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The most tempting thing, early in the season, is to over-react to small sample sizes. The Blue Jays are 1-5, panic! Similarly the minor leagues have many players hitting over .500, or zero, and pitchers with good or bad starts. I am going to ignore those for now. Buffalo and Lansing have started with three and four wins respectively. Dunedin are 2-2 and New Hampshire 1-2.

Rowdy Tellez

You probably heard over the weekend that Tellez hit two home runs on Friday night. One was to left and one was to right. With the excitement level still high, Tellez was 0-4 with three strikeouts on Sunday. Tellez is still learning how to play at the AAA level and we need to give him time to see how he settles in.

Tellez's prospect status is a big question. Some of it comes from the fact that he is a first baseman. Most major league first basement started out at some other position and when their fielding was not up to standard they moved to first base. A lot of the skepticism comes from some prospect experts, chief among them Keith Law, who think Tellez's swing is too slow. We hope that is not right but what do we look for over the season to see what we can learn? First we should see how Tellez hits against the better AAA pitchers who are either top prospects or fringe major leaguers. Second we should pay attention if we see Tellez is facing a hard thrower, can he get around on the fastball? And finally, look to see where Tellez hits his home runs? Tellez has a lot of opposite field power which is a great trait to have as long as you can hit the inside fastball. If your bat is slow it is easier to hit to the opposite field, the hitter has a fraction more time. If Tellez is showing power to right field, particularly against the pitchers I mentioned in my first two points, then he will look like a good prospect.

Anthony Alford

I saw a prospect report this winter that commented on Alford being a raw prospect. Now that Alford has been a full time baseball player for over two years I think the raw label is done. Jays manager John Gibbons was very complementary of Alford after spring training saying that he saw a great improvement in approach and ability in Alford over the last year. Alford's 2016 was disrupted with injuries, if he can show that improvement on the field this year, he could jump up the top prospects lists.

Dwight Smith Jr.

Smith spent the last two years in AA and his offense was all right, but not outstanding. Smith has started the year hitting six for nine. He has one strikeout so his BABIP is 750. One of his six hits went for extra bases. Expect regression. Having said that Smith is 24 and if he is to have a breakout season, this would be his chance to do it.

Vlad Guerrero Jr.

Vlad is off to a hot start. His OPS after four games is over 1300. But I did want to look at what has happened in the games. Vlad had two hits in the first game including a home run. In the next three games Vlad has walked five times. The pitchers are starting to be careful. What happens from here? Pitchers will likely not want to challenge him and will throw more pitches off the plate and off-speed. Vlad's reaction can go a couple of ways. He could start swinging at bad pitches and striking out or grounding out weakly. Or he could just take his walks and be an on base machine. In that case the Jays might have to look at promoting Guerrero to face pitchers who will challenge him.

Conner Greene

Conner Greene's start on Saturday was similar to his 2015 starts. He threw 84 pitches in 4.1 innings and walked five hitters. Over the weekend I listened to the latest episode of the At the Letters podcast. Usually the podcast has Ben Nicholson Smith and Arden Zwelling rehashing the weeks games. However the latest podcast has Stephen Brunt joining the guys. The first half has Brunt discussing his Aaron Sanchez documentary airing now on Sportsnet. In the second half they discuss spring training and scuttlebutt around the team. In it they say that Greene is on the trading block, that the team is trying to sell high on him. They suggest he is too full of himself and also say he came into camp throwing as hard as he could to try and make the team. Greene bears watching to see if it looks like he is developing. This spring the media had many stories of Greene following the Aaron Sanchez winter program. Keep a close eye on this space!

Three Stars

Third Star - Jason Leblebijian, 2-3, 2 run home run, 3 RBI

Second Star - Christian Lopes, walk-off two run home run

First Star - Ryan Hissey, 2-4, grand slam HR,6 RBI


It's Early In The Minors Too | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
dan gordon - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 02:58 AM EDT (#340476) #
Interesting comments about Greene. If they're thinking of trading him, the attitude problem must be pretty serious. Rios had a good start for NH today, giving up only 1 run. Perdomo, on the other hand was terrible for Dunedin, allowing 12 baserunners. Bichette has picked up right where he left off last year, hitting 2 doubles and walking today, and is hitting .400 with an OPS of 1.204. Remember he just turned 19 last month.
Mike Green - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#340477) #
Thanks, Gerry.  Guerrero Jr. has walked 5 times and struck out once so far.  If this continues for a couple of months, the club will have to promote him for the reasons you have given. 

It's very nice to see Bichette hitting in Lansing the same way he hit in the GCL.  I wonder how long the club will keep him at shortstop.  It wouldn't surprise me if he ends up in right field like his father. 

uglyone - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#340480) #
greene was so terrible last year that in my mind it pretty much completely wiped out his breakthrough 2015. Aside from a good fastball there's not a ton that gets me excited about him right now. his future imo is in the bullpen and he's no lock there either.

and yeah Mike for sure the 5bb for vladdy already is super encouraging.

Not sure i'd take the "raw" label off Alford yet, Gerry, but there's no doubt that this is a big year for him if he's going to continue to be a good prospect. Though maybe on second thought i guess i do agree with you - i won't be using "raw" as an excuse for underwhelming performance this year, at least, even though i can still give him the benfit of the doubt for it regarding any flaws in his last 2yrs performance.

Bichette is a big story if he can carry any of his performance up 2 levels - i think it was Mike who depressed me last year by pointing out that his big bro also destroyed rookie ball out of the draft and then completely fizzled afterwords. I'm still worried about that.
SK in NJ - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#340483) #
If JB Woodman got 600 plate appearances, how many strike outs would he accumulate? Scary thought.
Mike Green - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#340484) #
how much wood would a Woodman...
Gerry - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#340485) #
Woodman: I saw some video of him hitting from the weekend and to me he looked off balance with his swing. That should be correctable. Remember, its early.
SK in NJ - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#340486) #
Woodman has 94 K's in 289 pro PA's. It's still early in his career, but wow that's a lot of strike outs. They definitely need to work on something with his swing/approach.
PeterG - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#340489) #
HIs swing looked ok to me in the few times I saw him hit in ST...a little long maybe and he does swing very hard.

What I thought though was that he was perhaps trying too hard and needed to relax a bit. I would give him some time to try and work this out as he has played less than 3 months of professional baseball.

That said, I do like Josh Palacios a bit more and think he can move through the system rather quickly whereas Woodman's pace may be more measured

And both look more than capable defensively fwiw.
Nigel - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#340492) #
FWIW (not much), I thought that Woodman's problem was a combination of approach (he seemed like a guesser to me) and lack of good pitch recognition skills. He took a handful of the worst swings I have ever seen a professional baseball player take last year. I am also a fan of Palacios. No plus plus skills but a whole bunch of average to above average skills. I think the big question for him is whether he is a plus defender. If so, his broad range of hitting skills and base running skills would make him a good prospect.
Nigel - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#340497) #
The lineup tonight in Dunedin is, um, unappealing. That team may well struggle in the first half.
Waveburner - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#340498) #
Speaking of Dunedin, I really believe Jays management, both previous and current, deserve to be questioned on their bizarre and IMO reckless handling of Lane Thomas.

In 2014 just out of the draft he hit very well in short season. In 2015 they sent him to Vancouver and made the questionable decision to convert a raw athletic OF to 2B. I saw him play 2B twice that season, one near the beginning and once at the end. He looked completely lost. He never charged weakly hit grounders, showed zero range in any direction and looked supremely uncomfortable like a deer in the headlights. Still, not a big deal, they gave it a shot. He hit very poorly, but teams do experiment with athletic players sometimes.

In 2016 he was promoted to Lansing despite a terrible season. The first 3-4 games he was back in the OF and actually hit well, albeit in the smallest of small samples. Then suddenly he was back at 2B, and I believe struck out 3-4 times that game. He spent the rest of the season bouncing back and forth between OF and 2B, hitting horribly the whole time. I find this decision very difficult to find reasoning for. A raw, athletic player with serious contact issues at the plate, and you want to ask him to learn 2 positions as different as 2B and OF as well? I really hated that move.

My hope for 2017 was a return to Lansing and playing only the OF this season, in an attempt to rebuild some confidence. But despite back to back terrible seasons at the plate they promoted him again, and he is terrible again to start this season.

Now obviously with Thomas being a raw athletic type in the first place, he had a high chance of busting. But I would argue the Jays have just about done everything possible to make his road even more difficult than it already was. Disappointing.
GabrielSyme - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#340502) #
I'll agree that Alford remains raw, but that increasingly is just his prospect type, and less and less related to any paucity of experience. Of course, his start to the season is exactly the opposite of what you expect out of a raw prospect: he's hitting lots of singles without any power, and has a 2:1 BB/K ratio. A .900 babip probably isn't sustainable, but .750/.813/.750 looks pretty great in any sample.
bpoz - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#340512) #
I am looking at players that may become 4th OFs, utility/bench IFs and bullpen arms.

Gerry's list of players look promising. They are all at AA and AAA.

I have stopped dreaming on hitting stars. Pompey and Pillar proved me wrong. Pillar did more than I expected and Pompey less so far. Good hitters are definitely needed. The FO will find a way to get them. In the distant past like Alomar and recently Pearce and Morales. Home grown would be nice.

I see nothing wrong with being confident or even arrogant... C Greene. Babe Ruth was very arrogant. Dave Stieb very confident. Bautista also confident.

Please correct me if I am wrong....can a reliever be successful with nothing more than a great FB. Mid to high 90s.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#340514) #
apparently greene's changeup works well off his fastball arm action so he probably has enough to be a good reliever.
lexomatic - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#340519) #
Please correct me if I am wrong....can a reliever be successful with nothing more than a great FB. Mid to high 90s

There are a few pitchers who do this. I'm guessing it can't be too straight a pitch, though.

Here's a list of 2016 relievers by fastball usage, minimum 50 IP.,d
bpoz - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#340524) #
Thanks uglyone and lexomatic. I knew that C Greene had more than a great FB. The other pitches are still works in progress. He needs to be protected after this season. 2013 HS draft picks and 2014 college draft picks.

My FB only question was related to Carlos Ramirez. All I know about him is that he converted to pitching in 2014. To me it looked like he got better each year. He converted 9 of 10 save opportunities for Dunedin last year. His numbers were good. The best being a 2.20 ERA.
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