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Spring training games are designed to get players ready for the season ahead. For minor league players spring training gives them a chance to test themselves against the best. For 2004 spring training I tracked the appearances of the Blue Jays minor league pitching prospects. I am particularly interested in minor league pitching prospects and I was curious to see how they fared. All of these pitchers are now back in minor league camp getting ready for their season so now is a good time to review their spring.
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Everything you say is lies
But to me there's no surprise
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The job is very boring, I'm an office clerk
The only thing that helps pass the time away
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All the latest and greatest Jays news that's fit to blog.
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The latest from Florida and beyond.
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Our 20,000-word "synopsis" concludes at last. Part One reflected on 2003, examined the front office and followed up on Craig's "Tosca in a Box" from last spring. Part Two counted down the 25-man roster, from most replaceable to most important player. So much for the past and the present; today is all about the future, which the late, great Dan Quisenberry assured us is much like the present, only longer.

For anyone not familiar with the Toronto organization, Syracuse is the AAA club, last year's AA affiliate was New Haven (it's now Manchester), the High-A team is Dunedin, Low-A is Charleston, and short-season Auburn is rated "above" Pulaski. For more on the fledgling Jays, see our depth chart and farm system links.

Though I do have personal favourites among these outstanding youngsters, when it comes to the minor leagues, I happily defer to our resident expert, Jordan Furlong. Take it away, "Gideon."

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Last night, twenty fantasy team owners completed the first five rounds of the 2004 BBFL draft without touching a keyboard or saying a word.

With the draft set to take place next Thursday, yesterday was the last day to announce for owners to change any of their five "keepers," players retained by owners from one season to the next. Surprisingly, no owner made any last-minute changes to decisions announced earlier this month.
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And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
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Yesterday in Part One, I reviewed 2003 and gave the organization two thumbs up. Tomorrow, don't miss Part Three, Jordan's look at the system's best prospects. Now, let's meet your 2004 Fighting Jays.

Here's where I could have done some research, crunched the ZiPS numbers, factored PECOTA and invented a longevity quotient. It's more fun for me to rely on my eyes and my baseball instincts. However, I have refined my tried-and-true WAG (wild-ass guess) method you know, the nonsensical approach that appraised Doc at 22-7 last March and foolishly predicted a career year for a 37-year-old backup catcher into the COACH system, an acronym for Completely Optimistic, Analysis-free hunCH.

Don't laugh; I use the same unscientific style in fantasy ball, where I'm usually a contender and have won a league or two. I've loved baseball stats for more than 40 years, and Bill James and his disciples have greatly increased my understanding and even appreciation of the game, but I'm also from the Stengel-Berra school if you know where to look, you still can observe a lot by watching.
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Drifting, falling.
Floating weightless
Calling, calling home...
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While I was unsuccessful in getting lots of cities involved, this weekend will be a great one for those of you in London, Ontario or the Toronto area. Rogers Sportsnet is showing the spring-training game featuring the Blue Jays vs. the Astros on March 27th at 1:00PM EST. The Batter's Box and the Blue Jays Cheer Club would like to meet as many of you as possible, get together to watch the game, have some wings, and generally just have a good time.
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Many thanks to all my colleagues for their entertaining, informative work on this series, which would have wrapped up today if I had been more concise. This was quite an ambitious project for Batter's Box, and I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out.

Warning: unlike my thesis on the Cardinals, this one is really l-o-n-g, so it's being presented in three parts, beginning with this gaze into the rear-view mirror. The player "analysis" (my sabrmetrician friends may smile at my use of the term, or just shake their heads) comprises Part Two, which will be posted tomorrow. On Friday, most of Part Three will be devoted to Jordan Furlong's assessment of the Top 40 Prospects in the Toronto organization. I'm very grateful for that contribution, and to Craig Burley for allowing me to follow up on his remarkably accurate first impressions of Carlos Tosca.

Batter's Box regulars, so familiar with the Jays, may not learn much from this. I hope you enjoy it anyway.

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I can listen to you
It keeps me stable for days

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I awoke this morning to find that my newspaper was not, as I am accustomed, on my front step.

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I look through my window so bright
I see the stars come out tonight
I see the bright and hollow sky
Over the city's ripped backsides
And everything looks good tonight

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