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I spent last weekend in Erie, Pa. to see the Fisher Cats win two of three games from the Erie Seawolves.  This thread covers my observations from the games.  Over the next week I will follow up with interviews of Sal Fasano, pitching coach Pete Walker, hitting coach Justin Mashore, pitcher Chad Jenkins and first baseman Mike McDade.


Adeiny Hechavarria

"Hechy", as his teammates call him, lived up to his billing as one of the best, if not the best, shortstop in the minor leagues.  In the Saturday game he made about five big league plays and a couple of those were plays that most major league shortstops would not make.  It was about the seventh inning in Sundays game when I realized that I was disappointed that Hechy hadn't made a play yet.  But then in the eighth he delivered another starred play. 

Twice during the weekend he picked ground balls that basically went under the third baseman's glove and fired to first, once for an out and once the runner was safe.  Just his getting to the ball was impressive.  Another time Hechy came in for a bouncer that went over the pitchers head and died in the grass, I thought he wouldn't have a play but he did, and he nailed the runner at first. 

Hechavarria could play shortstop in the major leagues today, and be better than most.  He has a strong arm, probably around the same as Yunel, but his transfer from glove to hand is quick and his release is really fast.  As you can tell I was impressed.


Unfortunately I was not as impressed with his hitting.  In the first two games Hechy was making contact but hitting a lot of ground balls.  He can square up the ball and hit it deep, more gap to gap power than home run power.  He did have three hits on Saturday but one was a bloop and one off a broken bat.  The third hit was a hard hit line drive into the right field corner.  On Sunday, Erie threw a junk ball pitcher and Hechy struggled more against the off-speed pitches.  Hechy sits on the border between a free swinger and an average hitter, he wasn't swinging at everything but he was swinging at anything that looked like a fastball over the plate.

I know the Jays just signed Escobar to a two year extention.  I don't think Hechevarria's offense will be major league ready until late 2012 at the earliest.  Personalities aside, and assuming Hechavarria's bat is ready, in 2013 I would move Escobar to second and install Hechavarria at shortstop.

Moises Sierra

Speaking of defense Moises had two chances to show off his arm over the weekend.  In case you didn;t know Sierra has the strongest arm in the system.  He threw one runner out at home from straightaway right field with a bullet one hopper.  The scout near me was just as impressed with his speed of release as the arm.  The second time an Erie hitter got a ball into the right field corner and it looked like he was heading for a triple.  Sierra threw from the corner, about 320 feet from home, another one hopper to the third-baseman who actually backed up on the ball into foul ground to take it easily.  The runner wisely stayed at second.  The scouts around me were looking at each other as if to say did he really do that?

Sierra has average speed on the bases and in the field, he has a big frame so speed will never be his game.  With the bat Sierra is strong but he is still refining his approach at the plate.  Like Hechavarria, Sierra will swing at some bad pitches, and he is an aggressive hitter.  If he catches up to one he can hit it out, as he did on Sunday.  To me Sierra looks to be trying to muscle the ball, he needs some time to refine his approach and his stroke.  We sometimes forget that Sierra missed most of last season to injury.

Anthony Gose

Gose is another excellent fielder who has a very strong arm.  Gose didn't have any difficult plays to make but twice he showed a plus arm to keep runners from advancing.  For a centrefielder, where a strong arm is a bonus, Gose definitely has a plus arm.


Offensively Gose was really struggling at the plate.  The coaches blamed his three day suspension but his balance was off.  The pitchers did make some good pitches to him but you could tell he was hitting with poor form.  His only hit of the weekend was an infield hit.

Travis d'Arnaud

D'Arnaud showed the most power on the team during batting practice.  At one stage he hit three consecutive home runs to left and later, another BP home run hit near the top of the Erie Coliseum, about fifty feet up from the 320 feet fence.  D'Arnaud is not large, probably average size for a catcher, I would guess he is just under six feet with a solid frame.  D'Arnaud would swing and miss often early in at-bats but with two strikes he would shorten his swing and hit some nice line drives.  Again, I believe d'Arnaud is another hitter who is refining his approach as he gains experience in AA.

Defensively d'Arnaud was not really challenged behind the plate, Robert Ray and Chad Beck were around the plate.  D'Arnaud's throwing looked to be average at best.  But D'Arnaud plays hard, he knocked down, and knocked out of the game, the Erie secondbaseman breaking up a double play and the next day the Erie shortstop made sure to step out of D'Arnaud's way before completing the double play.

Mike McDade

In the series McDade had chances to hit from both sides of the plate. He showed more power from the left side, but that's a small sample size. McDade looked good from both sides of the plate, yes he strikes out some but he does try and control the zone. 

McDade showed good form at first base and has a great stretch into almost doing the splits. According to those around the team McDade is an excellent first baseman and has saved numerous runs for the infield this season. With his size McDade is not a fast runner and is a double play candidate when he puts the ball on the ground.


McDade is still young for the league and he might need a few more years to develop the power needed to play first base at the major league level. The major league standard for making it as a first baseman is high, McDade can get there but he does need to continue to develop his power.

John Tolisano

Tolisano had a tough series, he played two of the games and did not have a hit and didn't really look like he would have one. Defensively Tolisano made one bad error at second on a routine ground ball.



Robert Ray

Robert is in AA to pitch his way back into form. He gave up three runs in the first inning, including a big home run, but settled down thereafter. Ray was not particularly sharp, he went deep in counts to many hitters. In his defense the home plate umpire, who was also the home plate umpire for Joel Carreno, had a very small strike zone. Ray was throwing his fastball at 91-92 mph and complemented it with a slider, curve and a changeup. My memory may be bad but I thought Ray's pitches moved more when he was in the major leagues a few years ago.

Chad Beck

Beck is a powerfully built pitcher with big shoulders. Beck mainly throws hard, a 4 seam fastball at 94-95 mph (touched 96) and a sinking two seamer at 92-93. Beck also has a slider and is trying to develop a curveball.  But as this stage the curveball is a "show-me" pitch.  Beck got a lot of swings and misses with the slider.  

Joel Carreno

With all the news of Carreno's strikeouts I was expecting a super slider of sorts, but it wasn't a super slder, just a regular slider (82-83) and a slurvy version that comes in about 3 mph slower. When you pair Carreno's 90-92 mph fastball wth the two sliders, he does have three similar weapons. Carreno also mixes in a change-up.  Carreno, like Ray, was hurt by the plate umpire with the tiny zone so he was finished after pitching five innings.  Carreno pitches from a 3/4 arm angle so the ball moves across the right handed hitters and into left handed hitters.


Carreno has always struggled with his confidence in his fastball, he is too tempted to use his sliders.   Because of his delivery, and because of the confidence issues, I assume Carreno would come up to the majors as a reliever. 

Evan Crawford

Crawford just pitched to one hitter but I did note that he has an unusual motion that could deceive hitters.  

Yohan Pino

Pino pitched twice and while he had no outstanding pitch he was a strike thrower and nicely mixed his 90-92 fastball, a slider and a curve.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats Scouting Report - June 2011 | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
92-93 - Wednesday, June 22 2011 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#237274) #

Personalities aside, and assuming Hechavarria's bat is ready, in 2013 I would move Escobar to second and install Hechavarria at shortstop.

I listened to AA on 590 the other day speaking about Hechavarria when McCown was grilling him about the kid's future (re: Escobar extension) and came away with the notion that Hechavarria is going to have to work long and hard to supplant anybody on the MLB roster. AA brought up the likelihood of Hechavarria breaking in as a utility infielder first, and I think with the current state of his bat that seems far more likely than the team ever just handing him the keys to the starting job. Hechavarria is already being paid an MLB salary and burning options so I think the moment the team decides his bat is finished with the requisite minor league development they will bring him up to the bench and work him in from there.

dan gordon - Wednesday, June 22 2011 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#237288) #
Yes, I heard that interview as well, and he really sounded like he realizes Hechavarria has a long, long way to go with the bat.  He mentioned the fact that he has 3 more years of options to go and that he might be a candidate to take over at SS when the 4 years of Escobar's contract are done.  Personally, I am not expecting Hech to be playing any significant role in the majors until 2014.  I think he will be in AA next year and AAA in 2013.
ayjackson - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 12:30 AM EDT (#237290) #
He should only have one more option year after this one.
Flex - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 12:43 AM EDT (#237292) #
This has been said many times before, but I'm pretty sure you don't burn an option year by staying in the minor leagues. You burn an option by being called up to the majors and then being sent down. And you can be sent up and down multiple times in that year and it's still one option.

So if a player has "three more options" that means three years of being sent up and down. Plenty of time for Hechavarria.
Spifficus - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 01:11 AM EDT (#237294) #
If you're on the 40 man roster and sent to the minors (which he was last year because he signed a major league deal), you have to be optioned down to the minors. Now, because of his lack of professional experience before making the 40 man roster, he gets 4 option years instead of 3. So, if he gets optioned in '12 and '13, he'll be out of options for '14.
92-93 - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 01:13 AM EDT (#237295) #
That's half right Flex. Hechavarria was signed to a major league contract, which means he immediately was added to the 40 man roster. Any player on the 40 man roster who is in the minor leagues has to be "optioned" down there, so 2011 is Hechavarria's 2nd option, with 2010 being his first. Hechavarria gets the special exemption 4th option year so 2013 is the last year the Jays can ping pong him before exposing him to waivers.
TamRa - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 02:15 AM EDT (#237296) #
a couple of more or less irrational questions:

1. I'm not a big Beck backer or anyting but I'm curious as he profiles as one of those late arriving low profile middle relievers that nevertheless manages to hang around and give value for a few years (say a Pete Walker sort of career)?

2. I have this little instinct - based on nothing really - to compare d'Arnaud to Brian McCann. Without being trapped into saying he's THAT good (Because McCann is quite good) - do you see any faint basis for such a comparison?

Shane - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#237300) #
So Hechavarria as a extremely well paid utility infielder will continue the legacy of John MacDonald. Seemless transition. All field. No hitty.
Gerry - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#237302) #

Beck throws hard enough that he could be a major league reliever.   I assume he could get another mile or two on his fastball as a reliever.

I don't get the McCann comparison, McCann is big, d'Arnaud is not; McCann hits left, d'Arnaud hits right; McCann has a beard ;-).

D'Arnaud could possibly eventually hit like McCann but that's a big if. 

Flex - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#237304) #
Thanks for the clarification on the options. I hadn't understood that major-league-contract wrinkle.
bpoz - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#237311) #
Thanks Gerry. Also thanks for the options info, Spifficus & 92-93.

Well C Beck can replace Josh Roenicke as a hard throwing RH relief prospect. His walks seem acceptable and hopefully he develops that CB.
ayjackson - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#237313) #

Now, because of his lack of professional experience before making the 40 man roster, he gets 4 option years instead of 3.

That's a wrinkle I wasn't aware of - thank you.  So he has plenty of time to learn how to hit as well as John McDonald.

sam - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#237316) #

I wouldn't worry to much about Hech's hit tool.  He might never hit like an Elvis Andrus, but he'll hit enough that he's not a black hole in your line-up. 


I think people here are right about his path to the Bigs.  He's got a full year or two left in the minors.  At that point I think he comes up and maybe platoons and works with the Major League staff.

I think he differs from someone like Gose who needs at-bats and probably two more full years in the Minors.  With Gose, you'd hope he would be ready to play everyday at the Major League level when he's called up. 

Anders - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#237323) #
I wouldn't worry to much about Hech's hit tool.  He might never hit like an Elvis Andrus, but he'll hit enough that he's not a black hole in your line-up.

Well Elvis Andrus has been a pretty dreadful hitter, so if he can't even hit that well it'll be tough sledding.
greenfrog - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#237328) #
Remember the rumour that had JP seeking Andrus and Holland from Texas in exchange for Doc? Glad that deal didn't happen. (Instead, AA managed to nab Escobar and Reyes, a better tandem, for A-Gon, Collins and Pastornicky.) Of course, Gose and Drabek aren't doing much better than those two. I expect Drabek to rebound, and hope Gose does too, but as per the title of one of BP's columns, "Prospects Will Break Your Heart."
bpoz - Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#237350) #
I somehow Molina left the Jays either during or at the end of this year, would it be bad for d'Arnaud to become the backup. Farrell says that he wants JPA to play less due to the beating that catchers take. Alan Ashby seems to agree that catching is a wear you down position.

If JPA plays 3 & d'arnaud 2 of every 5 games, is that too little playing time for each of them. Some DH could help keep the bat warm. Oh well a full year of AAA in 2012 for d'Arnaud is probably the wisest thing.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats Scouting Report - June 2011 | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.