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Blue Jays Minor League Chat on the Team 1040 and the ChazMan

I caught up with all ’round good guy Matt Baker on the Team 1040 this past Friday following a particularly disappointing Blue Jays loss (aren’t they all?) versus the Angels.  Given the tough start on the night from Dustin McGowan, compounded by a terrible one against Cleveland last night, the injured (perennially so, it seems) Brandon Morrow, and the general crappiness of J.A. Happ we discussed how long Toronto rookie, and ex-Vancouver Canadian, Marcus Stroman was destined for the bullpen.

The Stroman discussion led to a more general chat on the possibility of the Jays rotation getting younger in 2015, and if you read my piece from February on the state of the staff, it has to change, as the only sure things coming back will be Mark Buerhle and R.A. Dickey.  I threw out the usual suspects Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Sean Nolin as possibilities to break with the Jays in 2015.  Of course, my brain cramped somewhat as, even though we were discussing youth, I forgot to mention Drew Hutchison.

At 23, Hutch is actually younger than Nolin and only a couple of years the senior of Stroman and Sanchez.  The way he’s been throwing the ball this year, striking out 9.73 per 9 and leading all Jays starters with a 3.15 FIP, in his first major league action since June 2012 you have to assume he gets better as he gets more game action.  I have him slotting in as the 3rd starter next year.  If it’s two of the younger guys coming in behind him at four and five then youth will definitely be served.  Let’s just hope they all stay healthy.

A couple of pieces of news came out of extended this week.  Firstly, Anthony Alford arrived in Florida which I wrote up here.

The other news saw the 2013 fans player of the year for the Vancouver Canadians, Chaz Frank, assigned to Lansing.  This doesn’t really come as a surprise.  Every time I asked my source in extended how the outfielders were doing he would eventually finish with ‘I don’t know why Chaz is still here.’

So, now he’s not.  In two games for the Lugs so far, Frank has shown his usual discipline at the plate, drawing three walks in nine plate appearances.  With D.J. Davis entrenched in center field (for now at least), Chaz will play the corners, splitting time with Derrick Loveless and ex shortstop, cum second basemen, now left fielder Dickie Thon.

As predictable as it was to see Frank finally go to Lansing, the corresponding move has a twist:

While I don’t think it is any surprise to see Carlos Ramirez’ rope finally run out, given his inability to hit, it is how the Jays intend to use him going forward which will raise eyebrows.  Everybody I spoke to in the Jays organization always raved about Ramirez’ tools.  C’s hitting coach, Dave Pano, called him one of the ‘toolsiest players in the system.’  I always rolled my eyes at these statements as, from what I saw, the tools would never translate to baseball ability.  He was lost at the plate in Vancouver, never using his lower half to generate power from his long limbs.  And like many younger players, he struggled with any pitches that spun.

One thing that did jump out was his arm.  He has a cannon.  And the Jays don’t intend to let that go to waste as they are converting Carlos into a pitcher.

This is nothing new for Toronto, having done it before, notably with current D-Jay Justin Jackson and two-time NWL champion with the C’s Matt Johnson.  The odds of the experiment amounting to something (Johnson was released this off-season) are long, so won’t hold my breath, but would be interesting to see Ramirez eventually make his way back to the Nat as a chucker.

One final note, as per the tweet above, hot-hitting Matthew Dean hit the 7-day DL after being lifted mid-game on Saturday.  I spoke to a Lansing player who didn’t feel at liberty to provide details on the injury but did say it should not be long term.  So that’s good news at least.  Dean was really starting to heat up, slugging .605 and OPS’ing 1.044 over his past ten games.

Note, just as I was about to hit publish, the below came across my feed:

So, it’s possible the youth movement starts earlier than expected.

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