After Tuesdays Vancouver Canadians game I managed to catch up with C’s manager John Schneider. I asked him three questions, two of which were of the ‘hypothetical’ variety. Turns out both of them were actually quite prescient.
Talking promotions with Vancouver’s coaches is always a bit hypothetical. I get the impression they don’t know about any player movement until shortly before everyone else does. And even if they did have some insider information they’re really not at liberty to talk about it. Still, with Bluefield Blue Jays first basemen Rowdy Tellez slashing .381/.426/.577 over his previous 26 games, Bluefield virtually eliminated from the Appalachian League playoff race and Vancouver still in the thick of it, you had to reckon something was going to go down.
I asked John how they would look to incorporate Tellez into the lineup if he was to be promoted. Schneider was adamant that the California native would play. Whether it would be at first or DH’ing they would get his bat in the lineup. He confirmed the organization was high on him and that they’d been monitoring his development for awhile.
Well, Tellez got his deserved promotion, unfortunately for C’s fans (me specifically!) he’s skipping Vancouver and heading to Lansing! 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. Good for him.
My second question was even more out there. Based on his play, Bluefield’s shortstop Richard Urena definitely deserves a move as well. Problem being he plays the same position as probable NWL MVP Franklin Barreto. When I asked John how they would incorporate Urena if he were to be promoted he paused, saying he hadn’t really thought about it considering how well Franky has played. He did say they would make it work as Urena can play multiple positions across the infield.
Turns out they’re going to have to make it work as the 18 year old (his birthday is one day off Barreto’s) Dominican is on his way.
— Bluefield Blue Jays (@BluefieldJays) August 21, 2014
I have to admit, I’d just assumed the Jays were going to leave all the young shortstops where they were. So, despite his excellent play, this one surprises me (pleasantly). From what I can gather, Barreto will stay here so Urena will have to move. Schneider wasn’t specific with me but I would guess Urena plays third given the second base combination of Gunnar Heidt and Tim Locastro has played quite well.
Hell, I never saw this move coming despite my probing questions the other night so could be dead wrong.
My third question was regarding the status of C’s catcher and Jays first rounder Max Pentecost. I asked if he was officially shut down for the season or if there was a chance we’d see him again. John didn’t know, saying he hadn’t heard anything since Pentecost went back to Florida. They hoped he’d be back but weren’t sure what was going to happen.
Lastly, in this mishmash of a post, a comment on recently promoted left-hander Matt Smoral. I got to see him last night as he piggy-backed starter Ryan Borucki against the Boise Hawks. I’ve been on the Smoral bandwagon for quite awhile. Of course, this was based solely on being a boxscore scout. Now I can officially say I’ve seen him. The result? I’m now driving the bandwagon.
He was throwing absolute bb’s last night. His fastball consistently sat at 92 but the Hawks hitters could not get around on him at all. Even when they knew it was coming they were still late. Not surprising given that it must feel like the 6’8″ 220 pounder is on top of them when he releases the ball. He’s got a bit of a pause in his delivery but when it gets going he seemingly jumps towards home and the ball absolutely explodes out of his hand.
Mix in a mid-80’s slider that has late, sharp downward movement and the Hawks hitters were absolutely lost. The only pitch they had any success with was the change. It’s a bit firm currently, coming in around 86 or so. With a low 90s heater he’ll need a bit more velocity separation to make it an effective offering.
His stuff will play though. I am salivating at the prospect of seeing him again.