While I prepare to update my top prospect list at mid-season (technically not mid-season for the prospects - that was a couple of weeks ago - but I tend to wait until after the July 2 international signing date passes) hopefully this weekend, and the 3/5 Farm Report (before the ASB) there are some news and notes items I wanted to throw out, some of them particularly since a couple of the bloggers who usually provide regular updates are gallivanting around Europe somewhere.
Item: Shi Davidi reports AA went to Buffalo to watch Daniel Norris tonight, given that the lefty is under consideration for a spot start in Chicago on July 8. Turns out Norris didn't (likely) impress the boss, giving up six runs, four earned, in 7 IP - more tellingly, AA commented to the press that when Norris was on, he'd strike out a batter an inning and not work so hard to paint corners and get ground balls - even if it meant walking some. Apparently no one told Norris. He walked only 2, which is excellent for him...but only struck out one. No word on what Alex thought of what he saw yet, often the stat line doesn't tell the story. Norris may yet get that call.
Item: in the same scrum AA spoke optimistically of the potential to get Miguel Castro back to the bigs.He's looked outstanding so far in Dunedin but in only two appearances. Shi implied (from AA or his own sources is uncertain) that Castro was "due for a promotion soon" to either AA or AAA. Alex suggested that adding internal reinforcements would allow him to focus trade efforts on the rotation.
Item: speaking of said rotation, a update on a figure I've mentioned before. In their first 40 games (18-22, .450) the Blue Jays allowed 196 runs - 4.9 per game. In the 40 games since, they've allowed 145 - 3.625 per game. For comparison purposes, the second best pitching staff in the AL, the Tampa Bay Rays, have allowed 3.6 runs per game on the season.
Item: On Thursday we will learn, presumably, if we were informed correctly that Vlad Guerrero Jr. (i.e. VGJ) will become a member of the Jays organization, and whether they will be left with any money to sign anyone else (or, indeed, forfeit future opportunities). There's a reason I waited on that list.
Item: Justin Smoak might actually be pretty darn good. After today's two homer effort his slash lines are up to .261/.336/.51/.849 which, with all due respect, John Gibbons might want to reconsider the Navarro love-fest? Since coming off the DL Navarro is putting up an OPS of .653 - I'm just sayin' (love ya Gibby!)
Item: speaking of maybe being good, Kevin Pillar finishes June hitting .380/.394/.550/.944 which, yeah, it's just a month but it sure makes up for May (speaking of which, his bad month was actually a bad 18 games in 19 days. His current hot run actually started on May 27).
Item: Mark Buehrle's ERA for June - 1.67
Item: Jeff Hoffman goes again tomorrow for Dunedin coming off his best pro outing on Saturday (five shutout innings, 3 base-runners and six strikeouts). His turn comes up twice more after that before the AAA/AA All-Star break. I muse about the possibility (likelihood?) he'll get moved up to AA at that point.
Item: Anthony Alford and Rowdy Tellez - co-owners of the FSL (for a week).
Item: Remember after the draft I told you that CF Reggie Pruitt was the lower round pick to dream on - IF he signed which many predicted the Vandy-commit wouldn't? Yeah. He kinda DID! AA scores again, giving a guy some ranked among the top 200 potential picks (translating to a top 6-7 round guy) who was snagged in the 24th round a $500k bonus. His skill set is reminiscent of Anthony Gose (if perhaps not quite grading out as high) with speed being his best tool (rated as high as 70 by some scouts). He's said to have a swing that needs a lot of work and the extent to which they can successfully adjust it will say a lot about how he moves up the prospect chart. He'll start in the GCL or maybe Bluefield and prospect watchers shouldn't get down on him if he doesn't hit much this year.
Item: As of this writing, the Blue Jays stand tied for the second wild card spot, and 1 game out of first place in the AL East. Which is kinda awesome given the early pitching worries.