Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 9th - Minor League Roundup

The Good
AJ Jimenez - New Hampshire (Double A)
2/5 - 1 HR, 1 K,
Let me introduce you to the modern day Mike Piazza.  His name is AJ Jimenez.  BACK TO BACK games with home runs, for a prospect who’s supposed to have zero power in his bat.  While that’s clearly sarcasm, its very positive to see that when pitchers make mistakes he can indeed crush them, because prior to this there was ZERO evidence of that what-so-ever.  For a player who’s never hit more than 4 home runs in any professional season, its tough to view 2 HRs in 2 days as anything but an aberration, a positive aberration, but just a fluke nonetheless.

Daniel Norris - Lansing (High Single A)
4 IP - 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K
Given the recent injury problems that have befallen Roberto Osuna & Aaron Sanchez, its quite possible that Daniel Norris is now the most promising pitching prospect in the Blue Jays system.  Since returning from his forearm strain he’s posed a 3.15 ERA, and a 29.9 K%, and if we track even further back than that, in his past 13 starts he’s posted a 2.42 ERA, and a 33.0 K%.  If he’d sustained that for the entire season it would be good for the 13th best ERA, and the highest strikeouts rate in the Mid-West League. 
I’m always hesitant to bang the drum for prospects to be promoted, but I think its time for Norris to get the bump up to the Florida State League, and see what he can do in his final few starts of the season.

Tom Robson - Vancouver (Short Season Single A)
6 IP - 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Tom Robson continues to turn himself from a player I followed only because he was Canadian into a legit prospect.  Thus far in his 3 starts in the Northwest League, Robson has posted an ERA of 0.59 and a K/BB rate of 3/1.  He has a legit mid-90s fastball, and the his numbers this year are starting to really put him on the radar.

Franklin Barreto - GCL (Low Rookie Ball)
*Double Header*
2/4 - 1 2B, 1 HBP, 2 K
Back to back days on the report for the Jays top hitting prospect.  Barreto has had 7 extra base hits in his past 7 games.  If the Jays didn’t have Dawel Lugo hitting in Bluefield, I might be clamouring for Barreto to get exposed to the Appalachian league in the last few weeks of August.

Rowdy Tellez - GCL (Low Rookie Ball)
*Double Header*
3/6 - 2 2B
Its no secret that I’ve been very negative on Hot Rod in his professional debut.  I’ve gotten very negative reports on him, and the stats have backed up the shaky scouting thus far.  However seeing him get an extra base hit in both halves of a double header is perhaps the first positive development that I’ve been able to report thus far.  Baby steps.
Matt Smoral - GCL (Low Rookie Ball)
2 IP - 1 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 2 K
This is perhaps the lowest bar for a “good” outing that I’ve posted thus far.  In any other circumstance where a pitcher gave up 2 runs in 2 innings, while also hitting 2 batters it would probably be going under the “bad” side of this roundup.  However when it comes to Smoral seeing him complete two innings has to be viewed as a positive.
Two outings ago, Smoral only recorded 1 out while giving up 4 runs (and hitting the same 2 batters).  The next time out he lasted a full inning, but gave up 2 runs and walked a pair.  Smoral is a very unique case.  He has amazing upside, given that he’s a 6’7 lefty with mid-90s stuff.  However at the same time those type of pitchers take an extraordinaire amount of both patience and care to get to their ceiling.  There isn’t a prospect with more upside in the Jays system than Smoral, but at the same time there probably isn’t a player with a more uncertain time table than him as well.  A true wait and see case.

The Bad
Drew Hutchison - Buffalo (Triple A)
3.2 IP - 6 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 1 K

Hutchison after cruising along on his rehab stint from Dunedin to New Hampshire hit his first road bump when he arrived in Buffalo.  Had he shown the same type of consistency and effectiveness in his AAA debut, we easily could’ve seen him slot into the struggling Esmil Rogers’ rotation spot.  However that wasn’t the case and Hutchison got beaten from pillar to post in the 2nd inning.  This isn’t something to be overly worried about, as he had Tommy John Surgery just a year ago this week.  His rehab has gone swimmingly thus far and there’s no reason to panic about a small set back.

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