Interview With Andy Burns

If you listen closely to the really smart baseball people out there, they will all say the same thing: the biggest jump in minor league ball is from High A to AA.

We respectfully submit exhibit A for your reference: Infielder Andy Burns. In the 2013 season he played the exact same number of games in the Florida State League and the Eastern League: 64. That allows for a rather straight forward comparison.

High A:                                 AA:   
248 AB                                265 AB
45 runs                                40 runs
81 hits                                  67 hits
15 2B                                    19 2B
5 3B                                      2 3B
8 HR                                     7 HR
53 RBI                                 32 RBI
21 SB                                   12 SB
9 CS                                     5 CS
25 BB                                  23 BB
38 K                                    55 K
.327/.383/.524            .253/.309/.419

A few notes:
Batting average and OBP dropped almost 75 points
Slugging percentage was down over 100 points
The only increases were doubles and strikeouts

Stats taken from here. If they aren't fucking nerdy enough for you, go ahead and click here.

He does have roughly the equivalent of a full season of experience in AA now so let’s take a look at those numbers, which are current as of July 10.

570 AB
83 runs
140 hits
34 2B
4 3B
16 HR
69 RBI
26 SB
11 CS
56 BB
123 K

That’s not too shabby, all things considered. With his position flexibility – 83 games at SS, 212 at 3B, 13 at 2B and 3 at 1B – he has an intriguing skill set that could potentially help a major league team, perhaps right away.

If you read that sentence again you’ll see that we didn’t say anything definitive, which is kinda neat!

Our amazing interviewer, Jay Floyd, caught up with Andy Burns last month and had a nice chat about the following topics and more:

Playing in the northeastern U.S. to start a season
The minor league life in general
Hobbies, and who the video game champion on the team is
The college baseball experience
His thoughts on a possible tobacco ban in baseball
What it’s like to hang out with some Blue Jays legends


Interview With Tyler Ybarra

Tyler doing work

Tyler Ybarra was a late-round pick (43rd round, 1299 overall, to be precise) in the 2008 draft. He has made steady progress up the minor league ladder, being challenged with a new level at the start of each year, and he was given the chance to pitch in the star-studded Arizona Fall League after a dominant 2013 season in the FSL.

This year, he has appeared in 29 games for the Fishercats, and only 12 of those appearances have not been of the multiple-inning type—so he’s not just a LOOGY. In fact, he has some reverse splits going on, meaning he has been tougher on right-handed hitters than lefties—this year, anyways.

If you’re as tired as I am of watching guys like Rob Rasmussen get their head kicked in at the big league level, then keep an eye out for this guy as he might be in line for a shot sooner rather than later—we all know Gibby loves having three LHP in the pen whenever possible.

Our man on the ground, Jay Floyd, caught up with Tyler Ybarra and was able to impressively dodge both a possessed vacuum cleaner AND a pesky air conditioner to get some insight into the following topics:

Having higher expectations
Skipping a season after rookie ball
Scouting report on himself
Pitch repertoire
Following in his father’s footsteps
Being a late round pick
Good luck charms

Follow Tyler Ybarra @TYbar23
Follow Jay Floyd @Phoulballz
Follow Us @1BJW


Interview With Mike Crouse

Outfielder Mike Crouse was drafted at 17 years old in the 16th round of the 2008 draft. He hails from British Columbia, stands 6’4 and weighs in at a svelte 215 lbs. We have heard him described as "looking quite good in the uniform," so to speak.

Mike had a breakout season in 2011 for the Lansing Lugnuts, where he slugged 14 bombs, grabbed 38 bags and slashed .261/.352/.475 in 101 games playing RF beside uber prospect Jake Marisnick. Mike’s production at the dish was comparable to Jake’s and had many prospect hounds drooling.

Fast forward a couple of injury plagued seasons and the chatter has pretty much died down. For the 2014 season, he has been plugging away in AA with the New Hampshire Fishercats as a 23 year-old player--which is still 1.7 years younger than the median age in the Eastern League, according to Baseball Reference.

In his complete minor league career to date he has played 199 games in RF, 163 in CF and 70 in LF, which seems a little light in terms of reps considering he is entering his 7th year of professional baseball. Hopefully he can stay on the field for 400+ at bats and the chatter will start up again. If our math is correct, he must be added to the 40-man roster before next season or he could be lost via the Rule 5 draft.

Our minor league interviewer extraordinaire, Mr. Jay Floyd, caught up with Mike Crouse and discussed many interesting topics:

If there is any extra pride/drive/desire to play in the Blue Jays system
When baseball became the game of choice for him in this hockey crazed nation
A brief scouting report on himself
Favourite player growing up (spoiler alert: YUCK)
The experience of playing winter ball in the ABL

Follow Mike Crouse: @_crouse_
Follow Jay Floyd @Phoulballz
Follow Us @1BJW