Hello faithful readers.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been debating the future of this blog with myself, and quite frankly, there hasn’t been one hell of a lot to write about as well.
It was as recently as January that I was looking at hotel prices in Lansing for my annual trip to watch some prospects in their first kick at full season ball. I was even looking at eschewing my usual off-the-interstate Motel 6 near a Denny’s accommodations for an upgrade at the downtown Radisson (don’t tell my wife). And then came news that the Vancouver Canadians would become the Blue Jays new High A affiliate, and Lansing would join the Oakland organization.
No worries. With family close by to Nat Bailey, a trip to Vancouver (with today’s current ridiculously low air fares) was the next consideration. But with Covid travel restrictions, the C’s learned in March they would need an American home base to start their season when play begins (fingers crossed) in May, so they’ve temporarily relocated to Hillsboro, OR, home of the Diamondbacks’ affiliate in the revamped Northwest League.
So much for a trip to Vancouver.
No matter. Buffalo is only a short drive from most points in Southern Ontario. But with our province currently on fire, border crossing to Sahlen Field would most definitely be iffy. The whole matter was put to rest when the club announced recently that with the Blue Jays expected to relocate to Buffalo by the end of May, the Bisons would take over the Yankees former Trenton affiliate’s home base.
New Hampshire was scheduled to play a series in Erie in early June, so your intrepid traveller began to look into a road trip to the Lake Erie city. He didn’t have to look to hard, however, because if Buffalo was out, so was Erie.
I’ll keep you posted.
International Update: Hopefully, there will be more in this space in the coming weeks about the Blue Jays delayed 2020 IFA class. Manuel Beltre was the top prospect, and all reports rave about his tools, work ethic, and baseball IQ. Baseball America identified Venezuelan OF Yhonangel Aponte as a potential breakout prospect. Not a gifted physical specimen, Aponte nonetheless is rated as a five tool player:
Aponte is a diligent, focused worker when it comes to his defensive craft and it shows in games. He’s not a burner, but he reads the ball well off the bat, has a quick first step and glides to balls in both gaps with efficient routes and diving catches. He has performed well against live pitching too, making frequent contact with good strike-zone judgment.
New Voice in Vancouver: Tyler Zickel moves across the continent to become the Vancouver Canadians new broadcaster and director of media relations. Tyler previously worked the on field promotions and broadcast the road games of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He won’t be travelling to Vancouver, of course, as the C’s face the challenge of bringing fans to the ball park in Hillsboro. But Zick doesn’t lack for enthusiasm, and will make the best of things in Oregon for the time being. He indicated this afternoon that there is no word yet as to whether or not the C’s games will be televised on Milb.com. Hillsboro is one of the few NWL teams to do so on a regular basis, so there is some hope that at least a few Vancouver contests will make it to air. The C’s open their season in Spokane on May 4th, and open at “home” a week later – fingers crossed, of course.
Brown top athlete: In a piece over at mlb.com., Jim Callis identified the top athlete in each MLB team’s system. To the surprise of pretty much no one, Oakville’s own Dasan Brown got the nod for the Blue Jays. Brown’s pro experience has been limited to only 54 PAs, but he posted an .800 OPS in the GCL in 2019. The only question about Brown’s tool kit has been his hitting, but his speed and defensive skills are elite. Brown has quick hands, but his ability to make consistent contact has yet to show, and his power tool is as of yet undeveloped. Brown should spend the year in A ball, starting in Dunedin. If you’re looking for a comp, Josh Palacios would be a good one. He may not have Brown’s speed, but he does match him in terms of athleticism.
D-Jays on the move again: Just like their Vancouver and Buffalo cousins, the Dunedin Blue Jays of the newly-christened Low A Florida State League will be on the move for the second time in as many seasons to begin 2021. With the parent Blue Jays occupying TD Ballpark at least until the end of May, the D-Jays have moved their first home stand a few blocks over to BayCare Ballpark, home of the Phillies’ FSL affiliate Clearwater Threshers. The second home stand will be at the Yankees’ Tampa affiliate’s ball park. The D-Jays spent 2019 on the road as the former Florida Auto Exchange Stadium was razed to make way for the new facility.