Blue Jays Farm System Notes – April 5 – 8

The abbreviated week that was around the Blue Jays organization:

Buffalo

The Bisons visited cross-state rival Rochester for a scheduled three game series this weekend, all three of which were postponed due to winter’s late rally.

Buffalo travels to Pawtucket to take on the Red Sox affiliate for a trio of games before heading back to Western New York for a 7-game home stand.

New Hampshire

The Fisher Cats went into Hartford for a four-game set with the Rockies’ Yard Goat AAA farm team, and walked away with a sweep, leading to the best start in franchise history.

New Hampshire’s vaunted offence pounded out 14 extra base hits over the four games, and their pitching staff posted a sparkling 1.18 ERA.  In the opener, five New Hampshire hurlers combined on a 6-hit shutout.

New Hampshire’s offence revolves around phenoms Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  Bichette knocked 6 hits in his first 18 AA ABs, and stole a pair of bases.  Hartford pitchers wanted little to do with Guerrero, walking him three times and not giving him a whole lot to hit.  He hit his first AA Homer on Sunday, and it was a no doubter:

Bichette and Guerrero were actually outshined on the weekend by Lourdes Gurriel Jr and Cavan Biggio.  Gurriel went 7-16 on the series, and seemed to hit everything hard.  Biggio, alternating between 1B and 2B, went 6-17, and hit his first AA Home Run in the series finale as well.

Righthander Sean Reid-Foley showed good fastball command, as well as an effective change up in throwing six scoreless innings in the Sunday contest.  He had a little trouble in the first few innings, falling behind and giving up a pair of walks in the 2nd and one in the 3rd.  He hung a pair of breaking balls, but was bailed out by the strong winds blowing in from CF, and a nice reaching grab by LF Harold Ramirez.  Reid-Foley found his groove, however, striking out the side in the 4th, and not giving up a hit after the first.  He fanned 7 over 6 innings, and the Blue Jays have to be very pleased with his performance.

New Hampshire is off to Trenton for three games with the Yankees’ affiliate this week, before returning home for a three game series with Hartford.

Dunedin

The D-Jays took 3 of 4 from cross-town rival Clearwater, the Phillies’ High A affiliate.

Of Josh Palacios went 8-15 with a pair of steals in the series to lead Dunedin.  With the trade of Edward Olivares, Palacios becomes the top OF prospect in the lower levels of the system.

1B Nash Knight went 5-14, and hit a pair of Home Runs.

RHP Nate Pearson was set to make his Florida State League debut in Dunedin’s second game, but back issues had him scratched.  He is expected to make his next start.

The D-Jays play four games in Palm Beach this week, followed by a three-game set with St. Lucie.

Lansing

As is tradition, the Lugnuts begin their Midwest League schedule with a pair of games in Midland, MI against the Dodgers’ Great Lakes affiliate.  The Loons return the favour traditionally with a pair of games in Lansing.

The Lugs pounded out 13 hits and 12 runs in the opener, topping Great Lakes 12-1 behind Yennsy Diaz’ masterful 5.2 inning, 10K performance.

The second game of the series was postponed by winter’s return, and Lansing triumphed in their home opener the following day.

Great Lakes took a pair of games on Sunday from Lansing to square the Lugs’ record at .500.

Chavez Young began the season hitting in the 9th spot, but batted leadoff in both ends of the double header, going 4-11 for the series.  Kacy Clemens sported the same 4-11 line, but with 6 walks on top of that.

Lansing heads to Fort Wayne for three games beginning Monday, before returning home to face West Michigan.  Lansing GM Tyler Parsons said Friday that he hopes the team will have their video feed ready for milb.tv for the West Michigan series.

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A Look at Maximo Castillo

One of the the Blue Jays prospects we’ve been looking forward to seeing is Venezuelan RHP Maximo Castillo.  Lansing Lunguts Manager Cesar Martin obliged, sending Castillo to the mound in the 7th inning of the Lugs Opening Day win against Great Lakes last night.

A 2015 IFA, Castillo is listed at 6’2″/256, although he looks 5-10 pounds lighther than that.  At 18, he’s one of two teenagers on the Lansing roster (2B Samad Taylor is the other), and pitched very well as a 17 year old in the Appy League last year.  Castillo did give up some contact (54 hits in 47 IP) because he’s usually around the strike zone, although he fanned 52, and walked only 7.

Castillo has a tall and fall, over the top delivery, which gives him a good downward plane on his sinker, allowing him to live in the bottom half of the zone.  He has good command to either side of the plate.

Castillo struck out three of the four hitters he faced in his one inning of work, showcasing a curve with late break and good bite.  He had so much action on one of his two strike breaking balls that Catcher Ridge Smith had absolutely no chance to get down to block it, allowing the runner to reach 1st after whiffing on the pitch.  Castillo retired the other hitter on a 6-3 ground out.

Castillo does not light up the radar gun, sitting 90-92 on this night, and probably would work a little higher in warmer weather.  Because he commands his fastball so well, and gets ahead of hitters, his curve becomes an even more effective secondary pitch.

At 18, there’s some room for projection on Castillo’s fastball.  More importantly, he has a polished delivery, and shows a good feel for pitching.  We look forward to seeing longer outings from him as the season progresses.

Kudos to Smith, he showed some good agility and blocking skills behind the plate during this game.

Diaz Brilliant in 2018 Debut

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He may be an under-the-radar prospect, and he was definitely overshadowed by the AA debuts of Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr, but Lansing Lugnuts RHP Yennsy Diaz was lights out in his first start of the year.

To be honest, it was a mild surprise that Diaz repeated Low A.  Diaz came up to Lansing from Extended part way through the 2017 season, and he dazzled, posting a 9.6% K rate in 16 starts.  He missed a lot of bats, as his 13.5% whiff rate suggests.

Because of the depth of starters ahead of him, and maybe because of his 4.8 walk rate, however, Diaz was sent back to the Midwest League.  He may not be there for long if he repeats the type of performance he had tonight.

Diaz has an electric fastball that when he’s on is commanded to both sides of the plate.  He has hit 98, but sits 95-97.  Diaz has a curve that is an effective secondary pitch; it will be the development of a third or fourth pitch that dictates how far he advances.

After his offence spotted him a 2-run lead in the top of the 1st, Diaz struck out the side in the bottom half, getting all three batters looking on fastballs on the edge of the plate.

After getting a groundball out to start the home half of the 2nd, Diaz got an additional pair of Ks, again both of them looking.

Diaz retired the first two batters he faced in the 3rd, picking up his 6th strikeout, before hitting the #9 hitter with an inside fastball. A flyout to CF ended the inning.

In the 4th, Diaz struck out the side swinging, getting the final hitter on a biting 12-6 curve.

Even though Lansing’s top of the 5th was a long affair, with 7 hitters sent to the plate and a pitching change, Diaz was sharp, and retired the side in order again in the 5th.  LF Ryan Noda made a nice diving catch on a sinking liner, then Diaz got a pop out and a swinging K.

With his pitch count still relatively low, Diaz was back out for the 6th.    Diaz gave up a double to RF, the first hit he allowed on the night.  A pop out and a swinging strikeout later,  Diaz was at his pitch count, and was done for the night.

Lansing Catcher Ridge Smith did a good job handling Diaz.  On the odd occasion when Diaz missed his spot, Smith had to move quickly to nab the errant pitch.

Diaz’ line:

5.2IP   1H  0R/ER  0BB  1HBP  10K

3 GB outs: 1 FB out

81 pitches/58 strikes

By my count, at least a dozen swings and misses.

Where the Affiliates Start

****Update*********

Lansing GM Tyler Parsons confirmed this morning that the Lugs’ games will be streamed on milb.tv this season.  They are just finalizing things, and will probably be up and running starting with Lansing’s second homestand of the season, which begins April 13th.

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Minor League baseball play begins tomorrow night, and three of the four Blue Jays affiliates will be in action.

The Low A Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League kick things off with a pair of games Thursday and Friday against their cross state rivals Great Lakes Loons in Midland, MI.  Game one gets under way Thursday at 6:05 pm.  Game time temperature will be around 3C.  Lansing fireballer Yennsy Diaz gets the start. Both games will be streamed on milb.tv (subscription required).

Great Lakes travels to Lansing to return the favour for a pair of weekend games with the Lugnuts

At 7:00, the High A Florida State League Dunedin Blue Jays visit the neighbouring Clearwater Threshers for the first of two games.  T.J. Zeuch takes to the mound for the D-Jays.  Clearwater makes the short trip to Dunedin for a pair of weekend matches.

Five minutes after Dunedin’s season begins, the AA Eastern League New Hampshire Fisher Cats visit the Hartford Yard Goats in a game streamed on milb.tv.  Francisco Rios gets the start for New Hampshire, who play four games in Hartford before heading to Trenton for three games early next week.

The AAA Buffalo Bisons of the International League begin their season Friday night in Rochester, with Joe Biagini on the hill in another milb.tv game.  The Bisons play 3 against the Red Wings, then travel to Pawtucket for a three-game series beginning Monday.

All of Buffalo and New Hampshire’s games will be streamed this year.  Bradenton is the only Florida State League team with a live online presence.  The D-Jays visit at the beginning of May, and at the end of August.  Lansing will not be streaming their home games, but a number of other MWL teams do.  For Shaw Cable subscribers in Western Canada, select Saturday night Vancouver Canadians games can be viewed live.  For the rest of us, you can watch archived games on their YouTube channel.

 

The State of the Blue Jays Farm System

There were some ups and downs last year, but the Blue Jays farm system continues to be one on the rise.

The amateur scouting department has added some top-flight talent in the past several drafts, the international scouts continue to come up with top prospects, and the high performance staff is expanding its reach throughout the system.  Director of Player Development Gil Kim has added some top-notch minor league staff, many of whom have extensive coaching and teaching backgrounds.

On the negative side, several pitching prospects stumbled last season, a number of prospects (an MLB-leading 7 in all) tested positive for banned substances, and after several seasons of relative health among their minor league Pitchers, four underwent (or are about to undergo) season-ending throwing arm surgeries this spring.

The Draft

President/CEO Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins have a well-known preference for scouting, drafting, and development.  With new Amateur Scouting Director Steve Sanders added to the mix, the Blue Jays have quickly re-stocked their system by adding college players with proven track records on day one of the MLB draft, and those whose draft stock fell, as well as toolsy-but-raw high schoolers on the following two days.

That approach has landed them likely future MLBers like T.J. Zeuch and Bo Bichette in 2016, as well as Nate Pearson, Logan Warmoth, and Riley Adams last year.  In addition, promising players like Josh Palacios, Kevin Smith, Ryan Noda, and Chavez Young (who has reached full season ball this year after being selected in the 39th round in 2016) have been added.

International Free Agents

Shapiro and Atkins were indeed fortunate to have inherited Vladimir Guerrero Jr, whose $3.9 million signing bonus may become one of the greatest bargains in baseball history since the Red Sox all but donated Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

The team was limited in the bonuses it could offer in 2016 in the wake of going over their limit after signing Guerrero, but they picked up where they left off last July 2nd, signing the top-ranked IFA Pitcher (Eric Pardinho), and the top-ranked bat (Miguel Hiraldo), landing 5 of the top 40 ranked prospects in all.  And they’re linked to Dominican SS Orelvis Martinez, who is expected to be one of the highest-paid IFAs this year.

The High Performance Department

He has not said so publicly, but having the resources to put together this group must have been a huge factor in persuading Shapiro to move to Toronto.

Long a staple in Olympic and European club sports, the HP group oversees every aspect of the team’s player’s nutrition, conditioning, and sleep.  They have added diet specialists to each minor league affiliate, and are very involved in evaluating draft candidates.  Concepts such as mindfulness have been introduced to prospects, as well as the importance of recovery.  Other clubs may be getting on board, but the Blue Jays are still very much at the forefront of this development, and may have the best-staffed department in the game.

The impact of the HP department won’t be seen overnight, but if the success in other sports are any example (Britain went from one gold at the 1996 Olympics to 2nd overall in the standings in 20 years thanks largely to a sport science-based approach to training and development), the Blue Jays may have a competitive advantage in this area, which should manifest in better developed prospects by 2020.

Coaching Staff

Today’s players don’t necessarily respond well to yesterday’s coaching.  As veteran minor leaguer Maxx Tissenbaum said in an interview with us earlier this year:

….it’s no longer good enough as an instructor to go in there and teach stuff and scream and yell.  You really have to be a manager of people, especially with the younger guys.  You can’t connect with 17-18-and 19 year olds if you’re constantly raining down, “This is what you have to do.”

With that in mind, the Blue Jays revamped their minor league staff last spring, bringing on board a number of coaches with extensive coaching and teaching experience, particularly at the college level.  Director of Minor League Operations Gil Kim has also indicated that the club has built its staff with the diversity of its players in mind:

We aim to provide these players with the best resources possible, and that very much includes the people that these players will work with and learn with.  We’re a diverse and multi-cultural game.  We have players in this organization from different backgrounds and from all over the world, so it’s an advantage to also build a diverse and multi-cultural staff as well.      

The Downside

Baseball America ranks the Blue Jays farm system 7th in the game, while MLB Pipeline has it 9th.  ESPN’s Keith Law is not as high on the organization, however, ranking the Blue Jays 17th.  In Law’s view, Guerrero and Bichette (who Law says, “plays as if his hair is one fire,”) skew the rankings, and cover up concerns like Anthony Alford’s injury history, and the struggles of the AA rotation last year – his suggestion is that once you get past the top guys, things get a little thin.

The struggling Fisher Cats starters

Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene, and Jon Harris all entered 2017 with high rankings.  SRF and Harris gave up a fair amount of hard contact, while Greene failed to miss many bats for a guy with his heat. Entering this season, Reid-Foley and Harris are repeating AA, while Greene was shipped to the Cardinals in the Randall Grichuk trade.

Zeuch missed much of 2017 with injury issues, but did redeem himself with a fine Arizona Fall League showing.  He will repeat Dunedin this year, at least until the northeastern weather warms up.

As a result, Pearson has become the top Pitching prospect in the organization – in fairness, he probably would be the top one in most other systems, but his ascent after a rather limited pro debut (20 IP) does point to the struggles of the other arms.

Injury Woes

The Blue Jays have quietly been at the forefront in implementing technology to help protect the arms of their young pitchers.  After 5 Blue Jays prospects underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 (not counting 1st rounder Jeff Hoffman, who had it before he was drafted), the team has had relative success in that area, with only three Pitchers requiring it since them.

2018 has not been as kind.  Eliesier Medrano fanned 26 in 23 innings for the GCL Jays last season, before being shut down at the end of July.  He had Tommy John in the off-season.  Southpaw Grayson Huffman had elbow issues all spring training, and was saying as April approached that he was headed for the operating room.  And as spring training closed, word came out that Canadian Tom Robson, who had a successful season after being converted to a relief role at New Hampshire, has torn his UCL again, and will need a second Tommy John.

Justin Maese became a Pitching prospect on the rise after a standout 2016 season, but struggled with his command at Lansing last year, and spent time on the DL.  Shortly afer spring training began, he had surgery to correct a shoulder impingement, and is likely done for the year.

Banned Substances

7 prospects connected with the Blue Jays Dominican complex tested positive for PEDs in 2017.  In March, we learned that LHP Thomas Pannone, acquired in the Joe Smith deal with Cleveland, had a positive test as well.  Say what you will about the judgement (or lack thereof) of their players, this does not reflect well on the Blue Jays as an organization.  The players may have taken the substances, whether they were aware of what was in them or not, but it’s up to the team to provide the education to make informed choices.

The Outlook

In Guerrero and Bichette, the Blue Jays have two of the top 10 prospects in the game.  Toss in Alford and Pearson, and you have 4 of the top 100.  Danny Jansen, Richie Urena, and Ryan Borucki all appear to be destined to join the team at some point this season.  Warmoth and Pearson are on the way, with Pardinho behind them, and a decent draft pick (12th overall) awaiting the team this June.

The goal of the Blue Jays front office is to build a farm system that continually produces waves of prospects to challenge and supplement the 25-man roster.  Shapiro told Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair that it was a point of pride that the team did not sign a minor league free agent position player this off-season, such was the depth in the organization, and that overall, he’s pleased with the direction the system is headed, but there’s room for improvement:

 

“We’ve made progress, but we need to have waves of talent. Not just good talent, but impact talent. We need to not just talk about [Vladimir Guerrero Jr.] and Bo Bichette, but we need to be able to reel off [several] names. [It’s] a really risky proposition [to] pin your hopes on two guys.”

The Blue Jays have pursued a different drafting and development philosophy than they did under former GM Alex Anthopoulos, but for those who are critical of AA, keep in mind that Guerrero, Alford, Borucki, Jansen, and Urena were all signed during his tenure.  With those players are on the brink of MLB jobs, and a growing supply of players behind them, strong minor league instructors, and a staff of sport scientists devoted to their training and development, the Blue Jays are poised to reap the benefits of a strong farm system.

Lansing Lugnuts Announce Roster

Lansing’s roster often is one of the more interesting ones to wait for every spring.

For the other three full-season affiliates, it’s fairly easy to project their rosters.  There may be the odd surprise, but you can generally count on players moving up to the next level if they were successful the season before.

The decisions for Lansing’s roster are more difficult, because team officials have three short season levels below Low A to consider when putting the Lugnuts’ 25-man together.2018_Opening_Day_roster-page-001

Lansing’s roster this year contains a few surprises, as much for who’s not on the roster as much as who is.  After a half season of Vlad and Bo, and with Nate Pearson, Logan Warmoth, Riley Adams, and a good chunk of Vancouver’s bullpen starting the year in Dunedin, Lugs’ fans will not have as much star power to watch this year.

Yennsy Diaz had a swinging strike rate of 13.5% as a 20-year-old when he was called up halfway through the season, and will get the ball on Opening Day.  Maximo Castillo fanned better than a batter per inning at Bluefield last year, and skips Vancouver to begin the year in the Midwest League, where at 18 he’ll be one of its youngest players.

Maverik Buffo’s draft stock fell last year due to a torn UCL, but through rehab he became healthy enough to dominate the GCL, and jumps a pair of levels to start the season.  Zach Logue and Justin Dillon piggybacked effectively at Vancouver last year.

In the pen, both Ty Tice and Orlando Pascual have closing experience.  Tice Saved 12 games in as many opportunities at Bluefield, striking out 35 in 25 innings, while Pascual recorded a half-dozen saves for Vancouver, fanning 45 in 35 IP.

As for position players, the Lugs will be led by toolsy OF Chavez Young, 1B/OF Ryan Noda, and 1B Kacy Clemens.  Young is one of the more athletic players in the system, while Noda laid waste to Appy League Pitching en route to an MVP award.  Clemens, son of the Hall-of-Famer, wore down in his first pro season last year, and will be looking to make amends at Lansing.

Cesar Martin returns for his second season as Lansing’s Manager, joined by Position Coach Dave Pano (up from Vancouver), returning Pitching Coach Antonio Caceres, and Hitting Coach Matt Young.  New to the organization, Young played with the Braves and Tigers, and operated a baseball academy in Texas prior to joining the Blue Jays.

 

Dunedin Blue Jays Roster Set

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The Dunedin Blue Jays will be rich in starting Pitching this year.

The defending High A Florida State League co-champs will feature a pair of first-round picks in their rotation in T.J. Zeuch (2016), and Nate Pearson (2017).

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With Patrick Murphy, Josh DeGraaf, and Tayler Saucedo joining Zeuch and Pearson in the rotation, Dunedin’s greatest strength will come from that starting core.  Pearson skipped Low A after a lights-out short season stint with Vancouver last year.  Some eyebrows were raised that Zeuch has returned to Dunedin after a strong Arizona Fall League peformance.  His return probably speaks more to the concerns the club may have over his injury-plagued 2017, as well as the depth at New Hampshire.  If Zeuch gets off to a good start, he should be in the Northeast by the time the weather warms up.

Joining Pearson from the 2017 Northwest League champs are SS Logan Warmoth, Pearson’s first round mate from last year, as well as C Riley Adams.  Warmoth’s leap was no surprise, but Adams’ is somewhat.  A fine athlete who was Vancouver’s MVP last year, Adams has some work to do with his receiving.

Justin Dillon, Travis Bergen and William Ouellette from Vancouver’s lights out bullpen last year have made the leap over Low A as well.  Juliandry Higuera is an interesting arm.  The southpaw started out in the organization as a starter, but was moved to the bullpen at Lansing last year, and fanned better than a batter per inning.

Bradley Jones returns from an injury-shortened 2017 to Dunedin.  He started the year at Lansing, but moved up to Dunedin in June.  Jones led the Appy League in Homers, RBI, Total Bases, and Slugging two years ago as a First Baseman, and added 2B and 3B to his portfolio last year.

Josh Palacios, one of the best athletes in the organization, moves up from to Lansing to play the OF.  2012 1st round pick DJ Davis returns to High for a 3rd season.  His .283/.357/.369 second half may be a sign that he’s coming close to finally fulfilling his tremendous promise.

P Justin Maese underwent surgery for a shoulder impingement last month, and is likely out for the season.  His presence would have given Dunedin a truly dominant rotation.

MLB and long time MiLB vet Casey Candaele joins the organization to manage Dunedin.  Donnie Murphy takes over as Hitting Coach, while Mark Riggins returns as Pitching Coach.  Michel Abreu returns as Pitching Coach.

 

Fisher Cats Release Roster

Fans in Manchester, NH, home of the Blue Jays AA Eastern League affiliate, have reasons to be excited.

Not only did the club extend its Player Development Contract with the Blue Jays for another two seasons last month, their roster released today includes two of the top prospects in all of baseball in the form of Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette:

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Much of the Florida State League co-champion Dunedin Blue Jays roster moves up to New Hampshire, giving fans potentially one of their most competitive clubs in several seasons.

The inclusion of Lourdes Gurriel Jr on the roster was something of a surprise, as he seemed ticketed for AAA after spending half a season with New Hampshire last year.  His play this spring had been described as lackluster, but whatever the case is, Gurriel still needs plenty of reps, after missing a good chunk of last year and all of the two season prior to that.

New Hampshire should have decent starting pitching, led by (in no particular order) Jordan Romano, Nick Tepesch, Sean Reid-Foley,  Francisco Rios, and Jon Harris.  The latter three are repeating AA, and there were hopes that SRF might reach AAA, but a disappointing spring has him headed back to New Hampshire.  There likely was no room for him in Buffalo’s rotation anyway, and after reaching AA at 21 last year, there’s still room for development.  Andrew Case, Dusty Isaacs, and Danny Young should form the core of an effective back-end of the bullpen, along with Zach Jackson, who was promoted from Dunedin.  Veteran reliever Craig Breslow signed a minor league deal with the Jays and had an opt out on March 22nd, but decided to stick with the organization.

Max Pentecost slipped through the Rule 5 draft last fall after being shut down late in the Arizona Fall League.  Veteran MiLB Patrick Cantwell joined the organization late last year, and appears to be splitting the Catching duties with Pentecost.  To be honest, it’s surprising there isn’t a 3rd Catcher on the roster, as Pentecost’s duties behind the plate have been limited.

The infield appears to be Guerrero at 3rd, Bichette at SS, Gurriel at 2nd (spelling Bichette on occasion), and Juan Kelly at 1st.  Cavan Biggio has played 2nd since being drafted two years ago, but was working out at 1st this spring.  Gunnar Heidt can play several infield positions.

The New Hampshire OF has returning CF Jonathan Davis, who had strong Arizona Fall League and Spring Training campaigns, anchoring it.  He’ll be joined by returnees Harold Ramirez, who did not hit as well has had been hoped last year, and the multi-talented Andrew Guillotte.  Connor Panas, along with Romano, represents the Canadian content on the roster.  Panas has mostly played 1st or DH’d since joining the Blue Jays in 2015, but he can play the corner OF spots.

Ladner, BC native Tom Robson starts the year on New Hampshire’s Disabled List.  Robson, who was converted to full-time relief last year after returning from Tommy John surgery in 2016, appears to be headed for surgery again.  Another Canadian, Lefty Shane Dawson, was a member of the Fisher Cats’ rotation the past two years, but was released this past week.

John Schneider moves up from Dunedin to helm the Fisher Cats.  Schneider played for 7 years in the system after being drafted by the Blue Jays in 2002, and is entering his 10th season as a Manager.  Huner Mense joins him as Hitting Coach. Mense played in the Padres system for five seasons before returning to school and receiving his Masters in Sports Psychology.  He served as the hitting coach for the Padres Northwest League affiliate before joining the Blue Jays this off-season.  Nova Scotian Vince Horsman returns as Pitching Coach.  Horsman originally signed with the Jays in 1984, and has been a coach in the organization since 2009.  Andy Fermin, who turned to coaching last year after 7 years as a player in the system, returns as Position Coach.