Archive for the ‘ Around the Farm ’ Category

AROUND THE FARM: SMITH

Smithd In this week’s look “Around the Farm” we take a look at New Hampshire Outfielder David Smith.

Smith is the reigning Eastern League Player of the Week after hitting .458 (11-24) with 3 doubles, 11 runs scored and 9 RBI and tied a New Hampshire franchise record connecting for a home run in four straight games last week. 

Entering play today the West Virginia native is hitting .281 with 31 doubles, 20 HR and 62 RBI in his second season with the Fisher Cats.  He currently is 3rd in the Eastern League with a .511 Slugging Percentage and is tied for 3rd with 52 extra base hits .

After a solid season with New Hampshire last season (.253-19-74) Smith actually began this season as the Fisher Cats fourth outfielder behind Wayne Lydon, Aaron Mathews and Dustin Majewski.  Kevin Gray of the Manchester Union Leader has a nice article on how Fisher Cats Manager Billy Masse challenged Smith to become a better all around player.

The 6’1″ right-handed batter was drafted by the Jays in the 15th round of the 2002 draft out of West Virginia State after his junior season.  He was named the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player and Hitter of the Year after finishing second in the conference in average (.445), third in RBI (48), first in doubles (18), third in home runs (12) and fourth in runs scored (44).  Smith was also named to the Division II third-team All-American Team.

With four of the five outfielders currently on the Syracuse roster this season being free agents and the end of the season Smith will probably get a good shot and starting next season with the Chiefs.

AROUND THE FARM: FALKENBACH

In this week’s look “Around the Farm” we take a look at the closer for the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays, Connor Falkenbach.

Falkenback Falkenbach set a Dunedin record on Sunday collecting his 27th save of the season.  Overall this season for Dunedin the 6’0″ right-hander is 2-4 with a 3.77 ERA.  He also made seven appearances for Double-A New Hampshire but allowed 10 runs in just over eight innings.

It was the second straight season Falkenbach earned a promotion to New Hampshire but did not take advantage of the opportunity.  Last season he posted a 6-0 record with eight saves and a 1.94 ERA in 47 games with Class A Dunedin but allowed eight runs over nine innings in his seven appearances with Double A New Hampshire.

He was the Blue Jays 43rd round selection in the 2005 draft out of Florida where he was 3-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 9 saves in his senior year.  In his first professional season he was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 2 saves in 10 appearances for Pulaski and also made two appearances for Lansing.

AROUND THE FARM: ROMERO

Romero In today’s look “Around the Farm” we take a look at Ricky Romero of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

After suffering through injuries this season, was on the DL from May 3rd until June 25 with a shoulder injury, Romero has turned it up a notch lately. 

In each of his last three starts the 22-year old from Los Angeles, CA has pitched seven innings. In his most recent outing on August 2nd at Harrisburg, Romero allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out eight in 7.1 shutout innings and collected his first win of the season

Overall on the season Romero is 1-5 with a 4.27 ERA in 12 starts for the Fisher Cats.  He also made one start for the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays and did not factor in the decision.

Ricardo Romero Jr. was drafted by the Blue Jays with the sixth overall selection in the 2005 draft out of Cal-State Fullerton.  Romero was given the largest signing bonus in club history when he signed on June 16, 2005 for 2,400,000 dollars.

The 6’1″ left-hander led Cal-Sate Fullerton to the 2004 College World Series Title and was named to the College World Series All-Tournament team.  In 2005 Romero collected 13 wins and was the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year.

He made his professional debut with Auburn of the New York Penn League on July 26, 2005 tossing two scoreless innings.  Romero was promoted to Single-A Dunedin where he made eight starts compiling a record of 1-0 and a 3.82 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched.

Romero was ranked the Blue Jays #3 Prospect by Baseball America entering the 2007 season.  After splitting the 2006 season between Dunedin (2-1, 2.47) and New Hampshire (2-7, 5.08) many expected him to make it to Syracuse before the end of this season.

Time is running out on a trip to Syracuse this year but if he can stay healthy he should be in line for a spot in the Syracuse rotation to start next season. 

For more on Ricky Romero you can read his journal from this season featured on milb.com and you can even send him an email.

AROUND THE FARM: WIDEMAN

In today’s look “Around the Farm” we take a look at AJ Wideman of the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Wideman Wideman was acquired by the Blue Jays from the Washington Nationals in exchange for outfielder Tyrel Godwin at the end of Spring Training in 2005. 

The 22 year-old lefty began the 2007 season with the Lansing Lugnuts where he went 3-0 with a 3.74 ERA in 4 starts before being promoted to Dunedin.  In 16 starts for Omar Malave’s Dunedin Blue Jays Wideman is 9-3 with a 3.63 ERA.

The Mississauga, Ontario native was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round of the 2003 draft.  He began his pro career with the Gulf Coast League Expos where he went 2-4 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 appearances including 8 starts.

AJ grew up a Blue Jays fan in the era when the Jays won back-to-back World Series Championships and would no doubt someday love to put on a Toronto uniform.

AROUND THE FARM: YATES

Yates In this week’s look “Around the Farm” we take a look at Kyle Yates, pitcher for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Much like teammate Chip Cannon, Yates for the most part has failed to build upon an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League.    Entering action today the 5’10” right-hander has a record of 6-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 18 starts for New Hampshire.

Yates has showed signs of putting a slow start behind him.  Over his last two starts he has not allowed a run in 12.1 innings pitched and has struck out 14 opponents while walking just four.  With Ismael Ramirez and David Purcey currently on the New Hampshire DL Yates would seem to be the likely candidate should a spot in the Syracuse rotation open.

The Blue Jays 13th round pick out of Texas at Austin in the 2004 draft, Yates began last season in the Florida State League before being quickly promoted to Double-A New Hampshire.  Combined during the regular season he was 8-9 with a 3.44 ERA in 32 appearances including 20 starts and struck-out 115 batters in 141.1 innings pitched.

The Jays sent the Kerrville, Texas native to the Arizona Fall League after the ’06 season where he made a name for himself going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in six appearances including 4 starts and struck out 25 opponents while walking just six in 24 innings.  For his efforts he was named to the Arizona Fall League All-Prospect Team.

Yates played two seasons at Midland College (2002-2003) before moving on to the University of Texas.  In his junior season at Texas he was 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA over 28 appearances during which he struck out 45 opponents in 41 innings. The Longhorns behind current Major Leaguer’s Huston Street, JP Howell and Curtis Thigpen made it to College World Series Championship before being defeated by Cal-State Fullerton and Yates current Fisher Cat teammate Ricky Romero.

AROUND THE FARM: SNIDER

In this week’s look “Around the Farm” we take a look at Travis Snider of the Lansing Lugnuts.

Snider The 5’11” outfielder has spent all of the season with the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League.  Entering play today he is hitting .305 with 23 doubles, 7 HR and 56 RBI in 75 games.  He is tied for 3rd in the  Midwest League with 35 extra-base hits and ranks 5th in the league with a .495 Slugging Percentage.

A left-handed batter, Snider is hitting an impressive .337 with 4 HR and 23 RBI against south-paws.  On July 7th he went 5-5 with 3 RBI and became the first Lugnut since Chip Cannon in 2005 to hit for the cycle.

Snider was the Blue Jays first round pick in last  year’s draft, selected with the 14th overall pick.  He was the first high school player drafted in the first round by the Blue Jays under J.P Riccardi’s tenure, in fact the previously highest selected high school player by J.P. was Brain Grant with the 206th overall pick in 2002. 

The 5’11” outfielder hit .325 with 11 HR and 41 RBI over 54 games in his first professional season for Pulaski.  He was named the Appalachian League Player of the Year, a Baseball America Rookie All-Star and Topps Short-Season Rookie All-Star.

The Mill Creek, Washington resident led Jackson High School to a 27-0 record his senior year and were ranked the #2 team in the country by Baseball America.  Snider was named the Class 4A player of the year by the Washington State Coaches Association and Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year   

He is known throughout the State of Washington for a HR he hit his Junior year in the District Playoffs known as the “Broadway Shot”, where he launched a 500 feet HR out of Everett Memorial Stadium.

If Travis continues to progress as he has in his first two professional seasons his legacy is certain to grow far beyond the State of Washington.

AROUND THE FARM: PATTON

In this week’s look “Around the Farm” we take a look at Dunedin OF Cory Patton.

Patton Patton enters action today hitting .284, is tied for 5th in the Florida State League with 24 doubles, and also has 7 HR and 38 RBI. 

Patton was selected to play in the Florida State League All-Star game last month where he was hit-less in one at-bat.  In each of his three professional seasons Patton has been named to the Mid-Season All-Star team, (New York-Penn League ’05, Midwest Leagues ’06).

The 24-year old Patton was selected by the Jays in the 6th round of the 2004 draft out of Texas A&M where he hit .326 with 11 HR and 67 RBI in his senior year.  In his junior year he hit .331 with 13 HR and 58 RBI in his junior year and was drafted in the 6th round by the Padres but did not sign. 

The Owasso, Kansas native spent his first two years of college ball at Seward County Community College in Kansas where he was the Conference Freshman of the Year in 2001.   In 2002 Patton was named the National JUCO Player of the Year and NJCAA Male Athlete of the Year after hitting .463 with 31 HR and 120 RBI in 238 at-bats, and also was 8-1 as a pitcher.

The 5’10” left-handed swinging outfielder was assigned to Auburn in the New York Penn League after being drafted and led the league in HR with 14.  Last season Patton combined to hit 21 HR and collect 88 RBI between Single-A Lansing and Single-A Dunedin.

When he was promoted to Dunedin from Lansing last season he started out by going 0-12.  How did he respond to the slow start?  Well how about tying a Dunedin record with 10 RBI in his next game including two home runs.

As the Blue Jays do more than anyone in baseball, Patton was one of many Minor Leaguers who played in Major League Spring Training games this season.  As Patton has done throughout his career he made the most of his opportunity going 3-7 with a triple while appearing in six games.

If Patton continues to hit as he has done throughout his four year professional career, it won’t be the last time you see him in a Jays uniform.

AROUND THE FARM: DIAZ

Diaz Due to the holiday “The Farm” was closed yesterday so a day late here is this week’s “Around the Farm” report.  Today we take a look at the Blue Jays representative in the Futures Game, Robinzon Diaz of the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Diaz, who was signed as a non-drafted free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2000 at 17 years old, was selected as one of two catchers on the World Squad for this Sunday’s game which will be played in San Francisco.  The Manchester Union Leader has a nice article on were Diaz grew up and how far he has come in his seventh season in professional baseball.

The 22 year-old Diaz enters Thursday 7th in the Eastern League with a .323 Batting Average.  The right-handed hitter had a sizzling June during which he hit .392 (38-97) with 5 doubles a triple and 8 RBI and raised his season average from .277 to .321. 

In addition to the Futures Game Diaz will represent the Northern Division in the Eastern League All-Star Game to be played in Connecticut on Wednesday, July 11th. Diaz will be joined by fellow Fisher Cats Sergio Santos, Rob Cosby, Tracy Thorpe and Aaron Mathews.

All-Star selections are nothing new for Diaz, this will be the fourth straight season he has participated in the mid-season classic for his league (2004 South Atlantic League, 2005 and 2006 Florida State League) and he has also been named to his league’s post-season All-Star team every year since 2003 (Appalachian League).

Diaz was added to the Blue Jays 40-man roster before the 2007 season after finishing six professional seasons with a career Minor League average of .303.  The lowest he has hit along the way was .287 for Single-A Charleston is 2004.  He is more of a doubles hitter, 104 career doubles entering 2007, then a home run hitter, just 9 entering this season.  Diaz, like fellow catching prospect Curtis Thigpen, has also moved out from behind the plate for the first time this season appearing in 8 games at third base.

AROUND THE FARM: MATHEWS

Inside the Chiefs’ “Around the Farm” takes a look this week at Outfielder Aaron Mathews who is in his first season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Mathews_1 Mathews saw a 16-game hit streak come to an end on Sunday going 0-4 vs. Portland.  The 16-game streak tied Mathews with Adam Lind and Maikel Jova for the longest streak in franchise history.  During the streak the 5’10” right-handed hitter hit .403 (27-67) and overall for the month of June he is hitting .355 (22-62) with 2 HR and 9 RBI.

Mathews’ hot June has vaulted him into the top of the Eastern League batting race where he currently finds himself second with a .335 overall average on the season trailing just Jesus Merchan of Reading.  The 25-year old Oregon resident also ranks 5th in the Eastern League with a .522 Slugging Percentage.

After a rough Sunday at the plate Mathews must have enjoyed seeing his Alma-matter, the Oregon State Beavers, capture their second straight NCAA Baseball Championship.

Mathews was drafted by the Jays in the 19th round of the 2004 draft.  While other members of the ’04 draft class Curtis Thigpen, Adam Lind, Jesse Litsch and Casey Janssen have sky-rocketed their way through the system to Toronto, Mathews is among a group of a solid class (David Purcey, Ryan Klosterman, Kyle Yates, Patton, Chip Cannon, Mike MacDonald) who are working their way through the system with hopes of finding a spot with the Jays in the future.

Entering 2007 Mathews’ home run numbers weren’t eye popping, just one HR for every 73 at-bats , but he has improved his power stroke this year hitting 5 HR in his first 203 at-bats (one HR per 41 at-bats).  And despite lacking the long ball  he lead his team in triples in each of his first three professional seasons (2004-06) and had career 23 doubles in 2006. 

The Blue Jays went the free agent route to fill the outfield in Syracuse for 2007(Mottola, Vento, Duncan, Lydon) but you can be sure that Toronto is taking notice of Mathews solid performance in Double-A so far this season and a trip to Syracuse is in Mathews’ future.

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