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Doug Davis is the Blue Jays minor league field coordinator. I talked with him last week about various players in the Blue Jays system.

BB: Anthony Gose had a good year last year but seems to have fallen off the wagon with his hitting this year.

DD: Yes Anthony is going through some struggles this year offensively and that's a tough thing for him. He is doing everything he can right now to dig himself out of it and find something he is comfortable with and works for him. Obviously he spent time in the big leagues last year and had a chance to help out a bit this year but ever since he has come back down, again I think it has been a struggle. I think a little bit mentally and then when things don't go right it just piles on and that's the way it has been for him. But he is still young, he is very athletic and very skilled and I think everyone has such high expectations they forget how young he is. Still he has to go through some growing pains and I think right now that's what it is and he is going to have to figure out how to deal with it. Baseball is such a mental grind that way.


BB: AJ Jimenez has had some lingering issues with his arm this year, is he over that now or do you have to watch him carefully?

DD: We are watching him, I don't know how carefully. I am thrilled, as is Sal Fasano, with where he is right now and he can go out and play everyday, unless he tells us otherwise. He has had great results, I wouldn't say his throwing is back 100% to where it was but it's close. He is swinging the bat well and I think he is back to where he was last year to the point where we can start thinking about the future.


BB: Hitting wise he is a see ball hit ball kind of guy. Are you working with him on that or do the pitchers have to teach him that lesson?

DD: I think time will do that but he is doing a great job so far. The swing has improved dramatically from where it was a couple of years ago. He did well in AA last year and this year he has picked up where he left off and it has gotten even better. I think every young hitter is the same way, patience is something you have to learn and the more confident and comfortable you get with your surroundings the more patient you get. He is not someone we want to walk a certain amount of time but he is someone who we want to be a productive hitter.


BB: Andy Burns has got off to a slow start in AA, is that due to anything in particular?

DD: I think over aggressiveness might be one reason. Andy is an aggressive guy, offensively and defensively. In AA you see better pitching, easier velocity, firmer fastballs and they use it well and I think thats what he is finding out. He is another one where patience is something he has to learn playing at that level but he has had some productive at-bats, I have seen him a couple of times already. You need to give guys 100 or 150 at-bats before you begin to get concerned. I am not concerned and I don't think anyone is. I expect he will finish up strong at that level.


BB: I want to ask you about some injured guys, Jacob Anderson is missing the whole year, is that right?

DD: Yes it will be the whole year. He had a rib issue, I am not fully up to speed with medical issues. He did have rib surgery but then it didn't get better and I think he had some issue with infection. Fortunately he is young and we hope he gets back for instructional league.


BB: How about Osuna, what's up with him?

DD: After he came back from the DL and started throwing it wasn't quite the same. Right now we are trying to figure out what's different. He has gone back down to Florida where they are looking at it. I didn't see him but some of our guys did and they said he wasn't the same so we sent him to Florida to figure out what's going on.


BB: Did you see Daniel Norris pitch in Lansing?

DD: I did not this time but from what everyone says he is back to 100% and he should pick up from where he left things off.


BB: Have you seen Marcus Stroman pitch?

DD: Yes I have. His pitches have gotten progressively better, he is a dominating pitcher at the AA level.

BB: Some of his critics have said his fastball is too straight, what do you think of that?

DD: Well it is, it is a straight fastball that doesn't have a tremendous amount of movement. But I think he is learning how to pitch with the fastball that he does have. It's an overpowering fastball at times. Because he is not a tall pitcher he tends to pitch up in the zone more than other guys and he has to command his fastball to be dominant.

BB: And I guess that is why developing a good change-up is so important for him.

DD: Absolutely. The first couple of outings in AA he didn't use it a lot and then he got hit around a little bit and he started to break out that change-up more and its become very effective for him and he has a good one. He has 3 above average pitches with the change-up being one of them and he is using it more now to make his fastball more effective. He has good poise on the mound, good temperament and he doesn't get rattled.


BB: Sean Nolin had an early call-up to the major leagues and whether it was nerves or inexperience he pitched too much in the middle of the plate.  I assume he is working on that back in AA.

DD: I think pitchers who are in AA are typically working on that regardless of whether they have pitched in the big leagues or not.  I think Sean is continuing to progress and working on command like most pitchers of his age and experience.  I saw him pitch very well in Harrisburg, he has strung a bunch of good outings together.  It is all about command for him, he is using his curveball, he is using his slider, change-up is very effective and he likes to use it.  His fastball is good too, he will pitch at 88-89 and every so often when he needs a little extra he will pump it up to 92-93.


BB: I need to ask you about a pitcher in Dunedin, Tyler Ybarra, who hasn't given up a run in 28 or 30 innings.  What is holding him back from moving up the ladder?

DD: Tyler is a guy who has had some injury issues in the past and we are careful with him.  We pay attention to the number of innings he throws and days off in between.  We are just trying to get him to the point where he feels confident enough to go out there on back to back days.  Also his fastball command is something he is working on.  He has tremendous stuff, when he is in the zone with his fastball and curveball he is almost unhittable.  It won't be long, we are just paying attention to where he is at physically.


BB: Last year Alberto Tirado pitched really well, this year seems to have started more slowly for him.

DD: I think you just need to watch him pitch, I wouldn't say he has got off to a slower start.  He is pitching at a higher level now, we got him out of Florida and under the lights which is a new experience for him and I think he is settling in nicely.  When you grade out his stuff his fastball is explosive and he has a hard breaking slider which is a plus pitch for me.  I saw him pitch very well.  It's always going to be about command for young guys like him, he is prgressing right the way we want him to be.


BB: How are you guys going to roll out the weighted balls progra, is this voluntary, compulsery, targetted at different levels?

DD: You have players at every level, including the major leagues, using it.  For the most part it's an optional program, it's available to pitchers who feel like they need it.  But we also encourage some of the guys who we feel would benefit from it to use it as well.  It's been effective so far and there are a couple of guys on the big league staff who swear by it.  When guys like that endorse it, it's a good thing to try and use it in other places.  It's our first year so we will have to wait and see what the benefit is but so far it has been good for us.


BB: John Stilson has been pitching well in Buffalo but his strikeout numbers are low.  Does he have to work on something in particular to improve his strikeouts?

DD: He has movement, he has power, it's all command.  John's young, he hasn't been a pro for too long.  At AAA he is facing some professional hitters who are throwing some professional at-bats at him.  He is learning how to control his emotions, command his fastball, command that slider.  I saw him throw a couple of different times with different results and it's all about command.  But when he is on he will miss bats and he will do that in AAA and in the major leagues.


BB: Last question seeing that you are in Vancouver, Dickie Thon has been playing well this year.

DD: He is hitting over 300.  I think right now Dickie is in a real good place, he is comfortable with his surroundings, he loves being here, he is playing every day and he is playing well.  He has learned to control himself a little bit, from a maturity level, experience level, he has grown up.  He is doing a nice job here offensively and defensively.

BB: Did he play in centre field earlier this year?

DD: Yeah we ran him out there a little bit.  If nothing else it gets him out of the infield and gives his mind a break.  Dickie is athletic enough and that may be something he does in the future.



Batters Box thanks Doug Davis for his time.


An Interview with Doug Davis - July 2013 | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#276595) #
Great to read as always.  Interesting that the stuff and command is what they are looking for more than results it seems when it comes to pitchers.  Not a shock, but interesting. 

Dickie Thon has done well.  Wasn't keeping an eye on him this year but in A- he is hitting 294/381/376 suggesting a future lead off hitter/SS who can be mixed into CF now and then.  Might become a utility guy long term but if he can be an effective one (ie: one you can give 300 PA a year to, who has a good OBP but poor Slg) then he was well worth the cash and 5th round pick used on him. The slow pace he is moving at (a year per level, including 2 in rookie ball with different teams) suggests full season A next year, A+ at 23, AA at 24, AAA at 25 and majors at 26.  Given his low production to date that makes sense as then he'd be here for his prime years (25-32) and the Jays would pay minimal salary for the most useful of those (26-29) and could trade him at that stage.  Assuming he actually keeps a high 300's OBP all the way through which is FAR from certain.

Very good to see that they are watching guys who've been hurt and are trying to go slow.  Guess outside of ML guys that is how they do it, but ML guys they feel pressured to speed it up and that costs.

ramone - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#276597) #
Great as usual Gerry, Osuna has to be headed for TJ soon after reading that. A little worried about Stroman's fastball and his flyball rate.
john boccabella - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#276598) #
Don't look at Thon's line from yesterday after reading this.  4K 4E....  he has not looked good in the field.  it may be interesting to see him in OF, but then he has not displayed much power at all.  another factor which was worrying, the 2 games i saw he was reacting to calls and letting it affect his hitting. 
Gerry - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#276600) #
When you read the Thon answer it definitely implies that Thon has mental parts of the game that challenge him.
john boccabella - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#276601) #
thanks Gerry.  didn't want to read into the answer, but that makes sense.
There was also an interview by Rob Fai at start of season with McCullough where he did speak about some guys being upset they were still in extended ST +short season level in the organisation, and how he had to manage this.  I wonder if that includes Thon.

ayjackson - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#276602) #
I found the Osuna comments a bit cryptic. Are the issues mechanical or physical?
Lugnut Fan - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#276603) #

I had a chance to see Osuna and asked Vince Horsman who is the Lansing pitching coach about him.  In his second to last appearance, his fastball was as high as 97, but change up was flat and there wasn't much bite on his slider.  Horsman had stated that they are trying to keep him in a consistent arm slot and based on his comments to me, it sounds like Osuna was falling out of his natural arm slot which he thought led to the injury in the first place. 

The outing that Osuna had just before he was put on the DL was in front of AA and he struggled mightly in that appearance.  I have to say that paticular outing was on the road and I will let you read into it what you will as to why AA would travel to Lake County (basically Cleveland) to watch Osuna throw instead of waiting for an appearnce in Lansing.  He had struggled in his previous two outings or so and it obvioulsy concerned Anthopoulos enough to want to see Osuna's next appearance, no matter where that may occur.

If his arm hurt, I would have expected to see a drop in velocity which I did not.  Still I agree with what Gerry was told in his interview, something isn't right.  Based on what I have been told and what Gerry has posted, I would guess it's keeping his arm slot consistent and getting a feel for all of his pitches out of consistent arm slot and release point, but I wouldn't rule out the possiblity of surgery in the future either.

85bluejay - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#276604) #
Great read, thanks Gerry. That Jacob Anderson injury was bugging me, I had such high hopes - Gerry, Kenny Wilson has been out since April, any idea why? Is he expected back this year?
It's been a tough year for the Jays farm system, especially disappointing given the thinning of the system in the last year
Gerry - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#276605) #
I don't remember exactly but I think Wilson had a fracture or stress fracture in his foot.  But I am not 100% on that.
ayjackson - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#276606) #
It's been tough at the top, with Sanchez and Osuna struggling through injuries, and high ceiling guys like Norris and Smoral have not moved forward much, but there are some good stories beyond that.

Stroman and Nolin have dominated; the rest of the top 10 likely features Davis, Pillar, Jiminez, Burns and Barreto who have all moved forward nicely; and Bluefield has a nice crop of arms emerging, including DeJong, Dawson, Tirado, Cardona, Robson, among others.

All in all, I think the system has moved forward.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#276607) #
Stroman hasn't dominated, in my view.  He has been good though. 

All judgments on the short-season prospects are very, very tentative.  I'd be reluctant to make any comment on the system as a whole based primarily on the short-season prospects. 

sam - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#276608) #
This is fantastic Gerry!  Thanks!  You ask the right questions and Doug always seems willing to give our part of the fan base some good information to chew on. 

I find the Thon comments fascinating as well.  I agree I tend to read Davis' comments as Thon having "mental" issues.  Playing the outfield can be a cathartic experience for some.  You're not in the play, you can let your mind drift.  Then again for some it can be almost painful to watch as they practice their swing and mutter away after a three pitch strikeout.  Another observation, Thon was reportedly given $1.5 million dollars to sign.  One would think that when making a $1.5 million dollar investment, these sorts of checks on makeup and such would have been done, no?  I know he had medical issues as well, but I guess that was a different time.

Sano - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#276610) #

I was at a Canadians game last Friday against the Boise Hawks. I was trying to pay particular attention to Thon.  Two things really jumped out at me:

1) Physically, he seemed to be in a different league than the other Canadians. He's tall, filled out a little and looked like a ballplayer should (at least that's what struck me).

2) He did seem to make some mental mistakes - had a throwing error on an easy GB and showed up the ump by walking to first on a borderline pitch and was promptly called back.  As much as major leaguers make the same mistake and he got a walk on the next pitch, it did seem like something that you shouldn't be doing so young. 

All that being said, my impressions were pretty positive.  I can't remember his exact line, but he had a couple walks and a single or double in there.  Jordan Leyland did all the big damage with the bat.

ayjackson - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#276613) #
"Stroman hasn't dominated, in my view. He has been good though."

He's given up maybe 3-4 HR's more than you'd want to see, but otherwise, he's matched Nolin's numbers across the board.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#276614) #
Love hearing the enthusiasm for Stroman's changeup. If he's accurate and the changeup has become a legit above-average pitch for Stroman, then that is very, very good news in regards to him becoming a major league SP, rather than an RP.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#276615) #
I agree that Stroman has been pretty dominant.

Not only is his season line pretty sweet:

55.2ip, 10.2k/9, 2.3bb/9, 1.3hr/9, 1.10whip, 3.23era, 3.67fip

but even that line is brought down by one outlier outing. He had the one disastrous 1 inning outing where he gave up 7 hits and 7 runs in the 1 inning, but other than that he's been awesome:

54.2ip, 10.0k/9, 2.1bb/9, 1.0hr/9, 0.97whip, 2.14era

For a guy in his first full pro season, that is pretty great.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#276617) #
8 homers in 55 innings for a pitcher who throws straight fastballs up is, in my view, a significant issue.  Fergie Jenkins used to give up a lot of home runs, so it is something that a pitcher can work around. 
uglyone - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#276618) #
small sample size trends are always silly, but I'm going to use one anyways just to show some promise even on that front:

First 6gms: 26.0ip, 6hr, 2.1hr/9
Last 5gms: 29.2ip, 2hr, 0.6hr/9
ayjackson - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#276619) #
8 hr's in 55 IP is also a small sample size. He's dominated in spite of getting bitten by the long ball.
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#276620) #
Stroman and Nolin have had good seasons to date, but I can't think of  a single Jays prospect I would attach the word dominant to this year  ( well, maybe what minor league FA Neil Wagner did in Buffalo). Thanks, Gerry  for the Wilson news - his career keeps getting derailed by injuries.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#276621) #

This YR: 64.2ip, 9.74k/9, 1.95bb/9, 0.28hr/9, 1.05whip, 2.09era, 2.18fip
AA Total: 79.2ip, 9.94k/9, 2.26bb/9, 0.23hr/9, 1.04whip, 1.92era, 2.18fip

You've got high standards, 85Jays.
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#276622) #
I'll say this - I hope he proves me wrong but I wasn't a fan of the Stroman pick , 5'9" RHP scare me & his straight fastball adds to that concern - He may have short term ML success but I don't like him as a longterm asset .
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 11:08 PM EDT (#276630) #
The Nolin call-up was born out of desperation and "stupid think", because it was too soon for him. He was slightly overwhelmed while here. As long as he makes AAA soon, I can't see him not re-joining the Team by September, if not sooner. If he's not a dominant pitcher, we have none.

Stroman, would have been a 2012 call-up (Reliever) without the suspension. With this his first year of Starting, I'll call him dominant, because the better he gets, the more guarantee he'll be called up soon,
John Northey - Thursday, July 18 2013 @ 06:29 AM EDT (#276632) #
I wonder how the Jays feel about Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez?  They appear to be in the race to sign the Cuban pitcher who is said to be nearly ready for the majors, needing just a few starts in the minors to be set.  After being rumoured to be involved in the major international free agent scene and missing out on the big names who are now doing well (Chapman and the like) one wonders how far they'd go to get this guy.  If for real then $60 mil over 5 years is reasonable but boy would it be scary to offer (not as scary as Darvish getting what he got of course).
ayjackson - Thursday, July 18 2013 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#276634) #
Alberto Tirado mowed 'em down last night finishing off Tom Robson's suspended July 10th start. Two hits, no walks, three K's over five frames.

As a side note, Robson doesn't look to have pitched since the 10th.
ramone - Thursday, July 18 2013 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#276636) #
"I wonder how the Jays feel about Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez?"

I think Ned Colletti is going to throw crazy amounts of money at Gonzalez to the point where it won't matter what the Jays feel about him.
bpoz - Friday, July 19 2013 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#276674) #
Re: Stroman. 1 bad outing can happen to anyone. Same for Nolin.

2 great pitchers Steib & Halladay & Guzman in his first 3 seasons. Each year ie one year at a time they probably all had 1 pretty bad game. I am quite sure Halladay did. Not sure about Steib & Guzman.
An Interview with Doug Davis - July 2013 | 27 comments | Create New Account
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