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It was a mixed bag on the farm on Thursday. Kevin Smith had a big night. Cullen Large moved his average over .300 so the write-up asks, who is the better prospect?

There are around twelve games left in the season. Dunedin are in the playoffs. Buffalo and Lansing are both in with a chance but they both had bad games on Thursday where they were behind by a lot early in the game. The other five teams vary from little to no hope.

Buffalo 3 Rochester 20

Binghamton 4 New Hampshire 9

Daytona 14 Dunedin 11

Lansing 1 South Bend 8

Vancouver 0 Tri-City 2

Bluefield 9 Princeton 6

GCL Jays 4 GCL Yankees 3 - game one, 8 innings

GCL Yankees 3 GCL Jays 0 - game two

DSL Reds 4 DSL Blue Jays 5

Here are some things I noted from Thursdays games:

Buffalo's playoff hopes took one on the chin. They conceded 20 runs with Taylor Saucedo getting shelled early and often.The bullpen threw gas on the fire.

Yesterday I pointed out that Kevin Smith was having a poor August. Today he showed me, he hit two home runs and added a double. What do we make of Smith at this stage. As of now I don't believe he is major league ready. He needs to make more contact, he has 138 strikeouts this season. At AA hitters usually get challenged with speed. In AAA they get challenged with command. Can Smith reduce his strikeouts in AAA,while seeing more junk?

Cullen Large had two hits to get his average over .300. It has taken him 15 games to get there. Smith and Large are each 23 years old in AA. Which of them is the better prospect at this stage? It would be an interesting debate. Smith has big power but has contact issues. Large makes more contact but might not have enough power for third base.

Riley Adams had two more hits, including his ninth home run. Adams, like Smith, is a fringe prospect. That may be harsh, he is a prospect, but a fringe top prospect. With Alejandro Kirk moving up to AA, Adams could move to AAA next year where he will work on his catching and his hitting.

Hector Perez just pitched four innings, the Jays appear to be limiting his innings. This is the fourth start in a row where he has pitched less than five innings. Perez still hasn't reached his 2018 innings total so it doesn't appear to be a workload issue. Perez could be nursing an injury.

The Dunedin game was a hitters delight which is very unusual for the offensively challenged FSL. The Jays led 7-0 after four innings but were down 14-11 two and a half innings later.

I had checked out the batting leaders in the FSL earlier on Thursday. The departed Cal Stevenson, with his .298 average, was second in average in the FSL. Cullen Large, at .269, was 13th. What to make then of Chavez Young, who ended the day hitting .251? Young has improved his OPS from .649 in the first half to 699 in the second. That OPS would put him just outside the top 20 in the league. Young is 22, about the right age for a prospect in high A. In the second half the has 45 K's in 196 at-bats. His numbers are decent but he needs to step it up and move up to another level next year to be considered a top prospect.

Josh Winkowski did not pitch well his last time out. On Thursday he pitched reasonably well through four innings, four hits, just one K, no runs. But in the fifth two walks, an error and four singles let in four runs. Winkowski was pulled but two other runners came in to score leaving six runs on his record, three earned. There was not a lot of "very good" about the outing except for the nine ground outs.

Kacy Clemens had four hits including his tenth home run. It didn't get his average over 200 though, its still .197.

Alex Nolan from Burlington, Ontario continues to pitch well. After six innings of one hit ball on Thursday, his ERA is now 2.85.

Miguel Hiraldo had three hits. He has played well as an 18 year old. Between Vladdy, Hiraldo and Orelvis Martinez, the Jays have done well with their top international signings.

The Bluefield offense has featured two college draftees. Mitch Horwitz, a 21 year old first baseman was a 24th round pick this year, Ryan Sloniger is a 22 year old catcher and a 38th round pick. Both have been key to the Jays offense this year and, sorry to say, its probably the high point of their professional careers.

Ben Robberse, the Netherlands pitcher, left his game after facing three hitters. The third hitter singled on a sharp line drive to the pitcher. I assume he left because he was hit by the batted ball.

3 Stars

3rd star: Ryan Sloniger

2nd star: Kacy Clemens

1st star: Kevin Smith


Kevin Smith or Cullen Large? | 54 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
scottt - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#380268) #
It was also a tough loss for Vancouver. It moves them 3 games back of Tri-City for a playoff berth and Everett is one game ahead of them. They head home for 4 games against Salem-Keizer (current .500 but they clinched their division in the first half) and then 3 hopefully meaningful games against Tri-City.
Gerry - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 07:29 AM EDT (#380269) #
John Lott has a story about Kevin Smith in the Athletic today (sub req'd). The summary is that Smith decided to change his swing in the off-season and obviously it didn't work. He changed it back after the all-star break and that worked for a while but now his swing is in between both types of swing.
Jonny German - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 07:46 AM EDT (#380270) #
They've been moving in opposite directions but it's not close yet, in my opinion. Smith is still comfotably top-20 while Large hasn't cracked the top-30.
Thomas - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 08:27 AM EDT (#380271) #
Thanks for the heads-up Gerry. I hadn't expected Smith to replicate his 2018, but the depth of his struggles this year have surprised me. Lott's article seems to provide at least a partial explanation.
Mike Green - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#380273) #
Large has hit 4 home runs and struck out 107 times in 391 PAs in 2019, and he's not exceptionally fast  That's a tough combination.  Smith strikes out a lot, but in addition to all those Ks, Smith has popped up 27 times (vs. 49 line drives).  It's tough to make that work too.  He has however definitely cut back on the pop-ups over the second half of the season, and his .262/.309/.529 line is consistent with his minor league career. 

Riley Adams is another story.  He's a classic TTO player if he adds just a little more pop.  That appears to be within his reach.  On the other hand, he's stuck behind Jansen and McGuire with Kirk and Moreno behind him.
Nigel - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#380275) #
Large is also basically Biggio at 2B with similar strengths and weaknesses - so he isnít adding a lot of value on defence. Iím not really a fan of either but Smithís ISO gives him a chance.

On the other hand, Iím really optimistic about Adams. I do think thereís a bit more ISO there than heís shown to date. I think heís sacrificing some game power for a bit more strike zone control.
Mike Green - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#380281) #
Nigel,  I don't get the Large/Biggio comparison.  At the same age, Biggio had 26 homers in double A and was 20-8 stealing bases.  Large is putting up a lesser slash line despite an unsustainable BABIP. 
uglyone - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#380282) #
i think nigel was talking about defense only there.
bpoz - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#380283) #
My prospect list, roughly top 15, at the moment only has Alford and Kirk (position players) with a chance to be promoted at regulars next year.

Alford because he is out of options rather than he earned it.

Kirk is too young but may be too good to keep down. Still a promotion next year is quite slim.

In my top 30+ there is a lot of close to ready pitching. Some have only burned 1 option.
hypobole - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#380284) #
If you were to trade any of our catchers for equivalent value at a position of greater need, who would you trade?
Nigel - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#380285) #
Sorry if I wasnít clear Mike, I was only referring to Largeís defence. They arenít similar hitters. Funnily enough (because I think the organization has been over trying this with their prospects generally), Large is exactly the kind of prospect that I would try and turn into a super utility player. Heís a marginal prospect who is fairly athletic but not a great defender. The positional flexibility might just make him useful in the Drury sense (ie useful without actually being a good player).
uglyone - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#380286) #
"If you were to trade any of our catchers for equivalent value at a position of greater need, who would you trade?"

obviously depends on their real life trade value, which we cant be sure of, but I'd probably lean towards trading my boy Danny, given that I still think the True Core of this team is in the 18-22 year old range right now.
pooks137 - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#380288) #
obviously depends on their real life trade value, which we cant be sure of, but I'd probably lean towards trading my boy Danny, given that I still think the True Core of this team is in the 18-22 year old range right now.

Bold move.

Hard to say what Jansen's trade value is. If his true talent level is closer to the offense he's put up since June onwards, he may not be an All-star but he's probably peak Yan Gomes level of value at around 4 WAR which is crazy valuable.

If his offense is less than hoped and he puts up a line closer to Billy McKinney, there's a whole lot less there.

It's hard to think of a catcher traded with so much control left in recent times. The only one that comes to mind is Francisco Mejia who was traded last year.

Mejia returned 2 1/2 years of a good closer in Brad Hand and 5 years of a decent reliever in Adam Cimber.

Mejia was a higher rated prospect than Jansen and only had 12 MLB games experience when traded. His bat is better than Jansen's this year at wRC+ of 101 in 206 PAs but Fangraphs hates his defense, accumulating only 0.5 fWAR.

uglyone - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#380289) #
yeah for sure - and what makes me hesitate of course is that Danny's rep still lags way behind his actual quality, so the trade value may not be there for him.

I wouldn't want to trade him (or anyone else) for less than he's actually worth.
Mike Green - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#380296) #
SWR is throwing for Dunedin today. He has set down the first 6 on 5 groundouts and a K.
greenfrog - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#380298) #
Also noteworthy in the early going: Kirk is 1/1 with a double. Two best players on the team?
scottt - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#380299) #
There's no rush to unload catchers.
It's great to have a catching prospect in Buffalo burning options, who can be called up if needed.
You can build familiarity with the pitching staff along the way.
Jansen and McGuire were able to share AAA for a while.
The exception I see is if you have a catcher who is destroying AAA. We're not there yet.

Kelekin - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#380300) #
The problem with Young's stats Gerry is that to qualify on those leaderboards, it works out to having needed to play like 75% of the year, and generally, all in the same league. Players who move up usually do not have enough ABs to qualify in those leaderboards, so Young's .699 OPS is not actually all that impressive given those factors.
uglyone - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#380303) #
SWR: 4.2ip, 5h, 1er, 1bb, 5k, 74pc

Ho hum, another day at the office.
SK in NJ - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#380304) #
SWR is making A+ look easy at age 18.
PeterG - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#380305) #
Hatch is into his 7th inning of shutout ball tonight for NH.
Marc Hulet - Friday, August 23 2019 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#380309) #
I'd like to know what's gotten into the sinker/slider Conor Fisk who suddenly has 25 Ks in 16.2 innings over three of his last four outings (taking out one dud). Hes never been a strikeout guy like this... new pitch? New approach?
dan gordon - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 02:30 AM EDT (#380315) #
SWR now has a K:BB ratio of 123:24 combined in A/A+ this year, and opponents are hitting just .193 against him at the higher level. That is something special for an 18 year old.

Hatch now has a 23:2 K:BB ratio, an ERA of 2.86 and WHIP of 0.85 with NH and opponents are hitting .222 against him. He's looking better than was expected when he was acquired for Phelps. There is going to be a ton of guys vying for the starting spots in Buffalo next year, including Hatch.

Nice game for Otto Lopez, playing LF, 4 for 6, including a double and triple. Now hitting .426 over his last 10 games, upping his season average and OPS to .321 and .782. Meanwhile, hitting machine Yorman Rodriguez was 3 for 5, and is now slashing .393/.397/.571/.968 since the promotion to Lansing.
Shoeless Joe - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 07:14 AM EDT (#380317) #
Hatch was actually the top pick in the 2016 draft for the Cubs, and has always had fairly solid stuff with below average command.
scottt - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#380319) #
Last year, Kevin Smith had a breakout year in the Midwest League, with an OPS over 1.
Then he was moved to the Florida State League where his production was more in line with his Rookie League numbers.
So he decided to completely revamp his swing? Or was that a coaching decision?

hypobole - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#380320) #
Lott's article covered Smith's swing change. He tried to keep his bat in the zone longer and be less susceptible to high fastballs. His muscle memory didn't allow him to adhere to the change though, so his swing became a mess.

Shoeless Joe - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#380324) #
Nate Pearson has been named Blue Jays prospect of the year by Baseball America. There were a few interesting tidbits of information where he worked with driveline he worked to create more more depth to his slider and also now works exclusively out of the stretech to improve fastball command.
uglyone - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#380326) #
Yeah my gut reaction to that swing change after a great year was that it must have been an order from the top.

Doesn't make it a bad idea but it's pretty doubtful that the player decided that one.
Shoeless Joe - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#380327) #
In the same Baseball America article it talked about how the Jays presented Pearson with different options to help manage his workload this year, and it was Pearson who ultimately decided to go with the alternating 5/2 inning starts. I do not think this is any sort of totalitarian regime, and decisions are made collectively. Kevin Smith as well seems like a baseball player who constantly makes adjustments, as he made substantial swing changes prior to his breakout season as well.

hypobole - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#380328) #
Teams don't "order" players to change their swings. Teams need buy-in. Anyway, Smith himself said it was a mutual decision. Smith is acknowledged in the piece as pretty smart and he knew if he can't hit high fastballs, he would be dead meat if he got to the majors.
scottt - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#380330) #
Right. But if his limited success this year was only with the old swing, he's back to square one.
Glevin - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#380337) #
Orelvis with another HR. Looking really good as is but also young for the league.
Gerry - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#380342) #
For those of you in Ontario and on Rogers cable with lots of channels, the Bisons game is on channel 166 at 6pm tonight. TJ Zeuch on the bump.
Gerry - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#380349) #
Patrick Murphy returned to pitch two innings for NH tonight.
dan gordon - Saturday, August 24 2019 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#380350) #
Looks like the law of averages caught up to Zeuch today, as he gave up 8 hits in 5 IP, allowing 3 runs, 2 of them earned. Three bullpen candidates for 2020 combined to allow 6 hits in 4 innings and 2 more runs - Bergen, Zach Jackson and McClelland.

Murphy started the game today for NH and gave up a 2-run HR in 2 innings. Logue followed with 3 scoreless - that's the 2nd straight game that Logue has been used for a 2 or 3 inning appearance rather than the traditional starter role, and he has held the opposition scoreless each time.

Kyle Johnston, the return for Hudson, has been terrible for Dunedin since the trade and today was no different. He gave up 7 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings on 4 hits, 6 walks and 2 wild pitches. His ERA with Dunedin is now 10.61. His control has totally deserted him since the trade (20 walks in 18 2/3 IP), which seems odd, since it was pretty good with Potomac.
rafael - Sunday, August 25 2019 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#380369) #
Seeing how well the young international hitting bonus babies are doing
... made me look up Franklin Barreto
22 days ago ..." The A's tried to give Barreto another opportunity to take over the job at second base, but he hit .106 with an 18:1 K:BB in 16 games this time around.

he hits ok in AAA and then in MLB he implodes like a Socrates.

scottt - Sunday, August 25 2019 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#380370) #
Barrreto will be out of options next year.
Nigel - Sunday, August 25 2019 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#380372) #
Funny, I was thinking about Barretto the other day too. Iíd seen Barretto play 15-20 times in Vancouver. I watched an Oakland game where he played. I joined the game in the midst of his first AB. I couldnít recognize him. Absolutely everything about his hitting approach was different. In Vancouver he had a short quick swing and hit line drive after line drive to center/right center. In Oakland heís clearly opted for the grip it and rip it/launch angle approach. He got a massive, long swing and could not seem to hit a good FB. It reminded me that the modern game was helping some hitters and killing others.
Gerry - Sunday, August 25 2019 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#380377) #
Nate Pearson today, six innings, two hits, two runs, no walks, seven K's.
Gerry - Sunday, August 25 2019 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#380385) #
Spencer Horwitz has been promoted to Vancouver for the last week of the season. He has homered today for the C's.
Gerry - Sunday, August 25 2019 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#380387) #
Nine strikeouts in four innings for Luis Quinones in Vancouver today.
Gerry - Sunday, August 25 2019 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#380389) #
Alexis Brudnicki has a story on Patrick's Murphy's injury and his return to the mound this weekend.
dan gordon - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 02:13 AM EDT (#380395) #
Quinones' numbers are truly eye popping. For the season, Bluefield and Vancouver, he has 34 1/3 IP, 12 H, 16 BB, 53 K, 1.57 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and opponents are hitting .107 against him. He should be able to handle a jump to Dunedin to start next year.

Nick Allgeyer had another good game today. He's put together a couple of pretty nice seasons since being drafted in the 12th round last year. His stats this year suffered a bit from a 3 game rough patch in early July, but he seems to have rebounded well. Probably starts in NH next year, unless the system really backs up with so many starters.
scottt - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 07:54 AM EDT (#380399) #
With the win, the Bisons are 3 games back and their elimination number is now 6.
Vancouver also won, but they are 4 games behind Tri-City. Even if they sweep them this week, Everett would probably stay in front of them.

bpoz - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#380408) #
Our GCL team just won the 1st game of todays doubleheader. That is D Holmberg's team. Winder Garcia blew the 5 inning save but won the game.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#380411) #
Orelivs hit another homer, but was then lifted from his second at bat it seems.

He is showing big time power for a 17 year old.

#2JBrumfield - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#380415) #
Per the Appalachian League transactions page, Dasan Brown is going up to Bluefield along with righty Jiorgeny Casimiri from the GCL. Interesting slash line for Brown as he hit .222./.444/.356 with six stolen bases.
Glevin - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#380417) #
By WRC+, Martinez is the second best 17 YO in all of rookie ball and the best in the GCL. He actually has the highest ISO in the entire GCL. Long way to go, but he sure looks good right now.
Gerry - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#380429) #
Anthony Alford is back off the IL tonight with a week to get back into form for when he gets called up.
ayjackson - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#380430) #
I don't think we'll see Alford this year but I imagine the Jays will be granted another option next year.
PeterG - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#380431) #
Alford will almost certainly be called up. Additional options are rarely, if ever, granted nowadays.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, August 26 2019 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#380432) #
Was Dustin McGowan the last Jays prospect to gain an extra option year?
hypobole - Tuesday, August 27 2019 @ 02:36 AM EDT (#380435) #
Law scouting Clarke Schmidt.

Schmidt faced off against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a bad lineup with a lot of fairly famous names in it. First-rounder Logan Warmoth has been a huge disappointment since the Jays took him No. 22 overall out of North Carolina in 2017; against Schmidt, he only made weak contact when he wasn't striking out or just well behind 93-94 mph fastballs. He played centerfield in that game and was fine but not terribly challenged out there. Shortstop Kevin Smith continues to show that his low-A performance last year at age 21 was just fool's good; his approach is awful and he's now at .211/.268/.413 this year, really vulnerable to fastballs up in this game and when I saw him earlier this year. If there's a big leaguer in that lineup, I'd bet on Riley Adams, who strikes out way too often (32% in Double-A this year at age 23) but showed the best approach of the Fisher Cats' hitters and showed he could adjust to breaking stuff.
dan gordon - Tuesday, August 27 2019 @ 02:50 AM EDT (#380436) #
Manoah's turn to have a very good start tonight - 4 innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, no runs, 8 K's. Yennsy Diaz also pitched well through 6 innings, but then had some trouble and gave up a few unearned runs in the 7th. He had 7 K's with no walks in 6 2/3 IP, 5 runs, 2 earned.

Interesting bullpen usage for the Bisons tonight. Leading 5-2 after 6, a rehabbing Tepera came in for the 7th and had some difficulties, allowing 2 unearned runs. McClelland pitched a perfect 8th with 2 K's and Bergen pitched a perfect 9th with 1 K to get the save.
Kevin Smith or Cullen Large? | 54 comments | Create New Account
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