We’re into June now, and a lot of the early curiosities have corrected themselves, though not all, and the player development cycle now shifts to the upcoming draft and the subsequent filling out of the short-season team rosters where we’ll begin to get our first 2016 look at a number of interesting players. In the mean time, here’s a small taste of that action via a couple of tweet’s from Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling:
Asked a Blue Jays talent evaluator at extended spring training what he's seen from 17-year-old Vlad Guerrero Jr: pic.twitter.com/kx4iyU6T1w
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) June 1, 2016
But what the Blue Jays are most encouraged by with Vlad Jr is his work at third base: pic.twitter.com/4JWzhcY7V2
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) June 1, 2016
Now, to business.
Pitchers of the Week
1. Sean Reid-Foley – RHP – Lansing (Low A)
Last Week: 1-0, 2 GS , 15 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 17 K
Season: 3-3, 45.0 IP, 20 BB, 50 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 10 K/9, 4 BB/9
The names are surely familiar to you at this point – Lansing starting pitchers just passing around the honors from week to week in these updates. Every person mentioned under this heading this year, save Drew Hutchison, has at some point taken a turn in the Lansing rotation. Sometimes it can be tough to pick between them. Technically speaking, SRF only had one start since the last update, but the one previous to that was made on the last night of the previous stat-week and I didn’t change the already selected top 3, so I’ll speak of it here. In his last two outings, Reid-Foley has 15 IP, 4 ER, only one walk (an issue for him in the past), and 17 strikeouts.
2. Angel Perdomo – LHP – Lansing
Last Week: 0-0, 1 GS , 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Season: 2-1, 43.1 IP, 20 BB, 54 K, 1.45 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9
In the three way competition to be the second Lansing starter to get the call to fly down to Dunedin, the 6’6″ lefty doesn’t intend to take a back seat to anyone. He was pitching Friday night as I was putting this post together, and put together six innings of 1-hit ball with 8 strikeouts. This start came after he pitched seven innings of 1-hit ball in the previous turn.
His ERA on the season is now down to 1.28, in his last 26 IP he’s allowed a single earned run and only 10 hits. Of the various guys who’ve started in Lansing this year, this one might ultimately end up being the best.
3. Francisco Rios – RHP – Dunedin (High A)
Last Week: 2-0, 2 GS , 15 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K
Season (combined): 5-2, 64.1 IP, 16 BB, 68 K, 1.82 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 2.2 BB/9
While his control went a bit sideways in his most recent outing, Rios gave up only two earned runs in 15 IP, and the extra walks were most likely a fluke, possibly the work of an umpire as much as the pitcher. It’s only the third time since 2015 opened that he’s walked as many as four batters, and only the fifth time (in 26 starts) that he’s walked more than two.
Hitters of the Week
1. Rowdy Tellez – 1B – New Hampshire (AA)
Last Week: 11/24, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 3 BB, .458 AVG, .517 OBP, .916 SLG
Season: 43/172, 13 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 0 SB, 2 CS, 31 BB, .250 AVG, .362 OBP, .477SLG
Yes, I know. You’ve seen him on this list before. Odds are fairly high you will again. Last time out I documented Tellez’s turnaround from a very slow start, and he hasn’t cooled off since then. As of this writing he’s riding a 10 game hit streak. Since May 10 he has a .370 BA and a 1.097 OPS. Any doubts about his ability to hit AA pitching have certainly been allayed.
2. Jesus Montero – DH – Buffalo (AAA)
Last Week: 8/24, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 1 BB, .333 AVG, .360 OBP, .541 SLG
Season: 59/194, 13 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 8 BB, .304 AVG, .335 OBP, .799 SLG
When the Blue Jays elected to go with an 8-man bullpen while Troy Tulowitzki is on the DL, it was rightly observed that they were left with no one known for their hitting on the bench. To which it was replied, not without justification, that there isn’t a ton of potential offensive help at Buffalo either – but recent acquisition Jesus Montero is begging to differ. The 26 year old man-with-no-need-for-a-glove is on a monster tear over the last almost 3 weeks he’s been an absolute monster.
Not counting last nights game, in which he went 2/4 with a double and triple, his OPS since May 14 is .997 to compliment a .354 batting average. If this were to sustain over the coming weeks, it will ease concerns about what is available down there in case of injury to a player like Smoak or Encarnacion.
3. AJ Jimenez – C – Buffalo
Last Week: 6/14, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 1 BB, .428 AVG, .466 OBP, .517 SLG
Season: 27/100, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS, 7 BB, .270 AVG, .333 OBP, .420 SLG
Many of you might not remember when AJ Jimenez appeared regularly on Blue Jays prospect lists. Drafted in 2008, he outranks every player in the Toronto system in service time with the organization…save for Brett Cecil. A well regarded defender, after the 2011 season (in which he hit over .300 with a .770 OPS in Dunedin) he was regularly described as a future major leaguer. Then the injuries set in. He managed to make it into, collectively, only 205 games over the next four seasons.
In fact, he’s already played in more games, as of last night, in 2016 than he played in all of 2o15. This year you would have largely been justified in the assumption that his window to the MLB had been closed. However, for over three weeks now he’s been on the best roll of his career. Over the last 14 games through Thursday (53 PA), he has an OPS of .945. There are huge sample size considerations here, but it’s good to see that there’s something left.
Other Minor Notes
Over the just-passed Memorial Day weekend, the full season minor league teams completed their first third of the season, and it seems only proper to take a moment and assess the top-prospects that various outlets have mentioned. Who’s stock is climbing? Who’s stock is dropping?
1. Francisco Rios – no one has done more to put themselves in the spotlight
2. Angel Perdomo – was not an afterthought, as Rios was, but still improved his status
3. Rowdy Tellez – some wondered if the placement was too aggressive
4. Jon Harris – wiped away concerns about last years poor debut
5. Dwight Smith, Jr. – most observers were moving on from him.
1. D. J. Davis – things are looking grim after he had a modest rebound last year
2. Lane Thomas – one of my favorites before last season, really looking lost right now
3. Tom Robson – comeback from TJ has not gone well at all.
4. Conner Greene – where did the strikeouts go?
5. Matt Dean – even Kevin Ahrens showed more promise than this.
Other Stat Lines of Interest
|Dwight Smith, Jr||23||LF||AA||6||.192||.275||.192||0||0||3||4||5|
|Dwight Smith, Jr||23||LF||AA||44||188||.263||.330||.404||4||2||17||35||69|
* = Stats over two levels
Lead Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports