I’m currently working on a ‘Is Franklin Barreto the NWL MVP?’ post and quite frankly it’s not going to well. So let’s put that on the backburner of my battered brain and discuss a few topics that I’ve been kicking around a bit lately.
Which I suppose makes sense. 2013 NWL playoff MVP Mitch Nay was promoted to Dunedin yesterday so am guessing that will mean current first basemen Matt Dean will switch corners to third and Tellez will man first.
Firstly, Dean hasn’t played much third since his rookie season with Bluefield in 2012. When he repeated the Appalachian League in ’13 he was moved to first to make room for Nay. With Nay now in Dunedin, Dean is still behind him. Throw in potential shortstop converts such as Dawel Lugo and Emilio Guerrero and you could say Dean is well down the depth chart at the position.
My guess is that Matthew joins Nay in Dunedin next year. So where does he play? With Nay at third (as an aside, most reports I’ve been getting is that Nay’s defence is much improved at the hot corner – see Marc Hulet’s tweet below on Nay’s promotion) and L.B. Dantzler potentially back the corners are going to be crowded.
@CharlieCaskey very encouraging season, defense much improved. Power will come. Maybe not 25+ but 15-20 HR and 30 2Bs.
— Marc Hulet (@marchulet) August 20, 2014
I also failed to mention in my piece that getting Tellez to Lansing now may be to give him a taste of the Midwest League before he goes there full-time in 2015. Something Lansing broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler re-iterated on twitter:
— Jesse G-S (@jgoldstrass) August 27, 2014
That’s all well and good but breaks a recent trend of funnelling Bluefield players through Vancouver to experience a playoff race with the C’s. And for those that want to argue Lansing is, in fact, in the thick of a playoff race, give me a break. I know, due to some convoluted Midwest League playoff system they are only a game out of a ‘wild card’ spot with four to play (see the breakdown here) but there’s no way a 29 and 37 team leap frogs four teams to claim the final berth.
If the Blue Jays brass thought the Lugs had a chance they had an odd way of showing it, promoting top prospects Nay and Miguel Castro to Dunedin.
Another reason I find the decision a bit puzzling is that Vancouver genuinely could use a first basemen. Similar to L.B. Dantzler in 2013, Ryan McBroom is starting to tire after a long college season. Something we see quite regularly from guys playing far more games then they are used to.
Since a 3 for 6 performance with a double and home run on the 1st of August McBroom has slashed .253/.310/.418 with a 0.25 BB/K ratio over 101 plate appearances. With 66 starts at first, McBroom could have definitely used a breather coming down the stretch. Having Tellez here would have provided that. Now it’s down to Ryan to see this one out.
Speaking of stretch drives, it seems the C’s are looking to get their starting staff lined up. When I looked Vancouver’s pitching stats recently I mused whether Ryan Borucki and Matt Smoral‘s strong performances as piggy-back partners would see them getting their own day prior to the playoffs.
It didn’t take long for my thoughts to become reality when two days later, Smoral went 5 and a third, giving up a run on seven hits and four walks versus Eugene, while the next day saw Borucki going an extra third of an inning while only giving up a single run himself.
I also asked whether Zakery Wasilewski had merited another start this season despite some pretty poor outings over his last eight starts or so. Tonight is his spot in the rotation and according to a press release I received from the C’s recently added Jonathon Wandling is set to get the start. So guess that answers my question.
With only three games left in the season after tonight this spot won’t come up again so this is essentially a spot start for Wandling. Important one though with the C’s tied with Tri-City for top spot in the North division. Odd decision really. Wandling, a 22 year old non-drafted free agent, has seen time over three levels this year. Aside from the Gulf Coast League (where a 22 year old should be successful) he hasn’t been particularly good, putting up a 2.12 WHIP in Dunedin and 1.83 in Vancouver. He’s also only made one start in his 11 appearances this year.
Those press releases have been wrong before so the paragraph above could be all for nothing but still, weird, in such a big game.
According to my math then, that leaves Jairo Labourt, Smoral, and Borucki versus Spokane this weekend with Chase Mallard getting the nod in a potential first playoff game on Tuesday the 2nd. That would leave a big decision for game two as Wandling/Wasilewski’s spot would be back up. Am guessing neither of those two get the nod. Potentially another Bluefield call up? Someone like Evan Smith? Alberto Tirado making a lazarus like recovery and making a spot start?
C’s pitching coach Jeff Ware and co. have some big decisions to make. Although, suppose they need to get there first.
(author’s note: Wandling wasn’t too bad last night, going 5 and two thirds giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and a pair of walks. He may have put his name into consideration for that playoff spot if it comes to it. The above playoff rotation doesn’t take into account if the C’s clinch early. A possibility with last night’s win coupled with Tri-City’s loss. A similar set of results tonight means Vancouver are the second half champs. They could then push Smoral and Borucki back — if they so desire — to make a playoff start)