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Minor League Recap: Litsch not sharp, Alvarez decent.

Las Vegas (won 9-8)

In Las Vegas, two players were playing that might be with the big club soon. In the case of Jesse Litsch, he didn't help his cause much as he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings, striking out 4 but also walking 2, hitting one with a pitch and adding two wild pitches and even a balk. I think he would do better in Toronto, but if the Jays feel he's still not sharp enough, we could see Mills or Stewart. More than half the balls he allowed in play were on the ground, but that didn't stop the Tucson Padres from getting a lot of hits.

Brett Lawrie probably only helped his cause as he singled and walked in four trips to the plate, not counting a sac bunt. He also struck out and grounded into a double play. He was very patient again and drew the walk after being down 0-2. He's definitely sending a message to AA: "I'm still patient, bring me up, bring me up!" So far (small sample) he's hitting .364/.417/.576 since his return.

Kyle Drabek's results were a bit better in his last start, with 6 Ks and 3 walks in 6 innings, giving up 3 runs, but just 1 earned. However, he still threw a very low percentage of his pitches for strikes. Adam Loewen (2-for-5, 2 doubles, K) has cut down on the Ks in July, but his power supply has suffered. David Cooper (2-for-5, K) similarly hasn't hit for as much power as he had done in June, but he continues to have great command over the strikezone.

New Hampshire (lost 5-6 in extras)

Henderson Alvarez allowed 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings, but limited the Rock Cats to 3 runs, 2 earned, and he collected 7 strikeouts to just one walk. His groundball rate, however, was below 40%, which is really unusual for Alvarez. Seven strikeouts to one is a good sign though. Meanwhile, Zach Stewart has K'd over 20% of the batters he's faced in June and July, while walking under 6%. Although it's a small sample, he's been performing better than in 2010, when he also improved after May had ended.

The whole Fisher Cats lineup K'd 18 times in 13 innings yesterday, with Anthony Gose collecting the golden sombrero. Gose also homered, singled and walked though, while Hechavarria was the only Fisher Cat not to strike out, but he only went 1-for-6. Travis d'Arnaud K'd just once and was 2-for-5 with a double.

Dunedin (won 9-1)

Dustin McGowan completed 3 innings for the first time in this rehab period, pitching 3 innings, giving up 1 run with 2 Ks and no walks. Kevin Ahrens (1-for-3, 2 walks, home run) has a 15/16 BB/K rate since Dunedin's All-Star break. A.J. Jimenez has hit just .236/.293/.292 since the All-Star break. With Dunedin already barren on the hitting side in terms of prospects, now Deck McGuire has left them too, after being promoted to New Hampshire. The 2010 first-round draft pick was stellar in his last outing, pitching 6 scoreless innings while striking out eight. Like Stewart, his numbers have been better since the start of June.

Lansing (won 7-6)

Sean Nolin worked 5 2/3 solid innings, striking out 6 and walking two. The lefty has 73 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings on the season, with just 18 walks and a 3.78 ERA in his first full season as a pro, but doesn't seem to get any sort of attention. Even though he's far from the best pitching prospect in the system, he should get at least some attention.

Michael Crouse was 2-for-3 with 2 walks, and he's hitting .349/.429/.698 over his last 10 games. From July the 17th to July the 22nd he would hit 4 homers in 5 games! Jake Marisnick was 2-for-2 with a walk and a sac fly, he's hit .351/.432/.649 over his last 10, with an impressive BB/K ratio of 6/4! Marcus Knecht was 1-for-3 with a walk, his BABIP and power have dropped in July leading to a relatively unimpressive .266/.354/.392 line this month for him.

Vancouver (lost 6-10)

Shane Opitz (.286/.319/.325) is like Juan Pierre-lite, if that's even possible. He does play shortstop and is only 19, so I guess his high contact rate is pretty good to see. With so little power no pitcher will want to walk him though.

GCL Jays (lost 4-12)

Joe Musgrove is off to a rough start. In 6.2 innings divided over three outings he has allowed 8 earned runs on 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. I wouldn't put too much stock in these results yet, though, he's very young and hasn't had the benefit of end-of-season instructionals and extended spring training like the 2010 high school draftees. Seth Conner (1-for-2, 3 walks) has hit .382/.511/.529 over his last 10 games, showing a superb eye at the plate.

Jorge Vega-Rosado has also been hot, hitting .381/.469/.667. Dickie Thon had been very hot but hasn't played since July 22nd, possibly because of the blood disorder that kept him out of spring training? He has mostly played half games in his first year, and despite missing extended spring training he had booked some promising results. I hope he can get completely healthy. Eric Arce's .306/.447/.611 over his last 10 is pretty nice too.