Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine

Vancouver clinched the first half championship on Saturday and will be in the playoffs come September. The lower level teams seem to be the best bets for the playoffs this season. Buffalo, New Hampshire, Dunedin and Lansing haven't shown playoff form although Dunedin have a chance for the second half title if they can finish strong. Bluefield and the GCL Jays, along with Vancouver, could be playoff bound. For Vancouver this is the first time they have made the playoffs from the first half of the season, they have previously qualified from the second half. Vancouver in the playoffs could impact the Jays promotion plans, they could prefer that players stay in Vancouver to experience the playoffs rather than go to Lansing and get their heads beaten in most nights. Lansing are desperate for Justin Maese and Patrick Murphy to return and both are pitching in the GCL and getting close.

Elsewhere, Ryan Borucki had a great start to his AA career. Michael Saunders had a good weekend in AAA, as did Dwight Smith. Nate Pearson made his first start for Vancouver and pitched well. The Bats are hot for several of the affiliates.


Chris Rowley had another excellent start on Saturday, seven shutout innings and now he has a 2.27 ERA in AAA. In four starts Rowley has a 1.50 ERA with 18 K's in 24 innings. He has only walked four. Rowley has never been on the top 30 lists and has moved up the system while staying mostly under the radar. So what do we make of him? I remember talking to a scout about Shaun Marcum many years ago. We had just watched Marcum shut down a strong AAA team with his 86 mph stuff. I said to the scout can that pitching work in the major leagues? His answer was "the hitters let you know". The hitters facing Rowley are letting us know and so far they are letting us know that Rowley can pitch well against them. Hitters tend to have a pedigree, they consistently build on their performance from level to level. Pitchers are different, they can learn a new pitch or learn how to better command their stuff. And add to that, that pitching scouting is obsessed with speed. Pitchers who don't have plus velocity but who can control their arsenal tend to get overlooked. Recent Blue Jay pitchers Casey Lawrence and Austen Bibens-Dirkx made the major leagues without ever being on top 30 lists. If Rowley continues pitching well in Buffalo he has to get a call-up in September.

The Bisons bats came alive over the weekend scoring 25 runs. Michael Saunders had been struggling in AAA and a week ago his batting average was down to .120. In the last week he hit in all five games he played including going 5-8 in two weekend games. Saunders was removed mid way through Sundays game. Four of the five hits were for extra bases. Dwight Smith Jr. also has a hot bat. In three games Smith was 6-13 with a home run in both Saturdays and Sundays games. Rowdy Tellez had two multi-hit games. Roemon Fields was 4-12.

New Hampshire

The Fisher Cats started Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene and Ryan Borucki over the weekend and the results were good, bad and very good. Borucki, in his AA debut, threw seven shutout innings with just two hits allowed. He walked two, struck out four, and had a 12-1 ground ball out/fly ball out ratio. SRF was impressive in a different way, he had 12 K's in 6.2 innings. SRF gave up a run on four hits. Greene pitched just one inning facing nine hitters. He threw 38 pitches and was pulled after the inning. He walked two, gave up three hits and made a throwing error.

Danny Jansen continues to roll, he was 4-8 with a double in two games. Anthony Alford had a hit in each of the three games. Lourdes Gurriel has just two hits in ten at-bats, however he only struck out once. Tim Lopes was the hottest hitter of the weekend going 5-11.


Dunedin won all three games, two via shutouts. On Friday Conor Fisk pitched eight shutout innings with one hit allowed. Fisk's ERA and WHIP are average for the FSL. His worst month of the season was June, his best has been July. Is that just the ups and downs of a season or has Fisk learned something new? As an aside one of the trickiest parts of these minor league updates is getting the spelling of Conor right. There are at least three variants in the system. Kender Villegas, a free agent signing in the off-season, pitched six shutout innings on Sunday.

Darrell Ceciliani played all three games but was limited to three at-bats in each game. Bo Bichette was 4-13, Vlad Jr was 2-10 with a walk. He is still getting used to high A. Although is batting average is just .256 he has six walks and six strikeouts in 35 at-bats. Max Pentecost was 3-3, all doubles, on Sunday. Connor Panas had four hits, including a home run.


Lansing are really suffering right now. The conceded 34 runs in the three games. There were eleven pitcher appearances over the weekend, eight of them were scored upon.

There is not much to report on the hitting side. Josh Palacios had four hits over three games. Mitch Nay had three hits in two games including a three run home run. Most of the other hitters picked up some hits but nothing of note.


Nate Pearson started on Sunday and pitched two innings getting seven outs. His only blemish was two wild pitches, one of which let the hitter reach on a strikeout. Reportedly he was hitting 100 mph with his fastball. Vancouver reached the playoffs with a 7-6 win on Saturday. The two shortstops, Kevin Vicuna and Logan Warmoth each had three hits in that game.

Vancouver's bats were on fire all weekend. Warmoth played two games and had three hits in each. He is hitting .438. Vicuna was 5-13. Reggie Pruitt played two full games and pinch hit and picked up five hits. Pruitt hit .102 in June and now is over .260 in July...small steps. Kacy Clemens played twice and was 2-5 in each game. One hit was a home run.

While the hitters were scoring, the pitchers were giving some of them back. The conceded six runs in the first two games, just three in the final game. Brody Rodning was the best of the bunch, other than Pearson, with five K's in four innings.


The Bluefield bats are hot too. They racked up double digits in hits in each of their three weekend games. The multi hit games were shared, each of the following hitters had a multi hit game: Ryan Noda; Tanner Kirwer; Brandon Grudzielanek; Reilly Johnson; Mc Gregory Contreras; Jesus Navarro; Chavez Young; Kevin Smith; Freddy Rodriguez; Francisco Rodriguez; and Jesus Severino. That's eleven hitters with a multi hit game and only Noda did it twice. Yorman Rodriguez had one hit in each game

Most of the pitching was unremarkable. Jordan Barrett, selected in the 18th round this year, started on Saturday and pitched three hitless innings. However he did hit two batters back to back.

GCL Blue Jays

The Jays essentially played a doubleheader on Saturday. They scored 13 runs in the first game and then were shutout in the second game. The starter in game one, Jol Concepcion walked seven in three innings but didn't give up a run. Rehabbing Patrick Murphy racked up six K's in three innings. Game two starter, Maverik Buffo, also had six K's in three innings. Buffo was a 34th round pick this year out of BYU.

Another rehabber Reece McGuire had three hits in game one but he was out-shined by 18 year old Otto Lopez who had three hits and was a home run short of the cycle. Lopez drove in four runs. In game two Luis De Los Santos had two hits.

Three Stars

Third Star - Kender Villegas

Second Star - Max Pentecost

First Star - Ryan Borucki


Playoffs For Vancouver | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#345736) #
The news has been pretty good on the farm recently, with a number of struggling prospects recovering form.  This is particularly so on the pitching side.  It is a welcome counterpoint to the unpleasantness at the RC. 

Mike Green - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#345746) #
Here's a fine piece on Borucki from John Lott.  John does a fine job of kindly pointing out the areas Borucki needs to work on (especially the 90% of pitching that is half mental!).

I wonder about his fielding and ability to hold runners.  The Tommy John family of pitchers really help themselves (who have many balls in play) if they field their position and hold runners well.  Buehrle would be a classic example, as would Tommy John himself.  .
uglyone - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#345747) #
I read somewhere that Borucki touched 97 this year. Can anyone confirm?
Mike Green - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#345748) #
97?  That's more like the pre-surgery Tommy John.  If he's got a good fastball and a deceptive change, he could conceivably strike out plenty at the major league level and be a different kind of pitcher. 
Nigel - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#345753) #
I'd be very surprised if he hit 97. I saw him in Vancouver before his last surgery and he was 89-91 with his FB. He had a legitimately plus CH though. I really liked what I saw back then. No idea what he is today of course.
uglyone - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#345755) #
yeah that's what I thought, and is one of the reasons I've always limited him to the 'pen. but I read mid-90s this year then saw a game report where he hit 97, which sounded bizarre but would considerably change his prospect status if true.
bpoz - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#345756) #
That was a very valuable insight Gerry recounted about Marcum and the scout's response to his mediocre fastball.

ie: The hitters will tell you. Marcum, Buehrle and probably a few others.

Many years ago I decided that Woody Williams would not amount to much. He proved me wrong by having a decent and long ML career.

Doyle Alexander made a great adjustment to his lost velocity.
Mike Green - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#345757) #
Danny Jansen also threw out a runner yesterday (perhaps with assistance from Borucki holding the runner on well!).  Jansen is having a terrific year.  He's hitting .300 with a positive W/K and some pop in double A at age 22.  I'd love to see Russell Martin teach him the ropes at the major league level when the time comes.
hypobole - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#345765) #
don't know if anyone heard this, but the Marlins GCL team played a doubleheader vs the Nats yesterday and were no-hit on both ends.
uglyone - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#345766) #
It's getting interesting because Jansen is probably having a better year than Alford, at the same age and level, with arguably more defensive value.
PeterG - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#345767) #
I like Jansen but let's get real. This is not a good comparison as Alford has had missed over 2 1/2 years of development.
uglyone - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#345768) #
Jansen had even more time missed to injury the previous couple years, actually. Alford's had more milb plate appearances than him.

And now that I look at it again i'm reminded that Danny is actually 9 months younger than Alford so even calling them the same age might not be fair to Danny.

Their MILB careers so far:

Jansen (22.3): 1045pa, 10.6bb%, 12.1k%, .287babip, .265avg, .118iso, 118wrc+
Alford (23.0): 1174pa, 12.8bb%, 24.8k%, .361babip, .270avg, .130iso, 129wrc+

And just at AA:

Jansen (22.3): 188pa, 11.7bb%, 8.5k%, .324babip, .306avg, .140iso, 134wrc+
Alford (23.0): 154pa, 11.0bb%, 16.9k%, .377babip, .319avg, .126iso, 137wrc+

Though of course so much of Danny's value lies in whether he sticks at C or not.
PeterG - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#345769) #
I think there is every indication that he can stick at C. Why do you think that the prospect evaluators underrate him?
hypobole - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#345770) #
I think there is every indication that he can stick at C.

Any scouting reports or just opinion (not that I disagree)?
uglyone - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#345771) #
It's interesting because while he was way down the list while in rookie ball, most prospect evaluators always seemed to like his tools and note that he could be a fast riser. He was never just a statsguy prospect. After a great year in rookie ball, I think he would have moved right up the prospect radar if he hadn't been injured in his first 2yrs of full season ball.

I don't really think there's any reason to be low on him, to be honest. I have yet to hear of any issue with his swing or anything like that. It's not even like he has low upside - he's a big boy that may not have even tapped into his raw power upside yet.

I think he's just slipped under the radar for a variety of reasons.
PeterG - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#345772) #
As he has always been considered an above average receiver, it seems an educated opinion I would say. I have never seen any suggestion that he cannot.
eldarion - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#345781) #
Given his OPS is almost .300 points higher this season than last, it's possible scouts have been awaiting a regression before commenting on his season. It appears, however, that off-season eye surgery has made a legitimate difference for Jansen. He looks excellent and a legitimate candidate to make a MLB appearance next season.
bpoz - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#345783) #
If his new glasses are allowing him to see the ball better then it could explain his breakout year.
ayjackson - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#345792) #
Bichette was HBP tonight; stayed in the game a few more innings, it seems; then snapped a picture of himself in a hospital apparently.
PeterG - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#345793) #
any further details on Bichette would be appreciated
Shoeless Joe - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#345794) #
He was taken out after a caught stealing attempt.
ayjackson - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#345795) #
The tweet with the snapchat picture in it has been deleted. Not sure if it was truly Bo as I don't know what his loafers look like.
ayjackson - Monday, July 24 2017 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#345796) #
Actually, it wasn't deleted.

@Conner_87 has the picture in his Tweets&Replies.
Playoffs For Vancouver | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.