Although two of the Toronto Blue Jays three minor league affiliates are struggling to win games, many prospects are shining this season and are showing the fans that the Jays definitely have a bright future ahead of them.
Las Vegas 51's (AAA)- (15-23, Tied for last in PCL Pacific South Division)
While the wins might not be piling up like the Jays have hoped for, there are several prospects on the team that have the Jays drooling. JP Arencibia, Toronto's catcher of the future, is one of them.
After a slow start to the season, Arencibia has been tearing the cover off the ball, hitting .385, five home runs, 14 RBI and walking six times in his last 10 games. The walks are a big thing for him because he is not known for having patience at the plate.
Arencibia's average is still only at .256, but he is showing power with his seven home runs, and is improving a lot as the season continues to roll along.
Another big surprise is starting pitcher Fabio Castro. Castro was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies last year in the Matt Stairs trade and has been nothing short of phenomenal, splitting time between New Hampshire (AA) and Las Vegas.
Overall this year he is 4-0 between the two levels with a minuscule 0.94 ERA in 48 innings pitched. Not on the radar at the beginning of the season, he is definitely improving his stock with this incredible start.
Last but not least is young left-hander Brad Mills. After a horrid start to the season Mills had lowered his season ERA to a very respectable 3.63 and has pitched 45 innings this year. His 0-5 record is more indicative of the slow start the offense has had then Mills pitching.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)- (21-17, First in EAS Northern Division)
The Fisher Cats are off to a good start and a lot of that has to do with the pitching. Fabio Castro helped a lot, but is now in AAA, but the Fisher Cats continue to win without him.
Casey Janssen missed all of last year with a torn labrum and is expected to be in the Jays starting rotation before the beginning of June, but for now he is tearing up the AA ranks.
Janssen has a 0.77 ERA in two starts and has a 0.76 ERA in 23.2 innings in the Minors this year. The Jays are very excited to be having him join the rotation.
Other pitchers contributing to the Fisher cats are Reidier Gonzalez (2-1, 1.84 ERA, 49 IP) and Mark Rzepczynski (6-2, 2.93 ERA, 43 IP, 52 K's).
It has not been all pitching for the Fisher Cats though as spring training sensation Brad Emaus has continued to hit well in the Minors. Emaus is currently hitting .299 with four home runs, 25 RBI in 144 at-bats.
Dunedin Blue Jays (A)- (15-21, Last in FSL South Division)
The Dunedin Blue Jays are off to a bad start and its not hard to see why. While there hitting is good, the pitching has been beyond terrible.
22-year old Eric Thames is leading the offense with a very good .340 batting average. His 24 RBI lead the team but he has shown little power with only one home run so far this season.
While the starting pitching has been bad, there are two relievers in Dunedin that are showing good stuff. 19-year old Tim Collins is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA. The amazing thing is that he has struck out 35 batters in only 21 innings. His ERA was much lower but he has given up four earned runs in his last 2.2 innings pitched.
Another plus on the Jays roster is 22-year old closer Daniel Farquhear. He is seven for seven in save opportunities and has a 0.56 ERA in 16 innings pitched and has struck out 23 batters.
They are also many good prospects in the Jays system that are struggling and could turn it around quickly. Those players are Justin Jackson, Kevin Ahrens, Brian Jeroloman and David Cooper.
All in all, this shows the great depth that the Jays farm has and shows us that the Jays have a bright future for many years to come.