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On Sunday the Blue Jays minor league system was 1-5, with a PPD game for Dunedin.  Daniel Norris was fantastic in his AAA debut, while Kevin Pillar hit in both games of a double header for the Bisons.  Casey Lawrence had his first stinker in a while for New Hampshire, while Lansing lost in extra-innings.  Vancouver lost despite having a lead in the top of the 9th, and Bluefield had a walk-off victory in the bottom of the 9th.

Buffalo 3 – Durham 0 (7 Innings)

Daniel Norris was brilliant in his AAA debut, pitching 6 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits, with 1 walk, and 10 strikeouts.  Sergio Santos closed out the game in the 7th with his first save for Buffalo, striking out 2 in the process.

Kevin Pillar hit his 8th HR, Jared Goedert was 2-3 with a double, and Jonathan Diaz was 2-3 with a double as well.

Buffalo 0 – Durham 1 (Makeup of August 9 PPD, 7 Innings)

Kevin Pillar had 2 of the Bisons 4 hits including his 35th double of the season.  Raul Valdes was solid in his start, 5.2 IP, 3H 1R 1ER 1BB 7 S0.

New Hampshire 3 – Akron 9

Casey Lawrence had his first bad outing in a while, allowing 7 earned over 5 innings.  Despite the bad outing Casey’s ERA still stands at a solid 3.23.

The Fisher Cats only managed to have 5 hits.  Jack Murphy and Andy Fermin each had 2 hits, which included a HR and a double.

Tampa – Dunedin (PPD – Rain)


West Michigan 3 – Lansing 2 (11 Innings)

The Lugnuts offense was rather quiet, scoring only 2 runs.  DJ Davis and Justin Atkinson each had 2 hits, while Mike Reeves had 3 hits, including a run scored, and a double.

Miguel Castro was solid in his second start for Vancouver, pitching 4.2 innings, allowing one earned run on 2 hits, with 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts.

Tri-City 11 – Vancouver 7

Ryan Borucki had a solid outing, 5IP 4H 2R 2ER 2BB 6SO.  Matt Smoral struggled in his first appearance for Vancouver, 0.2IP 2H 3R 3ER 2BB 1SO.  Brett Barber came to close out the game in the top of the 9th, but unfortunately had a rough outing.  Brett never got an out, and finished with a line of 0IP, 2H 4R 4ER 2BB 0SO.

Vancouver offense did their part, managing to score 7 runs on 13 hits and 2 walks combined.  Franklin Barreto had a strong game, going 2-4, with 2 runs scored, a double, and 2 RBI.


Danville 4 – Bluefield 5

Bluefield managed to come from behind and win in walk-off fashion thanks to an Angel Rojas single in the bottom of the 9th.  Chase Wellbrock got the victory, upping his record to 2-0, while quietly having a spectacular season for Bluefield(0.51 era, 25k, 1bb).

Three Stars

1.  Daniel Norris

2.  Kevin Pillar

3.  Ryan Borucki

Norris Excels in Bisons Debut | 43 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
uglyone - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#291777) #
Looks like Norris is intent on forcefeeding me crow already. That's two absolutely phenomenal starts in a row since i was yelling to trade him at the deadline. If it turns out those four awful starts previous were just a blip, then this might be turning into a pretty special year for a 21yr old.

finch - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#291779) #
Norris is definitely looking like an elite prospect. I'm glad they didn't trade him. A lefty with his stuff and potential doesn't grow on trees.
Richard S.S. - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#291781) #
When a very good/great pitcher has a 3-5 game stretch where they're not very good, it's usually because he's working on something. One thing very good/great pitchers have is consistency, either they are hurt/family life stress, or they are working on something. Talent doesn't turn on and off like a tap. He don't look hurt.

Norris was a 2011 (74th) draft pick (ranked as mid-late first round-ish talent). When they move this fast, you never trade them, unless a young stud Star Pitcher is coming back (Felix?).

It's unlikely Buffalo is in the Playoffs, so he might get called up in September along with Sean Nolin.
John Northey - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#291783) #
It is fun watching the kids grow.  2015 will be another tough one for choices in the majors and AAA.
Majors: Dickey/Buehrle/Stroman/Hutchison/Happ are all locked in I think, with all others fighting for #6
AAA: Sanchez, Norris, Graveman (so far so good in AAA), Nolin all look solid for AAA with guys like Casey Lawrence making a case for it.  Odds are the Jays will sign a few minor league free agents also to ensure a full rotation or retain guys like Liz and Mills.  Romero and Drabek might be in the mix but hopefully both are shifted to pen duty in a desperate effort to get something out of them.

I suspect Sanchez will be in the majors for 2015, in the rotation, but no idea how outside of injuries.  Happ is cheap and solid so I doubt the Jays would want to trade him, Buehrle would be nice to trade to make space in a financial sense but you like having solid workhorses like him and Dickey in the rotation as well.  Dickey is still fairly cheap at $12 mil and knuckleballers are hard to trade.  So if I was betting I'd say Buehrle would be #1 on the trade list, followed by Happ then Dickey as each would clear payroll and would have clear value to another team.  Hutchison, Stroman and other kids will be held onto unless a crazy good deal comes along. 

2015's pen will also be crowded but might not have a 'real' closer.  Cecil, McGowan, Loup, Redmond are locks. Jenkins has put himself into the picture, Rasmussen is nice to have as is Delabar, then you get the guys in the AAA rotation who are knocking on the door like Sanchez.  Odds are AA will sign a couple of guys to fight it out in the pen as well and might resign Janssen if cheap enough ($5 mil or less).  It'll be interesting.

Meanwhile all those AAA rotation potentials and others are fighting for a September call-up to be part of a 10+ man pen.  Santos, Delabar, Rasmussen, Wagner, Mills, Morrow (if he ever gets healthy) will probably all be part of it.  I could see Norris getting called up as I think he has to go on the 40 man this winter (use it as a 'breaking in' period).  Korecky should be called up (0.64 ERA, 20 saves, 2.2 BB/9 8.7 K/9) as he has shown something down there. Stilson might be as well (again, I think has to go on 40 man this winter).  All of them would be too much (9 more pitchers... getting way too crowded) so a few guys will be disappointed. 
Mike Green - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#291785) #
Here's the story on Norris' start with some nice video of his first K (Wil Myers). He sure looks like a major league starter. 
PeteMoss - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#291786) #
I'd be ok using Sanchez as a relief ace next year in a similar role to what he is in now and then moving into the rotation later in the year if needed. It would limit his innings and it seems to have done wonders for his command (5.5 BB/9 in AA, 4.5 BB/9 in AAA and now he's at 1.5 BB/9 in the majors). I also think he could up his k rate a bit in the bullpen.

finch - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#291787) #
I gotta say, I love Will Myers and the old school way he plays ie sans batting gloves.
Richard S.S. - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#291789) #
Norris is a 2011 draft pick, since when is three years a 40-man limit requirement.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#291790) #
This may well have been reported here already, and if so I apologize for the repeat, but it appears that Anthopolous made a long term offer to Anthony Alford this summer before he left for Ole Miss. Alford turned it down.
John Northey - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#291791) #
It used to be 3 years then you had to be protected, but those changed (forgot about that) a couple of years ago.  What I found is players who were 18 or younger on the June 5th preceding the signing of their first pro contract must be added after five minor league seasons. Players who were 19 or older must be added after four minor league seasons. Since Norris was a high school sign (18 when signed) he has 5 years pre-40 man but his first year was not playing (signed late I guess) so 4 playing years, and he is in his 3rd so he has one more year before being required to be on the roster.

Basically, college signs from 2011 and high school from 2010 must be added this winter if I read it right.  So Stilson from 2011, and guys from 2010 like Dickie Thon and Pompey must be protected.  Some are low enough (like Thon) not to worry about but it'll be interesting to see.  I suspect Stilson will get the call then as the Jays will want to see him vs ML hitters (maybe in extras and blowouts only but who knows after seeing Sanchez tossed into the fire).
soupman - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#291792) #
Thanks for the video link. Norris' fb looks like one of those 'explosive' heaters that just seems to pick up steam...maybe because it doesn't seem to have a lot of sink to it...

soupman - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#291794) #
Just checked up on alford to see what he’s up to. There was a story in a local rag about him from last week that I hadn’t seen mentioned anywhere yet. Looks like aa offered him a deal to commit to baseball full time.
China fan - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#291801) #
The Jays have a chance to be significantly stronger next year.  With full seasons from Stroman and Sanchez (possibly both in the rotation), with the potential arrival of Norris and Pompey, with better health from Encarnacion and Lawrie and Lind, with potential improvements from young players such as Hutchison and Gose and Lawrie, with platoon holes now filled with the likes of Valencia and Francisco, and with greater depth creating a better bench and potential trading chips, the Jays could be a superb team next year.  But first let's have them make the playoffs this year -- which would be a great stepping stone for the future, regardless of what happens in the playoffs.
Hodgie - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#291802) #
The pitch sequence in that at-bat against Myers was beautiful. Up and away fastball - swinging strike, away breaking ball - ball, up and in fastball - ball, down and in breaking ball - foul, away fastball - swinging strike. If that is indicative of the way in which Norris attacks hitters it is easy to see why his strikeout rates are so high.

He really is a different beast than Sanchez, who seems to be attacking the middle of the plate and allowing his natural movement and elite velocity to take the ball to the edges and induce weak contact whereas Norris looks to have the ability to attack all four quadrants purposely.

finch - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#291804) #
I'm looking for Smoral and Brentz to take a similar leap next year as Norris did this year.
Richard S.S. - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#291805) #
So perhaps we try Sanchez as Closer?
whiterasta80 - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#291808) #
China Fan. The one move I'd like to see the Jays make for next year is to add Russell Martin. This year we've seen the difference going from a historically bad catcher to a mediocre one can make. I'd like to see what going from a mediocre one to a good one can make. Plus he's so athletic that I am certain he could handle Dickey.
Mike Green - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#291819) #
Encarnacion leads off for the D-Jays in the first game this afternoon.
dan gordon - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#291820) #
Heard a good interview with Norris on The Fan 590 today. He said the Jays completely revamped his mechanics, and it has taken until this year to get it right. Previously, he was a "drop and drive" kind of pitcher and the ball came out of his hand fairly low, resulting in pretty flat pitches. The Jays had him get on top of the ball better, giving him more of a downward plane. Norris said that once he got it right, he could see the difference in the kind of swings hitters were taking, even with the same velocity and location. Sounds like the big leap forward this year has some real justification behind it, and could very well be a true indication of Norris' ability. Lots of credit to the Jays' coaching staff.
Richard S.S. - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#291822) #
We'll have to pay close attention to what Norris is doing from this point forward. I don't think stats will be giving us enough information. If he can keep doing well in Buffalo, he's a Candidate for the Rotation in 2015 at the earliest and 2016 at the latest.
John Northey - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#291823) #
My thoughts too Richard.  Given Norris doesn't need to be added to the 40 man then leaving him in AAA to finish 2014 and seeing in the spring what he looks like makes tons of sense.  Probably will get a very long look in spring but sent to AAA until an injury occurs, and will fight with many others to earn that #6 role.  Mix in the big changes the Jays did to his delivery and how it really seems to be working now I wouldn't be shocked to see the Jays try to clear some space in the rotation to make it possible for him to be here in 2015.

Right now I'd bet on one of Dickey, Buehrle, or Happ being traded to open a slot for Sanchez, Norris, or whoever wins it in spring with Redmond as an emergency guy and some AAA vets signed to ensure competent backups are around too.  That could free up $6.7 to $19 mil depending and that would be very useful not to mention any prospect the Jays get for one of those 3.  I don't see 2 of them being traded though as you don't want to push it - adding one kid a year to the rotation is 'safe' but adding 2 is a big risk (Stroman and Hutch this year was pushing it but wasn't the plan).
TangledUpInBlue - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#291826) #
Forget 2015 or 2016, if Norris keeps doing what he's doing, he'll be in the majors by the end of this month. I'd say two more starts like the last one and you'll see him here.
Richard S.S. - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#291829) #
If you listen to the Baseball Central @ Noon podcast for 31 July, Jeff Blair says that even with re-signing Melky, the Jays will still have $20.0 MM if not re-signing any other free agents. He gives more, and I might not be as accurate as he is. He also doesn't talk Dollars if his information isn't correct, so he's talked to someone who knows.
sam - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#291839) #
Uglyone, I've been eating a lot of crow this year. I wasn't particularly high on either Norris and Stroman and both are mighty impressive.
Hodgie - Monday, August 11 2014 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#291840) #
I can't believe I missed George Kottaras signing a minor league deal with the Jays. Let a vacation distract you for a few days and look what a guys misses.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#291856) #
Here's the homer Pillar hit last night.   Check out the angle of the ball off the bat on the replay. 
bpoz - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#291857) #
If some rest is needed by the rotation, Morrow will most likely get a start, S Nolin is now healthy & needs Innings. At least I hope he is healthy. From mid May to July 29th he was on the DL twice, I do not know the injury details. He may be a decent player, he has good minor league numbers..
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#291858) #
You wouldn't think so.  The club has 4 off-days in the next 16 days.  If the club wanted to skip a Hutchison start, now would be the perfect time to do it.  It would let the other starters keep on rotation, more or less.
Beyonder - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#291859) #
Can we please call Pillar up? Surely his time out on account of his mild misbehaviour is over?
ogator - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#291862) #
Why would you want to call up a guy who, in AAA, hits for average, hits home runs, steals bases and plays good defense? Without Pillar, we can keep trying to set a team record for missed sacrifice bunts, successful sacrifice bunts and most at bats with lowest OBP? Why would you want to give Pillar another chance when you have the satisfaction of punishing your team and searching around for marginal players from other organizations? My hands have been up in the air for three weeks.
Gerry - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#291864) #
Call up Pillar for who? And if the answer is Gose, then do you send down Pillar when Edwin comes back later this week?
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#291865) #
I don't know that there is a role for Pillar now with Rasmus, Gose, Reimold, Cabrera and Bautista around.  He'll probably get called up September 1, and will probably get a lot of playing time if the Jays are out of it. 
Fangraphs currently projects him at .260/.293/.377; subjectively, I think that's quite low.  I think that he'd hit .300 now if you gave him a full-time job with a few walks and medium range pop.  He's got good speed on the basepaths, good range in the outfield and a good arm.  That would be a pretty good player.  It's just one opinion.  The Jays do have some interesting decisions for the off-season, but those ought not to be on the mind now.

China fan - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#291866) #
"....Why would you want to give Pillar another chance when you have the satisfaction of punishing your team and searching around for marginal players from other organizations?...."

Those "marginal players" from other organizations are guys like Francisco, Reimold and Valencia, all of whom have performed far better at the major-league level than Pillar has so far.  Pillar has already been given 2 chances in the majors, and he's sporting a nifty .566 OPS in his 151 plate appearances. I think the Jays have been pretty good at assessing talent, and they've correctly assessed that they'll get better hitting from those "marginal" guys, regardless of how flashy Pillar's numbers might be.  Don't forget how often we have been blinded by a prospect's great numbers in the minors -- from Snider to Arencibia to Jim Negrych.  Those numbers don't necessarily translate in such a predictable way to the majors.

Personally I agree that Pillar deserves another chance, but let's not get imply that this is some blindingly obvious matter. The roster is rather crowded now, and Pillar may have temporarily blown his chance.  He still deserves another chance, and I'm sure he will get that chance, but it's not an atrocity if he has had to wait a few weeks for it.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#291871) #
Jays face an interesting decision when edwin comes back.

Who gets swnt down?


Mike Green - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#291873) #
The Jays are going with a 7 man pen.  With all of the off days for the remainder of August, I would suggest that a 6 man pen would work until the September 1 callups.  Jenkins would be the logical one to be sent down.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#291874) #
And if you wanted to be revolutionary, you could let Hutchison have a 2 inning relief outing somewhere around August 17 so that he stays sharp without all the load of a start.  Kill two birds with one stone, give Hutchison a little rest while keeping him sharp and save a roster spot for a position player.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#291876) #
the off days do make that an interesting possibility, and lets us keep all those 5 bench guys available for the playoff roster.

do the off days give us a chance to go with a 4 man rotation for a couple of weeks?

Date: Player (days of rest)

12: Happ (4)
13: Dickey (4)
14: off
15: stroman (5)
16: buehrle (5)
17: happ (4)
18: off
19: Dickey (5)
20: Stroman (4)
21: off
22: Buehrle (5)
23: Happ (5)
24: Dickey (4)
25: Stroman (4)
26: Hutch (15)
27: Buehrle (4)
28: off
29: Dickey (4)
30: Stroman (4)
31: Hutch (4)

that's actually pretty workable.

Hutch could be a bullpen option for most of the next couple of weeks, and then Happ a bullpen option in the last week, with there only being a few days in the middle there where neither of them would be available in relief and we'd be stuck with a true 6 man pen.

uglyone - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#291877) #
and even with that "four man rotation" there, all the starters still get at least one day of extra rest, if not more.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#291878) #
in other words, I think you've got the right idea, Mike.

would be a creative solution for sure. wonder if the jays see it.
TangledUpInBlue - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#291880) #
I think they'd be reluctant to send Hutchison of all people to the bullpen for 15 days and then have him start again. If he goes to the bullpen, he's there to stay I think. They'd probably do it now if they had a decent option for the rotation. If Norris looks ready, or if they can pick up another decent starter, I think that's what we'll see.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#291881) #
So what have we learned about our Pitching Staff?
1) Marcus Stroman belongs up here and is starting to look like a Front-line Starter (a #1 or a #2). I don't know totally, how good he can be, but he'll do until something better comes.
2) Aaron Sanchez belongs up here. He's a very effective Reliever right now. Only he knows if he can start up here, or become the Closer. I'd be quite happy with either.
3) Drew Hutchison belongs up here and look like a good #3/#4 Starter. Only he knows how good he can be. With more experience, he becomes more consistent.
4) J.A. Happ can be an effective Starter (#4/#5). I think he's finally learned how to pitch consistently well.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#291886) #
"I think they'd be reluctant to send Hutchison of all people to the bullpen for 15 days and then have him start again. If he goes to the bullpen, he's there to stay I think. They'd probably do it now if they had a decent option for the rotation. If Norris looks ready, or if they can pick up another decent starter, I think that's what we'll see."

I don't see skipping two starts due to a roster crunch as saying anything about his status as a starter, really.

and I definitely don't think hutch should be moved to the bullpen. just a start ago he threw one of the best games in franchise history.
TangledUpInBlue - Tuesday, August 12 2014 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#291897) #
Uglyone, I just meant they probably don't want to be messing with Hutchison's arm (given the TJ surgery) by moving him in and out of the rotation. As for whether he should move to the pen, I suppose it depends on how strong his arm is. It certainly seems like he's having trouble holding up -- e.g., he's been worse in the second half, has done better with extra rest, had his great start that you mentioned after a low-pitch outing and his most recent bad one after a high-pitch (115) outing. The other thing is he could probably provide a valuable right-handed arm in relief, which is a bit of a weakness right now.
Norris Excels in Bisons Debut | 43 comments | Create New Account
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