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Monday is Blue Jays Minor League Moving Day

After finishing their day game Sunday, and with an off day Monday, I’m fairly certain the Blue Jay players were seen on the town last night.  Thankfully, with no game today, we don’t have to be given the classic ‘flu like symptoms’ excuse for why so-and-so is out of the lineup.  Management didn’t have time for dinner though, as they were busy re-shuffling their minor league rosters.

The news started to filter out this morning, so let’s just run through what we know.

As mentioned in my prospecting piece, last year’s NWL most valuable player L.B. Dantzler was getting a weeks worth of rehab at bat.  That finished and he was assigned to Lansing, not Dunedin as I had guessed.  It will be interesting to see how L.B. is integrated into the Lugs.  Matthew Dean has taken the most reps at first base with another ex-C, Justin Atkinson, spelling him occasionally.  I’m going to say Dantzler DH’s most of the time while taking over Atkinson’s role as the second first basemen.  But hey, I’ve been wrong before (see the Tom Robson to Dunedin piece).

(note: after writing this, Lansing tweeted out tonight’s lineup and L.B. is starting at 1st)

Monday also saw two pitchers, who have been dominant so far this season, receive justified promotions.

Matt Boyd has cut a swathe through the Florida State League thus far, putting up video game numbers through his five starts:

Age AgeDif Tm ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
23 -0.3 Dunedin 0.29 5 31.0 18 1 1 1 5 37 0.742 5.2 0.3 1.5 10.7 7.40
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/28/2014.

Despite the AgeDif stat above saying that Boyd is slightly younger than the weighted average of all other pitchers in the FSL, I think the general consensus has scouts looking at his numbers with a touch of cynicism.  As a polished product from a major college program, the whispers you get are that he is rightfully dominating younger hitters.

Good on the Jays for recognizing this early and deciding to test the left-hander against older and better competition.  His low 90s fastball will not overpower hitters in double-A but it’s the secondary pitches and deceptive delivery that have been getting the biggest props.  While the rigorous off-season program he put himself through this winter should help him withstand fatiguing as he navigates his first full season of pro ball.

I don’t think we can expect similar numbers in New Hampshire, but if he proves to be a success, then there is no doubting the Blue Jays have a prospect on their hands.  One who could turn out to be a fast mover in the system.

Another college draftee that was dominating younger hitters has been promoted to Dunedin to replace Boyd.  If you compare Kendall Graveman‘s numbers to Boyd’s, they are pretty similar.  Amazing, considering how fantastic they have both been:

Age AgeDif Tm ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
23 1.1 Lansing 0.34 4 26.1 11 2 1 0 6 25 0.646 3.8 0.0 2.1 8.5 4.17
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/28/2014.

Graveman, a right-hander out of Alabama, seemingly doesn’t miss as many bats as Boyd, but has only given up 11 hits in over 26 innings while walking six.  An 8th round pick last year, Graveman was a Blue Jays special ‘senior sign’, inking for a well under slot $5k.  Because of this, most probably pegged him as an organizational arm, but his numbers so far this year don’t lie.  At the same age as Boyd, Kendall has definitely benefited from facing younger, less experienced hitters.

How he fares in Florida will tell us a lot more about what Graveman’s future holds.

To replace Graveman’s spot in Lansing (remember, he  had his own day and was not piggy-backing), both Shane Dawson and Matt Dermody have joined the team in Dayton. I’ve talked at length about both of them so will not go into too much detail here.  They were both to good to wait until Vancouver opened their season and were only still in extended to get their inning totals up.  Shane was rehabbing his shoulder while Dermody was being stretched out as a starter.

I’d assumed they would piggy-back to replace Kendall’s innings but this tweet literally just came through my feed:

I have to be honest, didn’t see that one coming, but with a 12.86 BB/9 rate thus far it’s not a shocker.  The Jays may see something that is mechanically not right and feel Labourt would be better served working on the issue in Florida with all the attendant coaches rather than trying to pitch through them in game situations.

Although I’m impressed by the speed of the Jays in making these decisions, despite the relatively small sample size, they were still pretty obvious.  Both Graveman and Boyd were pitching to hitters younger than them.  Moving them up a level can’t be seen as being terribly aggressive.

Now, if they wanted to be aggressive, they would heed my advice from yesterday and promote Dalton Pompey:

That tweet provoked a bit of a debate on twitter, but Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus echoed my sentiments in today’s Monday Morning Ten Pack, calling Pompey ‘arguably the top position prospect in the Blue Jays organization’ with a ‘quick to-the-ball stroke, gap pop, and plus-plus speed.’

Heady praise for a player that didn’t make the pre-season prospect list of any of the major ones I compared.  Unless I am reading this wrong, Pompey will be eligible for the minor league rule 5 draft next off-season, so the Jays would be better served testing him against AA pitching before deciding whether to put him on the 40 man roster (although I’m guessing they would regardless).

Yesterday’s 3 for 4 day with a double and triple along with his .371/.434/.483 start may be making me a bit giddy. The .464 BABIP suggest things will normalize somewhat but still, if Pompey continues at even anywhere near this level he has to be promoted, despite his age.  That would be aggressive.

As always though, the voice of reason:

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