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An Extended Spring

With the Blue Jays full season minor league affiliates underway, we can eliminate sixty odd names from starting 2013 with the Vancouver Canadians.  In reality, there were only three names that I was surprised to see make the trip north of Florida (or to Dunedin from Dunedin, but that’s just confusing).  Of course, like Kellen Sweeney last year, early season struggles in the upper levels could see a demotion to Vancouver, Bluefield, or the Gulf Coast team when their seasons start.  But, with my new positive outlook, and to make any predictions easier, I’m going to eliminate any players that are currently with a full season club by

Sweeney sneaks a bit of cake between pitches (photo courtesy of vancouverprovince.com)

Sweeney sneaks a bit of cake between pitches
(photo courtesy of vancouverprovince.com)

assuming that all players in the Jays system get off to hot starts.  So, that leaves us with two sources for the C’s opening day lineup.

The first is the draft.  Last year saw ten 2012 draftees grace Vancouver’s opening day roster.  I think that number was inflated somewhat by the Jays strategy of drafting all college seniors in rounds four through ten in an effort to save bonus allocation money.  I’m not going to speculate about the Jays 2013 strategy as they are the only one that knows that.  So, for arguments sake, let’s go with ten from this year’s draft.

That leaves with twenty to twenty-five roster players that are currently in the system.  Again, making the assumption that none will come from above, all those players are currently in extended spring training.  What is extended spring training?  It is exactly what it says on the tin.  Players work out and play games against other Florida based teams from the Jays spring training complex in Dunedin.  Although not directly Blue Jays related, here is an article giving a bit more colour on the nuts and bolts.

The big difference between extended and normal spring training is the availability of information, which makes my job that much more difficult.  I have struggled to find the Jays EST roster or any boxscores for the games that they play.  So, this is my mission.  I hope to uncover some of the mysteries of extended spring training and share them with the readers.

There is still over two months to go before Opening Day of the short season leagues.  Any future C’s still have a long hard slog in front of them.  The team that is sent north come June should be a well oiled machine.  Hopefully one that includes the likes of Matt Smoral and Alberto Tirado.  Although I won’t hold my breath on those two.

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