Archive for the 'Prospect Reports' Category

Blue Jays Arizona Fall League Prospect Report – October 15, 2013

Well, many thanks to Wes for his continued torrid streak of awesome baseball writing!  A ton of great pieces pertaining to the Blue Jays and baseball in general.

Here are a few Blue Jays updates from the Arizona Fall League. Drew Hutchison took the mound and gave up a couple of unearned runs in 2.2 innings.

Hitters:

TOR AFL Kenny Wilson, CF, 3-5, .556, 2 SB (4)

Pitchers:

TOR AFL Drew Hutchison 2.2 3 2 0 0 2 0.00
TOR AFL John Stilson 1 1 0 0 0 2 33.75

Daniel Norris Discusses Early Career Struggles With Fangraphs

David Laurila, the Fangraphs resident Q&A master had a chance to catch up with Toronto Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris.  They discussed his early career struggles, recent progress, injury troubles and how he likes to approach pitching.  It is worth a read, here are some highlights:

Norris on dealing with adversity: “To be completely honest, I try not to think about it. I say ‘try,’ because it’s almost inevitable that you do. But I just try to go pitch-by-pitch, game-by-game. That’s a cliché, but it’s the way you have to approach it. You need to have a short memory.

“I’ve definitely had my ups-and-downs, starting last season in Bluefield, I’d never experienced that kind of failure. I’m actually thankful for last year, and the beginning of this year, because I’ve learned how to deal with adversity. Now, the next day, I’m ready to go back out there and get better. It’s been a blessing in disguise for me to have some bad games.”

On the reasons behind his struggles:
 “I think a lot of it has been lack of command. I have to stay focused. My pitching coach this year, Vince Horsman, told me, ‘It doesn’t matter how hard you throw; if you’re up in the zone, you’re going to get hit.’ For me, it’s a matter of focusing down in the zone and getting ahead of guys, attacking guys.

On his repertoire and velocity: “I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a changeup, a slider, and a curveball. I came to pro ball with all of those pitches. The slider was new to me. I developed it my senior year of high school and now it’s one of my put-away pitches. I’ve worked hard on refining it.

My fastball, before I went on the DL [with forearm soreness] was 93-95, and I’ve been up 96-97. Since then, I’ve mostly been 92-95.

“I think velocity is important to my game. I’m a fastball pitcher. I pitch off my fastball and velocity helps you get ahead of guys. And not that you want to pitch up in the zone, but sometimes you can get away with a few more mistakes when you throw harder.

On continuing his development: “Going out there and pitching, more and more, is the main thing. It’s a learning experience. The more innings I’m getting, the more comfortable I’m getting. I’m not foolish. I know there are going to be more bad outings. It’s a matter of building confidence each time I’m out there, and feeling the ball come out of my hand.

Could Marcus Stroman Make A Difference in 2013?

Marcus Stroman was drafted 22nd overall by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012 MLB draft and the brass felt he could be a fast riser through the system.  While he stands only 5’9″ and weighs around 180 pounds Stroman can fire his fastball into the mid 90s and has a slider that Marc Hulet of Fangraphs feels could be 65-70 when fully developed.  In short, he has the goods.  The only negative thus far was the 50-game suspension for his positive PED test and the fact some scouts do not see a starting pitcher.

Stroman is only 21 years old and in 19.1 professional innings had a very solid 10.71 K/9 and 2.89 FIP.  He has recently returned from his 50-game suspension and was very impressive tossing 5 shutout innings allowing just four hits, one walk and striking out six.

David Laurilia of Fangraphs sat down with him and it sounds like Stroman is bursting with confidence.  He feels he can be a starting pitcher, tested positive for an over-the-counter stimulant and how he mostly works off of his four-seam fastball right now.

Stroman on his suspension and starting over: “[The suspension] was for an over-the-counter stimulant I was taking. I didn’t know it was something I’d test positive for. It was definitely hard to cope with. I was sent home, then went to instructs for three or four weeks. I closed there — I didn’t start.

“When I reported to spring training they let me know they were going to give me a chance to start this year. I had all these games I had to serve, and they stretched me out during spring training and extended. I was able to work on all four of my pitches, and really develop into a starter’s role.

“I loved being told I was going to start. I certainly wasn’t mad, or anything like that. I did both at Duke, so I have experience with both. I knew I’d be able to get into a good routine and really get going.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you what the Blue Jays are thinking down the road — I just know I’m starting now. I feel I can have success as a starter, I definitely don’t feel I’ll be limited to the bullpen.”

Read the full interview here, a great story.

Given the Blue Jays desperate situation in the AL East and current injury woes would the Jays front office possibly think about calling him up and take a spot in the big league rotation?

Prized Pitching Prospect Osuna May Need Tommy John Surgery

As if the Toronto Blue Jays fan base needed any further terrible news in a season full of terrible news MLB.com is reporting that one of the Jays top pitching prospects Roberto Osuna may require the becoming all-too common Tommy John surgery.  Osuna has skyrocketed up the prospect charts and is one of the youngest players in his respective league, born in 1995.

In 19.2 innings last season in LoA he had an 11.44 K/9 and in 22.1 HiA innings this season he had an even better 12.49 K/9.

File this report under WTF…

Osuna, who is the club’s No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com, departed his last outing with Class A Lansing because of discomfort in his right elbow.

The 18-year-old was later diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and paid a visit to renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Surgery hasn’t been recommended just yet, but there’s a possibility that it will be in the near future.

“Right now they said just to give him a few days and start playing catch,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “He’s going to throw to 60 feet tomorrow. Right now it’s basically rest and rehab. But there is a scenario if he does have a flare-up again in the next few weeks that ultimately he may need Tommy John.”

Osuna ranks just behind promising right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the club’s depth chart for pitching prospects. He has a plus fastball that can hit the mid-90s with reportedly very strong command.

The native of Mexico still needs to work on his slider, but all of his skills are very advanced for someone his age. The club may prefer to get the surgery out of the way now so it doesn’t have a negative impact on his development during the later stages of his Minor League career.

Osuna was 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA in five games for Lansing this season.

John Sickels Ranks Blue Jays Farm System 22nd

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

The Toronto Blue Jays went from the top ranked system in baseball (according to John Sickels) to one of the worst.  Of course when your team deals nearly half of the top 15 list I compiled last season including basically the entire top five that is bound to happen.  The farm system is there to make the major league roster and as we have discussed before that is exactly what Alex Anthopoulos used it for.

The top five was 1) St. Louis, 2) Seattle, 3) Tampa Bay, 4) Texas and 5) Pittsburgh.

22) Toronto Blue Jays (1): Another system gutted by recent trades by a team pushing to win in 2013. Remaining strengths: pitching, with Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Marcus Stroman, and underappreciated Sean Nolin a nice quartet at the top and more live arms behind them. Weaknesses: they have a lot of tools guys who haven’t shown they can play baseball yet. If they pan out, the Jays will move back up the list quickly.

Rounding out the list in dead last at #30 was the Detroit Tigers.  This was not a surprise as there system has lagged the rest of the league for quite a few years.

Stay tuned for the 2013 version of the top 15 Blue Jays prospect list.  I am waiting on a few sources to release there rankings so I can fine tune the list with the most updated and current information.

An Early Look At Marcus Stroman

Kiley McDaniel from Fangraphs had a detailed look at our latest first round pick Marcus Stroman from instructional league, it is well worth the full read here.

Here are a few snippets:

I got a quick look at Stroman in instructs and I think there’s value in promoting him quickly as a reliever, but I don’t see a reason why he shouldn’t be given a chance to start sometime in the next few years.

Stroman sat 93-95 mph with heavy two-seam life, effectively spotting it under the hands of right-handed hitters. He backed it up with a hard slurve at 80-84 mph with three-quarters tilt and at the high end of that range; it looked like a true plus slider with depth and late bite. Stroman also worked in a hard, 88-90 mph cutter that is plus at its best due to its length, enough to give fits to hitters in either batter’s box. He also threw one changeup at 81 mph that turned over with fade and depth, flashing above average potential and there may be more in the tank.

So, we’ve got a small righty that flashed four 55 or 60 pitches (on the 20-80 scale) in a relief stint, but he’s got to sell out with a high-effort delivery to generate that kind of stuff, right? Surprisingly, no; Stroman has a balanced and controlled delivery along with good athleticism and general feel that allows him to put the ball where he wants to. It isn’t pinpoint or infallible command, but you can pretty easily project it to above-average to where the question is what Stroman has proven he can’t do well, as the size concerns are projecting and adjusting for possible future problems.

Baseball America Releases Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects 2013

Well it is that time again, prospect season!  Stay tuned as AL Eastbound will once again be releasing a comprehensive “Top 15 Blue Jays Prospects” piece after all of the top prospect sites and sources release their rankings for the Jays minor leaguers. 

Today, Baseball America released their top ten for the Jays, here is the list and some other goodies, including top tools, projected 2016 lineup, top signing bonuses and more.

Continue reading ‘Baseball America Releases Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects 2013’


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