Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week in Review- Vancouver Canadians (A)

Week of August 15th-21st

2nd Half Record: 10-17 4th and last place in the West division of the Northwest league, 8.0 games back

Overall Record: 34-31

Statistical Summary: The same player just keeps on producing for the Canadians, and he doesn’t look like he is going to let up in the near future. Jonathan Berti, the 559th overall pick in the 2011 rule 4 draft, or first-year player draft is ripping up the Northwest league, and he is doing it in every facet of the game. Berti is batting .310, while driving in 20 and stealing 20 bases in 206 plate appearances this season. To go along with his remarkable offence is his marvellous defence. Berti has 5.02 RF/G (putouts+ assists /GP) this season, to compare that to a Gold Glover’s numbers, Robinson Cano had a RF/G of 4.89 last season when he won a gold glove. With Aaron Hill being traded today, and Kelly Johnson struggling, Berti might be with the Jays in the near future, not next year, but maybe in 2013 or mid 2014.

Games Summary: The Vancouver Canadians’ elimination number is down to 4 games after they went 4-3 this past week, and fell 1 more game out of the division race to eight games back. The Canadians took two out of three from the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, outscoring them by only 1 run, 13-12. The Canadians’ playoff hopes are over, but it’s a good time to be a fan of the Canadians as they always play exciting ball.

Player of the Week: Jonathan Jones,OF: 10-31, .322 AVG, 3 RBI’s, 2 BB’s, 2 SB’s

Pitcher of the Week: Phillip Brua, #6, P: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 1.00 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, 3 GP

Oddity: On Saturday night Vancouver Canadians’ pitcher, Alex Pepe, threw 1 no hit inning, but gave up 3 earned runs. Pepe walked 4, threw 2 wild pitches, and made an error when he completed this oddity.

"I'll Be Back"

The Toronto Blue Jays have traded 2B Aaron Hill and INF John McDonald to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2B Kelly Johnson,who is a free agent after this season.Jays Gm AA said that Johnny Mac approached him asking to be traded into a contending team, so he can witness the postseason, and bring back that experience next season in Toronto. Johnson is having an off-year this season batting only .211 with 49 home runs in 114 games this season for the D-backs. McDonald is a superb defender who is the city of Toronto's favorite sports player, and is batting .250 in 168 at bats this season for the Jays. Hill has had two straight disappointing seasons since winning the silver slugger for second basemen in 2009. He is batting .225 with an OPS of .585 in the final year of his contract. To fill the extra spot on the roster Brian Jeroloman has been called up from AAA Las Vegas, and will not be a starter.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Week in Review- Vancouver Canadians (A)

Week of August 8th-14th

2nd Half Record: 7-14 4th and last place in the West Division, 7.0 games back of first

Overall Record: 31-28

Statistical Summary: The definition of a bad week to start “week in reviews” for any team was displayed this week by the Canadians. The C’s went 1-6 while only scoring 20 runs compared to their opponents 43, more than double the Canadians’ output. The pitchers combined ERA this week was 6.86, an amazing ERA, for a 5 year old, not for pitchers that are supposed to be future Major League Ballplayers.

Games Summary: On Sunday night the C’s won by a score of 7-3 to complete their 8 game road trip which took place in two cities, a three game set in Everett versus the Aquasox, and a five gamer in Yakima against the Bears. With that road stand in which they went 1-7 in over, the C’s dropped their overall road record to 12-18, compared to their 20-10 home record. If The Canadians want to make one final playoffs push then they need to do a better job winning games on the road, and there pitching and defense needs to improve, as those two things are the key components of winning and the C’s have been struggling with that.

Player of the Week- Nicholas Baligod #12 OF: 8-25, .320 AVG, 3 R, 1 2B, 5 BB, .433 OBP

Pitchers of the Week- Blake Mcfarland #26 RHP: 2 GS, 10 IP, 1-1, 11 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR, 1.30 WHIP, 4.50 ERA

Called Up: Noah Syndergard was called up to the Canadians from the Bluefield Blue Jays 3 weeks ago and has continued to pitch well so far in A ball. Syndergard has a 2.77 ERA in 3 starts so far with the Canadians, and will look to lower that tomorrow in Vancouver versus the Everett Aquasox.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who is the Jays Catcher of the Future?

One thing that doesn’t bother general managers is having too much depth. But when a team has three prospects that all play the same position, and all have different qualities, it becomes a tough decision on who to keep, and who to trade away. For the Jays, the problem is having three top notch catching prospects.

The first prospect is J.P Arencibia, who is tied for the lead in home runs in the MLB with 18 by a catcher with Mike Napoli and Brian McCann, but has an abysmal .214 average. The second is Travis d’Arnaud, who is amazing at everything offensively, but he is a below average fielder, throwing out only almost a quarter of the runners that try to steal a base off of him for his career. The last catching prospect, who is currently playing for the Dunedin Blue Jays is A.J Jimenez. Jimenez is a well above average defender, throwing out 41% of base runners in his career, and has a very solid average of .302 this year.

Arencibia is in the MLB now, d’Arnaud will likely be the starter in AAA next season, and Jimenez will likely be the starter in AA next season, so this issue doesn’t need to be addressed until at least 2013 because that is when there will be two players ready for the MLB. Now let’s compare the players 2011 stats to see if the problem occurred now, who should get the Jays starting job at catcher.

J.P Arencibia: 88 GP, 313 AB, 343 PA, 23% CS% (Defensive)
.214 AVG, .280 OBP, .447 SLG, .727 OPS
13 2B, 3 3B, 18 HR, 52 RBI, 26 BB, 98 K

Travis d’Arnaud: 92 GP, 333 AB, 375 PA, 27% CS% (Defensive)
.324 AVG, .394 OBP, .550 SLG, .943 OPS
30 2B, 0 3B, 15 HR, 58 RBI, 30 BB, 74 K

A.J Jimenez: 86 GP, 321 AB, 354 PA, 42% CS% (Defensive)
.302 AVG, .349 OBP, .402 SLG, .751 OPS
21 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 23 BB, 52 K

If I was faced with this problem I would likely have d’Arnaud as my starting catcher, because he gets on base the most out of all three, and that is what I care about the most. As my backup I would want Arencibia because he has the most power, and he would be able to generate offense when he comes in to a game as a pinch hitter, and still produce when he gets the start as DH or C when d’Arnaud. But remember that all three players are young and there is really no way to predict what they are going to do in the future. I see Jimenez getting traded next year at the trading deadline to fill whatever gap they need to fill in order to contend.

Comments are welcomed on who you would want as your starting catcher and backup catcher if you had to choose between the three.

Follow me on twitter @bluejaysplus.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Alvarez Officially Called Up, Will Start Wednesday

The Jays have made the move to call up RHP Henderson Alvarez from AAA Las Vegas to make the start Wednesday night vs. the Oakland A's.Going back down to AAA is Wil Ledezma, who has 9.00 ERA with a 2.33 WHIP in 3.0 innings pitched this year with the Jays. Ledezma has a 4.63 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP this season in 46.2 innings pitched for the 51's. Alvarez is the second 21 year old prospect to be called up by the Jays in the past week, the first is the one and only 3B Brett Lawrie.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Henderson Alvarez to be Called up to Make Start on Friday?

Rumors have been circulating today that 21 year old pitching prospect Henderson Alvarez is going to be called up to be the Jays new 5th starter after Carlos Villanueva was placed on the 15-day DL. It has been posted by a newspaper in Venezuela, and the rumours have been floating around the twitter atmosphere the entire afternoon.Alvarez is 8-4 this season in AA New Hampshire, with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.Alvarez has touched 100 MPH a couple of times this season on the radar gun. Although Alvarez has a very fast fastball, he doesn't sacrifice control because of it, as he only has walked 17 this season in 88.0 innings pitched.

Update: Jays beat reporter Gregor Chisholm has confirmed that Alvarez will be called up to make Friday's start in place of Carlos Villanueva

Week in Review- Dunedin Blue Jays (A+)

August 1st to 7th

Record: 3-3

2nd Half Record: 22-21 T-2nd place, 2.0 games back of first

Overall Record: 61-52

Statistical Summary:
In the three wins that the Jays had this week, they outscored their opponents 29-5, yes a margin of 24 runs. But the best news from the week isn’t how amazing their offence performed, scoring 47 runs during the 6 games that they played, it was the pitchers only allowing 5 runs in the Jays 3 wins, an era of 1.85. If it was three weeks ago, the number wouldn’t surprise me because the Jays lost there two best pitchers, Deck McGuire and Chad Jenkins when they were called up to New Hampshire, but instead of having 4 aces, they only have 2 now. Although they lost two great pitchers, the “Baby Jays” still have Nestor Molina, and Drew Hutchison to help them make one last push for the playoffs in August.

Games Summary:
The Jays split 6 games this week going 3-3, but two of those losses came with walk-off victories for their opponents, so overall you have to say it was a good week because if a little bit more luck was on the Jays’ side, then we are looking at a 5-1 week, and the Jays would have been a lot closer to the playoffs.

Player of the Week:
Brian Van Kirk: 8-23 (.347) 6 R’s,1 2B,2 HR’s,10 RBI’s,3 BB’s

Pitcher of the Week:
Ryan Tepera: 7 I.P, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER,1 BB, 7K, HR 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP

Rehab News:
RHP Dustin McGowan pitched his final game in Dunedin on Friday night, and he was terrific. McGowan threw 3 shutout innings, giving up 2 hits. The 29 year old pitcher is recovering from multiple surgeries to his shoulder, and will be making his next rehab start in New Hampshire this week. The flamethrower McGowan is regaining his velocity, which seemed to be returning as he struck out 4 while only walking 1 in what might be one of his final starts before coming back to Toronto. McGowan hasn’t pitched in the MLB since 2008.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Anthony Gose:Future 5 Tool Player?

Last year, when the Toronto Blue Jays traded first-baseman, Brett Wallace, to the Houston Astros for outfielder, Anthony Gose, many wondered what the Blue Jays received. While Gose was described as a solid outfielder with a high-quality arm, excellent range, and ridiculous speed, many questioned if he could hit for average and if he could hit for power.
In his first full season in Toronto’s system he has answered the power question, by increasing his home run total for the third straight year; in fact, this season he has already hit 11 home runs, the latest coming last night. To go along with his 11 homers he has also hit 17 doubles and 6 triples for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Unfortunately, his average, however, has remained around the .250 mark, comparable to the rest of his career in the minor leagues.
Making up for his inconsistency at the plate, is his consistency in the field. His fielding has been phenomenal in 2011, committing only 2 errors in 258 chances, giving him a .992 fielding percentage. 9-time gold glove award winner Torii Hunter has a .993 career fielding percentage, only one thousandth of a percent better than the 20 year old prospect.
While Anthony Gose takes a lot of walks (55 so far), he strikes out more than double that amount by doing so 113 times, which is almost 25% of his plate appearances. When Gose doesn’t strike out and he puts the ball in play, he is batting .335, nearly 80 points higher than his regular average. This average is much higher due to his incredible speed, as he is able to beat out plenty of grounders, and reach base via infield hits.
Another stat that makes him such a useful player is his on base percentage which currently stands at .355. What makes him an even bigger threat is that when he does get on base, his speed becomes one of his greatest assets. Gose has already surpassed all expectations by stealing 50 bases in 65 attempts this season. To make this even more impressive, he has stolen 50 bases, yet has only had the opportunity to steal152 times, thus indicating that he is stealing a base almost a third of the time.
While his speed is a huge advantage for Gose, the young player still needs to focus on when to run and when not to. Members from the Blue Jays’ organization have announced that if he does not improve his base running IQ, he will not be in the majors anytime soon. That being said, if he does improve in that category then there is no doubt that he will be able to lead the league in the future in stolen bases. In fact, he is currently on pace to lead his league in stolen bases for the third straight year.
If Gose does improve his wild swinging ways, and continues his growth in power numbers, and works on learning the right opportunity to steal, then there is no question that by the time he makes it to the Majors, people will be mentioning 5-tools next to Anthony Gose’s name.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lawrie gets Called up, Snider Demoted

The long awaited arrival of the 13th best prospect in the MLB has come,but it comes at a price. Brett Lawrie, the third baseman from Langley,British Columbia who was ripping up AAA when he was on the eve of his call-up on May 31st before he was hit by a pitch on his hand and broke it, was batting .353 with a 1.076 ops in AAA Las Vegas. Too make room on the 25 man roster Travis Snider was sent back down to Vegas, not to work on his swing, but because he was not producing. Jays GM Alex Anthopoulous said that because Edwin Encarnacion is starting to heat up, it was between Snider and OF Eric Thames to be sent down, but Snider was chosen.He also said it could have gone either way. Lawrie will make his MLB debut on Friday night in Baltimore. The pitcher he will face is righty Tommy Hunter, who is 1-1 with a 3.31 era in 16.1 innings this season with Texas and Baltimore.

RHP Carlos Villanueva was placed on the 15 day DL today with a right forearm strain. Villanueva is 6-3 with a 4.24 era in 26 games, 13 starts for the Jays this season. Luis Perez was recalled from AAA to take his place.Perez is 1-2 with a 3.57 era in 24 games with the Jays this year.