Ricky Romero – leadership shown, all-star calibre, struggles with Red Sox
Kyle Drabek – demotion to Las Vegas, return to rotation a challenge
Brett Cecil – fastball up to 93 mph again, rotation mainstay rest of way
Jo Jo Reyes – unfocused, #5 spot in starting rotation, on the bubble
Jesse Litsch – rehab stint in Las Vegas, rotation spot in doubt
Brandon Morrow – shades of 2010, momentum, on verge of breakthrough
Carlos Villaneuva – exceeding expectations, #4 starter, trade bait
Sean Camp – Zen master of eliciting ground balls, hittable, 1 blown save
Jason Frasor – sure hand, candidate for closer role, 2 blown saves
John Rauch – hothead, very hittable, 7 saves in 9 tries
Mark Rzepczynski – reliable middle-relief, 3 blown saves, 3 extra base hits allowed
Casey Jannssen – placed on 15-day DL, retroactive to June 15
Octavio Dotel – improved effectiveness, innings eater
Frank Francisco – below average closer, 4 blown saves, unprofessional tendency
Luis Perez – helpful middle relief, unestablished rookie, 2 blown saves
Aaron Hill – too cautious, shell of 2009 self, Blue Jay end near
Adam Lind – dialed in, future batting champion, all-star production
Travis Snider – 3 doubles in MLB return, deserving outfield starter
Jason Nix – below Mendoza line, designated for assignment July 2
Jose Molina – above-average backup catcher, effective place holder
Corey Patterson – horrendous decision-making on base paths + outfield, liability
Jose Bautista – constant development, all-star, MVP candidate
J.P. Arencibia – good rookie production, sunken BA
Rajai Davis – lightning speed, awful slump, too many SO, second half producer
Edwin Encarnacion – natural DH, streaky, on the bubble
Yunel Escobar – all-star calibre statistics, improved power + work ethic
Juan Rivera – place holder role over, DFA July 3
John McDonald – above Mendoza line again, unsung Toronto hero
Mike McCoy – down + up again, good OBP, useful professional
Eric Thames – spark plug, confident, room for improvement in SO/BB ratio
Blue Birds 5, Red Birds 4
A home run by Jose Bautista in the top of the 9th and a great day at the plate for newly recalled outfielder Eric Thames filled the gaping void in a Toronto offense that had scored but five runs in its previous six games.
The 24-year-old rookie smacked two doubles on the eve of his return. But, most importantly, he legged out an infield grounder that broke up a double play, allowing him to score the first run of the game on a ground out by Adam Lind after Jose Bautista had advanced Thames to third with a double. With the inning still alive, in part, due to the speed of Thames, Aaron Hill proceeded to drive home Bautista with a single.
A sigh of relief let out by Jays faithful, as the tide turned from a one for 20 stretch of hitting with runners in scoring position.
Yunel Escobar extended his hitting streak to six games.
Thames up to Toronto meant McCoy down to Vegas for the umpteenth time in the past two seasons. His .217 AVG belies real productivity at the plate, where he managed almost as many walks as strikeouts (12 BB, 16 SO, 69 AB) and carried an OBP of .333, good for sixth on the team. But his ability to fill in at most positions, even pitcher, make him a man of utility.
No doubt we haven’t seen the last of the real McCoy.
Brandon Morrow managed to log his second consecutive quality start (3 ER, 9 SO, 1 BB, 7 IP), despite giving up two home runs, only the third and fourth he has given up all season long. Jason Frasor ended up with the win. He pitched a perfect 8th inning before Bautista hit his league-leading 23rd home run for the game-winning run. Frank Francisco had a 3-up, 3- down 9th for the save.
“Area 51 is a paranoid fantasy we concocted to hide the true nature of this facility.”
In the flighty air of Cashman Field and Las Vegas, Nevada, several would-be Blue Jays have hit the lights out, so to speak.
To say Brett Lawrie (ranked #21 by MLB Prospect Watch) is a highly touted prospect would be an understatement. To say that he has had a good season in Vegas would be an understatement (.354 AVG, .415 OBP, 1.092 OPS). Mere days from a much-anticipated call-up, the 21-year-old suffered a minor hand injury. But if his recovery is quick and complete, watch for a pre-September look, especially if his walks to strikeout ratio continues to even out and his power numbers maintain.
The 24-year-old first baseman, David Cooper, is batting .406 through 42 games (69 H, 170 AB). Need more be said? He has also walked more times than struck out and sports a .461 OBP. Such stellar work earned him a 2-week pass to the big club in May.
Another 24-year-old in Eric Thames adds significant organizational depth to the outfield position. His .319 AVG through 41 games in Las Vegas and impressive sampling (.286 AVG, .362 OBP) through 13 games in Toronto make him a shoe-in for a 2011 return.
The ups and downs of Travis Snider are well known. As he slowly but surely raises his batting average, while working on plate discipline and working out the kinks in his swing, we get closer and closer to seeing him back where he belongs on a permanent basis.
At 30 years young, jack of all trades, Mike McCoy has been on the cusp of cracking the Jays line-up since 2010. Having hit highly efficiently (.311 AVG, .457 OBP) through 20 games in AAA , he may now be in Toronto to stay. Mr McCoy even pitched a perfect inning, analysed in amusing fashion, including tweets from Brett Cecil’s upset girlfriend, at Infield fly. Could McCoy also call a game in a pinch? Is he the second coming of Johnny Mac?
Dewayne Wise, an adequate fourth outfielder for the Jays last season, appears the unlucky man out in 2011. But his numbers in Vegas (.338 AVG, 17 extra-base hits),
suggest the 33-year-old could, if healthy, step into that role again, if the Jays were to require his services.
Not insignificant are the 11 home runs, .321 batting average and current 10-game hitting streak of Canadian left fielder, and Robert Plant impersonator, Adam Loewen, whose 1000th minor league at bat is documented in unusual and hilarious (almost) non fiction at Ghostrunner on First.
Sky-high batting averages and the overall production by these Area 51ers make them prime candidates for abduction to Toronto.
Kyle Drabek – heart on sleeve, raging bull of emotion on the mound, wild
Brett Cecil – fastball down to 90 mph, 8 HRs allowed in 4 starts before demotion
Jo Jo Reyes – 26-game winless streak snapped, emotions in check, weak pick-off move
Jesse Litsch – fastball + compete-level return, rotation spot deserved when healthy
Brandon Morrow – slow start, potent arsenal, control a work in progress
Carlos Villaneuva – good stuff, reliable from bullpen, exceeding expectations as starter
Sean Camp – ground ball out master, outstanding April/ May, rocky June
Jason Frasor – painstakingly deliberate approach, sure hand, best season pace
John Rauch – shades of K-Gregg, less careful, Jays best closer not saying much
Mark Rzepczynski – odd man out, smooth transition to pen, control issues lately
Casey Jannssen – bullpen stud, return to 2007 form, confident presence
Octavio Dotel – ineffective, innings eater during big losses, oldest man in pen
Frank Francisco – power + unreliability, below average closer
Luis Perez – helpful middle relief, verdict still out, given small sample-size
Aaron Hill – stats split difference between 2009 and 2010 season, too cautious
Adam Lind – back in the saddle again, Indiana boy in perfect spot behind Bautista
Travis Snider – lack of confidence, swing kinks, walk to strikeout ratio improved
Jason Nix – clutch hitting in April, non-existent May, battling Mendoza line
Jose Molina –calm in eye of storm, excellent back-up catcher, hitting well
Corey Patterson – less than smart base running, seeing good pitches
Jose Bautista – BA + OBP + OPS off the charts, home run mastery
J.P. Arencibia – great rookie production, ability + rapport with pitchers improving
Rajai Davis – speed, nice addition, injury riddled, wait and see
Edwin Encarnacion – defensive liability, disappeared home run production
Yunel Escobar – great start overall, occasional odd no-throw decisions
Juan Rivera – horrendous start, rebounded offensively, first base fill-in admirable
John McDonald – decreased production, no fearful demeanour, usual infield brilliance
Mike McCoy – future John McDonald, reliable + energetic uber-utility man