Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Blue Jays’

It’s Deadline Day For MLB Draftees – Lots To Do, Lots To Do

As mentioned here the other night, today is the deadline for major league organizations to come to terms with the players they selected in June’s First Year Player Draft.  Call me crazy, but this strikes me as one of the more exciting days of the summer.  According to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, thirteen first-rounders remained unsigned as of early this afternoon:

Stephen Strasburg (No. 1, Washington); Dustin Ackley (No. 2, Seattle); Donavan Tate (No. 3, San Diego); Zach Wheeler (No. 6, San Francisco); Jacob Turner (No. 9, Detroit); Tyler Matzek (No. 11, Colorado); Aaron Crow (No. 12, Kansas City); Grant Green (No. 13, Oakland); Matt Purke (No. 14, Texas); Alex White (No. 15, Cleveland); Shelby Miller (No. 19, St. Louis); Kyle Gibson (No. 22, Minnesota); LeVon Washington (No. 30, Tampa Bay).

Most of those are likely to agree to terms before midnight, which means that the next seven hours should be very busy for all parties involved and very interesting for casual observers such as myself.  I plan on following along throughout the night (or trying to, at least) and trying to keep Bus Leagues updated as much as possible.

Rumor has it that Baseball America is tracking all unsigned picks in the first ten rounds.  Unfortunately, Firefox does not seem to like Baseball America (or vice versa), so I’ll have to take Alex Pedicini’s word for it.

Update (5:24 PM): Rangers Blog at the Dallas Morning News  web site reports that Matt Purke has been in town for about a week (he’s preparing to attend Texas Christian University if a deal can’t be worked out with the Rangers) and negotiations are ongoing.  Jeff Wilson compared and contrasted Purke’s situation with that of Justin Smoak:

That’s about on par with the Justin Smoak negotiations from last year. That ended well for both sides. Purke, though, seems to have a genuine fondness for TCU, and the Tom Glavine fan has been given No. 47 for next season.

Via the comments section of Nationals Journal at the Washington Post, Baseball America’s Jim Callis is reporting that Donavan Tate has been seen in San Diego and could be close to signing with the Padres.  (How’s that for hearsay?) Tate is a Scott Boras client and outstanding athlete who held a football/baseball scholarship offer from North Carolina as negotiating leverage.

Update (5:41 PM): Saw this somewhere a little bit ago, maybe in that Mayo column linked above, but it also just came to me from CBS Sports via Baseball Musings.  The Tampa Bay Rays do not expect to sign either their first or second round picks.  As David Pinto said in his post, “Losing out on two picks has to hurt.”

Update (5:56 PM): Via Yahoo’s Kendall Rogers on Twitter (@ysportsncaabb) about 45 minutes ago, Shelby Miller passed up Texas A&M to sign with the Cardinals.  Rogers also reports that the Aggies also lost K.C. Hobson, Butch Hobson’s son and Toronto’s sixth-round selection.

Update (6:04 PM): Maury Brown is tracking the remaining draft picks and their bonuses at The Biz of Baseball.  He started with seventeen names, including three supplemental first rounders, and has updated two: New York’s Slade Heathcott ($2.2 million) and St. Louis’s Shelby Miller ($2.875 million).  Both signings are well over the recommended slot for their draft positions.

It is noted in the comments that Heathcott announced his signing on his Facebook page.

Update (6:49 PM): LeVon Washington’s willingness to sign with the Rays has changed greatly from Draft Day to Deadline Day.

Cleveland isn’t getting anywhere with Alex White.

Update (7:22 PM): Kendall Rogers hears good things about Kyle Gibson’s chances of signing, bad things about Alex White’s.

Update (9:38 PM): Jon Heyman says that the Padres are close to close to a deal with Donavan Tate (via MLB Trade Rumors).  Gammons apparently sees that news and raises him: picks two through ten have agreed to terms.  No attribution beyond that, so take it with a grain of salt.

Update (10:47 PM): Alex White WANTS to sign with Cleveland.  The two sides just haven’t been able to agree on a deal.

Supplemental pick Kentrail Davis signed with the Brewers.

Maury Brown has three players signed – Miller, Heathcott, and Davis – and I’ve seen stuff here and there that says Tate has also reached an agreement.  Just outside one hour to go – this will either be one hell of a finish, or an amazing cluster you-know-what for next year’s draft.

Update (10:57 PM): By the way, I forgot to mention that I totally friended Slade Heathcott on Facebook earlier (me and hundreds of others, no doubt).  So now I have a friend named Slade, which is really all anyone should want out of life.

Update (10:59 PM): RumorsandRants on Twitter – “Padres officially just announced signing of No. 3 overall pick Donavan Tate”

Update (11:06 PM): ysportsncaabb – “The Tigers also have signed first-round pick Jacob Turner, who was committed to play at North Carolina.”

Update (11:12 PM): The folks at USS Mariner are offering to sweeten any prospective deal for Dustin Ackley.  The Nationals would like to do the same for Stephen Strasburg, according to Jon Heyman.  One of those “sweeteners” involves actual money.

Update (11:28 PM): Donavan Tate is officially a Padre.

Update (11:41 PM): Twenty minutes, ten first-rounders still unsigned (or at least unannounced).  Maury Brown noted on Twitter earlier this hour that news of Aaron Crow’s failure to sign last year didn’t emerge until after 1 PM EST.

Update (11:46 PM): Seattle has scheduled a teleconference with general manager Jack Zduriencik for 9:15 Pacific time.  Announcing a deal, Mr. Z?  I’m sure he hopes so.

Via Twitter: Will Carroll, Aaron Gleeman, and Kendall Rogers note that Kyle Gibson has signed with the Twins.

Eleven minutes to the deadline.

Update (11:51 PM): And there goes Zach Wheeler.  Picks three through ten are now official.

Update (12:00 AM): Tracy Ringolsby breaks the news that Tyler Matzek signed with the Rockies.  Supposedly, the Nationals were very close with Strasburg as the deadline approached, still awaiting final word.

Update (12:04 AM): Ackley and Green have signed.  Strasburg might have signed for more than $15 million over four years.  Crow, Purke, White, and Washington are left from the first round.  Of those, Crow has the ability to continue negotiating because he is not eligible to return to college.  Purke will go to TCU, White will either return to North Carolina or hit the independents, and Washington, I believe, was heading to Florida.

Update (12:10 AM): As soon as I wrote that, I flipped back over to Twitter (that’s where all my info is coming from at the moment) and saw that Baseball America’s Jim Callis is reporting that Alex White has signed with the Indians.

Update (12:19 AM): I usually hear nothing but good things about the MLB Network, but what little coverage I’ve seen tonight has dropped the ball.  They “broke” the story of Strasburg’s signing at almost 12:15, nearly ten minutes after I saw repeated mentions of it on Twitter, were very late on the Tyler Matzek signing, and for some reason teased Zach Wheeler’s deal before unveiling it as though it was the biggest signing of the night.

And maybe I’m just biased because I think this whole signing deadline thing is kinda fun, but couldn’t they have devoted more in-studio attention to the deadline as the clock wound down?  Showing the late innings of a meaningless Yankees-A’s game and going to commercial at 11:59?  I expect better.

Update (12:29 PM): Well, that’s all for me.  After seven hours, it’s time to call it a night.  My brain can’t handle all this stress, and I didn’t even do anything – guys like Keith Law and Jon Heyman and the guys from Baseball America, who do this for a living and know everything that’s going on and keep it all straight, they amaze me.

All I know is that everyone that was supposed to sign, did sign.  Matt Purke clearly wanted to attend college (and who can fault him for that?) so Texas was in a tough spot to begin with.  It was obvious early today that LeVon Washington wasn’t going to become a Tampa Bay Ray.  And I’m sure we’ll be hearing from Aaron Crow and the Kansas City Royals before too long.

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Average Distance From Majors To Affiliates: American League East

Baltimore Orioles (average: 266 miles)
Baltimore to…
…Norfolk Tides (AAA): 240 miles
…Bowie Baysox (AA): 29 miles
…Frederick Keys (A): 49 miles
…Delmarva Shorebirds (A): 110 miles
…Aberdeen Ironbirds (A): 36 miles
…Bluefield Orioles (Rookie): 366 miles
…GCL Orioles (Rookie): 1,006 miles

New York Yankees (average: 544 miles)
New York to…
…Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA): 125 miles
…Trenton Thunder (AA): 67 miles
…Charleston RiverDogs (A): 771 miles
…Tampa Yankees (A): 1,142 miles
…Staten Island Yankees (A): 18 miles
…Gulf Coast Yankees (Rookie): 1,142 miles

Boston Red Sox (average: 550 miles)
Boston to…
…Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA): 45 miles
…Portland Sea Dogs (AA): 108 miles
…Salem Red Sox (A): 682 miles
…Greenville Drive (A): 962 miles
…Lowell Spinners (A): 31 miles
…GCL Red Sox (Rookie): 1,474 miles

Tampa Bay Rays (average: 682 miles)
Tampa Bay to…
…Durham Bulls (AAA): 702 miles
…Montgomery Biscuits (AA): 509 miles
…Charlotte Stone Crabs (A): 71 miles
…Bowling Green Hot Rods (A): 794 miles
…Hudson Valley Renegades (A): 1,235 miles
…Princeton Rays (Rookie): 782 miles

Toronto Blue Jays (average: 1,215 miles)
Toronto to…
…Las Vegas 51s (AAA): 2,254 miles
…New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA): 591 miles
…Dunedin Blue Jays (A): 1,355 miles
…Lansing Lugnuts (A): 301 miles
…Auburn Doubledays (A): 220 miles
…Gulf Coast Blue Jays (Rookie): 1,355 miles

The Weekend Of Junior Felix

Down 10-1 in the bottom of the seventh tonight, the Baltimore Orioles came back with five-spots in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Red Sox, 11-10.  Late in the game, a graphic flashed up that it was the first time Boston had led by nine runs and lost since June 4, 1989 against Toronto.  Immediately, I remembered the game, and a quick search of Baseball-Reference.com confirmed my suspicions that the game, and the entire weekend, belonged to Junior Felix.

Felix, a 21-year-old rookie outfielder who I always manage to confuse with Felix Jose, had made his major league debut the month before, homering on the first pitch he saw from Kirk McCaskill.  When the Blue Jays came to Boston on June 2, Felix was scuffling, with two homers, ten RBI, and a .255 batting average.  He had also displayed a startling propensity for striking out (21 in 94 at-bats) and below-average base-stealing ability (five steals in eight tries).

A little Red Sox pitching was all he needed to get rolling.  In the first game of the series, he went 2-for-4 with three runs scored.  One of the hits was a ninth inning inside-the-park grand slam off Bob Stanley that turned a tight 3-2 game into a more relaxing 7-2 contest.  The next day, he went 3-for-5 with four RBI in a 10-2 Toronto win.

Sunday was the game I remembered.  The Red Sox jumped out to an early 10-0 lead behind Mike Smithson, who allowed two runs on four hits in six innings.  In the seventh and eighth innings, however, Toronto started mounting a comeback, scoring six times against Smithson and Stanley.  The barrage continued into the ninth, through pitchers Rob Murphy, Lee Smith, and Dennis Lamp, and didn’t end until the Blue Jays held an 11-10 lead.

Boston manufactured a run in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.  It stayed 11-11 until the top of the 12th, when Tom Lawless singled and Felix followed with his second homerun of the series.  Duane Ward shut down Wade Boggs, Sam Horn, and Randy Kutcher in the ninth to close it out.  Felix finished the game 3-for-7 with a run scored and three RBI.

Felix’s totals for the weekend: 8-for-16, two homeruns, four runs scored, eleven batted in.  He had some good games here and there the rest of the season, but nothing quite like that three day stretch of excellence.

Hey, I Know Him

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this here before, but I used to work for the Nashua Pride.  At the time, the team was managed by former Red Sox infielder Butch Hobson (lovingly referred to in all team promotional materials as “Red Sox legend Butch Hobson”).  Our goal was to infuse a family atmosphere into the ballpark, an objective that was aided by the fact that Butch’s three sons were constantly running around the place.

The Hobsons moved to California a few years ago and Butch took a job managing the Atlantic League team in Southern Maryland, but at some point I heard that the oldest boy, K.C., was a pretty good ballplayer who might have a chance of being drafted.  I thought of that tonight and decided to give it a look.  To my surprise, there it was: with the 190th pick in the draft, the Toronto Blue Jays had taken Kristopher Hobson, outfielder, out of Stockdale High School in Stockdale, California.

Good for K.C. and good for the Hobson family.  I’m not sure what’s coming down with the other two boys – the general consensus was that Hank, the middle son, didn’t have as deep an interest in sports as his brother, and Noah, the third boy, was too young to judge as an athlete when Butch was in Nashua – but it’s nice that at least one of Butch’s sons has the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

And the really cool, sort of ironic, thing?  K.C. was drafted right out of high school, so he’ll probably start in Rookie or Low A ball.  But if he progresses through the system and jumps a couple levels to AA within the next couple years, he will play for the Fisher Cats in Manchester, New Hampshire, about fifteen minutes up the road from the city where his father led teams to championships in two different leagues.

Now Batting For The Toronto Blue Jays

Been awhile since I’ve done one of these…

About six weeks ago, I watched Travis Snider crush pitch after pitch after pitch – something like ten in all – over the right field wall at Manchester’s Merchantsauto.com Stadium.  It was obvious the kid, who I rechristened “Wayne” after realizing that he wore number 99, could hit the ball a long, long way.

Shortly thereafter, Snider was summoned to Syracuse, where he played eighteen games, and on Thursday he made the final leap, receiving the call from the Blue Jays.  His arrival in Toronto caps a meteoric rise that began this season at Class A Dunedin and ends on the turf at Rogers Centre.  Not bad for a 20-year-old kid.

To make room for Snider, the ageless Matt Stairs was designated for assignment (and, from the tone of that article, handled it very professionally) and is likely  be traded.