Results tagged ‘ Curtis Thigpen ’

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.

FINAL ROSTER DECISIONS MADE

The Toronto Blue Jays made their final few decisions and the result caused a ripple effect on their minor league system.  The Blue Jays decided to send down to the Chiefs pitchers Geremi Gonzalez and Brian Tallet, catcher Sal Fasano and designate pitcher Francisco Rosario for assignment.

The Chiefs roster currently looks like this with still a few decisions to be made:
STARTING ROTATION:  Four kids and a veteran.  Dustin McGowan, Josh Banks, Ty Taubenheim and Ismael Ramirez made 60 AAA-starts in 2006.  They all should be improved in their second season.  Gonzalez a veteran will anchor the staff with Jamie Vermilyea and Jason Scobie also available for long relief or spot staring.

BULLPEN:  Tallet is the lone lefty and will be used in situational roles, while newcomer Blaine Neal assumes the closer role.  Set-up men include former Red Wing Beau Kemp, who helped Rochester to the I.L. Governors Cup Finals, Matt Roney who recorded an ERA under 3.00 with Sacramento last season, Ryan Houston who pitched exceptional from April-June last year before a terrible month of July balooned his ERA and newcomer Brain Wolfe, who was acquired in the Corey Koskie trade last season and bounced around from A-Dunedin and AA-New Hampshire in 2006.  Wolfe could be the sleeper in this group.

CATCHING:  Veteran Sal Fasano backs up big league catching prospect Curtis Thigpen.  A major improvement over last seasons defensively challenged duo of Mike Mahoney and Jason Phillips.

INFIELDERS:    Kevin Barker returns for his third season at 1B, Russ Adams returns to Syracuse this time to play second base, Slick fielding Ray Olmedo takes over at shortstop while John Hattig returns for his third season at 3B.  Ryan Roberts will man the utility role and is very good at all three positions 2B, SS and 3B.   The Chiefs should be very much improved up the middle with Olmedo and Adams, both have played in the major leagues, while Barker is very good around the bag at first.  Hattig’s range is average at best, but should make up for it with his bat (.277 with 30 doubles last season).  Roberts had a great spring and will see plenty of action.

OUTFIELDERS:  Three spots with five quality players.  Jeff Duncan will see most of the action in center field and can play defence.  His speed on the turf at home should make him a .300 hitter.  Super prospect Adam Lind will play left field while veterans Mike Vento (AAA All-Star at Columbus two years ago) and Chiefs Fan Favorite Chad Mottola share time in rightfield.  2005 MVP John-Ford Griffin is healthy and will get most of the DH at bats.

The Chiefs still need to drop one pitcher and will add Francisco Rosario and Brandon League at some point in early April with more changes yet to be made.

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.

FASANO, OLMEDO JOIN JAYS

The Toronto Blue Jays picked up two additional players that could have an impact on the Syracuse Chiefs 2007 season.  Veteran catcher Sal Fasano who has spent parts of the past ten seasons in the major leagues with the Royals, A’s, Rockies, Angels, Orioles and last season with the Phillies and Yankees signed a minor league deal with an invite to spring training that begins in three weeks.

Fasano, 35, will provide insurance for the Blue Jays who have Greg Zaun and Jason Phillips slotted at the catching position at the present time with prospect Curtis Thigpen on the way up and expected to start the season with the Chiefs. 

The signing of Fasano allows the Blue Jays to allow Thigpen to continue to develop if the need for a third catcher or injury occurs.

The Jays also claimed infielder Ray Olmedo off waivers from the Reds and assigned him to their major league roster.  The 25 year old native of Venezuela batted .282 for Louisville last season and recorded a .960 FPCT in 90-games at shortstop.  Olmedo has appeared in 171-games with the Reds during the past 4-years (2003-2006).

The Blue Jays now have middle infielders Royce Clayton and Aaron Hill expected to start and John McDonald, Jason Smith, Russ Adams, Ray Olmedo, Sergio Santos and Ryan Roberts also in camp.

During the past week the Blue Jays outrighted 3B/OF Rob Cosby back to the Chiefs and will likely do the same to Roberts who was taken off the major League roster to make room for Olmedo.

ZAUN RETURNS TO JAYS

In the end Blue Jays catcher Greg Zaun, who represented himself in contract talks with Jays GM J.P. Ricchardi couldn’t leave the only team that has provided him the opportunity to play on an everyday basis.  Zaun decided Tuesday to resign with Toronto for two years at 7.5 million with an option for 2009.  With only Jason Phillips on the roster and Curtis Thigpen at least a year away, the Zaun signing was a must for the catching strapped organization.  At 36 years old it’s not a given that Zaun can catch 120 games and a quality back-up still needs to be found.  Look for Toronto to continue to shop for catching help that will tutor Thigpen in Syracuse and provide an emergency back-up at the major league level.

Busy Day

It’s a busy day for the SkyChiefs today.  This afternoon the team will hold it’s Annual Meeting of Stockholder’s in the Hank Sauer Room.  Also today the Blue Jays made it official that Doug Davis will be Syracuse’s manager in 2007. 

Davis brings Championship experience at both the Major League and Minor League level.  He was Jack McKeon’s bench coach when the Florida Marlins defeated the New York Yankees to win the 2003 World Series.  Davis also led the Pittsfield Mets to the 1997 New York Penn League Championship and the Mets Single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League, Columbia, to the 1998 League Championship.

Speaking of Championships, the Phoenix Desert Dogs captured the Arizona Fall League Championship with a 6-2 victory over the Grand Canyon Rafters.  The Desert Dogs included seven players who are Blue Jays property, pitchers Dustin McGowan, Kyle Yates, Jordan DeJong, Tracey Thorpe, infielders Chip Cannon and Ryan Klosterman and catcher Curtis Thigpen.

Cannon and Yates were named to the Arizona Fall League All Prospects Team.  Cannon led the league in HR (11) and RBI (29) while Yates led the league in strikeouts (25) while posting a 2-0 record and a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings pitched. 

THIS AND THAT

Just 21 more weeks until OPENING DAY 2007 at Alliance Bank Stadium……How about those Blue Jays signing FRANK THOMAS for thier designated hitter spot.  That all but assures that super prospect ADAM LIND will start the season in Syracuse for 2007.  A potential Chiefs lineup that includes Jeff Duncan CF, Adam Lind LF, Chad Mottola RF, John-Ford Griffin-DH, Kevin Barker-1B, Rob Cosby-3B, Curtis Thigpen-c, Russ Adams-2B, and Ryan Roberts/or Sergio Santos SS wouldn’t look so bad…..Former Chiefs in the news – catcher Ken Huckaby signed with the Dodgers and will likely spend the season in Las Vegas (PCL), Former Chiefs infielder Nelson Liriano was named hitting coach for the KC Royals single A team in Wilmington….Former Chiefs outfiedler Rick Leach was the Michigan quarterback for four seasons under Bo Schembechler, who passed away on Friday.  Rick was heard earlier today on ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick show talking about his former coach…Prediction time:  Uconn 31 Orange 27 and Michigan 16 Ohio State 14…..Dont forget to listen to “INSIDE PITCH” on Saturday November 18th on ESPN RADIO 1260 AM at 9:00 AM when Chiefs General Manager John Simone and Bob McElligott talk to Chiefs players Chad Mottola and Kevin Barker……It was reported today that Doug Davis, who managed New Hampshire (Eastern League) last season will be named the Chiefs next manager.  Mike Basso, who managed the team last season would become the organizations roving catching instructor.  Look for an announcement from the team on Monday…..Chiefs Annual Stockholders Meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 21st at Alliance Bank Stadium.  The ballclub will report its financial statement for the year ending 2006 and give an overview on the upcomming 2007 season….Have a great weekend.

BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 10 LIST

Baseball America has announced their list of Top 10 Blue Jays Prospects for next season.  Adam Lind, who SkyChiefs fans got a got look at in the month of August, has been named the Blue Jays #1 Prospect.  Other SkyChiefs on the list include catcher Curtis Thigpen #5, pitcher Francisco Rosario #6 and David Purcey #9.

Speaking of Thigpen fans can catch up with Curtis in a live chat on mlb.com, tomorrow, Thursday November 16th at 11:00AM. 

Entering play today Thigpen is hitting .284 with two home runs and 19 RBI for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.  The Desert Dogs are leading the Eastern Division with a record of 19-10.  Other Blue Jays prospects on the team include Chip Cannon who is hitting .366 with a league leading 11 HR and 29 RBI, Ryan Klosterman (.308 in just 8 games), Dustin McGowan (1-3, 5.59 in 5 starts), Kyle Yates (2-0, 1.13 in 6 games, 4 starts), Jordan DeJong (3-0, 3.00 in 12 games) and Tracy Thorpe (0-0, 4.76 in 11 games).

Geremi Gonzalez who the Blue Jays signed to a Minor League contract this week has pitched in 8 games for the Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League and is 0-0 with 4 saves and has not allowed a run in 8.1 innings.

Another free agent the Blue Jays signed this week, Beau Kemp is pitching for the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League and is 3-1 with 4.19 ERA in 14 games.  Kemp, a right-handed reliever pitched in 7 games for Rochester against the SkyChiefs this season and was 0-0, with a 0.84 ERA over 10.2 innings, walking one and striking out four.  Nice to have Beau on our side now.

Arizona Fall League

SkyChiefs catcher Curtis Thigpen had a huge day for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday driving home six runs, including a three-run homer.  Fellow Jays prospect Chip Cannon collected four hits including his fifth home run of the fall season.  Entering Play Thursday Cannon is tied for the AFL lead in HR and is fourth in the league with a .372 average.  With Kevin Barker electing to become a free agent this week, Cannon will have a good shot at being the starting first-baseman in Syracuse. Thigpen is hitting .308 with 2 HR and 11 RBI.  Dustin McGowan started the Fall season off losing his first two starts but was victorious in his most recent start on Monday tossing five innings and allowing two runs on six hits walking two and striking out one.  Other Jays prospects in Arizona include pitchers Jordan DeJong (2-0, 3.38), Kyle Yates (1-0, 1.86) and Tracy Thorpe (0-0, 10.80) and infielder Ryan Klosterman (.308-0-3).  To follow all the action in Arizona, including the GAMEDAY live feature, click here http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/index.jsp?sid=l119

–AG

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,895 other followers