2010-12-30

Quotables: 1BJW's Sound Bites of the Year

We here at 1BlueJaysWay regularly bring our readers exclusive interviews and features with various minor league players and team personnel, during the season. We've browsed through our best Q&A's from 2010 to bring you the best 1BJW interview quotes of the year.

Check out the list below, and click each link to check out the best interviews we were lucky enough to bring you over the past year.

-Eric Thames on which teammate he feels deserves more recognition..."Darin Mastroianni is a stud. He's a machine. He plays pretty much every day. He goes balls out every day!"

-Chad Jenkins on pitching to wooden bats compared to aluminum..."I mean, I still like, I guess, I still hear those noises, in bed sometimes those pings"

-Zach Stewart on pitching in New Hampshire's cold April weather..."The few games we've played there so far, it's been really cold. We didn't have a ton of fans show up yet, but I guess it's been better than you could expect because we had 2 or 3 games in a row when it was in the 30's and 40's and it was sleeting and stuff. We didn't even want to be there, so I am sure the fans didn't want to be there."

-Travis d'Arnaud on how he spends his off-season..."(The) off-season for me is a way for me to fall in love with baseball more and more as each year goes. It's because I don't get to play baseball for a few months and it drives me crazy."

-Kyle Drabek, in August, on his estimated time of arrival for the big leagues..."I feel like I'm ready. All my pitches are where I want them. It's up to (the Blue Jays). If they have a plan for me...I'll be ready for whenever I get the call."

-Tom Filer on pitching in Toronto..."Toronto, when I was there, it was a fever pitch. Back in the 80's through the early 90's, that place was sold out every night. I love that town. The eclectic sampling of people you come across, it was really neat..."

-Adam Loewen, a former MLB pitcher, on taking a second journey through the minors- this time, as an outfielder..."I always said to myself, if my arm blew out, or if I had a serious career threatening injury, that I'd want to come back as a hitter."

-Sal Fasano on facing Randy Johnson during his playing days..."I went 0 for my first like 12 against him with like 11 punchouts. I think the first time I made contact we had a party."

-Jake Marisnick on silencing the haters..."Yeah I mean, ah, I wasn't, didn't swing to well in high school and ah, or my senior year and ah, I mean people were talking but I mean it's baseball. Slumps happen. You are not always hitting the ball great, you are not always hitting the ball bad. I mean, you go through a lot of things and ah, I mean things worked out."

-Ryan Goins on facing guys with arm side run with sink..."He threw it, like, middle away where I wanted it and I was like 'I gotta swing', so and I hit it and I was like 'oh goodness'."

-Drew Hutchison on what he did between being drafted and signing a pro contract..."Ah, you know just hung out you know ah, all summer and ah, I played all summer and then, you know, we were able to come to terms at the end of the summer and, you know...just, it was pretty.....it was cool."

-Michael Crouse on being drafted..."So for it to be the Toronto Blue Jays, a Canadian team, being me from Canada, it was a great feeling."

-Justin Jackson on who he would like to meet in the game..."If I had to go with anybody else I'd like to meet probably Pujols, talk a little hitting with him. See if he can give me a few tips."

-A.J. Jimenez on converting from the OF to catcher and what was the most difficult part of the transition..."Ah, I mean it's the tough one you get tired quickly, I mean everything is harder than other positions."

-Kevin Ahrens on what he did this past off-season..."It was real awkward 'cause one day in December it actually snowed in Houston and I built a little miniature snowman out there and it was just, you know, one of the funnest times I've had."

-Darin Mastroianni on his favorite ballplayer growing up..."I was a New York boy, so Derek Jeter. How do you not like Jeter growing up in New York?" (We still love him anyway)

-Luis Rivera on who should have been the Eastern League Most Valuable Player..."I know (Trenton) has Laird as the MVP, but for me Eric Thames should be the MVP! He hit 27 homers, had 104 RBI, batted .290. He had huge numbers!"

And a bonus 5 interviews for ya from the 2009 season in Lansing, that we debuted on the site in 2010, just cuz we can!

-Matt Daly on closing out a game in front of the home crowd..."Even when you hear them cheering and stuff, you know, you kinda, it kinda feeds in your head that, that they are kinda with you and stuff."

-Joel Carreno on how he is feeling on the mound..."I'm feel berry good. Berry, berry good."

-Mike McDade on what the team does during rain delays to pass the time..."Playing cards, talking, just messing around, fooling around a little bit, just trying to stay loose with each other, listen to some music, maybe eat a sandwich or something. That's pretty much it."

-Henderson Alvarez's translator on how he got a pro contract..."His first try out with Toronto Blue Jay, so he throw 88 - 89, um he lie to the scout (about his age?), so he sign him that day."

-Mel Queen on pitching to Henry Aaron..."So, I told the catcher I'm gonna pitch him inside, the manager said 'no'. Anyways to make a long story short I pitched, threw him fastballs inside the next three times up and struck him out all three times."

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2010-12-29

Around the Winter Leagues: Blue Jays

It's hot stove season, but there's still plenty of baseball action going on around the world. Below, we'll take a look at how Blue Jays prospects are doing in various Winter leagues.


In the Venezuelan League-

Outfielder Darin Mastroianni posted a .365 batting average with 1 homerun, 18 RBI and 11 steals in 37 games for the Aguilas. Mastroianni batted .301 with a .788 OPS in 132 games for Double A New Hampshire during the 2010 regular season.

Ronald Uviendo, who the Blue Jays acquired from the Pirates in exchange for Dana Eveland this year, is pitching for the Leones. In 17 games (10 starts), the 24-year-old Uviendo has a 4-2 record with a 2.39 ERA. With Double A New Hampshire, after the trade, Uviendo went 5-3 with a 5.31 ERA in 25 games.

20-year-old first base prospect Roan Salas, a native of Venezuela, has played in just two games with the Aguilas. In those games he is 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Righty hurler Nestor Molina is 4-2 with a 2.77 ERA and has struck out 25 batters in 26 relief innings for the Cardenales. Right-handed opponents are batting .196 against Molina, while left-handers have hit at a .343 clip against him. Molina was signed as a free agent out of Venezuela in 2006 at age 17.

Also on the Cardenales roster is catcher Jonathan Jaspe. The switch-hitting 25-year-old has a .244 average with 2 homers and 5 RBI in 19 games. Jaspe batted .238 in 61 games for Double A New Hampshire in 2010.

David Cooper, a lefty hitting first baseman that also played with New Hampshire in 2010, struggled in 6 games as a member of the Bravos. Cooper went 3-for-17 (.176 avg.) with no extra base hits.

Right-handed pitcher Wes Etheridge, acquired by Toronto this off-season, posted a 1-2 record and a 2.76 ERA in 6 games (3 starts) with the Caribes. Etheridge, a 12th round draft pick by Milwaukee in 2007, spent the 2010 regular season pitching for Maui in the independent Golden Baseball League.

The man with the best name of the bunch, Balbino Fuenmayor, has a .268 average with 1 homerun and 5 RBI in 18 games. Fuenmayor is a 21-year-old first baseman who resides in Venezuela.

Jesus Merchan, a 29-year-old infielder, has posted a .308 average with 2 doubles and 3 RBI in 14 games for the Navegantes. The former Phillies prospect batted .310 in 44 games at two levels of the Toronto system in 2010.

Henderson Alvarez, who pitched with the High A Level Dunedin Blue Jays this year, has looked good in 10 starts, despite not earning a win for the Tiburones. Alvarez has a 0-1 record with a 2.13 ERA with just 1 homerun allowed. The 20-year-old is a native of Venezuela. 

In the Puerto Rican League-

Willie Collazo, a 31-year-old lefty pitcher, has posted solid number for the Gigantes. In 7 games, Collazo is 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA and has held opponents to a .213 batting average. Collazo, a native of Puerto Rico, also pitched 2 relief outings in the Venezuelan League this year.

In the Dominican League-

Joel Carreno, a 23-year-old righty pitcher, posted a 2-1 record with a 3.25 ERA and 24 strike outs in 27 2/3 innings for the Leones. Carreno went 9-6 with a 3.73 ERA at High A Dunedin in 2010.

Starting pitcher Luis Perez is 2-5 with a 4.23 in 11 games for the Leones. Perez, a lefty, has an unimpressive 21/17 strike out/walk ratio. In 28 combined games between Double A and Triple A this year, Perez had a 10-11 record with a 5.40 ERA.

Ivan Contreras, a 23-year-old second baseman, is just 0-for-2 with 6 runs scored and 5 steals, appearing primarily as a pinch runner in 21 games for the Gigantes. Contreras played in the Angels system during the 2010 regular season.

Right-handed hitting outfielder Moises Sierra has a .273 average and a .909 OPS in 18 games for the Gigantes. The 22-year-old has been appearing as a reserve player lately. Sierra batted .211 in 20 combined games for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and High A level Dunedin during 2010.

Jonthan Diaz went hitless in 11 games with 1 RBI for the Gigantes. Diaz, a 25-year-old infielder, batted .239 with 2 HR and 43 RBI in 127 combined games at Double A and Triple A during the 2010 regular season.

Edwin Encarnacion who batted .244 with 21 homers in 96 games with the Blue Jays in 2010 is on the Aguilas roster. In 15 Dominican League games, Encarnacion is batting .246 with 3 homeruns and 11 RBI. The righty hitting Encarnacion is also just 1-for-12 (.083 avg) against lefty pitchers...the lone hit was a homer.

Adam Loewen has a .355 batting average with 2 homeruns and 7 RBI in 9 games with the Toros. Loewen also batted .333 with 5 homeruns and 19 in 14 games in the Arizona Fall League. The left-handed hitting Canadian was once a Major League pitcher, but is on his way back up through the ranks as an outfielder, after injuries ended his pitching career.

33-year-old righty pitcher Winston Abreu, signed by Toronto in late November, has looked excellent in 16 games for the Toros. The former Major Leaguer has not allowed an earned run in 14 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .143 batting average.

In the Mexican League-

22-year-old outfielder Jon Del Campo, who played in 28 games with High-A level Dunedin in 2010, went hitless in 3 games with the Venados. The switch-hitter Del Campo is a native of Mexico and was a 20th round draft pick in 2006.

In the Australian League-

24-year-old pitcher Shane Benson allowed 2 earned runs in 2 innings for the Blue Sox. Benson only appeared in one game back in November.
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2010-12-27

Exclusive: 1BJW Speaks with Harry Caray

1BlueJaysWay recently had the opportunity to connect with a legend of broadcasting, live on The Heaven Hotline. Our very own minor league expert Jay spoke with Radio Hall of Fame member Harry Caray, who called baseball games for decades in Chicago.

Harry chimed in with his thoughts on some Toronto prospects, Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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2010-12-19

The Yearly Round Up


On this day exactly one year ago, I was sitting in the very same spot and googled free + blog. I did it because I had grown tired of reading other blogs and figured I must be able to do a better job. What I didn't realize or appreciate if you will, was just how much effort it requires to write something worthy of reading every couple of days. I have zero schooling in journalism and don't read that much as such, I have found it increasingly more difficult and very time consuming to string my thoughts on your Toronto Blue Jays together. Between working 10 hours a day while sitting in front of a computer, then coming home and spending a couple more hours in front of a computer I came to the conclusion that:

I spend far, far to much time sitting in front of a computer.

I have taken a little time to reflect on the year that was. Here are some of the highlights. Almost 75,000 of you or around 350 a day have taken the time to stop by and read what we have posted. That's pretty mind blowing. At our peak, we had in one day 4,959 hits on the Gose for Wallace post. Much of the thanks has to go to MLBTR for the link to the story and the other 10 or so times they picked up what we had written. Also, the weekly round up girls have been a huge success in terms of page views. Just take a second and type in cowgirl or sexy cowgirl into a google search and check the images.

Over the course of the year I had the opportunity to meet a couple other guys that blog about the Blue Jays, namely Ian from The Blue Jay Hunter, Navin from Sports and the City and Jeremy from 500 Level Fan. Great guys and great baseball fans. My kinda people.

I still remember someone telling me about Twitter and all that it has to offer. At first I was skeptical, keeping in mind I never even bothered to join Facebook. Over time, the pro's seemed to outweighed the con's. But I have come to realize that the constant stream of information and articles and pictures and videos and quotes is well, somewhat painful to stay on top of.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the shine has worn off. All of it. And as much as I was thinking about taking the next step, which would be to advertise and try to make a little coin on the side.....I don't want to cheapen the look or the experience. If over a 1,000 people read something and only 5 of them feel compelled to comment on it, how many would actually click on an add? In my opinion, not many.

As for the other 8 guys that agreed to contribute, all of them are great baseball people and true fans of the game. If any of them have anything to say about Blue Jays baseball, you will still be able to find it here. And perhaps, in time, I will get the urge to post my thoughts again. But it will no doubt be infrequent. Certainly not worth checking everyday.

That's really what this boils down to, for me. I will always remain informed and will continue to have an opinion about all things Blue Jay. But as for finding the time to transfer all that down into a post, I'll leave that for the others that do it so well.

If we do come across an interview, a video or even a sweet picture on a top prospect, then it will surely find it's way onto this site at some point. But I don't anticipate that happening for quite a while.

Anyways, thanks to all of you for reading and keep rooting for the boys in blue! It's has been and will continue to be a wild ride north of the border.


2010-12-17

The Hot Corner


When I was growing up playing hardball, I had the opportunity of watching an absolute brick wall play the position. The guys name was Marty and he was fearless. He always seemed to be able to pick the ball up on one hop. He also liked to talk to the trees in the park next to the diamond. Mostly during practice but sometimes in the game.

For the last couple of years I have been playing slopitch with a guy named Jim Y. He is a Newfie. If he was playing even with the bag it was because he was looking to start the triple play. Occasionally he would do jumping jacks while the pitch was in the air basically standing beside the pitcher.

I`m pretty sure that if you consider yourself a normal person and you met either of these guys in the street today, you would find you have very little in common to talk about because.....

To play 3rd base how it supposed to be played, you need to be "special". Possessing a cannon of an arm is a nice bonus.

Is this maybe starting to sound a little bit like a guy you just met?














Someone who gets partial lyrics to a rap song tattooed into his arm and then wears sleeveless shirts in public just may have the make up to be that type of guy. Give him some time in Vegas to get his reps in at the hot corner, then sit back and enjoy.

2010-12-16

Seeing RED


Funny story about this pic. I was saving it to use for the Yankees and Cashman after they signed Lee and whoever the hell else they wanted this offseason. In the span of nearly a week that all changed. A week that had a near $300 million dollar price tag.

As soon as the news that the Crawford deal went down - 7 years $142 million - which was after the on again off again trade for Gonzalez and his rumored extension - 7 years $154 million - I was forced to do the unthinkable.

I asked our graphics guy to change it up to Theo and the Red Sox styles.

Naturally my reaction to the news was, well, I guess you could call it a little extreme. I have subsequently calmed down enough to write about it. Although I must say the fact that the they are going to wait until later to announce the extension as to avoid paying the luxury tax still bothers me. Daily. But it's a smart baseball move and I gotta tip my cap to them for finding a way to manipulate the ONLY FUCKING rule as it pertains to salary spending in all of MLB.

I took a look at Carl Crawford's contract info on Cot's. One of the clauses is worth noting. The Boston Red Sox can block a trade of Carl to one team. Any guess who that may be? Does it even really fucking matter? I'm pretty sure they can block a trade to any team in baseball by just not agreeing to trade him to them.

Why even put that in the contract?

Seriously?

What happens if they do work out a deal with the Yankees for Crawford?

Huh?

What happens next?

Do they block themselves?

WTF? 

All I gotta say about Adrian Gonzalez is he scares the living shit out of me. Those numbers? In Petco? Jesus. He is going to love hitting in Boston. His current contract may be the best team friendly deal in the modern era. Over the 4 year term, from 2007 - 2010, he:
  • missed playing in only 5 games
  • hit 137 home runs
  • drove in 419 RBI
  • was paid $9.5 million
The Red Sox had some pretty impressive offensive statistics as a team in 2010. They were 1st in total bases, 2nd in runs and home runs, tied for 3rd in on base percentage and tied for 5th in team average. That's for all of baseball not just the AL. I'm not sure why they decided to add here. But add they did. The lineup with the additions of Crawford and Gonzo is projected to score about 5 and a half runs a game.

That's fucking fantastic news!

2010-12-14

Slim Pickings

 

Looking at the list of 1B Free Agents still available and I just have to ask: why don't we explore the possibility of acquiring Yonder Alonso or Chris Carter, two blocked 1B prospects who's current value isn't as high as it could be in a year or so?

2010-12-12

Weekly Round Up: Dec. 6 - 12

Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required listening for the week.

Consider this your required viewing for the week.

Boy Wonder did a couple of really solid interviews this week. You can find them here and here. Must reads.

Courtesy of MILB:

MiLB.com: What did you learn from your three starts in the Major Leagues this season?
Drabek: Just little things here and there from the players. When I got called up, I tried to learn as much as I could so I could take whatever I learned and take it into next year. The way you handle yourself on the mound is a big part of the game. You have to be able to stay calm out there to help yourself throughout the game.
MiLB.com: What's the biggest difference that you noticed between the Eastern League and the Majors?
Drabek: From [Class A Advanced] to Double-A, I thought it was a big jump in how good the hitters were and how tight the strike zone got. But in the Majors it gets a little bit tighter and the hitters are that little bit better. The hitters are the biggest thing, though. They are all pretty much amazing, that is why they are up there.

Nice interview with Kyle Drabek. Seems like he will be given every opportunity to win a job next spring. The only thing that could hold him back is the dreaded service time.

Courtesy of Beyond the Boxscore:

Villanueva's overall whiff rate of .324 ranked 7th in the majors among pitchers with at least 200 opposing plate appearances.  The slider is elite, and the change doesn't look bad, either.  There were a ton of liners, particularly off of the fastball, which is not good news.  What's particularly interesting is that, as you can by the pitch percentages, Villanueva throws the four pitches with more or less the same frequency.

All the info you could ever want on our new bullpen guy. Does he get a middle relief job or is he more of a long man?

Courtesy of Baseball America:

Emaus is playing in the Dominican Republic for the Toros and hitting .267/.353/.476 with four home runs. He played his first game at second base, his preferred position, on Wednesday after playing every other winter game at third. He said he was surprised and disappointed when the Blue Jays left him off the 40-man roster in November but excited to get picked by the Mets.
"My agent (ACES' Mike Zimmerman) told me this week that there was a 50-50 chance I'd be taken in the Rule 5, and right now I'm just very ecstatic, excited to be given another chance by the Mets," Emaus said via phone from the Dominican. Asked to give Mets fans a scouting report, Emaus said, "I'm just a blue-collar guy, a solid guy who has to know the game, has to have some (baseball IQ) because I don't have great tools. I'm not flashy but I bring my best every day and go out trying to find an edge."

I think he sticks with the Mets all season. J.P. is smarter than everybody else and can`t ever admit he is wrong. This time will be no different.

Courtesy of Gregor Chisholm:

Anthopoulos declined to name any specific players he is targeting but did admit he is trying to be as active as he can. The GM did not leave the Winter Meetings with any free-agent offers on the table, though, because that goes against the way he likes to operate.
"I don't like leaving an offer out there, [because] then it allows it to be shopped," Anthopoulos said. "My style is more getting the parameters, letting the agent know those parameters probably make sense for us, [then] we'll be in that mix.
"I want to know that the player wants to be here, or at least we're on a short list. If the agent then comes back and says, 'Look, he's willing to come here, you're definitely one of the top places he wants to be,' ... If I can get a window to start negotiating with someone and we're engaged and there's a back and forth, that's usually my process."

Some decent insight right there.

Courtesy of Gregor Chisholm:

"That's strictly based off our scouts," Anthopoulos said of the selections. "If we have a scout that believes strongly in someone, we don't have anything to lose. I'm a big believer that if you have a scout pounding the table for someone that's a Rule 5 Draft -- or a waiver claim or something like that -- you just got to go ahead and do it. ... If you can't do that for your scout, there's something wrong."

If you wanna see just how many scouts we got click here. Scroll about halfway down the page.

Courtesy of Samuel Wilner:

Lawrie will go to Las Vegas this year, and see if he can tear it up there.  Lesser talents have done exactly that.
This trade, which is most assuredly a step back in the hopes of moving a couple of steps forward, now gives the Jays young elite-level controllable position-player talent in Escobar and Snider at the major-league level, Gose and d’Arnaud in the low minors, and Hechevarria and Lawrie in the high minors.  These guys - along with Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Drabek and Stewart - are the building blocks of the teams the Jays will have when they become perennial contenders.  Shaun Marcum wasn’t going to be one of those guys, by the simple matter of his age.

Rarely - if ever - do I bother reading Mike Wilner`s bullshit. But I must say he was on quite a streak while covering the winter meetings.

Courtesy of  Scott Carson:

Most of you might complain that dealing that much future is foolish, but I beg to differ. I’ve seen Snider since he first arrived as a 20-year-old after just 305 games of minor-league experience. I was wowed by his line drive home run power, an above-average arm and okay foot speed for a "thick bodied" youngster. But I also became leery of his average baseball IQ and the fact that he had trouble with the in-game coaching he was receiving from Cito Gaston and Gene Tenace. That raised some red flags from members of the Sportsnet broadcast booth who once played this game.
As for Drabek, I’ve only seen him pitch three times in the majors, but I won’t say that I was blown away at any time. Average height (6-foot-1), he certainly won’t intimidate opponents from six feet, six inches away. And I saw nothing that screamed out "ace" (though it was a small sample I admit.)

On the other hand, I rarely miss one of Scott`s columns. I was quite disappointed in this one.

2010-12-11

Confession of an addict


























Recap:

Your Toronto Blue Jays acquired Brett Lawrie on Monday and I have a ball signed by him delivered to me by Thursday.

Conclusion:

I clearly have more money than brains when it comes to this shit.

2010-12-10

It Was BBA Day

December 10th was marked down as BBA Day. Just wanted to give a quick shout out to the crew and a reason why we are happy to contribute.

Basically it provides many opportunities to write about other baseball related topics. Sometimes we get a little to focused on the Blue Jays that we forget there are 29 other teams out there.

And we got to be part of a free iPhone app.

Check out an interview with our fearless leader Dan the Man for some details on the Alliance.

2010-12-09

Rule 5 Draft Rankings: Top 30

Okay all, today is the big day! The Rule 5 Draft is at 10 a.m. ET. I hope your all excited! 

Here's a list of the top 30 players available for taking.

1. Elvin Ramirez
2. Aneurys Rodriguez
3. Brad Emaus
4. Wynn Pelzer
5. Scott Diamond
6. Adam Miller
7. Johan Limonta
8. Michael Dubee
9. Paulo Orlando
10. Mark Hamburger
11. Jason Rice
12. Corey Wimberly
13. Steve Clevenger
14. Josh Rodriguez
15. Isaiah Froneberger
16. Ryan Adams
17. George Kontos
18. Mario Santiago
19. Pat Egan
20. Nick Carr
21. Pedro Beato 
22. Joseph Ortiz 
23. Casey Mulligan
24. Ed Lucas
25. Brock Bond
26. Zach Simons
27. Mason Tobin
28. Billy Rowell
29. Jose Pirela
30. Doug Arguello

And one wild card:

Kenshin Kawakami

2010-12-08

I never did end up getting any info on Alan Farina


It all started with a kind offer. I decided to take him up on it.

Good day sir,
I am writing you in response to your gracious offer for video and your thoughts on Blue Jays prospect Alan Farina.
I have a Jays blog and we did a massive post a while back on all of the prospects in the system. At that time, we had very little info on Farina.
I would like to update the post now and would appreciate any thoughts you may have on him, or anybody else. We just used second hand info on his out pitch and repertoire.
Thanks for your time.

--
The Man with the Golden Arm

I can be very diplomatic when the time calls for it. He replied, quite quickly in fact, with this.

Farina pitched at one of the AFL games I attended, but I don't believe I got any video of him. Pitching was really down in the league this year, so I spent most of my time watching hitters from down the first and third base lines. 
I think I saw every Blue Jay hitter who was in the league at least once. Any one in particular you'd want info on?
Adam

Yes, yes there is.

Well shit.
Your site is the one with the kick ass prospects write ups and what not. It wouldn't be right to just rip off your insights and say they were my own.
That being said, I would love to share ANY Blue Jays related stuff you can give with our readers. In my experience, video is especially valuable. Guys taking BP, infield warm up, in game situational plays, whatever.
Absolutely anything you wanna include in the way of scouting reports, personal observations, what you overheard other people saying etc is a bonus.
Really appreciate the help.
I will run everything I plan to post by you, once it's completed, if you wish.

Now I'm pretty sure he can see I'm not a square. 

Sounds good. Maybe you can give me a guy or two who you want to know more about and I'll give you some info.

Translation: What do you wanna know?

AFL guys from this year?
Eric Thames for sure.
Conflicting reports by the "experts" on his game.
Mike McDade and Adam Loewen would be a distant second and third.

There always comes a time when you have to get specific. 

What are some of the conflicting reports you've heard about Thames? Maybe I can help clear those up. I've seen him four or five times now. 

At this point I go find some stuff off the top of my head. He may have been testing me a little bit.

Well Sickels likes him. Thinks his power is legit.
The stuff behind the BA paywall says he is strong and projects as an average LF.
And Klaw hates him. "Don't see him as more than a fringe regular. Probably a 4th OF or up-and-down guy."
All have him in the big leagues in some role. Interested on your take.

Wait for it.....

Thames really improved his core strength and agility between the time I saw him last spring and last fall. He went from being a bulky dude who looked ready to pull a muscle at any point to someone with very impressive flexibility and athleticism.
I haven't broken down his swing in detail yet, but it is a bit long. He has enough power to put a charge into the ball regularly. A rhythm hitter, I think he borders on being too selective at the times -- takes a lot of pitches. He'll chase out of the zone and take some ugly swings when he's behind in the count. Thames gets good reads in the left field, has solid speed and can make some impressive plays. His arm is below-average.
I think Thames has a chance to turn into a near-average regular. And he'll almost certainly be a big leaguer. But he may not hit enough to be a starting left fielder for a playoff caliber team.

Loewen is an amazing athlete for a dude his size. As most people would expect, he has a cannon of an arm. He's a very impressive runner for a giant, too. And he has elite raw power. He won't ever be much of a contact hitter, but he went from being hopeless for much of the 2009 AFL season to decent in 2010. I see him as a power bat off the bench, but he might manage to turn into someone that a big league team feels comfortable starting a few days a week, when the matchup looks good.

AKA the good stuff. Not really a whole lot I can add at this point. But I give it a go.

Thames does yoga religiously. Could explain the body type transformation.
Interesting take on Loewen. My buddy who works at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame said he saw him back before he got drafted while he was still a pitcher and raved about his power with the stick of all things. That was like 5 or 6 years ago.

Thanks for that.
You got any video on either guy you can share?

I guess you could call me greedy but someone told me to always keep your eye on the prize.

Yep. I'll upload some video of both taking BP today.
Oh and McDade is not a big leaguer for me. Poor approach to hitting
and no defensive value.

Bonus!

That's awesome. Thank you.
Do you think Loewen gets selected in the Rule 5 draft?

Just one more thing.....

Eh, Loewen would be a gamble in the Rule 5. Maybe. He'd get embarrassed at the plate.

This is good news people.

Here are those videos.



Money in the bank. Is it just me or does the ball sound different coming off the bat of Thames?

If you got something on the brain and you are not a moron, why don't you try shooting Adam an email adamf@projectprospect.com and see what happens.

If you don't wanna bother with that, then you should at the very least follow him on Twitter. May I also suggest you bookmark this site and subscribe to this channel on YouTube while your at it.

Rock solid stuff.

Quickly:

Speaking of the Rule 5 draft, it's tomorrow and I have a prediction.

J.P. and the Mets will take Brad Emaus and they will keep him all season.

Call it a hunch.

2010-12-07

Yet Another Blockbuster!


The Trade:

Your Toronto Blue Jays received 2B Brett Lawrie from the Brew Crew for RHP Shaun Marcum. A straight one for one swap.

Analysis:

One of the things about waiting until a deal has been formally announced before commenting on it, is you actually get to see the reaction of the fans, media and parties involved.

In this case, it was mixed. 

Let me start off by saying this loud and clear, I completely understand the feelings of apprehension in letting Shaun Marcum go. I can honestly say he has one of the best change ups I have ever seen. Period.

Off the field, he was the guy that everyone looked up to on the pitching staff and he was one of the leaders in the clubhouse. He certainly knew how to keep it loose. Who will ever forget this Tom Foolery? Or the not so secret motto: Are YOU going to pitch like a man today?

On the field, he was our losing streak stopper this season. A season in which he set career highs in starts (31), innings pitched (195 1/3) and strikeouts (165). Shaun is a fantastic fielder of his position and Buck Martinez always found a reason to remind us, every game it seemed like, that he was a shortstop in high school.

All these things are true and need to be validated.

And I will not take any shots at him now that he is gone.

However:

In order to get talent, you must give up talent. This deal was no different.

I think we need to get the fact that Brett Lawrie is Canadian out of the way right now.

I put in a request for some info from my guy at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and he came back with this:

He played in World JR's, Olympics and World Baseball Classic all before his 1st pro game! He was also the highest drafted Canadian position player ever 1st round, 16th overall in 2008. He got a signing bonus of $1,700,000. 

Bad trade for 2011, should be good for 2013-????? I love Marcum. Trading a proven quality starter for a cocky 21 year old in Double A is risky business.

















Nick Weglarz, Agent Dan, Brett Lawrie, Phillippe Aumont

Our boy Jesse didn`t even bother to wait for the invitation, got proactive and this e-mail was in my inbox when I got up this morning:

The word on Brett Lawrie, if the Jays do get him for Marcum, is all good.  Canadian, right?  Great power, intense kid.  I like it.

Quotes:

“I’m not going to throw 95 mph and blow hitters away,” said Marcum. “But I’m going to compete and give 110% every time I take the mound. I’m going to throw strikes, change speeds and work in and out, up and down. I’m not afraid to knock people down.”

"He was excited," Anthopoulos said of Lawrie's reaction. "Very driven, focused, motivated, confident young man, and when you combine it with his ability, that's what makes him a great player and gives him the upside and ceiling to be an all-star calibre player, at least from the way our scouts talk about him."

"He has that confidence and that swagger, and that's what the great ones have," Anthopoulos said of Lawrie
 
Concerns:

I`m not going to sit here and pretend like I know what this means, so I`ll send it over to Jonathan Mayo for his take:

There has been some buzz about Lawrie's attitude, and not in a positive way. The Brewers reportedly wanted Lawrie to play in the Arizona Fall League this year, but the prospect begged off. Still, some of it might be in the eye of the beholder. What one person may see as bad makeup another might see as the kind of confidence a team would want from its players. If one observer was turned off by Lawrie's apparent bad attitude, another called him a true gamer with leadership ability.

And this is also worth mentioning, courtesy of Bobby Elliott:

Lawrie is a pugnacious player, who plays like a hockey puck. For example, last season he and Chris Dennis of Amherstburg got into a pre-game scrap around the batting cage at class-A Wisconsin.
They were wearing the same uniform ... as teammates.
 

Scouting Reports:


Video:


Conclusion:

This was a classic Boy Wonder move is so many ways:
  • Right out of nowhere
  • Acquired young, controllable, high upside talent
  • Sold high on his player
  • Traded for a guy with some question marks
As my buddy said, we do lose this trade right now. No doubt about it. Try to keep in mind the player we gave up will be a free agent in two years and is coming off a very good, if not his best, season in the big leagues. By the time we are in a position to win a lot of games, Shaun Marcum will be past his prime. And I`m willing to bet he will be getting paid 8 or 9 million dollars to it. 

On the other hand Brett Lawrie has a chance to be an impact player for us, perhaps at a premium position. Another one of those core type guys. Currently, he is one of the top 50 prospects in the entire game. It`s very rare, if not downright impossible, to get your hands on them via trade.

2010-12-06

Gillick Elected to Hall of Fame

Former Blue Jays General Manager Pat Gillick was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee. Gillick, who won 3 World Series as an executive with the Blue Jays (1992-1993) and the Phillies (2008), declared that the announcement was an honor.

"It's really on behalf of all the people I worked with over the years. That's who I feel this honor is for," Gillick stated.

Gillick received 13 votes, one more than required to be elected. Marvin Miller, a longtime executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, fell one vote short of election this year. Candidates must receive 75% of the vote to be elected, thus needing 12 of the 16 votes.

By definition, the Expansion Era covered umpires, managers and executives who made their greatest contributions to the game from 1973 to the present. As for players to be considered, that period was 1973-89.

Currently employed as a senior advisor to current Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Gillick also led the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners to the postseason in the 1990's and the 2000's.

The committee is comprised of seven Hall of Fame players and one manager: Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ozzie Smith and newly named manager of the Phillies' Triple A affiliate Ryne Sandberg, four current Major League executives: Bill Giles of the Phillies, David Glass of the Royals, Andy MacPhail of the Orioles and Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox, and four veteran media members: Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian, Ross Newhan and Tom Verducci. Surely, having individuals on the committee that are quite familiar with, or close to, Gillick could not have hurt his chances of being elected.

____________________________________________________________________
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The Winter Meetings Are Upon Us.....


2010-12-05

Weekly Round Up: Nov. 29 - Dec. 5

Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required listening for the week.

Consider this your required viewing for the week.

Courtesy of Bobby Elliott:

Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has nick-named Alex Anthopoulos ‘The Asset Collector.’’
Towers was an assistant to New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman this season so missed interacting with Anthopoulos during the Jays GM’s rookie season.
Towers took over the Diamondbacks in late September.
“Man, does he work hard, he is respectful and wants to learn,” said Towers. “He must drink 40 Mountain Dews a day for energy to maintain his pace.”
Can this be the second-year GM’s first endorsement deal?
Camera pans in ...
Anthopoulos is on the phone, while text messaging and flipping between web sites on his laptop.
He takes a sip of Mountain Dew.
“Ahhhh, sweet nectar of the Gods,” says Anthopoulos, turning to the camera and smiling.

WOW. Alrighty then.....

Courtesy of Bobby Elliott:

The Blue Jays' push for right-hander Zack Greinke continues.
And the Jays talk surrounding Greinke — even if the Kansas City Royals’ former Cy Young award never ever puts on a Toronto uniform — is news.
We’re hearing from baseball people that the Jays think they need “one more big piece” to make a run at the American League East title next season.

Seriously? One more piece away? Did I miss something?

Courtesy of Adam Foster:

Rk. Name Notes Age Lvl Team Pos
1 Aroldis Chapman Upside is as a dominant No. 1; may end up in the pen 22.8 MLB CIN LHP
2 Matt Moore Made big strides w/ his changeup and command in 2010 21.5 A+ TB LHP
3 Shelby Miller Love his FB; CB and CH both may already be above-ave. 20.1 A STL RHP
4 Jarrod Parker Half tier below Strasburg, stuff-wise; health is a concern 22.0 AA ARI RHP
5 Randall Delgado Excellent command & movement; likely No. 3 or better 20.8 AA ATL RHP
6 Zach Britton Could be a No. 2 as soon as 2011; mechanics concern us 22.9 AAA BAL LHP
7 Jeremy Hellickson Plus CH & command; shoulder injury history is a concern 23.6 MLB TB RHP
8 Mike Minor Improved stuff from '09 to '10; No. 3 long-term, though? 22.9 MLB ATL LHP
9 Kyle Drabek Stuff to be a No. 2; injury history & command isn't great 23.0 MLB TOR RHP
10 Martin Perez Solid bet to rebound; stuff is there -- needs confidence 19.7 AA TEX LHP

I just can't see us dealing Kyle Drabek.

Courtesy of Eno Sarris:

It’s a tough offseason to be a veteran free agent first baseman. Though it may normally be a difficult position to be in anyway, there are now too many lumbering older dudes looking for too few chairs and the music will eventually stop. Who will win this round of musical chairs? Will any of the bunch succeed and therefore become a fantasy value pick in 2011?
By the current count, the Cubs, Jays, Nationals, White Sox and Rays don’t have a traditional first baseman on their roster, and they probably represent the best opportunities for an every-day first base job for Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, Adam LaRoche, and Lyle Overbay. Someone will probably be on the outside looking in.

I said it a while back and I'll say it again, Adam LaRoche is a nice target for us on a short term deal. If it happens, his nickname in these parts will be: Clip

Courtesy of MLB:

The TORONTO BLUE JAYS announce the following appointments to their Minor League Field staffs for the 2011 season. New to the organization are managers MARTY BROWN, MIKE REDMOND & pitching coach JIM CZAJKOWSKI, a former Blue Jay farmhand from 1996-1997. SAL FASANO will manage New Hampshire (AA) of the Eastern League, OMAR MALAVE has been appointed as manager of the Gulf Coast Blue Jays, while RICK LANGFORD will serve as the Pitching Rehab Coordinator.

The offseason Minor League manager shuffle is complete.

Courtesy of Jon Heyman:

9. John Farrell. Blue Jays. Farrell, the well-respected pitching coach of the Red Sox, probably got this chance because of the great success of Black, a longtime pitching coach who made the transition to manager look easy by doing well in San Diego. Farrell beat out a long line of candidates to get the call. Toronto comes off a year of relative overachievement under the underrated Cito Gaston, and while no one expects them to make the playoffs in baseball's hardest division, the task to avoid the cellar won't necessarily be easy now that the Orioles seem to have turned things around under Buck Showalter. Farrell is by all accounts a very bright man, but this is tough spot for a new manager having to match wits with Terry Francona, Joe Girardi, Maddon and Showalter in the AL East. Grade: C-minus.

Not exactly a glowing report but I can see where Jon is coming from. Try to remember that we hired a guy who has no experience managing at any level.

Courtesy of Robert Macleod: 

That’s why you might see the Blue Jays take a chance and hand Adam Lind the starting job at first base. Toronto is hoping any defensive shortcomings Lind may exhibit at learning a new position would be offset by the potential he has shown with his bat.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said when asked if last year’s designated hitter has what it takes to step in at first, should the team not bring back free agent Lyle Overbay. “His footwork needs a lot of work.”
It is also the reason why the Jays might be willing to take a chance on J.P. Arencibia handling the majority of catching duties now that all-star veteran John Buck has signed a free-agent deal with the Florida Marlins.
According to Anthopoulos, offensive punch will take precedence over defensive savvy when it comes to the construction of his 2011 lineup.

Obvious question: why did we let E5 walk then?

Courtesy of Robert Macleod:

Oft-injured Dustin McGowan has agreed to a new one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $450,000 (U.S.), the American League club said on Thursday.
The 28-year-old pitcher, 12-10 with the Jays in 2007, has not pitched in a game since July, 2008, when he had the first of two surgeries on his right pitching shoulder.
The most recent procedure was performed in June.
The Savannah, Ga., native has recently begun a throwing program, although no timetable is set for a return to the mound.

Please take your sweet ass time coming back Dusty.

Courtesy of Ken Fidllin:

There was great joy among the Blue Jays Internet crowd at the news Tallet was leaving to join the Cardinals. That’s natural enough after the sour year he had in 2010.
But you won’t hear a peep of good riddance from any of his teammates or the people who coached and managed him during his five years in Toronto.
Every team needs a Brian Tallet. A guy that takes the ball day after day. A guy you sacrifice when nobody else in the bullpen could go.
As an emergency starter, he took the ball and took his lumps and never once blamed anyone but himself when things went south.
In St. Louis, he will be a specialist, facing left-handed hitters. If Tony LaRussa sticks with that, Tallet will be an effective addition.
From 2006 through 2008 when he was primarily a reliever, he worked 174 innings, allowed 146 hits with an ERA of 3.36.
The last two years when Blue Jays injuries forced him into a starting role — a role he loved, by the way — he was a swing man who struggled with a 9-15 record with a 5.67 ERA. More than a few times, he was the sacrificial lamb who helped save somebody else’s arm while putting his own aching meal ticket through the grinder.


Courtesy of You Don't Know Dick:

If they sign Jesse Crain, all of a sudden the Jays bullpen doesn’t look so iffy anymore. Consider Frasor and Crain, then add Shawn Camp, David Purcey, Casey Janssen, Marc Rzepczynski, the forgotten Jesse Carlson, Josh Roenicke and others and at spring training you’re looking to cut down.
Fans tend to overlook what Frasor has done for the Jays largely because of bad body language. Since his rookie year in ’04 when he saved 17 games as part of a closer-less bullpen, he may have been the most consistent Jay over seven years they have ever had.
As far as MLB relievers, active, who have been with the same team since 2004, there are only nine, including Frasor. The list is comprised of Joe Nathan (Twins), Ryan Madson (Phils), Mariano Rivera (Yanks), Crain, Justin Duchscherrer (A’s), Frank Francisco (Rangers), Scot Shields (Angels), Matt Guerrier (Twins) and Frasor.

Memo to the nice people at The Star, Dick NEEDS an editor. Example number 6,584,345: Justin Duchscherrer

Courtesy of Robert Cribb and Tony VanAlphen:

In what would be the biggest transaction in Canadian sport history, Rogers is in talks to buy the Toronto Maple Leafs in a deal worth more than $1 billion, sources said Tuesday.
The sale would include the Raptors, Toronto FC soccer club and the Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ minor league hockey team.
Buying a majority stake in Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan would transform Rogers, which already owns the Toronto Blue Jays, into one of the most powerful sports enterprises in North America.
“I know it’s real,” said one top sports industry executive, who requested anonymity. “I’ve heard it from Rogers at a high executive level and from MLSE at a (the highest) level.”
Sources close to the talks say the asking price for the 66 per cent stake owned by the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, which has about $95 billion in assets, is in the neighbourhood of $1.3 billion.
“This would be unprecedented in a market the size of Toronto,” said Richard Powers, sports marketing professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. “They would have a stranglehold on basically the entire professional sports market in southern Ontario and control almost every single stream of sports-producing revenue in the city.”

I am the only one that figures there is no way in hell the cheap bastards at Rogers pony up over a billion dollars for a shit hockey/basketball/soccer team?

Courtesy of Ken Rosenthal:

The Blue Jays have contacted the Royals about a trade for right-hander Zack Greinke, and the Royals are intrigued by what the Jays might offer, according to major-league sources.
Here’s the problem: The Jays are on Greinke’s no-trade list, meaning that he cannot be sent to Toronto without his permission.
That fact alone does not preclude a trade: Players frequently waive no-trade clauses, usually in exchange for some kind of contractual benefit.
Greinke, sources say, has told the Royals that he is willing “to go anywhere.”
Other clubs, however, are skeptical of that stance.
“The rule of thumb is that if a player has a team on his no-trade list, it makes it less likely,” one rival general manager says.

Minor hurdle.

Courtesy of your Toronto Blue Jays:

The Toronto Blue Jays Winter Tour presented by Rogers Sportsnet, and featuring players and personnel from the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and Rogers Sportsnet, may be coming to a City near you! In January 2011, the Toronto Blue Jays are returning to our roots and bringing back their Winter Caravan to communities across Canada. Blue Jays Players Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, J.P. Arencibia and Travis Snider will highlight the Tour in addition to new Manager John Farrell and Pitching Coach Bruce Walton. Rogers Sportsnet personalities Jamie Campbell and Buck Martinez will also be participating.†
Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo, Calgary and Vancouver will serve as the host destinations for the Blue Jays Winter Tour 2011. For a complete listing of where your Blue Jays players will be please see the schedule below on how you may see or meet your Blue Jays.

What a fantastic idea!

2010-12-04

A Villanueva With Hair!


AA traded yet another player to be named later in exchange for RHP Carlos Villanueva. I'm poised to believe that he definitely is someone who could benefit from a change in leagues and scenery. Yes, his career average fastball velocity is 100 MPH minus 12 MPH but he has a chance to win a bullpen job in Toronto and maybe re-gain his '06-'08 success.

In '10, Carlos and LaTroy Hawkins pretty much teamed up to see which of the adversarial pitchers could spend more time on the DL. He also lost a job to Zach Braddock, and now the Brewers seem more inclined to give the younger fellows on their roster a chance, such as the aforementioned Braddock. The Jays on the other hand, currently have several bullpen spots to fill. Villanueva is sure worthy of a spot, but that comes with a very, and I mean VERY good Spring Training on his part.

He's a 4 pitch pitcher that uses his change up to get guys out. I'm guessing it won't take very long to figure out if he can hack it in the AL East.