This is the fourth installment of what I hope is going to be a bi-monthly article updating fans on the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league teams and prospects. A new one should be available every second Thursday.
Las Vegas 51's (AAA)—(57-61, Third in PCL Pacific South Division)
A lot has changed in Las Vegas since my last update. Brett Wallace was traded to the Houston Astro's for Anthony Gose, who is currently playing A ball in Dunedin, JP Arencibia has been called up by the Jays and will be there permanently once September hits, and both Brad Mills (Pictured) and Mark Rzepczynski are being pulled back and forth between Las Vegas and Toronto.
The Jays were able to get a more then suitable replacement for Wallace in Las Vegas in Mike Jacobs, who is hitting .417 with two home runs and 18 RBI's in just 12 games. Brian Jeroloman has also been a good replacement for Arencibia, although in very limited action so far.
Other hot hitters include Mike McCoy (.338 AVG, 5 HR, 16 RBI) and Aaron Matthews (.333 AVG, 8 HR, 36 RBI). Unfortunately, backup catcher Raul Chavez (.214 AVG, 3 HR, 18 RBI) has continued to struggle mightily and is the only player on the team hitting so poorly.
On the pitching side of things, Brad Mills (8-4, 4.20 ERA) has improved his ERA by nearly half a run since the last update more then a month ago and will be starting for the Jays tomorrow against the Boston Red Sox.
Mark Rzepczynski (5-5, 6.04 ERA) has also improved in the last month and will start for the Jays right after Mills. Jeremy Accardo (2.72 ERA, 22 saves) has continued to be a great closer for the team and will undoubtedly get another shot with the big club in September when the rosters expand.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)—(68-48, Second in EAS Northern Division)
The Fisher Cats have continued their fine season, combining great hitting with solid pitching. Despite his struggles in Dunedin, the Jays decision to move shortstop of the future Adeiny Hechavarria (.296 AVG, 2 HR, 19 RBI) up to AA has looked genius and has given him a lot of confidence.
Darin Mastroianni (.308, 4 HR, 45 RBI) has continued to provide the Fisher Cats with both a good contact hitter and amazing speed at the top of the lineup, having stolen 38 bases so far this season.
However, Eric Thames (.288 AVG, 21 HR, 87 RBI) is clearly the main cog in this offence. Thames has hit 21 home runs this year, while he only hit three home runs in 216 at-bats in Dunedin all of last year.
The Fisher Cats have also gotten great pitching from the top two pitching prospects in the Jays system, Kyle Drabek (12-9, 2.92 ERA and Zach Stewart (8-2, 3.67 ERA). Both pitchers have really turned it on in there last ten starts as well, sporting 2.52 (Drabek) and 2.54 ERAs (Stewart).
Unfortunately, the bullpen has struggled some, especially after losing left hander Tim Collins in the Yunel Escobar-Alex Gonzalez swap. Trystan Magnuson (2.59 ERA, 59 IP) has been the only bright spot this late in the season.
Dunedin Blue Jays (A)—(19-26, T-Fifth in FSL North Division)
After winning the first half, the Jays have struggled all the way down to last place in the second half. Top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud (.259, 6 HR, 38 RBI) has struggled mightily since last update. He hit just .205 in July and hasn't hit a home run in over a month.
The Dunedin Jays recently were given a speedy outfielder in Anthony Gose (.319 AVG, 2 HR, 3 RBI) to put in their lineup everyday. Gose was acquired for Brett Wallace and he is a very good defender with incredible speed.
A big reason why the Jays have slowed down considerably in the second half is the recent struggles of first half stars Chuck Huggins (8-3, 3.62 ERA) and Henderson Alvarez (8-7, 4.12 ERA).
2009 first round draft pick Chad Jenkins (2-4, 4.66 ERA) struggled at first when called up to Dunedin from Lansing, but he has been showing signs of turning things around and figures to make the jump to AA sometime next year.
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