Results tagged ‘ Casey Janssen ’

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.

DUNCAN SENT TO MINORS

The Blue Jays have sent OF Jeff Duncan to minor league camp.  Duncan had a great spring hitting .353 with two triples and 5 RBI in 34 at-bats.  The Jays have 31 players left in camp include non-roster players, C Sal Fasano, OF Matt Stairs and Pitchers Josh Towers, Geremi Gonzalez and Victor Zambrano.

Slam! Sports is reporting that Casey Janssen will make the Jays opening day roster and pitch out of the bullpen to start the season.

Jason Phillips, known for his glasses, had laser eye surgery this off-season and had shed the glasses.  Phillips went back to the glasses this week after finding out his left eye was still bothering him.  He is hitting .132 (5-38) this spring.

LEAGUE BACK WITH CHIEFS, MAYBE…

Righthanded pitcher Brandon League who never really was able to pitch this spring has been optioned to Syracuse.  The hard throwing reliever has had trouble with his velocity and will likely spend time in Dunedin before making an appearance in Syracuse with the Chiefs.

The Blue Jays meanwhile need to make a few decisions this week now that League will not be part of their plans to start the season.

The rotation is nearly set with Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Gustavo Chacin and Tomo Ohka set.  The fifth spot should go to Josh Towers who has pitched well enough to earn another chance.

BJ Ryan, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Jason Frasor also should be assured spots.  That leaves John Thomson, Victor Zambrano, Geremi Gonzalez, Jeremy Accardo, Casey Janssen and Francisco Rosario all fighting for three spots.  Zambrano and Janssen look like they are the front runners.  While Rosario is out of options, and Thomson won’t begin throwing again until Friday.  Gonzalez and Accardo look like they are ticketed to the Chiefs.

The Blue Jays could also help their bullpen by pulling off a late spring training trade or claiming someone off waivers this week.

MORE PLAYERS SENT TO CHIEFS

In just two weeks the major league baseball season begins and clubs are now beginning to set their rosters.  After three weeks of playing minor league prospects and invitees to their camps, big league teams need to get serious and start playing their starters at least 7-innings.

Yesterday the Blue Jays sent the Chiefs four more players who will begin the season in Syracuse.  One of them, Adam Lind will be welcomed BIG TIME.  Lind has captured MVP honors in two different leagues on his way up and will likely continue his early career success in Syracuse this season.  Hopefully, he’s here for more than just a month.  Two of the Blue Jays other top prospects Alex Rios and Aaron Hill never saw June.

Also sent to the Chiefs was Russ Adams who will play everyday at Second base and corner infielders John Hattig and Rob Cosby.  Hattig who can play 3rd base and 1st base batted .277 for the Chiefs last season – his first in AAA with 32 doubles.  The line driver hitter with gap power needs ro improve on his power numbers (only 4 HR’s last season) to make the next jump.

Cosby not only played 3rd base and 1st base but also right and left field for the Chiefs last season and after hitting 18 home runs in his rookie season at AAA. 

Also sent to the Chiefs was righthanded pitcher Ty Taubenheim who came over from the Brewers last season and was impressive early as a starter and earned a promotion to Toronto in June.

Taubenheim now joins Josh Banks, Ismael Ramirez, Dustin McGowan and youngsters Michael MacDonald, Kyle Yates, David Purcey and Ricky Romero in a crowded fight for five or six spots in the Chiefs rotation.

Still with Toronto are righties Casey Janssen, Shaun Marcum and Josh Towers who are all battling Tomo Ohka and John Thomson for the final two spots in the Jays rotation.

Sounds like no matter what happens the Chiefs will be stacked with starting pitching.

Don’t forget that on Monday 5-6 PM The Voice of the Chiefs Bob McElligott will be broadcasting live from Dunedin, FL on 1260 AM ESPN Radio.

All week look for up-to-the minunte reports from Spring Training.

CHIEFS STARTING PITCHING TAKING SHAPE

The Syracuse Chiefs starting pitching is beginning to take shape as righthanders Josh Banks, Ismael Ramirez and Dustin McGowan all returned to the Chiefs minor league complex this week. 

Banks spent all of the 2006 season in Syracuse and finished with 10-wins in his rookie season in AAA.  On the positive side Banks made 29-starts, pitched 171-innings and walked only 28-batters and struck out 126.  He was also 5-5 with a 4.80 ERA in his final 12-starts and allowed only 14-home runs during that period. On the negitive side he did give up 35 home runs and recorded a 5.17 ERA.  In his second season at AAA Banks should improve on those numbers.

Ramirez begin the season at AA-New Hamphsire and was 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA before an injury forced him to miss a month of the season and a trip to AAA-Syracuse, most likely in July.

He did join the Chiefs in late August and was 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 3-starts.  Ramirez now 26 should be ready for the International League after three really good years at A-Dunedin and AA-New Hamshire. 

Three years ago Dustin McGowan was the Phillip Hughes of the Blue Jays organization.  With AA-New Haven in 2003, McGowan was 7-0 with a 3.17 ERA in his first 14-starts.  During his last appearance with New Haven he injured his arm and needed Tommy John surgery.  Missing almost all of 2004, and still not sharp in 2005, Dustin returned last season and split time between Syracuse and Toronto.

Bounced around from the bullpen to starting and back to the bullpen in 2006, McGowan should return to the Chiefs starting rotation this season.

Still in major league camp that could bolster the Chiefs rotation are righties Ty Taubenheim, Shaun Marcum and Casey Janssen.  Those three would provide the Chiefs with six solid starters to begin the season.

Tomorrow the bullpen.

WEEKEND UPDATE

Minor League camp is underway and it’s time to turn our attention to more significant matters – like reporting baseball.   We have made our point and we are not going to waste your time by beating a dead horse on this space.   Again only here on “Inside the Chiefs” will you receive first hand knowledge of what’s going on in spring training with the major league club, Toronto and the Syracuse Chiefs.

Non-roster catcher Erik Kratz was the first player to be sent to minor league camp as the Jays minor league affiliates reported this weekend.

Jays righty Josh Towers pitched two innings today vs the Pirates and allowed only 1 hit, a solo home run to Pirates first baseman Brad Eldred in two innings of work.  Towers also struck out two batters and looked good in his first outing.  Also pitching today in a B-game were righthanders Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen.  In the lineup today are: Royce Clayton -ss, Greg Zaun -c, Lyle Overbay – 1B, Vernon Wells -cf, Troy Glaus – 3b, Matt Stairs – rf, Aaron Hill – 2b, Adam Lind – lf, Jason Phillips -c.

Over the weekend John Thomson also pitched well – two shutout innings and Shaun Marcum  pitched 2 innings, 1 run, 3 strikeouts. Francisco Rosario, who was slowed by back pain earlier this spring, pitched one shutout inning.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has said that Russ Adams would begin the season in Syracuse and play second base.  The Blue Jays hope that Adams can return to his 2004-2005 form when he played for the Chiefs and Blue Jays and batted over .280 playing shortstop.

Former Chiefs pitchers Dave Stieb and Pat Hentgen are in camp helping with the younger pitchers and throwing batting practice.

In yesterday’s win Curtis Thigpen (2), John-Ford Griffin and John Hattig combined for 4-RBI in their 7-4 win over the Rays.  On Saturday, Rob Cosby went 1 for 3 with Curtis Thigpen providing another RBI and, on Friday, Kevin Barker had a two-run home run and Ryan Roberts went 2 for 2.

Don’t forget that “Inside Pitch” will broadcast live from Dunedin, Florida beginning on March 19th when the voice of the Chiefs Bob McElligott and Chiefs General Manager John Simone provide player interviews beginning at 7PM all week long.

SPRING FLINGS

The Blue Jays pitchers and catchers officially reported on Sunday.  In folloiwng the Toronto papers and BlueJays.com here are some of the early topics:

* Manager John Gibbons was given a one-year contract extension.

* Gibbons believes that should Shaun Marcum not win a spot in the rotation, he would make the Blue Jays as a reliever.  Other young pitchers vying for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation, Casey Janssen, Dustin McGowan and Ty Taubenheim would all be sent to Syracuse to start.

* Another rotation candidate Josh Towers worked hard in the off-season with teammate Reed Johnson in Las Vegas and vows to take better care of his body this season.

* Victor Zambrano didn’t arrive in Dunedin until Monday due to visa problems.  He is ahead of schedule progressing from elbow surgery but isn’t expected to be ready to pitch in the Majors until May or June.

JAYS KEEP ADDING PITCHING

The Toronto Blue Jays added another pitcher to their 2007 roster yesterday when they signed righthanded starting pitcher Tomo Ohka.  The 31 year old native of Japan has spent the past eight years in the major leagues with Boston (1999-2001), Montreal (2001-2004), Washington (2004) and Milwaukee (2005-2006).

The adddition of Ohka gives the Jays five starters with major league experience, Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, John Thompson and Ohka.  That leaves Josh Towers, Shawn Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen, four pitchers who were expected to fill that fourth or fifth spots now destined to start the year in Syracuse.

Although they both (Thompson and Ohka) have been injured during the 2006 season, they also have won 13 -games as a starting pitcher in the major leagues during their careers.  Both pitchers were signed at bargain basement prices and could become the steals of the year if they are healthy.

For the Chiefs sake here’s hoping they are.

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

It is the Night before Christmas and we hope that everyone has reached their destinations safely and can now sit back relax and enjoy the greatest night of the year.

We here at MLBlogs.com hope that you have enjoyed our somewhat serious, somewhat funny post during the year.  We have enjoyed providing the Baseball/Chiefs fans with up-to date information that only Chiefs Blogs can provide.

So as you sit back and relax this evening with a glass of egg nog with the company of family and friends lets leave Santa with a list of things we would all like to see in 2007:

*  First Place finish in the I.L. East and a Governors Cup Championship and a trip to the Bricktown Showdown in Oklahoma City in September.

*  One more good season from Chad Mottola as he continues to rewrite the Chiefs record book.

*  A healthy John Ford Griffin so he can duplicate his 30 HR’s and 103 RBI’s from the 2005 season.

*  Adam Lind all season

*  Kevin Barker, Chad Mottola and John Ford Griffin in the 3-4-5 spot.

*  25 starts from Dustin McGowan, John Banks, Ismael Ramirez, Ty Taubenheim and Casey Janssen without being called up once.

*  No Rainouts the entire season.

*  For Nick Pirro and the County Legistlature to approve funding for the relacement of the artifical turf, new video scoreboard and lights so our centerfielder can see the ball.

*  A new shortstop or a good deal of improvement from Sergio Santos in 2007.

*  Lee Gronkiewicz to save 35 games.

*  No injuries in Toronto (unless it’s Frank Thomas).

*  Frank Thomas to rehab in Syracuse for a week.

*  More fans to watch Chiefs Baseball than ever before.

*  A positive story about the Chiefs from our local newspaper.

*  Russ Adams to rebound from his 2006 season and get back to the major leagues.

*  Chiefs players to be the envy of the I.L. with our hot new uniforms.

*  Snow on April 5th, now that we are Opening the season in Durham.

*  70 degrees and sunny on April 14th vs Ottawa for the Home Opener.

*  Scooch to have another mascot to help him at the stadium.

*  Jeff Costello and the Everything Irish Committee good weather on July 12th so they don’t get rained out for the 3rd straight year.

*  Cooler weather for our next Dog Lover’s Night this summer.

*  A new Picnic Area for fans to enjoy.

*  Bud Poliquin to actually stay for a game.

*  And good health to everyone young and old for the year to come.

                              MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!

THURSDAY IN ORLANDO

It’s been a busy day already in Orlando today.  The Rule 5 Draft took place this morning and the Blue Jays took SS Jason Smith in the Major League portion of the draft.  Below is a copy of the Blue Jays press release on Smith.

          SMITH, 28, spent the 2006 season in the Colorado organization playing for both the Colorado Rockies and Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League. He was signed this past off-season (Nov 12) by the Chicago Cubs as a minor league free agent. The 6’3″, 200 lb., left handed hitting infielder batted .263 (26-99) with five home runs and 13 RBI in 49 games for the Rockies, while also posting a .291 average (41-141) with nine doubles, five triples, four home runs, and 23 RBI in 41 games at the AAA level in Colorado Springs. The native of Meridian, Mississippi has appeared in 166 Major League games covering the past six seasons (Cubs 2001, Tampa Bay 2002-03, Detroit 2004-05, Colorado 2006), and has played at all four infield positions over that span. 

The Blue Jays did not lose any players in the Rule 5 and did not make any selections in the Minor League phase of the draft.

Also in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 former SkyChiefs catcher Josh Phelps was selected by the New York Yankees.  Phelps who spent all of the 2006 season with the Governor’s Cup Champion Toledo Mud Hens had already signed a Minor League Deal with the Baltimore Orioles for 2007 but now will be added to the Yankees 40-man roster. 

One would think that the Yankees, who did not resign Craig Wilson, are bringing in Phelps to compete with Andy Phillips for playing time at first-base and DH.  With Damon, Abreu, Giambi, Matsui and Cano all hitting from the left side, Phelps could provide the power from the right side the Bronx Bombers are looking for.

After losing out on Ted Lilly yesterday it appears the Blue Jays have also lost out on the Gil Meche sweepstakes.  ESPN’s Steve Phillips is reporting that Meche will be signing a 5-year deal with the Royals pending a physical.

The Blue Jays are now expected to target Jeff Suppan and Mark Redman for their starting rotation.  If the team is unable to sign one of those guys the team would look to Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, Francisco Rosario, Dustin McGowan and Josh Towers as possible 4th and 5th starters.  Rosario and McGowan are both out of options while Marcum and Janssen have options remaining and could return to Syracuse with out having to be designated for assignment.  The Blue Jays however may look to get another option year for McGowan (similar to a redshirt) because he missed a year due to an arm injury.  The Jays did the very same thing last year with Rosario.

New SkyChiefs president Ron Gersbacher and team mascot Scooch appeared on Bridge Street this morning with Rick Geary and Julie Abbott.  Gersbacher donated two 2007 season tickets for Bridge Street’s efforts in raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.  Also while on the show it was announced that the SkyChiefs are holding a special gathering next Monday, December 11th for a major announcement.

The team has been teasing media members this week with clues to what the press conference is about and while on the air handed out today’s clue a conductor’s hat.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,893 other followers