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Down on the Farm – Jays milb Thoughts – Jul. 13, 2011

July 14, 2011

DSL Jays – In another dropped decision today, 17-year-old RHP Yeyfry Del Rosario impressed again, lasting 4 innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned run (2 unearned). He also struck out 4 without issuing a single walk. Not enough strikeouts on the season to be truly interesting, but worth keeping an eye on.

The truly big news for that team was in the signing of another high-profile Latin bonus baby, as the Jays inked 16-year-old Venezuelan RHP Manuel Cordova, who receives praise as a potential future power arm. Cordova joins the already signed SS Dawel Lugo, SS/OF Wilmer Becerra and OF Jesus Gonzalez, as teenagers rated in the top-40 of the international class by Baseball America. The attrition rate is high, but success can look like Luis Perez.

GCL Jays – The highlight of today’s game was the professional debut of RHP Joe Musgrove, drafted in the supplemental 1st round (46th overall) by the Jays last month, the only pick to sign before Jon Berti in the 19th round. Baseball America wrote about Musgrove that he works his fastball in the 88-91 range, touching 94 regularly (with rumours of 98). He also owns a hammer curve, a slurve and a split-change. And he’s a big boy, Wojciechowski-sized (6-5″, 230). Musgrove, obviously working with a strict pitch count lasted but 1.2 innings, allowing two hits and a walk, one run (earned and striking out one.

Also of note, after 18 games and 51 at-bats, 1B Eric Arce (2010 27th rounder, unsigned, 2011 25th rounder) has finally hit his first single – all of his previous 7 hits were for extra bases (3 doubles, a triple and 3 home runs).

Bluefield Blue Jays – 5-11″ RHP Deivy Estrada made his Advanced Rookie-ball debut for Bluefield, lasting 5 shutout innings, allowing 5 hits, and striking out 3, without issuing a single walk. He struck out 18 in 16 innings (only 3 walks) in the GCL before the promotion.

LF Christopher Hawkins now has home runs in back-to-back games. Baseball America compared him to Colby Rasmus with lesser hitting ability last year, before going in the 3rd round to the Jays in the amateur draft. He’s a big guy and those two homers have tripled his season – and lifetime – output.

Vancouver Canadians – Although the Jays’ new Short-Season A-ball affiliate is not loaded down with a prospect-laden lineup, there are still a few position players who are at least worthy of being followed. CF Jonathan Jones (2-4, 2B. RBI. SB, 2 R), standing atop the lineup all season, has been showing hitting ability (.321 BA) patience (.393 OBP with Vancouver, .379 combined over 50 games between Vancouver and Lansing) and some gap power (.472 SLG in Vancouver). He’s also displaying fine wheels with 34 SB in those combined 50 games.

Another one to keep an eye on is 2B Jon Berti (2-4, SB, R). A SS in college, the 21-year-old, drafted in the 19th round last month has enjoyed a fine debut thus far, hitting .333 with an .840 OPS, highlighting patience and speed. No power yet (0 HR, only 3 extra base hits in 69 at bats), but that wasn’t in his scouting report to begin with.

Lansing Lugnuts – Not really a prospect, 5-10″ (that’s short) RHP Marcus Walden has a great game, pitching 7 shutout innings, allowing but 3 hits for the sole baserunners against, while striking out 5. He has lacked the K-ability to create faith for future production. His size and pedigree (9th rounder from 2007) also work against him.

Big games for CF Jake Marisnick and C Carlos Perez, both going 3-4 with a double and 2 runs. Marisnick got the upper hand, however, by also successfully recording a stolen base. Perez, whose OPS has dropped from .834 last year in Auburn (a level down) to .692 this year in Lansing has been on a run lately, batting .349 with an .880 OPS in his last 10 games in Low A. He still receives high praise in scouting circles.

Dunedin Blue Jays – Not ready to be taken in by any of the over-aged (24-25 and up) and unheralded players doing well at this level, Dunedin nonetheless has a number of players worth watching for. 2B Ryan Schimpf (1-4, HR (3), 3 RBI, R, E) missed much of the beginning of the season to injury, but he looks tobe adjusting well to his first full season at the High A level with an .861 OPS over 19 games. Something to bear in mind though, he only has 9 AB against LHP and 0 hits.

After two stellar debut appearances after leaving Lansing behind in a trail of smoke, RHP Drew Hutchison (5 IP, 3H, 3BB. 3ER, 3K). After walking only 19 batters over 72 innings with Lansing, he has already given free passes to 8 in 21.1 innings in Florida. Still not horrible, but a notable contrast.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats – While their collective performances at the Eastern League All Star game were not notable in themselves, their presence provides cause to reflect on good first halves for a handful of true prospects, guys with signing bonus/draft slot pedigree and now performance in the high minors to boot. We’ve already seen RHP Zach Stewart in the majors for a short stretch this year, and likely will see him again. Other players with bright futures in the limelight yesterday include $10-million man, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, C Travis d’Arnaud (many scouts still believe that his ceiling is higher than that of current incumbent J.P. Arencibia), RHP Joel CarrenoRF Moises Sierra and 1B Mike McDade. All but d’Arnaud and McDade are already on the Jays’ 40-man roster.

Las Vegas 51’s – These days, AAA is no longer the level with the best and most polished prospects, but rather a level for those who can help out in a pinch for the short term, filled as it is with over-agers with utility, if not top-shelf tools. To wit, the Jays’ two AAA-players deemed worthy of the annual showcase event, 1B David Cooper and LHP Brad Mills, are both guys with moderate upside who have been called up to The Show for short stints. We can probably expect to see both again in about 6 weeks as rosters expand for the end of the season. Cooper’s upside is as a bench bat with some gap power, while Mills profiles as a back-end starter , or, more likely, a long reliever.

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