There's been some debate in various threads about what AA's scouting of the Lansing 4 (Nicolino, Sanchez, Syndergaard, DeSclafani) means in regards to potential promotions. I think we can all agree that the results from this season have been disappointing only in that their shutout streaks ended before the season did. Despite some control issues at times, the numbers seem to tell a story of pitchers that are not being challenged. This creates a predicament, albeit a good one to have, about whether to promote these prospects (3 of which are still 19 years old) to face stiffer competition in the FSL.
I, for one, would like to see DeSclafani (the oldest and most experienced of the bunch) and Nicolino (the most advanced from a command/control perspective) moved up sooner rather than later while Sanchez and Syndergaard should be allowed to work on control/command/secondaries in preparation for a promotion to the FSL in the summer. I really think the timeline to the Majors will not be accelerated by moving them up a few months early
I've been speaking with Chad Hillman of OkBlueJays.com (@HillmanChad) who has watched all four of the Lansing pitching prospects and recently spoke with Alex Anthopoulos while attending a Lugnuts game in which Syndergaard and DeSclafani pitched. He passed on nuggets on Syndergaard's velocity on both his fastball (95-96) and curveball (71) and that the team was actively working to close the gap between the two offerings. He also let me know that AA had indicated that the team had plans to keep the younger trio of pitchers at Lansing for a full season and would begin aggressively promoting them as they entered their 20s. Some of us had our doubts because of previous promotions/performance beyond expectations but it turns out these words are directly from the mouth of the Silent Assassin. Don't worry MjwW, he's been less than truthful/forthcoming in the past, you can still take it with a grain of salt.
Hillman has asked me through twitter to clear up his sources on the team's intentions for the Lansing teens since SB Nation won't let him comment for 24 hours. His source is an article on MLive.com from a journalist who spoke with AA:
Anthopoulos said he expects the nucleus of the pitching staff to stay together all season in Lansing. “They’re young, so we try to take it slow, especially when these guys are in their teenage years,” Anthopoulos said. “Once they get into their 20s we can get more aggressive. You’ve seen that with guys like (Henderson) Alvarez in Toronto, and Drew Hutchinson as well, who started here (in Lansing) last year.” Anthopoulos said he plans to return later this season to check in on the many prized Lansing prospects.
Hillman also asked me to clarify that he believed that Nicolino and Sanchez could be in Dunedin right now, but that he thought Syndergaard still needs time. Give him a follow @HillmanChad and check out his site at OkBlueJays.com.