Some links related to the Blue Jays farm system, for your clicking pleasure….
New Hampshire’s Forrest Wall impressed many with his speed and athleticism after coming over via trade from the Rockies this summer. There was no award for the Eastern League finals MVP last season, but if there was one, it surely would’ve been the 35th overall pick in the 2014 draft. Wall hit .400 for the series, and led the way with his aggressiveness on the base paths. Injuries, a position switch, and the inability (as of yet) to tap into his power have held his development back somewhat. Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling took a look at Wall’s progress to date.
MLB.com’s Andrew Simon project Vladimir Guerrero’s first ten MLB seasons, and….wow. Comps to Frank Robinson, Miguel Cabrera, and Harmon Killebrew, among others made the knees a little wobbly. For those who have watched Guerrero since he made his full season debut with Lansing two years ago, none of this comes as a surprise. He has pitch recognition skills, bat speed, and bat-to-ball skills that only come along a few times in a generation. But still, it was heady stuff to read.
Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins take more than their share of flak from fans who don’t tend to think before they tweet. Yes, some lean times are coming for this organization, but as a measure of how far this team has come in terms of its pipeline of minor league prospects, have a gander at John Sickels’ Top 20 Blue Jays prospects from a decade ago.
We’ve all thought about it (Ok, maybe you haven’t, but I have) – working for a minor league team in some capacity would match that dream of getting a job in baseball. Central Michigan student Evan Petzold works for the Midwest League’s Great Lakes Loons as their Communications Coordinator, and writes about the long hours/low pay/complete absence of a social life toiling for an MiLB team often entails.
Scouts or stats? Moneyball may have left us all with the image of the grizzled, outdated scout in this day and age of Pitch f/x and Trackman, but the best MLB organizations have learned to successfully blend traditional scouting with modern analytics. Ron Morris of Baseball America wrote that many teams are leaning more in the analysis direction, letting more and more scouts go. The Blue Jays, for their part, have quietly let several scouts – mostly from the pro side – go over the past several seasons. Last fall, Dan Evans, the former Dodgers GM who led the Blue Jays Pacific Rim scouting operations, was let go, along with three other pro scouts. In Toronto’s case, it was a case of shifting resources – the team has expanded their international scouting staff.
An excellent resource for the avid baseball historian is the 1934 Chatham Coloured All-Stars portal at the University of Windsor’s website. The All-Stars battled racism and the elements to defeat Penetanguishene for the Ontario Baseball Association Intermediate title in 1934. The UW team who put the site together assembled newspaper accounts, scrapbooks, and oral histories to create a lasting tribute to the team. A personal connection: the star of the Penetang team was P Phil Marchildon, who would go on to fame with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. Phil’s portrait still hangs in the Penetanguishene arena, where I played many times as a member of teams from the town’s neighbour and rival Midland. The site is an excellent resource for teachers, as well as being a record of an important era of Ontario history.
Ben Badler of BA got the early jump on this year’s crop of international free agents by publishing a list that, at first glance, is conspicous by the absence of the Blue Jays, who have been big players in the IFA market this decade. A few hours later, Badler did tweet that he expects Toronto to be very active on July 2nd. It is kind of odd that unlike past years, we haven’t heard the Blue Jays connected to any high profile IFAs, but given their expanded presence in the region, it’s likely that they will be.