Fisher Cats Drop Series Opener, LaMura Interview

In the series opener in Trenton on Friday night, the Fisher Cats fell to their Eastern Division rivals, the Yankees affiliate Thunder.

Righty starter BJ LaMura took the loss for New Hampshire, going 5 innings and allowing 3 runs (2 earned) while striking out 6 and walking 2 batters.

Trenton seemed to be primed to really blow out the Cats early, when they sent 8 batters to the plate in the first inning. A lead-off walk to left fielder Austin Krum to start the game and a double by catcher Austin Romine set up an RBI single for Corban Joseph, Trenton's second baseman. A bases loaded walk to shortstop Jose Pirela gave Trenton a 2-0 lead.

LaMura settled down in the 2nd, putting up a 1-2-3 inning. In the 3rd, Romine scored on a Joseph sacrifice fly after an error by NH third baseman Mark Sobolewski put Romine in position to do so. Trenton went up 3-0 at that point and it was all they would need.

Second baseman Craig Stansberry drove in two runs for the Fisher Cats, including one on a solo homer, a shot to deep left field that exited Waterfront Park.

Right-hander Clint Everts struggled in 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing 3 earned runs in the bottom of the 7th inning.

The final score on Friday saw Trenton defeat New Hampshire by a 6-2 margin.

The 30-year-old LaMura spoke with 1BlueJaysWay.com's Jay Floyd after the game. Check out the media player below to listen to that interview.


Be sure to follow 1BlueJaysWay.com on Twitter by clicking HERE.


Interview with Gustavo Pierre

Our boy Jesse is back at it with another interview from chilly Lansing. This time around it's with SS Gustavo Pierre. For some more detailed info on Gustavo head over to the team at Jays Journal. They got you covered.

What we can add is that this player works his tail off. He is the quintessential definition of a raw player, both with the stick and the glove. His error total in a full season of Minor League ball might reach eye popping totals but we are completely confident if he keeps working hard the skills are there to one day play in the Big Leagues.

Jesse offers some additional insight and an encouraging comp:

He’s tall, but an Edgar Renteria type with great range. The stick is like his glove – it shows great potential but has a ways to go. Looks like he could be good for 15-20 homers in the Majors.

In the interview Gustavo talks about being signed as a 16 year old out of the Dominican and mentions that the Rangers and Phillies were in on him prior to deciding to sign with the Blue Jays. He also mentions that playing baseball in the cold sucks.

Check it:


Curveball, bats are afraid

After some careful consideration and healthy debate it has been decided that Travis Snider is in fact Pedro Cerrano.


Interview with Carlos Perez

Image courtesy of MiLB In Focus

Our boy Jesse caught up with the all world catching prospect Carlos Perez this weekend and was kind enough to let us drop it here first, for you all to enjoy.

But before you do, check out his stats courtesy of First Inning. Feel free to get excited. I did.

Basic Statistics
2008 RookieDSL Blue Jays12391802556102029650275.311.469.389858
200918RookieGCL Blue Jays1611401740113120215242.286.354.429783
Extended Statistics
2008 RookieDSL Blue Jays1239180.07820.9%11.3%.36647%8%326.55.400132160
200918RookieGCL Blue Jays161140.1439.3%14.9%.33948%11%194.62.342117140

Here's what Jesse had to say about Carlos after watching him for just 25 at bats:

Excellent line drive stroke, solid plate discipline, and a quick release to second base.  Easily recognizable as a terrific prospect.

In the interview itself you will gain some valuable insight on how people born in the Caribbean deal with "spring" in the Northern USA. Also, the MVP for his team the last three years reveals he grew up playing as an outfielder. He talks a little bit about being signed by the Blue Jays and how no other team was in on him as an 18 year old.

Now my math skills are not what I would consider strong but if he was drafted as an 18 year old and has managed to play full seasons in 2008, 2009 and 2010 then he can not be 20 years old right now. It`s just not possible, is it? His age is conveniently left blank in the stat table above and the always trustworthy Baseball Reference has him playing 2008 as a 17 year old. Which makes sense to me. But I'll admit I`m probably looking way a little too much into it.

If you are not following Jesse on Twitter for whatever reason, well, you should be. And while you're at it give Paul a follow

Two rock solid guys traveling around with the Lugnuts all season.


Minors Wrap Up, 4/16/11

Blue Jays fans, here's a piece we hope to make a regular feature on the site this season...a trip around the Blue Jays' developmental system. Standings, stats, other notes...check it out.

The Triple A Las Vegas 51's are currently 5-4 and in second place in the Pacific South division, 1 game behind Fresno in the Pacific Coast League.

Eric Thames, who was a beast with New Hampshire last season, is wrecking opposing pitchers up a level thus far in the new season. Through 9 games, Thames has posted a .389 batting average with 5 doubles a HR and 9 RBI.

Brett Lawrie, who was acquired in the Shaun Marcum trade, has also excelled with the 51's and has a .462 average with 5 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 steals. Lawrie, a British Columbia native, is tied for the league lead in hits with 18.

First baseman David Cooper leads the team with 10 RBI through 9 games.

Former big leaguer Chad Cordero has appeared in 3 games and has a 12.71 ERA.

The Double A New Hampshire Fisher Cats are 5-4 and two games behind New Britain in 3rd place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division.

Through 2 starts righty hurler Zach Stewart is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA, 5 walks and 5 strike outs in 12 innings pitched. Stewart was of course acquired in the Scott Rolen trade.

First baseman Mike McDade is leading the team in batting with a .361 average through 9 games. McDade has just 1 RBI to date this season.

Highly regarded catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud has struggled thus far this season. In 7 games, d'Arnaud is 2-for-26 (.077 avg) with a double and 1 RBI.

Centerfielder Anthony Gose is batting .194 through 9 games. Thus far in the new season, the speedy prospect has not scored a run yet. Two seasons ago for Lakewood in the Class A South Atlantic League, Gose stole 76 bases.

The High A Level Dunedin Blue Jays have a 1-8 record and are currently in last place in the Florida State League's North Division.

Infielder Justin Jackson is leading the team in hitting with a .368 average in 7 games. Jackson has stolen 1 base in 3 attempts.

21-year-old right-handed pitcher Deck McGuire has struck out 10 batters in 8 2/3 innings. McGuire was the 11th overall draft pick by the Blue Jays last year out of Georgia Tech.

In 2 starts with Dunedin, Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA. Opponents are batting .373 against Morrow, who is rehabbing from a right forearm strain. Morrow is slated to make one more start in the minors on Sunday before returning to the active Toronto roster.

The Class A Lansing Lugnuts are currently 4-2, a half game behind first place Bowling Green in the MID Eastern Division of the Midwest League.

Catcher Carlos Perez is batting .405 and has a 1.025 OPS through 5 games.

Outfielder Michael Crouse is batting .250 in six games and has the team's only homerun. The 20-year-old Crouse was a 16th round draft selection in 2008.

Right-hander Drew Hutchison had one strong start so far for the 'Nuts, striking out 11 and allowing no runs over 7 innings.Link

Stay tuned throughout the season as 1BlueJaysWay's minor league insider Jay Floyd brings you exclusive player profiles and interviews from the Toronto system and beyond.

Be sure to follow 1BlueJaysWay on Twitter by clicking HERE.


Regardless of the jury's verdict.....

I have come to the conclusion that all my childhood heros are/were cheaters. And that makes me very sad.


And The Winner Is:

Barring any ridiculously last minute transactions, here is your Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day 25 man roster:


57Shawn Camp

27Brett Cecil

4Kyle Drabek

54Jason Frasor

44Casey Janssen

51Jesse Litsch

25David Purcey

60Jon Rauch

37Jo-Jo Reyes

24Ricky Romero

34Marc Rzepczynski

33Carlos Villanueva


9J.P. Arencibia

8Jose Molina


10Edwin Encarnacion

5Yunel Escobar

2Aaron Hill

26Adam Lind

18Mike McCoy

6John McDonald

28Jayson Nix


19Jose Bautista

11Rajai Davis

20Juan Rivera

45Travis Snider

Many thanks to bluejays.com for that.

With respect to the contest, it ended up being a tie. Of course it did.

The first 25 Man Roster Challenge had only 4 competitors and it ended in a true tie.

The second 25 Man Roster Challenge had 17 competitors and it ended up in a 6 way tie.

Congratulations are in order for the following teams who ended up getting 21 of the 25 players correct albeit in very different ways.

Team Blue Jay Hunter
Team Darrel
Team Peter
Team Rob
Team Human Rain Delay
Team Man With The Golden Arm

The injury to Brandon Morrow really opened the door for a lot of different pitching staff combos. The Roster Challenge certainly reflected this. Also of note was the Corey Patterson head shot. Up until that point it looked like he was a given as the 4th OF. Team Andy Mc, Team Nemesis Enforcer and Team Gregor ended up with 20 players correct. They were knocked out of first place as soon as that 95 MPH fastball hit Corey`s helmet.

As for the vote, well, Team April used the power of her 2124 followers and dominated.

 Who Will Win The 25 Man Roster Challenge?
Team Last Row 500's 3%
Team April 32%22 
OKBluejays 4%
Team BJH 6%
Team Darell 3%
Team Peter 3%
Team Jeff 4%
Team Jonathan 1%
Team James 3%
Team Rob 4%
Team GC 0%
Team Dave 1%
Team Andy Mc 4%
Team Gregor 10%
Team Human Rain Delay 3%
Team Nemesis Enforcer 10%
Team Man With The Golden Arm 7%
69 votes total 

Thanks to everyone for playing! Glad to have you guys on board. Make sure to look for the Challenge again next year. Till then, does anyone have an idea how we can break a tie in this sort of format? The prize of a autographed Randy Knorr 8 by 10 photo doesn't really split up multiple ways very well.

I'll just hang on to this bad boy for now.....

Brand New Season, Brand New Jays

The following entry is a guest post by Ontario resident Craig Ballard. You can read more from Craig on his blog by clicking here.

The 2011 season for YOUR TORONTO BLUE JAYS is here. The time for optimism is now, I understand that. All MLB fans have their favorite teams tied for 1st place in their division, and as a back-up tied for the Wild Card too. For some that optimism/euphoria/excitement will end just as quickly as Jim Halpert's tenure as Manager for Dunder-Mifflin. For others, there will be an unexpected lightning-in-a-bottle season. And for some remaining squads, it will be a season of organizational development. Where do the 2011 Jays look like they will be?

Personally, I see it as a season for development. I mentioned before that I understand the excitement about this time of year, but if you are someone who thinks the Jays will make the playoffs in 2011 then we are just not on the same page. We can surely enjoy the season together, but we have clashing points of view.

I would inquire, "If 2011 was targeted as the year to start making your playoff runs (yes, runs - plural) then why trade Doc? Why trade Marcum? Why let Scott Downs, John Buck, Lyle Overbay go? To a lesser extent why let Kevin Gregg go as well?" Some may say why trade the offensive production Vernon Wells would have given you too? I personally would say that getting out from underneath Wells' contract was a win under any circumstances.

For me the word of 2011 Toronto Blue Jays is Development. But, questions are bountiful. I am watching to see how 23-year-old Kyle Drabek will develop in his first full MLB season. Will Brett Cecil continue to progress? Cecil took a good chunk off of his rookie season ERA in year #2, but a high hits total, and a brutal spring have me in wait-and-see mode for Cecil's 2011 and beyond. Will Brandon Morrow develop the arm strength and stamina to not have to end 2012 early like '10 and '11 (Morrow will be shut down at about 185 innings this season)? Will Morrow build a solid rapport with rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia? Jose Molina is the personal catcher for Morrow currently, but as Arencibia is the catcher of the future, ideally the team and its fans should want those two to develop their chemistry/rhythm as a battery. Will Adam Lind develop into a legit first baseman in terms of production? Will Travis Snider show the skill he has and get his MLB career going?!?!

The Snider inquiry is a big one. I am sure I am not the only one, but I have not given up on Snider. MEGA potential, but at 23 this .248 career hitter has to get it going soon. He has 19 career HR's and he surely needs more than that this season alone (and going forward).

All of the players mentioned will be asked to be major contributors to this organization in 2012 and beyond so as fans we are hoping for their development.

Truly, I believe that AA will have the Jays in perennial playoff contention from 2013 going forward, but if guys use 2011 to accelerate their development then we may see something special as soon as 2012 (as The ENVY say "fingers crossed").

Another story that may unfold a tad in 2011 is what will the double-play duo look like for the Jays after this season? Will it be the current duo of YEScobar and Aaron Hill? Will it be Adeiny Hechavarria and Hill? Will it be YEScobar and Brett Lawrie? Will it be Hechavarria and Lawrie? What about Alfredo Griffin and Damaso Garcia? If you get rebound seasons from YEScobar and/or Hill I think either one of them could become easy trade bate.

Actually, I feel that way about the entire roster (except perhaps Jose Bautista, due to his recent contract). We have seen that AA wants to have young, high-upside players, with controllable contracts. He has brought Drabek, Lawrie, Anthony Gose, Morrow, and YEScobar into the organization. He traded Marcum and SS Alex Gonzalez when they had their most value. I think AA will make a trade(s) this season that will be along those lines. Selling high to get a return asset that is young, high-upside, controllable contract, looks to be AA's modus operandi.

Of course, speaking of development, we will watch rookie manager John Farrell and his progression, especially his influence on this young pitching staff.

Any way you slice it, the stat of the season for the 2011 Jays is that this is the 23rd season for the Jays in the SkyDome/Rogers Centre. Is it just me or did that shock you too? Does not seem like 23 years to me. Time surely flies.

Go Jays, Go...


You can follow Craig Ballard on Twitter by clicking HERE.