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Two for the Road

With the Canadians early-season roster in constant flux I have found myself writing quite a bit on the new faces arriving in Vancouver and some of players who may very well make their way up over time. Of course, the roster cannot expand exponentially. Some of the current players will need to make way. After three players were let go this past Tuesday, more releases will inevitably happen. What I hadn’t accounted for thus far is the possibility of promotions. And there are two players who have put their names into the Lugnuts hat.

When I first wrote about Canadian catcher Mike Reeves, he was absolutely lighting it up five games into his pro career. Seven games later, as expected, things have normalized somewhat. His first pro 0 for in Hillsboro last night dropped his slash line to .395/.531/.421. Still nothing to sneeze at. What impresses me the most is the 20.4% walk rate. When a slump happens, as it inevitably will, Reeves should still be able to contribute and get on base using his excellent plate discipline.

Reeves warms up in the pen (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Reeves warms up in the pen (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Reeves is quick to credit C’s hitting coach Dave Pano with helping him acclimatize to pro ball. Together they have been working on getting his front foot down early, allowing the left hander see the ball longer. Speaking to the Peterborough native, he’s perfectly aware that his .484 BABIP will come back to earth, it’s working on the little things while he’s hot which will help him dig his way out when not.

If Reeves continues to produce, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be promoted, no matter how young his pro career. Santiago Nessy is probably number two on the Jays minor league catching depth chart so rightfully should be receiving the bulk of the reps in Lansing.

Could Mike skip Lansing and head straight to Dunedin? Given his age and college experience I don’t see why not. 2012 Vancouver Canadian, Derrick Chung is having a surprisingly good season for the D-Jays, but I don’t think anyone would call him a genuine prospect. Chung and Reeves could split time the rest of the season so neither are worn down by the Florida heat.

The trickle down effect could mean twenty-one year old Seth Conner drops from Lansing to Vancouver to finally get some regular at bats. After a good season last year in the Appalachian league, I don’t see the point of parking the Missouri native on the bench in Lansing.

The second prospect we may not see for much longer in Vancouver is Tuesday night’s winning pitcher, Jeremy Gabryszwski (and I hate typing out that name, so let’s call him Gaby or JG going forward). Apologies to UBC alum Eric Brown, who feels ready to move on as well, but Gaby has a bigger future.

The twenty year old right-hander has now thrown exactly half the amount of innings as last year. Still a small sample size, but he’s improved across the board despite throwing against the older hitters in the Northwest League. He doesn’t miss a ton of bats, only striking out 3.9 per nine, but his control is impeccable. One walk in twenty-three innings for a 0.4 BB/9 is spectacular.

Another interesting improvement is the reduction in home runs allowed. Last season, in fourty-six innings pitched he gave up five. The reason I say it’s ‘interesting’ is because, aside from his first start when it was 50/50, his ground ball to fly ball rate has been negative. Meaning his home run to fly ball ratio has dropped. It could be due to larger parks in the Northwest League, I don’t know where to find minor league park factors, or he’s keeping hitters off balance better.

I don’t think a promotion is imminent, but if JG maintains his current form through to the all-star break in early August then I believe Lansing will come calling. I won’t try and predict any other related movement as believe there will be plenty of pitchers moving in all directions.

Notes from the Pressbox:

The C’s won in their first trip to Hillsboro’s new Hops Stadium, albeit not in a conventional fashion. Vancouver was out hit 14-8, but the Hop’s six (!!) errors led to six unearned runs.

Eric Brown was ok for the win, giving up two earned on ten hits with five strike-outs.

Offensively, once again, the C’s struggled to hit anything for extra bases, with seven singles and one double on their ledger. I have the C’s second last in the league in team ISO (see below table). It’s an odd phenomenon, they have a few guys that should be able to hit some gaps, and some speedsters who should turn the odd single into a double, but they are just not getting the job done:

Team Affiliation BA OBP SLG ISO
Boise Hawks CHC 0.252 0.338 0.372 0.12
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes SFG 0.280 0.37 0.398 0.118
Spokane Indians TEX 0.219 0.316 0.325 0.106
Hillsboro Hops ARI 0.227 0.295 0.333 0.106
Everett AquaSox SEA 0.248 0.336 0.331 0.083
Eugene Emeralds SDP 0.205 0.297 0.282 0.077
Vancouver Canadians TOR 0.254 0.338 0.317 0.063
Tri-City Dust Devils COL 0.221 0.313 0.277 0.056
League Totals 0.239 0.326 0.33 0.091

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