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We haven't had a minor league thread in a while, now seems like a good time to get one going.  I received some updates from the instructional league last week and I thought I would share those.  In addition I have a look back at the 2011 season and we will catch up on the AFL.

Instructional League

Instructional league wrapped up a couple of weeks ago.  Some of you may not be sure what the instructional league is.  Basically it is a chance for the Blue Jays to offer some more intensive, one on one, instruction to specific players.  The Jays invite between 40 and 60 players to "instructs" as well as all their field coaching staff.  The ratio between players and coaches is around 2:1.  The team invites the top 20-25 draft picks from this years draft, many 2010 draftees and select other players who come to instructs for a shorter period to work on a specific skill.  Players who missed time due to injuries can also be invited to get some more experience.

Games are played three days a week, on average, and there is instruction on the other days.

The draft signing deadline currently sits at August 15th and many players who sign on the deadline don't get to play in a regular season game.  Instructs is their first chance to get game action but the primary objective of instructs for those players is to get acclimated to professional baseball and for the coaches to make any obvious tweaks to their delivery, stance or throwing.

Baseball coaches and front office personnel are very reluctant to offer opinions on players based on small samples.  They know the difference between a good prospect and a non prospect can be a couple of hits a week but they also know that any player or pitcher can get hot for a week.  As a result the people I spoke to wouldn't give major appraisals of players as the sample size was too small.  But here are some comments I did get from a few different sources:

Dwight Smith looks like the best pure hitter from the draft.  He has plus bat speed and looks polished as a hitter.  Smith was injured for part of instructs.

Jacob Anderson looks like a junior Marisnick.  He probably won't play centre but he has the size, hits right handed and can do everything well.  Currently he is headed for right field.

Matt Dean looks like a prototypical third baseman.

Christian Lopes looked good as an offensive shortstop.  He will stick at short, for now.

The pitchers from the 2011 draft are all big bodied guys with plus velocity.

Adonys Cardona was hurt for the first half of instructs.  He came back at the end and looked good.  He is still raw though and is not a candidate to jump to Lansing to start 2012.

Jesus Gonzalez, a 16 year old hitter, made a strong impression.

Of the 2011 draftees, Kevin Comer's name was the one that got mentioned first when I asked.  Again the evaluators wouldn't pick winners from the group but Comer seemed to have made a strong impression.

Daniel Norris was noted for his good breaking ball.

Sam Dyson has had some setbacks in his recovery from TJ surgery and isn't ready for game action yet.

Likewise, John Stilson wasn't ready for game action in instructs.

Tyler Ybarra impressed this season and was at instructs to work on some pitches.  Ybarra has a good chance to start 2012 in Lansing given that he had a brief trial there at the end of 2011.

Dustin Antolin was looking really good.  Antolin pitched very well in 2009 but had to have TJ surgery in 2010.  The Jays are also excited about Dan Webb who they think is a much better pitcher out of the bullpen.


Arizona Fall League

The AFL is another small sample size league and usually the hitters dominate.  This year that domination has excluded the Blue Jays representatives.

Anthony Gose continues hit 2011 pattern with too many strikeouts and not enough hits.  Even though the numbers aren't there Keith Law, for one, thinks his swing looks a lot cleaner than the swing he saw when Gose was with the Phillies.  Gose himself knows he has work to do:

"I feel [consistency at the plate] is the biggest area of need. My whole game needs some improvement, but I feel that's more where my weakness is right now at this particular point in time. I just need to become a better offensive player."


Gose is hitting .245/.349/.457 in 94 at-bats.

Adeiny Hecharria has shown flashes of his potential in the AFL but not on a consistent basis.  Hech had a bruised thumb that kept him out of games for a week.  Overall Hech is hitting .246/.300/.462.

The AFL is mostly a AA level league and a few A level players are allowed to play.  Kevin Ahrens is one of those and he is hitting .243, not bad for an A ball level player. However Ahrens is over a year older than Gose.

Yan Gomes is on the taxi squad, meaning he plays Wednesdays and Saturdays, unless there is an injury.  Gomes is hitting .214 in 42 at-bats.

On the pitching side the Jays pitchers are all coming out of the bullpen and most of them are pitching well. Aaron Loup has a WHIP of 1.07 and has more than one K per inning; Evan Crawford has a WHIP of 1.02; Chad Beck has been outstanding but has thrown only 8 innings; Wes Etheridge has been the least successful of the Jays pitchers.


The 2011 season highlights, as seen by Gerry

Here are some of the things that have stuck in my memory that I personally saw in 2011.

Drew Hutchison's command.  I saw Hutchison pitch early in the season, in Lansing, and his command was outstanding.  I felt like I was in the movie Groudhog Day and here is what I wrote:

The first thing to note about Drew Hutchison is his excellent fastball command.  There were a lot of at-bats in this game where Hutchison went strike one to the outside corner, then strike two to the outside corner.  The catcher would put up his glove and Hutchison would hit it.  His command on this day was the best I have ever seen from an A level pitcher. The Lake County hitters were taking the outside pitches and they faced a lot of 0-2 counts.  Because Hutchison had a very good fastball on this night he used it a lot.

Adeiny Hechavarria's defense.  Here is what I wrote in June after seeing Hechavarria play defence:

"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.

Aaron Sanchez's curve ball.  I saw Sanchez pitching in spring training and he threw a couple of curveballs that broke late.  That late break makes it a plus pitch if and when he gets to the major leagues.

Noah Syndergaard's size and fastball speed.  Syndergaard is big and built like a tight end.  I used to think Michael Crouse had the most solid body in the minors but Syndergaard has him beat.

Moises Sierra's arm.  I saw Sierra throw a ball from the right field corner to third base on one hop, and it had some velocity on the throw.  Impressive.

Jake Marisnick's defence.  Early in the season there were a lot of questions about Marisnick's defence and whether he could play centrefield.  when I saw Lansing play Marisnick looked very good out there and had great jumps and deceptive speed.


There might not be a lot of minor league news for a while.  The Jays do have to sign players to fill out their rosters, particularly at the AAA level. They got that started already by re-signing Wes Etheridge; Bobby Korecky; Ivan Contreras; and Kevin Howard.  Finally, Kevin Gray reported today that Travis d'Arnaud had a pin removed from his thumb today and that everything looks good.

Minor League Grab Bag | 30 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 08 2011 @ 08:49 AM EST (#246508) #
Thanks, Gerry. The concept of a "junior Marisnick" is kinda funny when the senior one just turned 20. 
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, November 08 2011 @ 10:05 AM EST (#246513) #
AZre any of the pitching prospects you mention lefties?
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 08 2011 @ 10:41 AM EST (#246515) #
Daniel Norris and Evan Crawford (reliever) are two lefties that were mentioned.
Mylegacy - Tuesday, November 08 2011 @ 12:37 PM EST (#246521) #
Gerry - you just don't know how much I enjoy your Minor League reports. It must be exciting for you to get to see so many of our exciting prospects from among our so many exciting prospects.

Because I'm a bit obsessive about our minor leagues I was wondering what sites/writiers you consider best for Jay's minor league stuff?

Personally, I LOVE the work that April and her team do at and for more general prospect porn: John Sickels ( as well as following Kieth Law, Jim Callis, Marc Hulet, Kevin Goldstein and Ben Badler (all these guys on twitter too).

But for just Jays Prospects - I haven't found anything better than - EXCEPT for your work!

Gerry - Tuesday, November 08 2011 @ 04:32 PM EST (#246533) #


Thank you for the kind words.  First, I tend to cover what interests me in the minor leagues.  And what interests me is the development process of prospects, so I try to get to actually see the prospects and I try and interview coaches and front office personnel who see them too.  I would also say i am more fascinated by pitching prospects than hitting prospects.  You can tell a lot about a hitter from his stats but not as much about a pitcher.

I am not as interested in the back story of individual prospects.  From time to time I do interview players but I do that because it always gets a good reception here.  I don't think I get much insights from a prospect from a development perspective.  They might tell me what their goals are, or what they are working on, but the rest is less interesting to me.

Having said that there does appear to be a lot of interest in players stories.  I don't regularly go to jaysprospects but I do from time to time.  They seem to have picked up their activity recently and have found a niche with the players.  In some ways I think we are complementary, they focus on players and I focus on coaches and the front office. is also doing player interviews but on a paid basis.

I listen more to BA because their opinions are based on feedback from a cross-section of scouts and coaches.  Keith Law talks with scouts but I find he is usually up to speed on just a subset of the prospects, he is a one man show there at ESPN.  But I do find his opinions valuable when he delivers them.  I don't go to John Sickels very often because he is another one man shop and he doesn't venture far from his home base in Kansas. 

Our own, and Fangraphs, Marc Hulet does a lot of homework on prospects too and he has connections in the Jays system as well.  I have found Marc to be "on the ball" with his opinions on the Jays prospects.

No matter who has the opinion, their success rate is not overly high.  Prospect forecasting is a volatile business and that is part of what makes it interesting for me. 

So mylegacy, look at battersbox and jaysprospects as the two sides of your Blue Jays prospects sandwich, to go with your double malt of course.

vonwafer234 - Tuesday, November 08 2011 @ 08:22 PM EST (#246541) #
Nice! I love reading as much as I can about Blue Jays prospects and I think I've read basically every articles posted about the prospects in our system since Anthopolous took over as GM of the Jays. Out of all the prospects in our system. I'm the most excited about Anthony Gose, Jake Marisnick and Noah Syndergaard. I see Syndergaard as having the most upside out all the pitching prospects we have in our system and that's saying alot.
McNulty - Tuesday, November 08 2011 @ 11:08 PM EST (#246543) #
I have never seen Gose play, in person or on television. For those that have seen him, is there any player in the majors now his game reminds you of? How about players in the past?
TamRa - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 12:13 AM EST (#246546) #
Dwight Smith looks like the best pure hitter from the draft.

I've got to get more excited about this guy.

Jacob Anderson looks like a junior Marisnick.  He probably won't play centre but he has the size, hits right handed and can do everything well.  Currently he is headed for right field.

Given how much I love Marisnick, this plays to my prospect-geekiness

Matt Dean looks like a prototypical third baseman.

My favorite hitter from this draft.

Christian Lopes looked good as an offensive shortstop.  He will stick at short, for now.

He's kind of the guy I imagine being the 2B one day but it's good news he's not moving this soon. 

Likewise, John Stilson wasn't ready for game action in instructs.

Any word on whether he or Dyson will be developed with a long term goal of starting or closing? Particularly in regards to the usual assumption that a pitcher this good would come fast if he's developed as a closer early on?

Dustin Antolin was looking really good.  Antolin pitched very well in 2009 but had to have TJ surgery in 2010.  The Jays are also excited about Dan Webb who they think is a much better pitcher out of the bullpen.

I'm still waiting on Webb to show me something. I hope he breaks out next year.

Adeiny Hecharria has shown flashes of his potential in the AFL but not on a consistent basis.  Hech had a bruised thumb that kept him out of games for a week.  Overall Hech is hitting .246/.300/.462.

He started the AFL season 1/21, since then he's turned it on. since then his lines are .341/.383/.659/1.042 (of course the 3-triple game helps a lot)

TamRa - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 12:18 AM EST (#246547) #

I love April and would never want to say anything that might be seen as disparaging, but those interviews strike me as very heavily "get to know this human being" as opposed to "deep insight into this player's talent and potential."

there's certainly a place for that though - it definitely appeals to a lot of fans.

TamRa - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 12:20 AM EST (#246548) #
the thing i think Gerry does best - with the possible exception of only Marc - is the opportunity to interact with people who actually work for the team, and the way that opportunity is maximized. While noting the inherent bias a team will have towards it's own players, I'd rather hear what Blue Jays coaches, instructors, scouts, and PD people have to say about these guys than anyone else.

John Northey - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 09:00 AM EST (#246554) #
3 triple game for Adeiny? Cool. While as a stats guy I know triples and stolen bases aren't as valuable as home runs they still make the game a whole lot more fun to watch. My favorite play ever to watch was seeing Marquis Grissom hit an inside the park home run in extras to win the only game I ever saw at Olympic Stadium (1994) -

I miss the days when Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, and Vince Coleman were stealing 70+ a year. When the Jays had multiple 20+ stolen base threats on the team (1985: 4 guys with 20+, another over 10, 86 had 3 over 20, 87 had 2 over 30, this year just one over 30 but hope with the 3 others over 10 and 2 more at 9 each).

I really, really hope Gose & Adeiny are for real and can hit at a decent level up here soon. They'd just add to the 'fun factor' and if the Jays don't win at least I want them to be fun to watch.
JaysProspects - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 09:23 AM EST (#246555) #
MyLegacy; Gerry; and TamRa,

Appreciate the support and feedback towards MyLegacy, I have deemed you our biggest fan; TamRa, your analysis of the site is accurate and our team will try harder to provide more insight into the players; Gerry, love your work, you know this, of course. Honoured to know you've visited the site. Thanks again to all.
FisherCat - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 09:39 AM EST (#246556) #

I've seen Gose about 3-4 times so I'm not sure how much my description of him holds water, but here goes...

Comparison to current players: Curtis Granderson (vintage 2010-2011).

Comparison to past players: Fred Lynn (maybe), Kenny Lofton (w/more arm & power)

That's my quick thoughts.

Mylegacy - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 11:12 AM EST (#246559) #
Gerry, Gerry, Gerry... I loved your response to me above - until - until - gasp - you associated me with "double malt." Gerry, please sir - it's "single malt" - and preferably at least 12 years if not 18 years old.

As that famous American revolutionary (what ever his name was) said: "Give me single malt or give me death!"

sam - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 11:34 AM EST (#246560) #
Thank you Fisher Cat and Gerry for all the info. I have to admit, I prefer the prospect commentary on this site the most. The sources are solid and I trust the evaluations coming from the likes of Gerry, Marc, mamboon, and Lugnut Fan. I do frequent jaysprospects occasionally and enjoy the interviews but would echo what's been said about the personal pieces. I'm more interested in the baseball side of the player. I would advise readers to stay away from jaysjournal. They do a good job of compiling links to information related to Jays prospects, but some of the commentary and analysis is really poor.

Mylegacy, I have been doing some rough math on your scotch drinking. By my calculation, you reference drinking scotch at least four times a week. You've been posting on this site for four years now. By my very crude addition and multiplication, I estimate that have consumed 31,200ml of scotch in the last four years. Well done sir.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 12:18 PM EST (#246562) #
Sam - I will have you know that over that time frame I've actually spilled more than that! Good thing my pensions and investments can keep up my habits.

Apparently, one side effect of several single malts a day is the occasional slight - to moderate - hand tremors. Who'd a thunk it.
Lylemcr - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 01:26 PM EST (#246563) #
Do you know what I love?  Good defense.  Especially from a SS and CF.  If Gose and Hechy were just outstanding defensive players and hit 275, 10-20 HR, I would be very happy with that.  I think they can do more.  If you have some of the pitching depth the Jays are building, good defense is going to be fairly important.
TamRa - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 03:14 PM EST (#246564) #
Gose as Lofton with more arm/power would be a very shiny outcome, IMO.
Jonny German - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 03:41 PM EST (#246565) #
Meh, Lofton was only a 6-time All Star. Let's set our sights a little higher, maybe Gose can safely be projected to win an MVP or two.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 03:41 PM EST (#246566) #
Oh yeah.  Kenny Lofton is an arguable Hall of Famer (on merit anyways).  At the age Gose was holding his own in double A, Lofton was struggling in the NYPL and striking out more than once per game.  He gained control of the strike zone, and started hitting .300 instead of .240, when he was past 22 years of age.  Lofton is, of course, an unusually positive story developmental story. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 03:43 PM EST (#246567) #
A half-empty glass of Coke for Jonny. :)
smcs - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 05:30 PM EST (#246568) #
At the age Gose was holding his own in double A, Lofton was struggling in the NYPL and striking out more than once per game.

Gose has 408 Ks in 409 games, including 154 in 137 last year.

Anyways, Carlos Gomez has the stats most similar to Anthony Gose. Gomez spent all of 2006 in AA Binghamton at age 20, turning 21 in December. Gose spent all of 2011 in AA new Hampshire at 20, turning 21 in August.

Gomez: .281/.350/.423/.773 and a .364wOBA. He had 97 Ks and 27 BBs, and a 41-9 SB-CS.
Gose: .253/.349/.415/.769 and a .364wOBA. He had 154 Ks and 62 BBs, and a 70-15 SB-CS.

Gomez was called up to the majors in 2007 after 36 games in AAA by a panicking Mets squad, and hasn't really developed. Obviously, there are some differences, like Gomez being a righty and Gose being a lefty, but there aren't many players who have combined Gose's ability to steal a base with his ability to strike out at such a young age.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 07:16 PM EST (#246569) #
Gomez isn't a bad comp, but he walked and struck out a lot less and hit many fewer long-balls than Gose.  Gomez' OBP was decent in his age 20 season because he was hit by pitches 20 times; this was out of context for his career.

Colby Rasmus may or may not develop as everyone hopes, but his presence (and Rajai Davis') allows the organization to take more time with Gose. 

Jdog - Wednesday, November 09 2011 @ 10:10 PM EST (#246573) #
I wish the Jays would send Gose back to New Hampshire for at least another half season. With Rasmus and Davis there is no need to rush, Marisnick isn't going to start at AA why not just let Gose go back to a familiar environment and continue to work on his hitting?
cybercavalier - Thursday, November 10 2011 @ 01:53 PM EST (#246587) #
cybercavalier - Thursday, November 10 2011 @ 01:56 PM EST (#246588) #
east coast. Typo.
John Northey - Thursday, November 10 2011 @ 03:13 PM EST (#246590) #
I'd love it if the Jays bought out a AAA and AA team then moved them to Ottawa (AA) and Montreal (AAA) thus helping the kids get used to crossing the border and the like.

In 2012 the following expire in the IL (AAA east coast)...
Buffalo (ideal but with Mets): 61-82
Columbus (with Cleveland): 88-56 won division
Indianapolis (Pirates): 76-68
Lehigh Valley (Phillies): 80-64
Louisville (Reds): 73-71
Pawtucket (Red Sox - not changing): 81-61 won division
Rochester (Twins): 53-91, worst record in IL
Syracuse (Nationals): 66-74
Toledo (Tigers): 67-77

Rochester was also last in 2010 (9 back of 2nd last), just sub 500 in 2009. They might be getting sick of the Twins. Vegas was 2 games sub-500 this year, but was last place the year before. Hard to sell the Jays as a better organization, but kids charging up the system could help. Rochester is closer to Toronto than it is to Minnesota (didn't we have a ferry between here and there for awhile) so who knows?
bpoz - Thursday, November 10 2011 @ 05:45 PM EST (#246593) #
Is this true? Sal Fassano is going to manage AAA to be with d'Arnaud.

I really like Sal as a guy who will have a good non playing career.
vonwafer234 - Friday, November 11 2011 @ 01:33 AM EST (#246598) #
Yeah it'll be really interesting to see what JaysProspects comes up with soon with the suggestions you guys made. I sent them and email with suggestions on stuff to talk about that might interests readers like what Blue Jays management saw in Eric Arce and how he was a guy who after the incident with the underage girls didn't really have a clear MLB future and if Anthopolous knew about him before he took over as GM of our team or someone apart of Jays management really liked him? Stuff like that, a piece on AA's draft vision and why he takes guys higher then where their projected to go (Syndergaard, Jacob Anderson, Musgrove) is something that peaks my interest and I think it's not just me.
bpoz - Monday, November 14 2011 @ 09:00 AM EST (#246660) #
I have been reading Jaysprospect & Mopupduty, and have enjoyed it.

The 2011 Minor League Season was so fantastic. Championships, Awards & some spectacular player advances.
I hope 2012 is as rewarding.

I know it is early but I cannot help myself from already speculating on the rosters and some sort of promotion schedule for various players that like.

Last year I felt quite sure that NH would be weak. My reasoning was that they were too young and possibly lacked pitching, especially early in the season. I sure was wrong.

This year, 2012, I love the pitching but where is the Power going to come from.
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