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The minor league season starts next week, in Buffalo. The other teams wait a week. We will all be looking at who hits the ground running in 2023. Who pitches or hits well in April. But there are some other things that I will be looking at.

Addison Barger

There has been some talk in spring training about turning Barger into a more positionally flexible player. Last year he split his time in the field pretty evenly between shortstop and third base. Scouts opinion is that Barger will not be a major league quality shortstop. That suggests he is likely to be a third baseman in the major leagues. For 2023 the Jays are set at shortstop and third base so if Barger was to play well enough to earn a call up, where would he play? In 2024, assuming Chapman leaves, Barger and Orelvis Martinez could be in line to take his place.

So where will Barger play in Buffalo? Will they continue to give him reps at short? Will he get chances to play the outfield? Or will it just be third base?

Ricky Tiedemann

Tiedemann threw 78 innings last season, although he was in the pitching lab for a while where he would have added to that total. Lets call it 90 innings. I don't know what Tiedemann's limit will be this year, although the Jays would tell you its not just innings based, they have a workload metric. But for this discussion lets call it 120 innings. Tiedemann has already had some soreness in spring. So how will the Jays handle Tiedemann's workload/innings in 2023?

The Jays hope to be in a playoff position come August or September and they probably would like to have Tiedemann as an option for at least some bullpen innings at the end of the season. So how will they manage his innings to get him there? In 2022 he had a lot of three inning starts. They could easily to go four inning starts in 2023 which would put him in line for a 120 inning season, but will they go beyond that? Will they have Tiedemann start and go say five innings in the first half, and then put him in the bullpen for the second half? The Jays will have a master plan, we will have to see what it is.

Nate Pearson

Similar to Tiedemann, Pearson has workload issues. With his injuries over the last few years Pearson has not thrown many innings. Will the Jays just put him in the Buffalo bullpen and give him 50 to 70 innings and hope he can pitch his way onto the big team? I assume starting is off the menu for now, even in Buffalo.

Orelvis Martinez

We all know this one. Will Orelvis walk more? Will he look for better pitches to hit?

Zach Britton

Britton hit well in the AFL, although that has a low predictive value. But did you know he did not catch in the AFL? All his games were in the outfield. In Vancouver and New Hampshire last season he also split time between catching and the outfield. If a player is expected to be a major league catcher you would expect to see him behind the plate at all times. This suggests that the Jays do not think Britton will be a major league catcher. I will be looking to see where he plays in the field this season.

Hagen Danner

Hagen Danner has 39 innings of pro pitching in his career. Danner missed most of 2022 due to injury and has had some injury issues already in the spring. He just needs to be healthy. I will be watching to see how much time he spends available to pitch.

2022 College Draftees

The Jays drafted eight college players in the first ten picks of the 2022 draft. Brandon Barriera and Tucker Toman were the exceptions. Five of the eight college picks were hitters and they were generally players with a good hit tool. They helped Dunedin get to the playoffs last season. So where will they start 2023? They had two to three months experience in Dunedin. Have they shown enough to be assigned to Vancouver or do they need more time? Will the "draft the hit tool" approach pay off for the Jays when those guys see the better pitching in the Northwest League?

International signings

In coming up with the Jays 2022 top prospects it was noted that several international signings did not have good seasons in 2022. Keith Law has suggested that the reduction in minor league levels has hurt those players more than others. So I will be looking at Manuel Beltre, Victor Mesia, Rikelbin De Castro, Estiven Machado, Luis Meza and the newer promotions from the DSL to see if they can reestablish their prospect credentials.

Bowden Francis

Bowden Francis moved to the bullpen in the second half of 2022. It seemed like his chance to be a major league regular had faded. But then he went to the Puerto Rico winter league and pitched really well as a starter. Now the Puerto Rico league is not a high standard. So it will be interesting to see if he starts in Buffalo or if he is back in the bullpen and if his performance levels have been raised up.

Is there anything else, not performance linked, that you will be looking at?

Minor Leagues 2023, What I Will be Looking At | 30 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Marc Hulet - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 08:06 AM EDT (#427026) #
Spring training can usually give us a good indication of how the org views certain players. Rainer has gotten a lot of looks; they clearly dig his exit velos and will give him every opportunity to succeed. Tanner Morris has barely gotten a look and the club brought in Ernie Clement who has a similar profile. Brantly and Berman have been around a lot and are clearly catchers 3 and 4. Barger, Britton, and Eden have gotten a lot of looks.Talley and Berroa, too. Yhoangel Aponte got a look even though he'll be in low-A. Assignments to the big league games usually mean you're impressing.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#427027) #
Cade Doughty, Tucker Toman and Alan Roden are the names i'm watching this year.
85bluejay - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#427028) #
When you consider that Tanner Morris is younger, lefthanded and had an encouraging AFL stint, it's very disappointing news about Tanner Morris - hope he proves them wrong!
Ryan Day - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#427029) #
Sportsnet had a story about Bowden Francis fixing his delivery and adding some velocity to his fastball.

"Francis was operating in the 90-94 m.p.h. range last spring, topping out at 93 while making his MLB debut from Toronto’s bullpen in April. But towards the end of the season with Buffalo, he was consistently working between 91 and 95. And in Puerto Rico, that velocity range ticked up to 92-96. In a short relief appearance last Tuesday against the Yankees, Francis sat 95 and reached 96.5. "

I guess we'll see if it's for real over the next few months.
bpoz - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#427030) #
Thanks Gerry. A nice write up. I agree with all you said.

I find that we mainly judge prospects by their hitting stats because that info is available.

I would like to see some elite non hitting tools displayed. I would like to evaluate defense, a strong and accurate arm and being able to take the extra base. Teo could hit but his D took a long time to develop.

I strongly feel that Vancouver is a very important stop on the journey of prospects.

M Hiraldo has been healthy but is taking a slow route up the ladder. Leo Jimenez has been injured which is the reason why he is going up slow. If back in Vancouver they will clog the pipeline because of the 2022 college draftees which I expect to be in Vancouver fast. Also M Beltre and E Machado impressed me late last year. All I can hope for is strong competition.

JC Masson got V good in the FCL was promoted to Dunedin and then sent back down to make playing time for the 2022 draftees.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#427032) #
I'm also looking at (and I know this comes as a great shock) Dasan Brown.  Which developmental level he starts the season and how fast they move him.  Does he get reps in left-field or is he center-field only?  Can he improve his selectivity and ability to foul off tough pitches?

Other players I am paying close attention to are Leo Jimenez, Adrian Pinto and Alan Roden. I am wondering about Jimenez's ability to stay healthy, Pinto's position and Roden's offensive development (and in particular power). 
Gerry - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#427033) #
Dasan Brown is reportedly a premium centre fielder so I would expect he would stay there. He is probably at least a couple of years away from the major leagues so I don't think Kiermeier or Varsho should be an obstacle.

I believe Roden is in the Jays lineup today.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#427034) #
I'm interested in Sem Robberse. He has progressed to AA and should see some time at AAA this season. He only weighed about 150 pounds when he first came over but now apparently is up to 185 pounds and has added a bit of velocity as a result.

Glevin - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#427035) #
"I'm also looking at (and I know this comes as a great shock) Dasan Brown."

Me too. Gabriel Martinez and Barriera as well. Also, because the Jays have a ton of their prospects as high variance in the low minors, I'll just generally be looking at who emerges from that group.
PeterG - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#427036) #
Everything is changed for this season with regard to minor league tv and audio. You can now get it free (one org) with a subscription to MLB tv. I don't need that as am getting major leaguie games on another service.

So what is the best and most economical way to get minor league
games on tv or audio if no acceptable tv option. If tv, I need an option that can be used on laptop, not just mobile as is one of the new options. If tv, I also prefer casting if possible but it is not necessary. Last season, one could get audio from individual team sites and it does not seem if that will still be available.

Has anyone looked seriously into this and have any suggestions for me? Thanking in advance for any useful information.
Gerry - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#427037) #
I have a Milb TV subscription. They just charged me for it, I think it was around $40 Canadian. It's now part of MLB at-bat. You can see Buffalo and New Hampshire games. Few Dunedin games and I don't remember how many Vancouver games.
Ducey - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#427038) #
On Barger and Orelvis they should just maximize their time at 3B with the idea that one of them (or both) will take over from Chapman in 2024.

I really doubt that Chapman would have become a defensive stalwart at 3B had he been playing 3 positions.
Marc Hulet - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#427039) #
I believe in the first two months of the year, only four series for Vancouver will not be available in

Looks like Emmanuel Bonilla, Yeuni Munoz, and Gregori Cano are on the trip to play the Twins today. Also, Marcos De La Rosa, who I have flagged as a deep sleeper for 2023 with an intriguing power/speed mix (but also swing/miss tendencies). That's not to say they'll get in the game.
Nigel - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#427040) #
Having seen Barger a few times, I think his future role (if he has one) in the majors will be in the OF. But, its not impossible that he could play 3B. I don't see why you wouldn't keep him at 3B until he plays his way off it.
John Northey - Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#427041) #
My guesses - any outfield prospects will get time in LF/RF as well as CF just to ensure they have the flexibility should it be needed. Even if they are Devon White level in CF. Barger & Orelvis will split time at SS/3B with the odd game in the OF just to give them options in 2024 or if/when an injury happens in 2023.

Backups in minors....
Catcher: Rob Brantly (1.096 OPS in spring, has seen 7.8 quality, highest of any catcher, plus has ML experience
1B: Spencer Horwitz is probably the #1 guy to get a chance if Belt or Vlad go down for 2 weeks.
2B: with the gang there already (Biggio/Espinal/Merrifield) I'd guess Lopez if he isn't already here. After that Capra is probably next.
SS/3B: Barger is #1 right now, Leo Jimenez has had a lot of playing time in spring (7.5 competition). Orelvis only gets a shot if he shows a TON to make the Jays feel he is ready.
OF: Nathan Lukes has to be the first guy called up if he doesn't make the team, Zach Britton and Cam Eden have faced 7+ quality this spring with identical 878 OPS' so far.

Starters: Kikuchi has won the 5th slot I have to think, no sign of White this spring so #6 right now has to be Zach Thompson, Trent Thornton, Thomas Hatch, Casey Lawrence, or whoever is hot at the time of injury. Kids like Tiedemann & Robberse I don't see being called up unless they are pitching like Manoah did before he was given his shot.
Relievers: 8 are locked in if White is healthy, if not then Pearson has to be the first up, with Pop right there too. I could list a half dozen more names, but really it'll depend on who is healthy, hot, and rested when an injury happens.
mathesond - Friday, March 24 2023 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#427050) #
Apparently the Bally's app will be streaming all minor league games for free. I imagine they will offer oh-so-subtle encouragements to place wagers on the games...
bpoz - Saturday, March 25 2023 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#427057) #
Todays SP is Sem Robberse.
mendocino - Saturday, March 25 2023 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#427058) #
Jays have released P Jay Jackson, optioned Nate Pearson, Thomas Hatch, Trent Thornton and Zach Thompson
John Northey - Saturday, March 25 2023 @ 09:24 PM EDT (#427063) #
Poor Sem Robberse had a good start for 2 innings but that 3rd. Basically whatever could go wrong did for him - you know it isn't your night when Chapman boots one to start an inning.

Jansen blowing it with the bases loaded hurt, but almost got lucky. But in spring I'd rather see tons of opportunities then bad luck than few opportunities and good luck. Once the season starts that flips of course. Just glad Vlad didn't get hit with that wild pitcher on the mound, who then almost hit Varsho.

Looks like White is starting 2023 on the IL so Pop gets that pen slot. I'm good with that.
John Northey - Sunday, March 26 2023 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#427064) #
Francis had to impress today, thus move potentially to #8 on the starting depth chart (White #6, one of the vets #7). Pop should be glad he already punched his ticket to the majors as today was very unimpressive. After that 4 minor leaguers got to pitch. 6-2 loss to the Yankees isn't fun anytime, even in spring, but #1 is health at this point. And no issues there. Ricky Tiedemann threw well for 1 inning in the minor league game today (shoulder soreness) so lets hope he gets going. Listed as being on a 6 day schedule instead of the traditional 5.
Jonny German - Monday, March 27 2023 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#427067) #
</b>What's up with all the bold?
Ryan Day - Monday, March 27 2023 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#427068) #
That was Francis' second start against the Yankees in just over a week, both times against most of their regular starting lineup. Nice way to put yourself in the team's plans.

With Mitch White starting spring with a sore shoulder and ending it with a sore elbow, I suspect we may not be seeing him for a while.
John Northey - Monday, March 27 2023 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#427070) #
With spring winding down it is worth looking back at past ones for the old 'grain of salt'.
  • 2015: AL East champs: spring 19-13 Top OPS Tellez at 20 with a 5.000 (hit a home run in his only PA), then for guys who played a fair amount, Bautista at 1.173. Munenori Kawasaki got onto the team by hitting 346/485/538 but had a 598 OPS in the regular season sadly with a 618 in Buffalo. Sigh. Colt Hynes had a 0.00 ERA over 13 IP but only got 3 ML innings allowing 2 runs in his last ML appearances.
  • 2016: AL Wild Card: 17-8 in spring, Darrell Ceciliani the wonder of spring hitting 417/500/833 in the OF. 29 ML PA with a 358 OPS. Ugh. He'd get 5 more PA in 2017 in the majors and that was it. Pat Venditte the switch pitcher was the darling on the mound, 0 ERA over 8 1/3 IP, just 8 2/3 IP for the Jays that season though with a 5.19 ERA, then played for 4 more ML teams over the next 4 years. Sigh. Was cheering for him as I loved the idea of a switch pitcher.
So you can see how often guys can have 'wow' springs but it amounts to nothing in the real season. In 2012 the Jays were 24-7 in spring, but just 73-89 when the games counted. I think in the 80's/early 90's they often had bad springs but then a switch flipped when the real games began. Sadly no one seems to have spring records pre-2006 online. I could go digging through old baseball books but not really up to that right now.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, March 28 2023 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#427083) #
Speaking of "wow" springs, Gabe Morino hit .370 in 31 spring training at bats, striking out just 4 times and hitting 3 home runs. I wish him all the best but it's going to hurt if he turns into a perennial all-star catcher.
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 28 2023 @ 07:35 PM EDT (#427091) #
Raimel Tapia has made the Red Sox with a .963 OPS spring - How about that!
scottt - Wednesday, March 29 2023 @ 08:01 AM EDT (#427094) #
It doesn't matter if Moreno  produces 40 WAR over the next 6 years.
What matters is that the Jays get at least 10 WAR out of Varsho before he hits free agency.

Mike Green - Wednesday, March 29 2023 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#427095) #
Varsho has 4 years until free agency.  If he's a 2.5 WAR/year player over that time and Moreno is a 6 WAR/year over that time, the deal will turn out to be an unmitigated disaster.  I don't expect that will happen, and I support the deal.  But the goalposts are pretty clearly not at 10 WAR for Varsho and 40 WAR over 6 years for Moreno.  Hypobole, I'm calling.  An antidote is required for hyperbole. 
85bluejay - Wednesday, March 29 2023 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#427096) #
As I stated before I leaned towards keeping Moreno and moving either or both of Jansen/Kirk but I understand the Jays point of view - they have control of Bo & Vlad for the next three years (hopefully longer) and they need to make a deep playoff run and help pay for the renovations and so they prefer the proven guys especially at the crucial catcher position - Hopefully it works out for both teams but as I said when the trade was made, I think Arizona made an excellent deal (now Moreno/Gurriel for Corbin Carroll would have really excited me.)
scottt - Wednesday, March 29 2023 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#427097) #
Moreno carries a lot of risk, but so does Varsho.
They are both very good defensively, but Varsho is not an offensive player.

The trade was bittersweet for me, but it's not a disaster.
Kirk and Jansen have the potential to produce as much as Moreno.
Moreno not developing could affect future trades negatively.
Moreno becoming an all-star potentially improves the return on future trades. 

The only danger I see is that Moreno could end up in NY or Boston one day, but not over the next 3 years.

Varsho is an ARB-2 player next year, same as Espinal.
I wonder if they try to extend Jansen at some point.
He's a free agent after next year and the depth is all gone now.

John Northey - Wednesday, March 29 2023 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#427114) #
Moreno carries a LOT more risk than Varsho. Moreno has 73 PA in the majors, 111 OPS+, heck, he has just 1069 PA in the minors (!). Varsho 1022 ML PA 103 OPS+ while splitting between C and OF. I fully expect big things now that Varsho can focus on just playing LF and hitting. That should lead to good things. As I listed above doing well in spring is nearly meaningless. It is fun, but really doesn't say much one way or the other when it comes to predicting how a guy will do when games count.
Minor Leagues 2023, What I Will be Looking At | 30 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.