Sunday, 9 August 2015

Prospect Progress Report, 4/5 and stuff

 (for reals this time!)
So I only just now noticed I put 4/5 on the July report - which was actually the third of five. I'm going to have to speak to my copy editor.

Let's never rest Tulo again, right? This is fun stuff. Is it too unrealistic to hope for sweeping the Yanks in the Bronx? (Apparently not!) Today Yesterday was in some ways a practically perfect game. Still, there was a bit of news in the last day or two that even in the face of all this joy I'm going to grumble about.  John Gibbons has said that as of now they do not plan to flip Buehrle and Hutch in Oakland. Even though I did not realize it when I first remarked upon the subject, doing so, or not, is an important choice that has implications beyond just minimizing Hutchinson's exposure. It affects the days of rest for other more effective members of the rotation.

Take a look at this:
Here's the ideal, IMO, way to arrange the rotation that I published in the last post, side by side with the rotation kept in it's current order -

7at New YorkDickeyDickey
8at New YorkPricePrice
9at New YorkEstradaEstrada
14New YorkPricePrice
15New YorkEstradaEstrada
16New YorkBuehrleHutchinson

18at PhilidelphiaDickeyBuehrle
19at PhilidelphiaPriceDickey

21at LAEstradaPrice
22at LABuehrleEstrada
23at LADickeyHutchinson
25at TexasPriceBuehrle
26at TexasEstradaDickey
27at TexasBuehrlePrice

Do you see what I see? A full week between David Price starts? When does THAT start making sense? Same for Estrada, and Buehrle and Dickey get 5 days rest. Then the next time through Buehrle and Dickey get a full week between starts and Price and Estrada five days. And there are 3 off days in September so added rest isn't really a factor. Moreover, in the schedule I'm suggesting Price gets an extra days rest twice, as does Estrada, Dickey and Buehrle get an extra day once. But more importantly, you take the single biggest weakness on your team out of play for two full weeks while maximizing the three plays for whom you collectively paid a very high price to obtain.

I realize that Gibby knows so much more than I do about the situation and that he's managing real live people and not moving chess pieces on a board - but looking in from the outside, I don't see any logic at all in this.

Now, to the farm...

It's rather redundant to brag even more about Dalton Pompey, but let's alert the folks that tuned out on him in May.Since being  promoted to Buffalo on July 17, in 79 at bats, Pompey's slash lines is .380/.490/.4904/.984 (see why I'm dying for him to be promoted?). Matt Hague is the only other offensive guy worth noticing, he's been leading the team consistently all year. Since the trade, the pitching staff is made up mostly of veteran guys. There's really no one you'd look at as a prospect.

New Hampshire
Center fielder Roemon Fields in now technically a Buffalo Bison, but only for a few days and the noise he made this month was for NH. "Noise" meaning a .351 batting average (and .792 OPS) in 97 at-bats before the promotion. There's not really another hitter to get excited about from a prospect status on this team. Among pitchers, Blake McFarland was unfairly squeezed out of AAA as the Jays continue to accumulate veteran arms to stack in the bullpen, but he's clearly too good for AA (49 K and 4 BB in 34.2 IP, 2.08 ERA) as is Danny Barnes (56/16 in 45, 2.40).

Currently this is far and away the most prospect-laden squad in the organization and many of them are living up to their billing. After a scorching start upon being promoted to the D-Jays, Anthony Alford has struggled for the last couple of weeks. I haven't heard anything but I'm relatively certain that what we're seeing here is fatigue. He did go through a slump in Lansing and then recovered just before the call up, so this could be a matter of the adjustment game too. On the other hand, Rowdy Tellez just keeps getting better. Since July 17 his OPS is .872 and he's yet to go hitless in more than 2 consecutive games. Fellow 1B Matt Dean is tied for second in the FSL with 11 HR (1 off the league lead) but given the same # of AB, Tellez would have 20.
The pitching staff that has seen Jeff Hoffman and two talented relievers leave the organization is actually better than ever right now thanks to three promotions from Lansing. Shane Dawson just arrived (2 weeks late IMO) and showed well in his first start. Sean Reid-Foley, whom MLB is now ranking as a top 5 prospect in the system, bounced back from his worst start of the year to throw 5.1 no-hit innings last time out - if he ever learns to command his stuff he has monster potential.
And Connor Greene who came into the season as an interesting little sleeper and thanks to a boost in velocity is following the footsteps of Kendell Graveman. Greene is currently on a run of 19 innings without an earned run and in his last start struck out 10 in 7 innings. I could see a scenario in which he got a couple of starts at AA, and/or was assigned to the AFL and he very likely gets an invite to big league camp next spring.
The unsung heroes of the staff are Jeremy Gabryszwski and Brady Dragmire. The former has held the opposition to 1 earned run in 5 of his last 7 outings (and 2 in another) for a 2.52 ERA over that span. The latter saw his ERA hit 10.80 on June 9, but since then he's thrown 32 innings, giving up a mere 3 earned runs on 11 hits and 6 walks while striking out 30 - that works out to an ERA of 0.84 and a WHIP of 0.53 - you'll hear his name again.

No matter who comes and who goes the Lugnuts remain a well-oiled machine. Ryan McBroom, who'd have log since moved up if Tellez wasn't in front of him, continues to lead the league in several categories including OPS. Unheralded Chris Carlson has been his stalwart companion while higher profile players have moved up and organization players move up and down. His OPS is higher than that of Alford or Tellez when they were promoted. The downside is that this was his age 24 season so he's basically 2 full years too old for the league - and McBroom is 23. DJ Davis continues to be consistently good-but-not-great which is great progress from last year.
The surprise is that the rotation lost Greene, Reid-Foley, and Dawson and continues to purr. Unheralded Connor Fisk, 7 excellent outings in 9 appearances since his first start, has stepped up  and equally little noticed Starlyn Suriel (who racked up 12 K in 6.1 IP last night) has been doing it all year, though prospect watchers never mention either. Lately they've gotten serious reinforcements from recovering Tom Robson and just promoted (and also coming off of TJ) Clint Hollon. Both men have been very impressive in a small sample with Lansing and should be fast risers up the prospect chart next season.

There's less real prospect porn on this team than in any year since affiliating with the Blue Jays.Among the hitters, observers talk about a couple of 2015 draftees that look good - catcher Ryan Hissy (rd. 14) and infielder turned center fielder Andrew Guillotte (32) but it's more about being the best of a mediocre crew than being notable prospects.
The pitching staff which just lost Hollon still has the Jays' 2015 1st round pick, Jon Harris. now ranks him as the Jays #2 prospect. But he's had some trouble stretching out and was roughed up last time out. After a long college season, fatigue may be an issue here and most think he'll be assigned higher and be a fast mover next year. Otherwise, there's not much to comment on here other that Ryan Borucki who's well regarded by plagued with injuries.

The hitter to watch on this team is CF Rodrigo Orozco. He's a slender (only 155 pounds) speedy (20 steals in 28 attempts in the DSL last year) 20 year old Panamanian that none of us had ever heard of before this year. He has a good eye at the plate and sports an .881 OPS. Expensive Venezuelan signee Yeltsin Gudino, who's a SS, bottomed out on July 12 with a .440 OPS, but the next game he went 3/4 and he turned his season around. He's hit .306/.383/.431/.814 in the 19 games since.  Another prominent signing, OF Freddie Rodriguez has a strikingly similar track for the season, seeing his OPS hit a season low of .488 on July 12 as well, his line is .259/.333/.370 since. 
The pitching story is all about Dominican Angel Perdomo and Venezuelan Juliandry Higuera. The former a high-profile signing who's been moved slowly, the latter more under the radar but both have looked very good so far. Perdono has a 2.01 ERA and Higurea is at 2.82 after having his first rough outing last time out.   Both have avoided the wildness that has plagued some of the Jays' other Latin pitchers. Top 20 prospect Matt Smoral is on this team too, at least two levels too low. He's struggled with injuries interfering with honing his delivery mechanics so apparently they are putting him in a low pressure environment. So far, he's been effective but far too wild.

The hitter who caught everyone's attention on this team was 2015 draft steal Reggie Pruitt who exploded out of the gate hitting .379 in his first seven games. A couple of slumps since have brought the numbers down for the 18 year old but he likely still the highest ceiling guy among position players here.  Outfielders Lance Jones and Kalik May both have good stats but they are 22 years old which is far too old to be in the GCL. Among pitchers, 2015 draftees Justin Maese (3rd rd.) and Jose Espada (5th) have dominated and (like Higuera and Perdomo above) are pushing the Jays to try them at the next level. Maese has a 0.92 ERA in 19.2 innings and Espada is at 2.35 with 26 K and only 4 walks in 23 IP. A couple of relievers are putting up nice numbers, Mike Estavez and Griffin Glaude, but again, they are 22 and 23 respectively so those numbers don't mean a lot.

The  DSL is another league in which you can't consider the stats without putting them in the context of age. Catchers Antonio Conception and Yoman Rodriguez have both hit well and both just turned 18. Sterling Guzman, a 17 year old SS has a .393 OPS and looks like a name we might here more about in years to come. Among pitchers, the high-profile signing and clear #1 prospect on the team is 17 year old Juan Meza, but after having been tested in the GCL he was dropped back to the Dominican but he's had control issues with both teams. Wilfri Aleton got a lot of money too and like Perdomo before him, the Jays have taken it slow with him and it's begun to pay off. Look for him to potentially make a little noise stateside. Less well know is 17 year old Colombian reliever Alvaro Galdino and recently promoted (to the GCL) starter Guadalupe Chavez, also 17, from Mexico.  Both have more K's than IP and respectable walk rates.

A lot of these guys will get a longer look when I do the off-season prospect list.

And as I finish this post, the Toronto Blue Jays finish off the Yankees and now stand a mere 1.5 games out of first place in the AL East. They still haven't lost a game in which Tulo has played, taking 11 of 12. Wow!

1 comment:

Strike 3 said...

Not trying to be a nit picker about your article, but no wonder Manager John is having trouble with the schedule as you suggest, he can't find Hutchinson on his work list it's Hutchison! Secondly the games against Oakland are at home not away.

Otherwise an entertaining report, well scripted.