C’s Alumni Update – Barreto, Lugo & Locastro Getting Closer To The Show

franklin_barreto_running

Franklin Barreto continues to make an impression with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds with an OPS well above .900.


cs_alumni_update2014 Vancouver Canadians shortstop Franklin Barreto is getting closer to reaching the big leagues.  It was thought that Barreto was getting called up to Oakland when shortstop Marcus Semien was recently placed on the disabled list with a broken right wrist but A’s general manager David Forst told the San Jose Mercury News that he needs more time to develop at Triple-A where he is playing both second and short.

The A’s number one prospect according to Baseball America recorded his first four-hit game at the Triple-A level for the Nashville Sounds April 20 to snap out of a 10-game funk that saw him go 6-for-33 with 14 strikeouts. Sounds hitting coach Eric Martins told MiLB.com that pitchers had been working Barreto inside.

“[Pitchers] were starting to come in on him a little bit, which was making him set his sights out a little further without letting the ball get deep, so he was having trouble recognizing pitches. We kind of worked on him getting back and getting down early and seeing the ball a little longer.”

Martins praised Barreto’s bat speed and ability to make contact and the 5-foot-10 righthanded hitter continued to emerge from his slump with his third home run of the season April 21 and is currently on a six-game hitting streak that included another three-hit effort Monday night. The 21 year-old – acquired by Oakland in the Josh Donaldson deal – has an on-base-plus slugging percentage of .949 with two triples and a double to go along with his three homers.

tim_locastro

Tim Locastro has compiled six multi-hit games with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.


Barreto’s 2014 Vancouver teammate and middle infield partner Tim Locastro is also off to a quick start with the bat at Double-A in the Los Angeles Dodgers system. He enjoyed a four-hit night one day before Barreto’s, his sixth multi-hit effort of the season with the Tulsa Drillers. His first home run of the season April 14. The 24 year-old native of Auburn, New York is hitting .322/.379/.475 so far.

Locastro’s claim to fame in Vancouver was his ability to take one for the team as he was hit by a pitch 32 times in a C’s uniform. He was plunked another 32 times with the Lansing Lugnuts and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2015. The 6-foot-1 righthanded hitter endured just seven fewer bruises from pitched baseballs in 2016 between Rancho and Tulsa but he has been hit by wayward offerings four times already this season.

Locastro – a 13th round pick of the Blue Jays in 2013 – has spent time at second base, shortstop and center field so far with the Drillers but has had a tough time at the six spot with five errors.

Locastro and former Vancouver teammate, righthander Chase De Jong, were traded by the Blue Jays on July 2, 2015 in exchange for international bonus pool money that the Jays put towards the signing of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Vancouver Canadians Dawel Lugo

Dawel Lugo homered four times over his first four games with the Double-A Jackson Generals.


Another former C’s infielder making a strong statement with the lumber is 2013 shortstop Dawel Lugo. The number two prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks according to Baseball America belted four home runs over his first four games, including this one with the Jackson Generals. Though the 22 year-old has hit just .256 over his last 10 games, his batting line is still an impressive .319/.373/.536 over 16 games this season.

Lugo provided a glimpse of his power in Vancouver in 2013 when he homered off the center field scoreboard at Nat Bailey Stadium in a game against Tri-City August 28.

The 6-foot-0 Lugo has spent most of his time at third base this season but has seen action at short and has made just one error at each position so he’s off to a good start with the glove as well. He has been compared to current St. Louis Cardinals third baseman/shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

Lugo was traded by the Blue Jays to the Diamondbacks for shortstop Cliff Pennington in 2015. He was signed by the Blue Jays as a free agent in 2011.

Advertisements
Posted in Baseball, C's Alumni Update, Vancouver Canadians | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C’s Alumni Update – De Jong Gets Another Taste Of The Bigs

Chase De Jong Chase De Jong got another call to the bigs from the Seattle Mariners over the weekend.


cs_alumni_update2014 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Chase De Jong received his second call-up to the majors made and his second appearance for the Seattle Mariners during their game in Oakland Saturday. After a heartbreaking major league debut in Houston, he threw four scoreless innings of relief on one hit and two walks while striking out two in the Mariners 4-3 loss to the A’s on Saturday. The 23 year-old righty struck out Jaff Decker and Adam Rosales in the seventh inning for his first big league K’s, both looking. Mariners manager Scott Servais said De Jong gave the team what they needed.

“Chase threw the ball outstanding. He had been throwing great [in Triple-A Tacoma]. The sour taste he left with us last time from that game in Houston, he said, ‘I’m going to learn from this.’ And he certainly has.

“He handled himself really good, mixed in all his pitches and was kind of the guy we thought we were getting. That was a real positive for us today, to keep us right in the game there after a shaky start by Miranda.”

De Jong threw a fastball that ranged from 88-92 miles per hour along with a curve around 76 miles per hour, a slider from 80-82 and a changeup around 83. He finished up strong by retiring six in a row and seven of his last eight hitters. For De Jong, it was a case of following his game plan.

“My mentality was just to cover the innings the team needed and save the bullpen from having to come in and clean up my mess,” he said. “Pitch to contact and go right after guys because that’s what they need out of me. They don’t need me trying to punch everybody out and walking guys. They needed me to cover my innings.”

De Jong was sent back down to Tacoma after the game where he has won both of his starts with the Rainiers, posting a 1.74 ERA over 10-1/3 innings while posting a K/BB total of 10-5. It shouldn’t be long before he heads back to Seattle for his Safeco Field debut.

Posted in Baseball, C's Alumni Update, Vancouver Canadians | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C’s Alumni Update – 17 Former C’s Among Baseball America’s Top 30 Blue Jays 2017 Prospects

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

cs_alumni_updateBaseball America finally got around to releasing the e-book version of its 2017 Prospect Handbook this week. There are plenty of Vancouver Canadians connections in the Blue Jays system as 17 former C’s are rated among the team’s Top 30 prospects, including eight from the 2016 team.

Here’s a breakdown of the list, starting with the eight C’s from last year’s squad. Rankings are in parentheses.

  • (8) T.J. Zeuch RHP
  • (11) Justin Maese LHP
  • (15) J.B. Woodman OF
  • (19) Josh Palacios OF
  • (20) Patrick Murphy RHP
  • (21) Zach Jackson RHP
  • (25) Cavan Biggio 2B
  • (27) Yeltsin Gudino SS

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are the other 10 players with Canadians ties who rank among the Jays Top 30 prospects.

  • (4) Sean Reid-Foley RHP
  • (6) Richard Urena SS
  • (7) Rowdy Tellez 1B
  • (10) Jon Harris RHP
  • (12) Max Pentecost C/1B
  • (16) Ryan Borucki LHP
  • (17) Francisco Rios RHP
  • (18) Angel Perdomo LHP
  • (29) Matt Dermody LHP

Reid-Foley is rated the 49th best prospect in Ben Badler‘s Top 50 MLB prospects list.

Here are the former C’s who were on last year’s Top 30 list but did not make the cut this year with 2016 rankings in parentheses.

  • D.J. Davis OF (10)
  • Clinton Hollon RHP (12) – Released.
  • Roemon Fields OF (13)
  • Tom Robson RHP (21)
  • Mitch Nay 3B (23)
  • Carl Wise 3B (25)
  • Andy Burns 2B/OF (27) – Korea.
  • Dwight Smith Jr. OF (28)
  • Tyler Burden RHP (29) – Retired?
  • Evan Smith LHP (30) – Released.

roemon_fields

Baseball America names Roemon Fields as the fastest runner in the Blue Jays minor league system.


Other items of interest in the Blue Jays chapter of the Prospect Handbook.

  • Perdomo was the biggest riser on this year’s Top 30 Blue Jays, going from 26 last year to 18.
  • Biggio is rated as the hitter with the best strike zone discipline.
  • Fields is listed as the fastest baserunner.
  • 2016 C’s catcher Javier Hernandez is rated as the best defensive catcher.
  • Urena is considered to be the best defensive infielder with the best infield arm at short.
  • Jackson is considered to have the best curveball in the system.
  • Reid-Foley throws the best slider.
  • Borucki has the best changeup and control.
  • Murphy is predicted to have a breakout season on the mound.
  • Tellez and Urena are projected to make the Blue Jays 2020 team with former C’s Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Reid-Foley and Zeuch in the starting rotation. Roberto Osuna is listed as the closer.

javier_hernandez

2016 Vancouver Canadians catcher Javier Hernandez is rated as the best defensive backstop in the Blue Jays system according to Baseball America.


Staying on the subject of prospect tomes, another one you should get your hands on is The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook from Jay Blue. I was asked to contribute to this year’s edition with a recap of the 2016 Vancouver Canadians season. Do not let that deter from ordering one!

As the proud owner of every edition that has been released since 2014, this handbook is loaded with information about every Blue Jays prospect in the minor league system and the lowdown on every minor league affiliate. It’s a very handy reference bible to have around and Mr. Jay Blue has done God’s work in putting it all together. You can click here to order one.

Posted in Baseball, C's Alumni Update, Vancouver Canadians | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C’s Alumni Update – A Good Hissey Fit For Lansing & McClelland The McCloser

ryan_hissey_at_bat

Ryan Hissey is one of three Lansing players with an OPS above 1.000 so far in 2017.


cs_alumni_updateThe Toronto Blue Jays have some talented catchers in their system with Reese McGuire in New Hampshire, Danny Jansen and 2014 first-round pick and former Vancouver Canadian Max Pentecost vying for time behind the plate in Dunedin and defensive whiz Javier Hernandez (currently on the disabled list with Lansing) among others.  Someone else to keep an eye on is 2015 Canadians catcher Ryan Hissey, who is off to a great start with the Lansing Lugnuts this season.

The 14th round pick from the College of William & Mary by the Toronto Blue Jays two years ago is hitting .348/.464/.565 with two doubles, a home run and seven runs batted in. The 23 year-old left-handed hitter is showing a good eye at the plate so far by drawing five walks against two strikeouts in 28 plate appearances. This is Hissey’s second season with Lansing after splitting 2015 with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and the Vancouver Canadians. Hissey was named the C’s MVP after hitting .269/.363/.372 with a home run and 16 RBI, overcoming a sprained MCL in his knee.

Hissey continues to work on the finer points of the game behind the pentagon. He has thrown out just two of 10 basestealers this season but he has been able to avoid any errors or passed balls so far. He received consideration for the Johnny Bench Award as the top NCAA catcher as a two-time nominee. John Schneider, his manager in Vancouver, noted Hissey’s progress as a defender in the linked article above.

“He recognizes hitters swings, recognizes what pitchers are doing well, what they’re not doing well and it makes a big difference over the course of the game..(Needs to work on) just the overall presentation of the baseball, working with pitchers on pitch selection … trying to be a little more prone to establishing a fastball as opposed to being breaking-ball happy”

There are six other position players with Vancouver connections on the Lansing roster and here is how they are doing so far.

  • J.B. Woodman – .267/.292/.287, 2B, RBI
  • Michael De La Cruz – .250/.321/.333, 2 2B, 5 RBI
  • Josh Palacios – .250/.400/.250, 2 RBI
  • Christian Williams – .250/.318/.275, 2B, 3 RBI
  • Nick Sinay – .222/.391/.389, HR, 2 RBI, 3 SB (7-day Disabled List)
  • Nash Knight – .182/.357/.182, RBI
  • Yeltsin Gudino – .103/.235/.103, 3 RBI

Other C’s on the disabled list right now are Carl Wise and the aforementioned Hernandez.

As a team, Lansing leads the Midwest League with a .267 batting average and a .363 on-base mark. Their .405 slugging percentage places them third.

jackson_mcclelland_up_close

Jackson McClelland has converted both of his save opportunities with Lansing this season.


Jackson McClelland is getting another shot at closing with the Lugnuts this season. He struggled trying to fill that role in Vancouver last year, going 1-for-5 in save opportunites, but the former Pepperdine Wave slammed the door shut by going 2-for-2 with Lansing. He has issued just one hit and two walks with a 6-2 K/BB total in 4-2/3 scoreless frames. The 22 year-old from Cherry Valley, California spent the last two years in Vancouver. He pitched just 5-1/3 innings in 2015 after being selected in the 15th round of the 2015 draft by the Blue Jays before posting a 2-4 record with a 3.26 ERA, striking out 25 batters and walking 10 in 30-2/3 innings. Standing at 6-foot-5 and throwing a fastball that touches in the mid-90s, McClelland is trying to prove he can be a useful piece in the Blue Jays bullpen someday. I also have a soft spot for a player who used Phil CollinsIn The Air Tonight as his entrance music last year.

Here are how the other former Vancouver pitchers are doing with Lansing.

  • Geno Encina – 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 9.2 IP, 11-3 K/BB
  • Griffin Glaude – 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP, 8-3 K/BB
  • Dan Lietz – 3.60 ERA, 5.0 IP, 4-4 K/BB
  • Tayler Saucedo – 4.05 ERA, 6.2 IP, 9-1 K/BB
  • Patrick Murphy – 1-0, 4.91 ERA, 11.0 IP, 6-4 K/BB
  • Zach Jackson 1-0, 7.20 ERA, 5.0 IP, 8-2 K/BB
  • Justin Maese 1-2, 7.47 ERA, 15.2 IP, 11-8 K/BB
  • Mike Ellenbest 0-1, 8.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 7-3 K/BB
  • Andy Ravel 1-0, 10.13 ERA, 5.1 IP, 4-1 K/BB

Former C’s lefty Travis Bergen and righty Nick Hartman are on the disabled list and have yet to pitch this season.

The Lugnts are dead last in the 16-team Midwest League in team ERA with a mark of 5.66. Their team WHIP is also last at 1.49 and are second-last in strikeouts with 89 and fourth-last in walks with 45. Still, the Lugnuts have won seven out of 12 so far and are one game back at Dayton for first place in the Eastern Division. Lansing has a chance to make up that deficit against the Dragons in Ohio this evening as Mike Ellenbest will go on the bump for the Luggies.

Posted in Baseball, C's Alumni Update, Vancouver Canadians | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C’s Alumni Update – Thomas, Kelly, Shafer, Cook & Zeuch Off To Good Starts With Dunedin

Vancouver Canadians Lane Thomas

Lane Thomas is tied for the Dunedin team lead in runs batted in with seven.


cs_alumni_updateWith 22 players having Vancouver Canadians connections on the 2017 Dunedin Blue Jays roster, some are off to good starts while others are still trying to find their way in the Florida State League.

The top offensive performers with the D-Jays among former C’s are 2015 teammates Lane Thomas and Juan Kelly. Thomas had a triple, a single, a walk and a stolen base in Wednesday’s 11-10 loss to the St. Lucie Mets. The Toronto Blue Jays’ 5th round pick of 2014 from Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tennessee has three multi-hit games in his last five contests to boost his batting line to .262/.354/.381. He’s walking just over 10 percent of the time but that is diminished by his 27 percent strikeout rate.

The 21 year-old right-handed hitter is trying to regain his form from his first pro season in 2014 when he hit a combined .281 with the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield Blue Jays, a performance that ranked him as the Jays’ 19th best prospect according to Baseball America.

A career .239 hitter in the minors, which included a .225/.257/.301 stint in Vancouver, the Jays are keeping Thomas away from the dirt after trying him at second base during his time with the C’s and with the Lugnuts last year. So far, Thomas is enjoying life in center field as he has not committed an error so far this season.

juan_kelly_swing

Juan Kelly has only been kept off the bases just once in his first 10 games with Dunedin.


Kelly had an eight-game on-base streak snapped but has been aboard at least once in nine of 10 games to date. The native of Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic has four two-hit games, hitting .264/.304/.377 with six doubles and five runs batted in. The 22 year-old switch-hitter  – who joined the Jays as a free agent in 2012 – is looking to build on a solid 2016 with Lansing  after hitting .274/.356/.448 with 35 doubles, six triples, 12 homers and 6 runs batted in. The 5-foot-10 first baseman was also 11-for-11 in stealing bases. That was a huge improvement from his time in Vancouver where he had an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .617, where his 13 percent walk rate was his best skill.

Here’s how other former C’s are faring with the stick in Dunedin.

  • Cavan Biggio – .250/.286/.300, 5 RBI, 2 SB
  • J.C Cardenas – .244/.279/.341, 2 2B, 3B, 4 RBI
  • Andrew Guillotte – .227/.300/.295, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 4 SB
  • D.J. Davis – .222/.323/.259, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 SB
  • Connor Panas – .217/.250/.348, HR, 2 RBI, SB
  • Max Pentecost – .208/.240/.375, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
  • Deiferson Barreto – .125/.125/.125 – 8 ABs
  • Mike Reeves – .111/.385/.111 – 9 ABs

Dunedin is hitting .261 with a .339 on-base percentage as a team, good for second place in the Florida State League. Their slugging percentage of .347 leaves them sixth.

Vancouver Canadians Justin Shafer

Justin Shafer is dealing in Dunedin in 2017 with a 0.00 ERA over eight innings.


Turning to the mound, five former C’s hurlers are sporting 0.00 ERA’s in the early going. 2014 righthander Justin Shafer thrown eight scoreless innings over four appearances, posting a WHIP of 1.00 and an impressive strikeout/walk total of 11-2. The 24 year-old 6-foot-2 hurler – taken in the eighth round of the 2014 draft from the University of Florida – is keeping the ball down as evidenced by a 56% groundball rate and has not given up a homer as of yet.

Vancouver Canadians Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook has kept Florida State League hitters in check with a .145 batting average against.


2015 Vancouver righty Ryan Cook has put up six scoreless frames to start 2017, scattering just three hits and a walk while whiffing eight batters. He won his lone decision against the Clearwater Threshers April 8. The 23 year-old Richmond product is trying to bounce back from a trying 2016 spent mostly in Lansing where he lost six of seven decisions with a 5.30 ERA, spent mostly in the bullpen. About to turn 24 on May 4, the 2015 free-agent signing is hoping to return to New Hampshire, where he pitched a shutout inning last season.

2016 first-round pick T.J. Zeuch is getting his feet wet at the Florida State League and has spun five shutout innings in two starts. The former Pittsburgh Panter has yielded just two hits and two walks while ringing up eight batters. So far, Zeuch is keeping his infielders busy with ground balls two-thirds of the time when the ball is hit into play. The worms at Nat Bailey Stadium also had to duck for cover when Zeuch’s ground-ball rate approached the 70% level.

How’s how the other former C’s hurlers are doing on the hill.

  • Daniel Young 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 5 K, 2 BB
  • Denis Diaz 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 3 K, 5 BB
  • Conor Fisk 0-1, 2.53 ERA, 10-2/3 IP, 13 K, 1 BB, SV
  • Josh DeGraaf, 4.05 ERA, 6-2/3 IP, 9 K, 1 BB
  • Angel Perdomo 0-1, 5.59 ERA, 9-2/3 IP, 4 K, 6 BB
  • Tom Robson 1-2, 6.43 ERA, 7 IP, 9 K, 1 BB
  • Ryan Borucki 0-1, 6.46 ERA, 15-1/3 innings, 18 K, 6 BB
  • Andrew Case 1-1, 6.75 ERA, 6-2/3 innings, 6 K, 1 BB
  • Jared Carkuff 0-0, 11.57 ERA, 4-2/3 innings, 5 K, 1 BB, SV

Dunedin’s team ERA is 3.61, which places them ninth in the Florida State League but they have the second-most strikeouts with 121.

Posted in Baseball, C's Alumni Update, Vancouver Canadians | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment