This is the first installment of what I hope is going to be a weekly article updating fans on the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league teams and prospects. A new one should be available every Thursday.
Las Vegas 51's (AAA) —(6-1, First in PCL Pacific South Division)
Like the Jays, the 51's have gotten off to a very fast start, going 6-1 due to some timely hitting and great pitching from both their starters and bullpen. The 51's have outscored the opposition 32-19 so far.
The best hitter so far has been Brett Wallace (pictured above), the Jays future star at first base. He is hitting .346 and is showing some great power with three home runs in just 29 at-bats.
Jarrett Hoffpauir (.360 AVG, 6 RBI) and Brian Dopirak (.333 AVG, 7 RBI) have also started off extremely hot for the 51's, who have eight hitters with a .294 average or better.
On the pitching side of things, Brad Mills has been extremely good, giving up one run in eleven-and-a-third innings, while striking out an incredible 18 batters. Robert Ray also picked up a win in his first start, giving up just a single run in six innings.
Also, Brett Cecil , the first guy in line to get called up if anything happens to one of the Jays starting pitchers, threw five innings of two run ball and struck out eight batters.
The 51's have gotten incredible pitching from their relief pitchers. Lance Broadway (5 IP, 0 ER), Josh Roenicke (4 IP, 0 ER), David Purcey (4 IP, 0 ER), Jesse Carlson (3.2 IP, 0 ER) and Sean Henn (3 IP, 0 ER) have all been perfect so far.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA) —(4-2, Third in EAS Northern Division)
The Fischer Cats have gotten off to a decent start early on in the season. They have been pretty inconsistent at both the plate and on the mound, so hopefully they can get in a groove soon.
Adam Calderone has gotten off to the fastest start hitting wise, hitting .333 with a home run and six runs batted in. Brian Jeroloman is also hitting .333 and Brad Emaus has six RBI's in six games.
On the other side of things, Eric Thames (.174 AVG, 23 AB's), Adam Loewen (.214 AVG, 14 AB's), and David Cooper (.240 AVG, 25 AB's) are all struggling in the early going.
Pitching wise, Luis Perez (1-0, 10 IP, 0.00 ERA) and Zach Stewart (1-0, 5 IP, 1.80 ERA) have gotten off to the best starts so far. Top prospect Kyle Drabek (1-1, 5.08, 10.2 IP) has had some growing pains.
Like the 51's, the Fisher Cats have gotten some very good relief pitching. Randy Boone (4 IP, 0 ER), Bubbie Buzachero (3.1 IP, 1 ER), Tim Collins (2.2 IP, 0 ER), Adrian Martin (2.1 IP, 0 ER), and Daniel Farquhar (2 IP, 0 ER) have all been stellar.
Dunedin Blue Jays (A) —(4-3, Second in FSL North Division)
The best story down in Dunedin so far is the hot bat of catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud , who has a .423 AVG in 26 at-bats to go along with two home runs and seven RBI's. He may be able to hit his way up to New Hampshire soon.
A nice surprise is that Justin Jackson has also gotten off to a good start with the bat, hitting .308 and posting a .400 OBP. But other than these two, Dunedin's hitting has been abysmal.
John Tolisano (.227 AVG, 22 AB's), Michael McDade (.192 AVG, 26 AB's), Welinton Ramirez (.190, 21 AB's), Dan Perales (.154, 26 AB's), and Tyler Pastronicky (.138, 29 AB's) have all gotten off to brutal starts, but it is still early.
The pitching has also gotten off to a bad start. Besides Henderson Alvarez (7 IP, 0 ER) no starter has an ERA under 4.76. The bullpen has been a tale of two stories, with some really great and some really terrible performances.
Lansing Lugnuts (Low A) —(3-4, Fifth in Eastern Division)
The Lansing Lugnuts only have a few people of note in the Jays system, but may get a few more after extended spring training for players such as Jake Marisnick .
23-year-old Bradley Glenn is hitting an impressive .379 with one home run and four RBI's. On the other side of things, Eric Eiland is hitting .269 and has struck out seven times already.
Top prospect Chad Jenkins (5 IP, 3 ER) had a decent start in his first ever minor league game. He didn't give up any free passes and struck out four batters.