didn't get a lot of work at catcher in the GCL last year.  At the end of last season Dick Scott said that the Jays still see Talley as a catcher but he has a good bat and could be a third catcher, first baseman, DH player.  Talley is only 20 years old and the Jays need to find out soon if he can be an everyday catcher, he needs to get regular playing time behind the plate until the Jays decide if he can stay there.  Talley could get that playing time in extended spring training but last year the Jays pushed their younger players, I expect them to push Talley too.

The Jays don't appear to value Joel Collins highly so he could be the odd man out in this calculation.  Either he or Jaspe might not get a job.

Chris House and Antonio Jimenez are also young guys, 20 and 19 years old respectively.  It is hard to judge how much improvement these guys made over the winter and whether they have the ability to catch in A ball.  Jimenez did not get a lot of time behind the plate in the GCL so the Jays might leave him and some of the other young catchers in extended to catch 70% of the games.  But if Talley is not a catcher in the Jays eyes Lansing needs a catcher who could be experienced, Collins or Jaspe, or young, House or Jimenez.

So my guess at this point would be:

ML: Barajas and Barrett
AAA: Arencibia and Chavez with Thigpen
AA: Jeroloman and Phillips
A+: Ebarb and Liuzza
A: Talley and House

Feel free to make your guesses below.

Tomorrow the first basemen.

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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 08:18 AM EST (#196477) #
Collins  looks decent to me at least.
In A- he hit 326/415/525 in his 2nd year as a pro.  He was 22 which is a bit old for that level but if he has anything defensively I'd be keeping him around at least.  If they don't like his glove give him a shot at 1B/DH/LF/3B (the most common places for a catcher to move to) at least until you see if he can duplicate that batting line.
Marc Hulet - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 12:42 PM EST (#196482) #
My guess would be:
AAA: Thigpen, Arencibia, Chavez
AA: Jeroloman, Quintana
A+: Liuzza, Jaspe
A: Collins, Talley, Ebarb
SS: House, Turkamani, Jimenez
R: Valdez, Hurtado, Rodriguez, Perez

Prospects in order of potential: Arencibia, Jeroloman, Jaspe, Talley, Jimenez, Perez, Valdez, Liuzza, Collins, House, Turkamani, Rodriguez, Hurtado, Ebarb, Quintana

John Northey - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 01:23 PM EST (#196486) #
Hmm... who at which level...
ML: Barajas and Barrett
AAA: Arencibia and Jeroloman with Thigpen (mix and match catching with 1B/DH, Thigpen a utility guy)
AA: Quintana, Phillips
A+: Liuzza, Jaspe
A: Talley and Collins plus Ebarb (defensive replacement, other two spend lots of time at 1B/DH/LF/whatever)
A-: House and whoever else is around (short season level)

It is interesting to see how crowded it is getting behind the plate, although a lot of these guys are either defense only or offense only guys from what I can see (Ebarb hit just 231/274/320 last year for example).  I suspect we'll see a lot of position shifts to 1B/DH/LF/3B depending on the players individual strengths.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 03:41 PM EST (#196488) #
John Northey, Collins was voted one of the top 10 defensive catchers in college baseball his senior year, and earned rave reviews for his defence everywhere.  His best shot in the Toronto organization would occur if JP was shown the door.  It is more likely that he will end up somewhere else, but with catchers, getting a start at 25 or 26 is not the end of the world. 

Anyways, I hope that they give Jeroloman a shot over Barrett.  There is nothing wrong with a young catcher playing twice a week in the Show.  Young catchers learn well from a 20-50 doing/watching rate; young outfielders do not.

MatO - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 04:09 PM EST (#196489) #

Collins was something like a 10th round pick , so he didn't particularly impress anyone coming out of college.  I seriously doubt JP has much input on where marginal players are placed in the minors.  Collins obviously hasn't impressed  Dick Scott as he didn't start last year in low A.  Maybe Gerry can get some info on Collins when he talks to Scott in the future.

As for Jeroloman I doubt that he's ready for the jump.  His only discernable offensive skill is walking a lot.  I'm not sure that will translate at all to the majors at this point.


uglyone - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 04:12 PM EST (#196491) #

I'd say that we end up seeing all 3 of Barrett, Jeroloman, and Arencibia at the MLB level this year, with whichever two are not on the roster at the time at AAA.

I'm still not convinced that Barrett can't steal the starting job away from Barajas.

And I wouldn't be surprised to see J.P. getting most of the starts at the end of the year,.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 05:23 PM EST (#196492) #
Jeroloman walks more and strikes out less than Arencibia.  It all adds up to 70-80 points of OBP.  He doesn't have much power, but then neither did Don Slaught.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 05:58 PM EST (#196493) #
Thanks Mike for the info on Collins.  I was going by the idea that he isn't a top prospect and by noticing he played at 3B/1B/DH this year.  Looking closer I see that was a total of 4 DH games and 1 each at 3B and 1B.  Checking his catching stats at Baseball-Reference I see he caught 21 of 52 in A- (short season) and 1 of 5 in A (full season) and 0-2 in A+ (Dunedin) = 22/59 = 37% which in the low minors sounds impressive as pitchers at that level wouldn't be good at holding runners one would think.  Chris House, also in Auburn, caught 7 of 35 (20%) while #3 catcher Karim Turkamani caught just 3 of 18 (17%).  For comparison, JP Arencibia this year caught (in A+ & AA) 31 of 90 = 34% while Jeroloman caught (in AA & AAA) 26 of 71 (37%).

From this I'd think the Jays would be nuts to not push Collins a bit as he seems to have a good arm to go with a 283/381/517 minor league batting line so far.  At the very least (if they don't like his game calling) try him at 3B or RF as his arm looks good from the raw stats.  Of course, there could be stuff I don't know (attitude, arm isn't really that strong, ate up the weakest pitching but was hopeless vs anything other than a fastball, etc.) but still on the surface things look pretty good.
Mylegacy - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 06:33 PM EST (#196495) #
Clearly, Arencibia's power and Jeroloman's patience will be a fixture at the Rogers Center for a decade starting late 2009 or 2010 at the latest. Interestingly, JP bats R and Brian bats L...could we end up having a platoon? Both of them are going to be well above average defensive guys. IF someone had JP's power and Brian's patience in ONE body - that guy would be an MVP candidate. I still think that guy just might be Jon Talley. Joel Collins could fight his way into the mix too.

At the very least, the Jays are going to have a catcher or two to trade over the next few years.
wacker - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 07:13 PM EST (#196497) #
talley a tall "skinny" kid? have you seen him in person? he's far from skinny.
Pistol - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 07:22 PM EST (#196498) #
As for Jeroloman I doubt that he's ready for the jump.  His only discernable offensive skill is walking a lot.  I'm not sure that will translate at all to the majors at this point.

I have the same doubts.  If you don't hit for high average and little power a pitcher won't be afraid of throwing a strike, and most pitchers in the majors can throw strikes.  You can see the decline in Jeroloman's BB rate and K/BB ratio as he goes up the minors.  Of course, he started at such a high spot his ISO BB is still over .100.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 08:38 PM EST (#196499) #
Doubts?  Of course.  I have doubts that Arencibia will be a major leaguer, at all.  The only prospect that I have any reasonable degree of confidence in is Snider.

Jeroloman's profile of skills and performance is comfortably in the Manwaring/Benedict/Ausmus/Sundberg range, and actually at the higher end.  You can succeed with his skill base, and with a catcher who throws well and plays twice a week, the pressure to contribute offensively is much less.

greenfrog - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 09:00 PM EST (#196500) #
Who was Don Slaught?
Gerry - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 09:40 PM EST (#196502) #

What to do with Jeroloman?  Some players have a great eye and can use that to their advantage in the lower minors but major league pitchers can hit the corners and walk totals go down as a player moves closer to the majors.  A hitter like Jeroloman therefore has to become more aggressive as he moves up.  How will he handle it?  Kevin Youkilis was like Jeroloman, "the greek god of walks" was his nickname and many people expected him to fail in the majors.  But Youkilis learned how to balance his eye and his aggressiveness.  I think Jeroloman needs to go back to the minors to see if the can make that transition.  He could easily fit in today at the major league level, play good defence and deliver a .250 OBP with little power.  But send him back to the minors and see if he can change.  I interviewed Jeroloman last season and I found him to be very aware and intelligent.  I think he has a chance to "get it".

Wacker I have seen Talley, I was on the field, pre-game, with him last season in August in Lansing.  When I say Talley is skinny I mean in reference to baseball players.  In terms of the general population Talley is not skinny, and skinny might be an overstatement, but he is not one of those big-chested catchers like Rod Barajas.

Alex Obal - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 09:54 PM EST (#196503) #
It's a shame we don't have P/PA data for minor-league games.

Jeroloman's career BABIPs, by level (Fangraphs):

A: .320 (166 PA)
A+: .316 (379 PA)
AA: .318 (285 PA)
AAA: .259 (88 PA)

If his true BABIP talent level is around .300, then with the strike zone judgement he's shown at his age, doesn't that make him a pretty good prospect?

It's a big assumption to make of course. I'm sure there are tons of similar prospects with this kind of profile who disappeared because they simply couldn't get hits off pitchers at higher levels. But Jeroloman's (click 'career') okay BABIPs are encouraging, especially since he's a catcher so speed probably has nothing to do with it, and his LD and IF/fly rates suggest that when he does swing he's actually been actively punishing pitchers at AA and below. (Compare: Jayce Tingler...) The samples are small but I'm pretty optimistic.

Like Gerry says, should be interesting to see what happens when he runs into pitchers with better command. I think the marginal returns from exposure to AA pitching might hit zero quickly for him this year, unless someone sticks a no-walk clause in his contract or something.

Are there any stats about how much harder it is for a hitter to control the strike zone in AAA than in AA?

John Northey - Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 10:18 PM EST (#196504) #
Making use of FanGraphs projections for a couple of these guys is available via Chone and Oliver
Jeroloman: 219/327/312 and 233/341/333
JPA: 234/261/385 and 265/302/452
Thigpen: 231/293/334 and 236/297/350
Chavez: 229/269/317 and 236/275/334
Phillips: 243/297/347 and 258/310/384

Interesting.  Jeroloman is the only one with a 300+ OBP projected, but his Slg is projected to be fairly pathetic.  JPA and Phillips are the only other ones showing any hope via either system for 2009.
TamRa - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 12:52 AM EST (#196506) #
before reading the comments I just want to suggest that it's unlikely Jeroloman goes back to AA and furthermore, I think I'm the only jays commentator out here who is convinced Arencibia will begin the year in AA

I just don't think it's wise to start a free swinger with strike aone issues in the PCL. It would reinforce all the worst tendencies. Plus, he didn't exactly dominate AA.

Mylegacy - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 02:26 AM EST (#196507) #
Off Topic...

Great interview with Assistant GM Alex Anthopoulos about Mills, Cecil, Romero, Hill, Rolen, Purcey, Richmond, Janssen, and the "Lansing kids."

timpinder - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 08:37 AM EST (#196508) #
That was an interesting interview.  I'm anxious to see how Ahrens, Jackson and Tolisano do in A+ to start the year.  It'll be a big jump since they didn't excel in Lansing.  It's also nice to hear that Mills, Romero and Cecil all have a shot to make the team out of spring training.  It drove me nuts when the Jays were starting Ohka, Zambrano and Towers while Marcum toiled in the pen and McGowan threw in AAA.  Hopefully the Jays won't hesitate to start the youngsters out of the gate if they have great springs.
Pistol - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 09:08 AM EST (#196510) #
Jeroloman's profile of skills and performance is comfortably in the Manwaring/Benedict/Ausmus/Sundberg range, and actually at the higher end.

For what it's worth his PECOTA comparables are a bunch of players I'm not familiar with:  Bob Henley, Mark Johnson, Bo Dodson, and Todd Betts.  Johnson was the only one that had any kind of major league career, but I haven't a clue on their defensive skills.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 10:10 AM EST (#196512) #
It aint worth much, Pistol.  Todd Betts and Bo Dodson were corner infielders with signficantly more power than Jeroloman. I have no idea how PECOTA would come up with those two.  Henley was a catcher who hit .300/.375/.500 in the Eastern League at age 24, but apparently sustained an injury and his career came to a crashing halt.  Johnson's major league career was a disappointment, but numbers like his from a catcher who plays very good defence would be better performance than average for a 2nd catcher. 
uglyone - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 12:18 PM EST (#196517) #
It's also nice to hear that Mills, Romero and Cecil all have a shot to make the team out of spring training.  It drove me nuts when the Jays were starting Ohka, Zambrano and Towers while Marcum toiled in the pen and McGowan threw in AAA.  Hopefully the Jays won't hesitate to start the youngsters out of the gate if they have great springs.  
What's nice is that the youngsters this year are arguably coming off of much more impressive seasons than Marcum/McGowan were at the time.    
John Northey - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 01:12 PM EST (#196520) #
Are those pitchers coming off better minor league seasons?  2007 was the year Ohka, Zambrano and Towers were starting.

Marcum in 2005
AA: 2.53 ERA 53 IP 0.8 HR/9 1.7 BB/9 6.8 K/9
AAA: 4.95 ERA 104 IP 1.5 HR/9 1.6 BB/9 7.8 K/9
ML: 8 IP 4 BB 4 K's 0 HR 6 hits 0 runs
AAA: 3.42 ERA 53 IP 1.0 HR/9 1.5 BB/9 10.3 K/9
ML: 5.06 ERA 78 IP 1.6 HR/9 4.4 BB/9 7.5 K/9

McGowan in 2005
A+: 4.29 ERA 21 IP 0.9 HR/9 2.1 BB/9 8.6 K/9
AA: 3.34 ERA 35 IP 1.5 HR/9 2.6 BB/9 8.5 K/9
ML: 6.35 ERA 45 IP 1.4 HR/9 3.4 BB/9 6.8 K/9
AAA: 4.39 ERA 84 IP 0.8 HR/9 4.2 BB/9 9.2 K/9
ML: 7.24 ERA 27 IP 0.7 HR/9 8.2 BB/9 7.2 K/9 (yikes!)

So both had cups of coffee in 2005, and both had major issues (especially McGowan) in the majors in 2006.  Both were wild (Marcum walking 4.4 per 9 IP is a surprise, forgot how wild he was then) and I can understand not wanting to hand them rotation slots. Neither of them lit the world on fire either in 2007 - Marcum ERA of 4.13 (good but not 'WOW') McGowan 4.08 (same). 

The current crop of Mills, Romero and Cecil have yet to throw a single pitch in the majors which automatically puts them behind Marcum and McGowan (who both got over their 'I'm in the big leagues' shock in 2005).  Mills big boost is his low HR/9 (just 0.4 per 9 IP so far) but he has a bit of wildness to deal with (3.2 BB/9 so far).  Ricky Romero is similar but with a much lower K/9 rate (7.0 lifetime, 8.0 last year in AAA vs 9.8 for Mills career, 8.8 in AA). Cecil has a low HR/9 (0.4 career, 0.3 in AAA) high K/9 (9.9 career, 9.1 in AAA) and a mixed BB/9 (2.8 career but 4.7 in AAA and 2.7 or less everywhere else).

I'd give these 3 kids a shot this year but wouldn't anticipate more than 5 starts for any of them this year. 2010 or 2011 will be their year to shine (especially if Halladay leaves).
uglyone - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 02:44 PM EST (#196528) #

I'm not sure a crappy brief stint in the majors the year prior gives them a significant advantage.

that's an interesting argument, though.

I think this year's crop compares very well up against that year's crop, based on previous year performance.....


  • Marcum (24, MLB):  78.1ip, 7.5k/9, 4.4bb/9, 1.6hr/9, 1.60whip, 5.06era
  • Purcey (26, MLB):  65.0ip, 8.0k/9, 4.0bb/9, 1.2hr/9, 1.48whip, 5.54era
  • Marcum (24, AAA): 52.2ip, 10.3k/9, 1.5bb/9, 1.0hr/9, 1.08whip, 3.42era
  • Purcey (26, AAA):  117.0ip, 9.3k/9, 2.6bb/9, 0.6hr/9, 1.12whip, 2.69era

with, of course, the bulk of those innings coming in relief for Marcum, at both levels.

  • McGowan (24, MLB):  27.1ip, 7.2k/9, 8.2bb/9, 0.7hr/9, 2.20whip, 7.24era
  • Cecil (21, MLB): ------
  • Romero (23, MLB):  -----
  • McGowan (24, AAA): 84.0ip, 9.2k/9, 4.2bb/9, 0.8hr/9, 1.38whip, 4.39era
  • Cecil (21, AAA): 30.2ip, 9.1k/9, 4.7bb/9, 0.3hr/9, 1.43whip, 4.11era
  • Romero (23, AAA):  42.2ip, 8.0k/9, 4.2bb/9, 0.6hr/9, 1.45whip, 3.37era
  • McGowan (24, AA): -------
  • Cecil (21, AA): 77.2ip, 10.1k/9, 2.7bb/9, 0.5hr/9, 1.15whip, 2.55era
  • Romero (23, AA): 121.2ip, 5.8k/9, 4.1bb/9, 0.7hr/9, 1.59whip, 4.96era

I'm not sure McGowan's crappy MLB stint that year could be looked at as an advantage - I'm sure Romero or Cecil could have matched that last year.  We've got two first round arms here to potentially come through like McGowan did in 2007, with similarly effective AAA performance the year prior.  Cecil gives us much more confidence, of course, because of both his age and significantly better track record at lower levels.

  • Litsch (21, AA): 69.1ip, 7.0k/9, 1.7bb/9, 0.8hr/9, 1.38whip, 5.06era
  • Mills (23, AA):  32.2ip, 8.8k/9, 3.3bb/9, 0.6hr/9, 1.10whip, 1.10era
  • Litsch (21, A+): 89.1ip, 8.2k/9, 0.8bb/9, 0.5hr/9, 1.14whip, 3.53era
  • Mills (23, A+): 33.1ip, 9.5k/9, 3.2bb/9, 0.5hr/9, 1.11whip, 1.35era
  • Litsch (21, A): -------
  • Mills (23, A): 81.1ip, 10.2k/9, 3.1bb/9, 0.3hr/9, 1.22whip, 2.55era

This year we have an interesting under-the-radar option as well, but who's older and clearly more advanced than Litsch was that year.






92-93 - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 02:55 PM EST (#196530) #
"This year we have an interesting under-the-radar option as well, but who's older and clearly more advanced than Litsch was that year."

I think 1.7 of a higher BB/9 rate is way "less advanced" than 1.8 less K/9. Litsch succeeds at the major league level because he throws strikes in front of baseball's best defense. It doesn't look like the same can be said for Mills.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 03:05 PM EST (#196531) #

fair enough.

I do think it's clear that Mills is much less hittable than Litsch was, though.

My mistake for not including this in the first  place:


  • Litsch (AA): 10.8h/9
  • Mills (AA): 6.6h/9
  • Litsch (A+): 9.5h/9
  • Mills (A+): 6.8h/9
  • Litsch (A): ----
  • Mills (A): 7.9h/9
clark - Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 09:19 PM EST (#196544) #

Hey there Jay fans,

Just a couple of things to comment on, saved up a bit as I am a rare commenter.

First, WillRain, I would have to agree with you that I think it makes more sense that Jeroloman (you can roll a jeroloman to your friend) should start at AAA.  He has succeeded at AA.  That would leave Arencibia to start in AA.  I would rather see him have some unqualified success at that level before he moves on.  What's the hurry?!?!  Half season at AA, half season at AAA, September call-up, ready to go next year.

May be a dead issue around here, but on the whole, I enjoy WillRain's posting.  I think if anything rubs people the wrong way it is the tenacious way that he will debate a point.  Bottom line, though, is that as a Jay fan this site is bar none the best place on the internet for Jays discussion and I think that Will makes a positive contribution.

Finally, I just received my BA Prospects Guide in the mail.  Tons of fun of course.  Just for the sake of interest Bauxites, compare the numbers of Texas prospect #2 Holland to Jays prospect #7 Mills. 

Mick, I'm sure Holland is the king stud of studs.  Not much to separate the two at this point  though.

PS  Texas does have one hell of a bunch of prospects!    


Mylegacy - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 01:43 AM EST (#196545) #
Clark, welcome to DaBox.

Holland's got a 94 mph fastball that gets up to 97...Mills' fastball is lucky to break 91. BIG difference. Both are having great results but Holland is two years younger at 22 in 09 and has better stuff than Brad who is 24 in 09...the cream will rise. Not to short Brad - but Holland is the far better prospect.

greenfrog - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 08:31 AM EST (#196548) #
Matthew Pouliot at thinks Mills could make it as a 4th or 5th starter, or perhaps as a reliever. Not sure if the comp makes any sense, but the idea of Mills in the 'pen made me think of Jesse Carlson, another lefty who succeeds on the strength of effective breaking stuff. Incidentally, Carlson had an ERA+ of 190 last year. Not bad for a rookie reliever. (Tom Henke's ERA+ during his breakthrough 1985 season was 211.)
ayjackson - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 11:13 AM EST (#196555) #

Nobody will project a control pitcher with a 90mph fast ball to the top of the rotation.  It does happen though.  It's just harder to predict how control will play out at the majors.  Marcum is a great example.  He has a plus pitch in the change up....maybe plus plus.  It's his control that has made him a #2 starter.  If he had kept it up, the Maddux comparison would've kept growing, and he could've been an ace.  He may still be an ace, but control is the last thing to come back from TJ.


Mike Green - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 11:27 AM EST (#196556) #
I agree.  A lefty with a big curveball, not much of a fastball, and a deceptive delivery can be more than a 4-5 starter if things break right for him.  It helps if he has a good change to keep right-handed hitters off-balance (as Zito did), or if he holds runners well and fields his position well. 
Gerry - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 11:29 AM EST (#196559) #
We will be looking at pitchers next week but I am less optimistic about Mills ability to have an impact too soon.  when I saw Mills pitch last season he tended to pitch up in the zone with his fastball.  Major league hitters often punish guys like that so I think Mills needs more minor league time.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 11:58 AM EST (#196560) #
I agree. Mills definitely needs more minor league time.  32 innings at double A is about 150 short of what a starter like him needs at double A/triple A.

The organization has been talking about him being in the mix for a major league job coming out of spring training, and that would definitely be a bad idea.
Timbuck2 - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 01:21 PM EST (#196564) #
The same could and probably was said about Jesse Litsch when he was promoted out of AA to the Majors with an ERA under 2.  He obviously learned on the job and with Doc Halladay around to bounce idea's off of I think Mills really does have an outside shot.

Mike Green - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 01:31 PM EST (#196565) #
Litsch had 22 starts and 130 innings of double A ball under his belt when he was promoted.  That's a different story.
Timbuck2 - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 06:14 PM EST (#196586) #
You're right - Jesse Litsch is a different story...  and a different Ballplayer.  He needed those innings to adapt to AA.

Who's to say 100% for sure that Brad needs the same number of minor league innings?  In an admitedly small sample size he got BETTER when he jumped to AA.  He's obviously got a few brains in his head to finish his degree.  Maybe he's also a quick learner that has been listening and practicing what his coaches have been telling him.

 I'm sure in the end the Jays management will send him to AA or AAA to start the season but he seems to have the mental tools to succeed right now.  Probably the reason why the Jays have been after him for a couple years now.

John Northey - Thursday, February 19 2009 @ 06:26 PM EST (#196587) #
One thing to remember with pitchers is the old rule that once a pitcher is ready you better bring him up or you are just throwing away his arm.  Gooden skipped along very fast (19 in the majors) and was ready for an extreme example.  Heck, Jim Abbott skipped the minors entirely and he wasn't a K machine like Gooden was.  If Mills (or Cecil or whoever) is ready lets bring them up and get them going.
wacker - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 07:01 PM EST (#196675) #
getting back to the catchers, does anyone believe the organization is going to keep all these catchers or do you think some might be in jeapordy of being released? that be alot of catchers.
Mike Green - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 09:02 PM EST (#196677) #
Jim Abbott did OK, skipping the minors entirely, but he's very much the exception among control pitchers. If you look at the smart lefties who lacked overpowering fastballs, from Reuss, Wells and Key  to  Glavine and Zito, you'll find that they almost always spent considerable time in double A or triple A.  The Angels skipped those levels with both Abbott and Finley, with some success.  They did give Finley a year and a half in the pen, though. 
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