Minor League Recap: Oh, the Pitching!

Las Vegas (won 10-1)

Despite walking three batters and giving up eight hits, Kyle Drabek managed to pitch 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He only struck out two, but he did at least throw a decent number of strikes (about 61%). He probably has not fixed his problems, and he's being passed on the depth chart by quite a few others right now (Alvarez, McGuire, Molina, Hutchison). I wonder if he would throw strikes if he was pitching out of the 'pen? The Jays will not give up so easily on Drabek as a starting pitcher, but who knows what happens if he doesn't show any signs of getting better in 2012.

Adeiny Hechavarria was 2-for-5 with a strikeout. He has cooled off a bit since starting off red-hot in Vegas. David Cooper was 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. Cooper's already unimpressive power (for a 1st baseman) has fallen off a cliff in the month of August, but his walk rate and contact ability have held steady. Adam Loewen (1-for-5, 2 Ks) has experienced the same thing: he's hit just .284/.370/.370. He's a nice story, but the chances he can contribute at the major league level are very low.

New Hampshire (won 16-3)

This is where all the fun is at these days. Yesterday Drew Hutchison made his Double-A debut and was almost as good as he was in Lansing and Dunedin. He struck out a phenomenal 7 batters in 5 innings, but he also walked two, hit a batter, and didn't get a lot of groundballs (40% range). He didn't give up any runs though, and given that he's only turned 21 a few days ago, Hutch is without a doubt one of the Jays' top prospects.

Not that it will surprise anyone, but on Tuesday there was another young pitcher who struck out 7 hitters in 5 innings. Nestor "I'm for real!" Molina has been absolutely sensational for the Fisher Cats (24 Ks in 16 IP), and if he keeps this up there's no reason he shouldn't be competing for a major league job in spring training next season. If the Jays are going to compete, having Molina in the rotation might just improve their chances.

Anthony Gose was 3-for-5 with a triple and a walk, and after starting August with a horrible run of strikeout after strikeout, he seems to have come out of it. Travis d'Arnaud was 2-for-5 with a homer and 2 strikeouts. After the All-Star break, d'Arnaud's BB/K ratio is just 7/35. Yes, he's a catcher, so he doesn't have to be an OBP machine to be good, but I do worry that his approach could cause his numbers to collapse if he took it to the majors. John Tolisano was 2-for-4 with 2 walks (and a strikeout), he's hitting .276/.432/.586 over his last 10 games.

Dunedin (postponed)

In Dunedin, they must be wondering where all the good prospects went. Molina, Hutchison, McGuire have all gone north, but nothing has come up to replace them.

Lansing (won 4-1)

As a fan, of course you're hoping that young pitching prospects are good. But you don't expect them to be this good, this quickly! I'm talking, of course, about 18 year old Noah Syndergaard (who turns 19 within a week). Noah made his debut for the Lansing Lugnuts in style, striking out 6 hitters in 5 innings, walking one and giving up 1 earned run. He got half of the balls in play to be groundballs, too. Jake Marisnick was 2-for-4 with a strikeout. Marcus Knecht drew a walk and struck out, he has homered in 3 of the last 5 games he's played in.

Vancouver (won 4-3)

Like Dunedin, they must be lamenting the loss of two very good pitching prospects to a higher level. They did get Aaron Sanchez from Bluefield, but the inconsistent pitcher got lit up on his debut: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO. Getting Mitchell Taylor probably would've helped them more.

Bluefield (won 5-2)

Chris Hawkins was 1-for-2 with 2 walks, while Eric Arce made his debut with a single and a strikeout, pinch-hitting for Art Charles. Dalton Pompey had a hit and a walk, but also struck out three times. On Tuesday, Myles Jaye had his second dominant outing in a row, with 6 strikeouts and mostly groundballs. If he keeps up that dominance, is there any draft class of high school pitchers in history better than the 2010 Jays' draft with Nicolino, Syndergaard, Sanchez, Taylor and Jaye? Hopefully, the 2011 Jays' draft class.

GCL Jays (lost 4-2)

Jacob Anderson was 3-for-5 with a stolen base, hitting .444/.516/.741 in just 7 games. Too early to tell, but it looks like he might be a good one. Derrick Loveless, playing center field, had his first professional hit, and he also walked. Dickie Thon struck out three times in three tries. Hopefully he'll be fully healthy next season, so we can see what he's really capable of.

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