Good Morning, I hope the weather is better where you are. We've had a huge dump of snow over the last couple of days. More snow than we've had all winter. People keep saying 'it's so pretty'. No it isn't. Snow in December is pretty. Snow in March is depressing. I've really been thinking about how nice it would be to watch a week or two of spring training in Florida.
This morning Keith Law wrote about six prospects who had a tough 2011 but, he thinks will be better in the future (insider subscription needed). There are two Jays in the list, I'm sure you can guess who they are.
On Travis Snider he said:
Snider hasn't been good in various big-league trials over the past three years, but he's also never had a full season without the risk of demotion if he didn't perform in fairly short order, a situation that may still not exist with Eric Thames available to take Snider's place.... (he) is now starting his hands lower, just above his waist, far enough back that he needs just a small trigger to load. This should allow him to drive the ball better, reducing the number of times he gets on top of it and hits it into the ground, and could give him more time to react to a breaking ball. I hate giving up on a player who's healthy, performed all the way up the ladder, and doesn't have a tangible reason for failure like a mechanically unsound swing or horrible plate discipline, which is why I'm including Snider in this list. And, yes, you could also include Colby Rasmus here as well, especially since the Jays have worked on calming down his lower half.
I think if you were looking for a text book example of how not to treat a top prospect, you don't have to look any further than Travis. I keep hoping they they will finally give the starter job and tell him that he doesn't have to worry, it is his for the season, but I don't see any sign that they are about to do that.
On Kyle Drabek:
Drabek was never a control artist coming up through the minors, but nothing in his history indicated that he'd be as wild -- and I don't mean effectively wild, either -- as he was last year (6.3 walks per nine), as early struggles led him to overthrow, which led him to pull himself offline, throw fewer strikes, and struggle even more. Drabek didn't lose velocity, but the overthrowing cost him command and flattened out his slider, while his curveball -- his best pitch in the minors -- became almost a weapon of last resort. The Blue Jays have been working with Drabek on keeping his delivery on line to the plate and keeping himself calm on the mound, but they might also need to tinker with his pitch selection and get him throwing that plus breaking ball more. They might have to send Drabek to the minors -- I'd consider Double-A New Hampshire rather than sending him to Las Vegas and the extreme hitters' park where the Jays' Triple-A affiliate plays -- to let him continue to work on keeping his delivery under control, but I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll succeed enough to let the quality of his stuff take over.
The trouble for Kyle is that there are a dozen or so really good prospects right behind him in the Jays' system. He's going to have to show that he can figure it out quickly or he might lose his window to make the rotation with Toronto. It will be interesting to see if Kyle is the guy the Jays turn to this year, when/if one of the starting 5 falter or go down with an injury.
"I couldn't finish my swing, but I wanted to be out there every day," he said. "I wanted to catch. I don't like being out. So stubbornly, I wanted to be out there.
"Maybe I've learned it would be better to take a couple days off instead of saying I'm ready to go. Catching with a cast and hitting with a cast isn't fun."
We've seen this a few times, 3 years ago Vernon Wells had a terrible year and then, after the season, he has surgery on his wrist. Playing hurt might seem like you are helping the team, but if you can't hit, it isn't helping.
I really don't see why this should be put on the player's shoulders though, shouldn't the manager be able to go over to the player and say 'hey, we love you and all, but you aren't helping us right now. Take a couple of weeks off. When you are ready to come back, your job will be waiting for you. We need you healthy'
We'll have a GameThread up for this afternoon's game against the Phillies. Come on back for that.