Results tagged ‘ Aaron Mathews ’

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: 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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