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Bluebird Links - Future Stars and the Evolution of a Reliever

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I'll start this post off with a couple of the more interesting articles, and the rest are after the jump.

Jays Minority Report: Gold Gloves predicted for Gose and Hechavarria

The Toronto Star spent some time with AA Coach, Sal Fasano and he had some glowing reviews regarding a few of his players.  Sometimes we get get down on these guys because of their poor hitting numbers so far, and the jury is still out on whether they will be able to hit in the majors, but it's nice to hear what someone who actually sees them play every day has to say about them.  Regarding Adeiny Hechavarria:

"Hech is outstanding defensively. He has talent that I’ve never seen. He can do anything with his glove," says Fasano...

"I see him as Omar Vizquel but with more range. He might have a little better arm. He’s built like Tony Fernandez with just as much ability if not more," says Fasano, invoking two of the best fielding shortstops in the American League in the last 25 years.

There's also an interesting note about what the Jays expect of Hech this year, and apparently they have hired a coach just to help him with the transition to North America.  I'm not entirely sure if I knew that.  Fasano had this to say about Gose:

He’s one of the, if not the fastest player in the organization," Fasano says of Gose. "He gets tremendous jumps, you rarely see him out of position. He has a big arm that’s accurate. He has one of those arms that if you were to put him on the mound, he could be a pretty good No. 2 or No. 3 pitcher."

Think Devon White or Vernon Wells in their primes, says Fasano of Gose’s fielding ability.

Sal Fasano had a few tidbits about other players as well, so head over to that article for those.

Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski following Scott Downs' path | News

This is a very good piece on Marc Rzepcyznski's development as a reliever, the difference's in how he approaches bullpen appearances and the parallels of his career compared to Scott Downs.  Well worth a read:

"He's on a very steady pace to become one of the better left-handed relievers in the game," Farrell said of Rzepczynski, who the team converted to a full-time reliever in Spring Training.

...the figure that stands above them all is the fact that of the 65 batters he's faced, just one has mustered an extra-base hit off the southpaw -- Jed Lowrie's double in Tuesday's 7-6 Blue Jays win over the Red Sox.

"We have all the confidence in the world when he comes to the mound. He's been very good for us," Farrell said, noting that Rzepczynski has improved his velocity in 2011, beginning to touch 93 mph on his fastball.

More Jays Links

Arencibia on track
Shi Davidi has a nice piece on Arencibia's progress behind the plate, with a bit about his relationship with bench coach, Don Wakamatsu. We haven't heard much about Waka's efforts with JP this season.

Jose Bautista Hits the Ball Hard
Dave Gershman with an interesting graph showing Bautista's ball speed coming off the bat, compared to the league average.

Davis kicks Jays up a notch
Bill Lankhof wonders if Davis should be moved back up to the number 1 spot in the batting order now that he's had a couple of good games.

Dangerously thin roster
Scott Carson writes about the Jays roster woes, and Corey Patterson's head-scratching success against some of the games top pitchers.

Injured Blue Jays Lind, Nix near game-ready
One more regular and one more fill in should be back soon. So, who will get injured tonight?

Around the League

MLB, players' association considering DUI policy
Seriously, this should be in place now. A drunk driving policy shouldn't have to wait for the next CBA.  Especially on the heels if Nick Adenhart's tragic death last year.

Roger Neilson and the history and importance of advanced stats in the NHL
This is a hockey article, but I found it interesting none the less. This is a good line:

"It makes you realize that the eye does miss things. … It makes you appreciate that all the fans who watch the game and sometimes cheer and boo at a guy, they’re not always right."

Bryce Harper – Best Prospect Ever?
Good company right here. How long before Harper makes the big leagues? Anyone think he can make the National's by the end of the year or would next year be more realistic?

Harper’s performance so far is only slightly less impressive than what Ken Griffey Jr did in 1988 (the only year he spent in the minors) and probably on par with Alex Rodriguez in 1994 (in what probably should have been his only year in the minors).

Teams Continue to Overpay Relievers. Why?
Reed MacPhail at FanGraphs attempts to find a plausible reason as to why MLB teams continue to pay more for relievers than what they should be making according to the sabermetric community.

Don't tell Haren and Weaver pitching is easy
Angels pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver see their success as part of a process, not the luck of a trend.

Agent puts kibosh on Royals locking up Hosmer
Eric Hosmer has been in the big leagues for what, one week now? And they're already talking about contract extensions? With Scott Boras for an agent, what are the chances that Hosmer is still playing for the Royals in 5 years?