Friday, July 20, 2012

Minor League Roundup - Lansing Lugnuts

Minor League Roundup (July 9th to July 15th)

Every week I’ll be diving into the Blue Jays system to see how the up and comers have fared in the past 7 days.  I’ll only be looking at the prospects in the system, so, sorry to the Ruban Gotay types out there, you’ll continue to be ignored. 

Its very important to note, that while this is can be a useful exercise, its important to not take the stats put up in the minor leagues as gospel.  Minor league numbers can very often be deceiving, the calibre of competition can frequently vary wildly (often within the same game eve), and frequently skills that allow you to thrive in the minors wont translate at all to the majors (such as being a mistake hitter, or relying on a trick pitch for strikeouts).  Also, minor league teams don’t do advanced scouting, so holes in a players game that can be exploited at the next level won’t become apparent.  So take anything I’m saying here with a healthy grain of salt.

Today I’ll be covering the exciting Lansing Lugnuts, and if I have time over the weekend, I might skim over the lower levels, but at that level the stats really don’t mean much, because the talent level varies so wildly.

Lansing Lugnuts (Lo A)
July 9th6-1 Loss @ Western Michigan
July 11th8-7 Win v. Quad Cities
July 12th15-3 Loss v. Quad Cities
July 13th4-0 Win v. Quad Cities
July 14th9-4 Win v. Cedar Rapids
July 15th6-2 Win v. Cedar Rapids

            The Lugnuts are the best team in the MidWest team, anchored by the best pitching in the league, and maybe the most promising rotation of any club in the minor leagues.  Their offense has certainly been getting the job done as well (ranking 3rd in the league).  Even though there’s talent up and  down the system as a whole, this is the team that really gets you excited for the future.
Christopher Hawkins – Right Fielder – 20 Years Old
Lo A Season Line – 375 PAs – .284/.342/.357 – 1 HR, 34 RBI, 45 Runs, 52 Ks, 31 BBs, 8 SBs, 0 CSs
Weekly Line – 22 PAs – .250/.318/.300 – 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 Runs, 4 Ks, 2 BBs
July 9th 0/4 – 1 K
July 11th 2/3 – 2 1Bs, 3 Runs, 1 K, 2 BBs
July 12th1/4 – 1 2B, 1 RBI
July 13th0/4 – 2 Ks
July 14th2/5 – 2 1Bs
July 15thOff

            For a player who is young for his age, Hawkins has acquitted himself well in his debut season in Lo A.  He’s an outfielder with a decent amount of promise, especially if you assume that power is the last tool that usually develops, and the rest of the tools he has are quite decent.  This week wasn’t necessarily a great example of that, as he did almost nothing at the plate.  Still, on a team that’s stacked with pitching prospects, he’s the one Lugnut hitter worth really keeping an eye on (especially now that Perez has been dealt).

Carlos Perez – Catcher – 21 Years Old
Lo A Season Line – 316 PAs, .263/.354/.439 – 5 HRs, 40 RBI, 48 Runs, 38 Ks, 35 BBs, 3 SB, 2 CS
Weekly Line – 18 PAs - .200/.333/.533 – 1 HR, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 Run, 3 Ks 2 BBs, 1/4 BR Thrown Out
July 9th1/3 – 1 BB, 0/2 Throwing Out
July 11th 1/3 – 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 Runs, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/1 Throwing Out
July 12th1/4 – 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 Run, 0/1 Throwing Out
July 13thOff
July 14th0/5 – 1 Run, 2 Ks
July 15thOff

            Perez has really taken a step forward in his second year in the Lo A, after last season took an awful of the shine off his prospect rose.  He’s shown increased power (especially evidenced by his .533 slugging % this week.  All these stats need to be taken with a large grain of salt, given that this is a repeat year at the level, which really raises a red flag.  This is however the last appearance in this column, since he was dealt to the Houston Astros this morning in the massive 10 player trade.

Michael Crouse – Corner Outfielder – 21 Years Old
A+ Yearly Line – 231 PAs, .203/.299/.347, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 42 Runs, 9 SBs, 5 CSs
Weekly A+ Line – 10 PAs - .333/.400/.667 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 Run, 4 Ks, 1 CS
Weekly Lo A Line – 3 PAs – .666/.750/1.000 – 1 2B, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 SBs
***In Dunedin***
June 9th0/1 – 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS
June 11th2/4 – 1 1B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 Run, 1 K
June 12th1/4 – 1 1B, 1 RBI, 2 Ks
***Demoted to Lansing***
June 13thOff
June 14thOff
June 15th2/3 – 2 1B, 2B, 3 Runs, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 SBs

            The young Canadian outfielder had looked like he was starting to turn his season around after a rough start to his season in Dunedin, however the team decided to demote him down to Lansing mid-week.  He had looked very overmatched earlier in the season, but it’s a little strange that the team would wait until he’d started to turn things around as he had the past couple weeks before demoting him.  As for his results this week, they were very good at both levels.  Hopefully that keeps up, and he can quickly return up the ladder to Dunedin sooner rather than later.


            Here’s where we get to the true gem of the Jays farm system.  The trio of pitchers in the Lugnuts rotation is what we can hope will anchor the Jays rotation when they are really ready to compete in a year or two.

Aaron Sanchez – RH Starter – 19 Years Old

Lo A Season Line – 64 IPs, 8-1 W-L, 1.41 ERA, 1.078 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 5.1 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9
July 12 – Loss, 1.1 IP, 5 Runs, 3 Hits, 2 Ks, 2 BBs, 2 HRs

            Coming into the season, Sanchez was generally ranked at the 3rd of the three pitchers, but that has changed as the season has gone along.  However, this week was certainly not indicative of that.  The start vs. Quad Cities was one a rare blowout outing for the tall projectable right hander.  He failed to get out of even the 2nd inning, and gave up 2 home runs, which has been highly out of character for him.  One poor outing doesn’t change the fact that Sanchez has been utterly terrific this season.

Noah Syndergaard – RH Starter – 19 Years Old

Lo A Season Line – 67.2 IPs, 6-2 W-L, 2.93 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9
July 14 - No Decision, 3 IP, 0 Runs, 0 Hits, 4 Ks, 0 BBs, 0 HRs

            Syndergaard might be the member of the Lansing rotation with the highest potential, given that he has the most overpowering stuff.  This week he threw a perfect 3 innings, and the 4 strikeouts are perfectly in line with what he’s done this year.  Not that there’s much to learn out of a 3 inning outing, but its really nice to see Syndergaard continue to put up good outings.

Justin Nicolino – LH Starter – 20 Years Old

Lo A Season Line – 77.1 IPs, 5-2 W-L, 2.68 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9
July 11 – Win, 6 IP, 2 Runs, 6 Hits, 5 Ks, 0 BBs, 1 HR

           Nicolino might be the member of the three with the lowest floor, but probably will never be better than a #3 at the major league level.  His calling card is his excellent command, which compensates for his lack of overpowering stuff.  A very typical start from Nicolino this wee featuring zero walks, and an efficient pitch count through his 6 innings of work. 
I'll be back on Monday to start this whole thing over again with the Las Vegas 51s.

If you missed any of the recaps through the week, be sure to check them out.

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