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Doug Davis is the Blue Jays Minor League Field Coordinator.  Previously Davis had been the manager of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in 2006 and the Syracuse Chiefs in 2007 and 2008.  Davis was in Binghamton on Monday when I caught up with him to talk about the minor leagues.

BB: You were quoted in a Toronto newspaper last week talking about Adeiny Hechavarria's defence, but what does he need to do offensively?

DD: Offensively he needs at-bats.  He needs at-bats in the minor leagues.  I think time with our hitting people to work on a few specific things.  Adeiny has all the attributes you need to be a good hitter, he has very quick hands, he is a strong kid, he has bat speed.  Now it's a matter of being able to hit at that level or the major league level, it's about controlling your barrel and making consistent contact and utilising the whole field.  And what he does do is put the ball in play, he is very good at making contact.  He hits the ball the other way a lot and that's just the approach he has had, and he has had for a long time.  We are going to broaden his horizons a bit and get him to use the whole field more.  He is a strong kid, he doesn't hit for a lot of power right now but I don't think he did as a junior coming up through the Cuban baseball system but I think he will have more power as a major league player.  But my biggest thing for him right now is the experience and the at-bats.

BB: Does he need to learn to be more selective?

DD: I think that's certainly part of it but the thing about it with him, unlike a lot of latin players who swing and miss at a lot of breaking pitches, he doesn't do that.  He just knows he can hit and knows he can put a lot of balls in play.  He just has a big strike zone in terms of what he knows he can hit.  That will come with time, that's a matter of him shrinking his strike zone down, not being committed to the first strike he sees and more or less looking for specific pitches and getting deeper in the count.  But that's all part of the process and it's very difficult for me to say he can go work on that on a daily basis.  That's something that will come with time because he is a smart kid, he understands the game, he knows his own body, and as he moves through our organization he will recognize those things and he will make the adjustment as he moves.

BB:  With Hechavarria coming and going from Dunedin you flipped Tyler Pastornicky between second and short.  Which do you think is his best position?

DD: I think that from an everyday standpoint it probably is second base.  But the great thing about Tyler is he is a very versatile kid, I don't discount he could play in the outfield, he has the speed to do that.  Certainly he has shown he can play shortstop, I think second base plays a little better into his abilities.  As an everyday player maybe second base is better but he could be a super utility player who moves around, plays up the middle and can play in the outfield at some point.

BB: When Hechavarria was promoted did you consider moving Ryan Goins up from Lansing to take his place?

DD: Well we did actually but the more we thought about it, he has had a tremendous year and he has been the stalwart in the middle of that lineup and taking him from that position doesn't necessarily benefit him all that much and I think it would have been difficult to replace him there at Lansing.  For me with this being his first full season I think letting him stay there and letting him have a great season like he is doing is fine and at the end of the season we will make a determination of where to play him next season.

BB: Justin Jackson is now in Lansing.  Is he now viewed as a utility player or is he just blocked at shortstop?

DD: A little bit of both.  I think we have frontline shortstops playing at just about every position.  For Tyler Pastornicky that's not necessarily the case but based on the way he played last season and this season so far he certainly deserves to play shortstop a lot and Ryan Goins in Lansing for us is a shortstop.  I think with Justin right now we are just getting him at-bats.  I think he is a very versatile kid too, I think kids at that age when they have a chance to play different positions it benefits them.  He has certainly shown the ability to play shortstop, I was just there in Lansing and I saw him play short better than I ever saw him play short in the past.  But I also see the ability, from a body type, for him to potentially play third.  As he continues to develop and get more experience he may prototype more at third base than at short.  And with his athleticism and speed the outfield isn't out of the question either.  So I think getting him out there in different positions benefits him and gives us a chance to evaluate where he belongs on a daily basis.

BB: Kenny Wilson is learning how to switch hit, how is that coming along?

DD: I think it is coming along very well, I think he is right on schedule.  From the standpoint of watching him progress, his at-bats are getting better, his hand and bat path, his hand direction, all the things that have to happen when you switch hit are coming along very nicely.  His ability to make consistent contact and utilise the whole field.  I have seen him do all of those things and I am very pleased with his progress with switch hitting.

BB: Adam Loewen has improved through this season.  With you being short an outfielder at AAA what does Loewen have to do to get to AAA?

BB: Well I think he is doing everything he needs to do right now to get to AAA, I think he can probably go up there and play right now.  He is having a tremendous year, he is on the all-star team, and from the standpoint of progressing from last year to this year he has been tremendous.  And I think a lot of it has to do with, just watching him right now, and I haven't talked to him about this, I think he feels like he is a position player.  And that has probably just evolved over the course of this season and it's hard to put yourself in somebody's shoes like that, there aren't many guys who have done that, but the transition this year has definitely occurred for him and I think he feels like he can go play now and play every day.  I don't have any doubt he can go to AAA and be successful at that level.

BB: So is there a chance you could move him there before the end of the year?

DD: Certainly, there is always a chance for all these guys.  Sometimes it is based on opportunities and how things pan out here over the course of the all-star break, how we are doing with the outfield situation, what they do in the major leagues, there are a lot of factors that go into it.  There are a couple of other guys here who could go up there too but if the opportunity arises I don't doubt he could go up there and play.

BB: JP Arencibia's bat seems to be ready for the major leagues, do you think his defence is ready?

DD: In spring training I told him I thought he could go play in the major leagues.  I am a catching person, I watch the kids catch.  Sometimes we pick guys apart and we want to see everything happen, but some of the things guys have to learn they have to learn at the major league level.  Obviously looking at his offensive output to this point in AAA he is locked in and ready to go.  He is hitting tremendously in AAA, he will hit in the big leagues.  The catching part of it will be a work in progress and it will be that way for a couple of years.  I don't think anybody goes up there and just jumps right in and learns everything.  It's a process and he is going through it very well this year in AAA, he has made a lot of strides, his throwing has gotten remarkably better, so if you ask me can he catch in the big leagues today I think he can.

BB: Brett Wallace has hit pretty well but the PCL is a hitters league.  Has he hit well enough considering the PCL is a hitters league?

DD: I think from our standpoint I don't think anybody in baseball has given Brett Wallace enough time or enough credit.  He is very young, this is only his second full season, he already has had over a year in the PCL.  You face some pretty good experienced pitchers on a daily basis at that level and I think Brett is continuing the process as well.  I think he has a ways to go because he is still learning.  He hasn't had the opportunity to have the number of at-bats, or the experience or time to learn all these things and I think it's a daily thing for him and the more at-bats he gets the better off he is going to be.  That being said the guy is hitting .300, he has double figure home runs and he is driving runs in.  I think at this point in time he has had a terrific season and we just want to allow him to continue to progress and see where he ends up at the end of the season.  But the biggest thing this season is his ability to play first base, he has made tremendous strides, he understands the position very well, he moves well, his footwork and glove, all of that.  He has come along better than we expected him to and he has made himself into an everyday first baseman.

BB: Jake Marisnick who is playing in the GCL, can you give me a scouting report on him?

DD: Jake is having a very good year.  He has been down in Florida a long, long time.  It can be draining to be down there from the mini camp before spring training to spring training, to extended spring and now the GCL and Jake is out there everyday doing his thing.  Jake is swinging the bat well right now, he is extremely athletic, he utilizes his speed, he has a very strong arm in the outfield, he is an exciting young player.  With him it's going out there everyday to get his at-bats and gain that experience, learn about professional baseball and he is right on cue.

BB: How did Joel Carreno get 15 strikeouts yesterday?

DD: I looked at the report last night and did a double take.  Joel has very good stuff, his fastball gets up to 93-94mph.  He has a very good breaking pitch and I guess that was really working last night.  It's a swing and miss type breaking ball that he can change up a little bit.  At times it is an over the top curveball and at times he gets more sweep into it so it is more like a slider.  I don't care what level you are at, if you strike out 15 guys in 6 innings that is saying something.

BB: Asher Wojciechowski is injured, will he be back this season?

DD: Asher is probably finished for the year but it doesn't have anything to do with his injury it has everything to do with the number of innings he has pitched.  He was over 120 innings pitched in college this year which is a very high amount of innings pitched and he pitched 20 more innings for Auburn.  He pitched very well for us but its time to shut that arm down and let it rest, 140 innings is a lot for any A level pitcher.  Right now he is down in Florida going through all our programs and learning that part of it.  We have probably seen as much as we want to see out of him this season.


Batters Box thanks Doug Davis for his time.

An Interview with Doug Davis - July 2010 | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
stevieboy22 - Tuesday, July 13 2010 @ 11:25 PM EDT (#218298) #
Thanks for taking the time to do this Gerry. I really enjoyed it.

I'm pretty excited about where the system is at, and where it seems to be heading under AA.

Flex - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:36 AM EDT (#218301) #
Based on his comments I wonder whether we're going to see Wallace this year at all. We might even be looking at Overbay on a one-year deal next year, with Wallace coming up next August.
TamRa - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:45 AM EDT (#218302) #
these interviews are far and away the most valuable part of this site. both obtaining the access and the throughness of the questions and answers are very praiseworthy.

TamRa - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:51 AM EDT (#218303) #
Based on his comments I wonder whether we're going to see Wallace this year at all. We might even be looking at Overbay on a one-year deal next year, with Wallace coming up next August.

Anthopoulos was pretty plainspoken on the Fan that the Jays liked the idea of Wallace spending all year in AAA. I don't get the impression that they are looking to push Overbay aside...i think they will have to be offered something they really want to let him go.

It might also be that they value his scoop more than outside observers do.

As for next year, there might be more to the Lind at 1B experiment than we suppose. One wonders if we might not see Lind play first to start 2011 if the Jays want to go slower with Wallace - albeit i really tend to think he'll have every chance to break camp with the big club next spring.

On a similar train of thought - Alex really bragged on John buck - his leadership and his work with the young pitchers and his character - I REALLY want to see JPA up here but i sure didn't get the vibe that buck has one foot out the almost makes me wonder if they might lose Molina instead (although they apparently love him too)

China fan - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:58 AM EDT (#218304) #
Thanks, Gerry, for the excellent interview.  Very illuminating.  I was very encouraged by the praise for JPA, Loewen, Wallace, A-Hech and Marisnick.   As for Tyler Pastornicky:  reading between the lines, it seems pretty clear that he won't be a major-league shortstop -- the Jays like him better as a super-utility player and maybe a 2B.  His upside might be an Orlando Hudson type of 2B, but a career trajectory like Mike McCoy seems also possible.
Sneeps - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 04:45 AM EDT (#218305) #

Hopefully Wojo's injury isn't anything serious.  ie, shoulder/elbow.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#218308) #
CF, I wouldn't read the comments about Pastornicky that way.  Many middle infielders have the defensive ability to play either short or second, but would be better at second base- David Eckstein and Orlando Hudson come to mind.  What the comments do suggest is that the organization sees Hechevarria as its shortstop.  That is not really surprising because of the contract.

At this point, Pastornicky is nothing like Mike McCoy.  McCoy at age 22 was having a less impressive season in the Midwest League than Pastornicky is having at age 20 in the FSL.  FWIW, at age 22, Orlando Hudson was in Dunedin and went .285./.354/.399 (very comparable to what Pastornicky is doing this year) and earned a late season promotion to double A. 

MatO - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#218310) #

Hopefully Wojo's injury isn't anything serious.  ie, shoulder/elbow.

I think the it's clear he's not injured.  He was shut down due to a college+pro innings limit imposed by the Jays.

Marc Hulet - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#218311) #
As stated in the article, Wojo isn't hurt. He's shut down due to innings... They placed him on the DL to free up roster room.
China fan - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#218312) #
Mike, I think you're under-estimating the significance of the Davis remarks about Pastornicky.   Looking to the future, A-Hech is still a very uncertain prospect, despite his contract.  Aaron Hill, on the other hand, is a proven major-leaguer, and still relatively young, even if he's having a bad season in 2010.  To project Pastornicky as a 2B, where he'd be blocked by Hill, rather than a SS, where the organization has a possible future vacancy, suggests that the Jays believe that Pastornicky cannot possibly win a head-to-head battle against A-Hech.  It's an implicit downgrading of his future ceiling.

As for the Orlando Hudson comparison:  thanks for digging up those statistics, which confirm my theory that Hudson is a plausible upside for Pastornicky.  But there are many, many pitfalls on the path from Dunedin to the major leagues, so it's much too early for us to imply that Pastornicky is likely to duplicate a Hudson-type career.  If he fails to keep improving over the next few years -- which could happen -- his downside is a super-sub career, which was the purpose of my Mike McCoy analogy.  I wasn't suggesting that his numbers are similar to McCoy, merely that a super-sub career might be his destiny.  Davis himself mentions this possibility.

Sneeps - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#218313) #
"it doesn't have anything to do with his injury"
MatO - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#218314) #
Gerry had posted earlier that he wasn't injured so I assume that it's a typo.
ayjackson - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#218317) #
Bye-bye Tyler and Tiny Tim....we hardly knew ye!
bpoz - Sunday, October 24 2010 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#224458) #
I am just digging away into old stuff and loving it.

T Pastornicky is doing very well (AA level now) and we got a very good return on him.
16 Ks in 6 IP for Joel Carreno was given very high praise. So similar praise was also given to Zep for his 13Ks against the NYY this Sept if I remember correctly.
An Interview with Doug Davis - July 2010 | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.