With the 2011 Minor League regular season nearing its end in a couple of weeks, I believe it is a good time to look at the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League affiliates and just how well they are doing.
Las Vegas 51's (Triple-A), 63-66, Second in PCL Pacific South Division
After starting the season off extremely well, the 51's fell apart both in the pitching and batting departments. Losing star players such as Eric Thames to call up and Brett Lawrie to a hand injury stalled their winning ways.
Adeiny Hechavarria—Known much more for his impressive defense, Hechavarria was called up to Las Vegas on August 11th despite hitting just .235 down in New Hampshire. However, he has been on fire with the bat, hitting .476 (20-for-42) and he has even taken some walks as well.
David Cooper—Cooper continues to impress with his very good .374 average. While he hasn't shown as much power as he did last year, he has still driven in 89 runs and has been the most important bat in the 51's lineup the entire season.
Brad Mills—While he may not have had much success during his month long stint in the Majors, Mills has put up pretty good numbers for someone who is pitching in the extremely hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. His 3.99 ERA leads all starters by quite a margin and his record is above .500.
Travis Snider—Started off hitting very well after his second demotion, Snider is now just two for his last 22 and is striking out even more. His performance this year is leading many to question whether he has the ability to ever reach the enormous potential that got him drafted in the first round back in 2007.
Jayson Nix—It's hard to believe that Jayson Nix was ever near the MLB roster for the better part of two months. He is hitting just .254 in the hitter friendly PCL and doesn't add any value with his glove.
PJ Walters—Acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Colby Rasmus trade, Walter has started four games for the 51's and not one of them has been remotely good. His ERA is a bloated 11.48 and he has walked eight batters in just 13.1 innings.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A), 69-58, First in EAS Northern Division
While they are still first place in their division, the Fisher Cats need to end the losing streak they are currently on to ensure that they remain in first place heading into the playoffs.
They have gotten good contributions from both the hitting and the pitching. The recent call-up of top pitching prospect Drew Hutchison from Dunedin will help them a lot.
Travis Darnaud—Darnaud is quite possibly the top prospect in the Jays entire farm system. He is hitting .318 with 18 home runs despite having to spend time on the DL earlier in the year. Even better are the reports that he is extremely good defensively and has thrown out runners at an impressive rate.
Nestor Molina—While he has only made two starts in AA, he has only given up one run in 11 innings, striking out an incredible 17 batters and walking just one. Even more impressive was his 115/14 K/BB ratio in high A Dunedin. The control that Molina possesses is incredible.
Anthony Gose—While he isn't having a completely awful season, Gose's .249 average and 136 K's in 123 games just aren't cutting it. He has shown some good power with 13 home runs this season and he has 59 stolen bases on the year.
Frank Gailey- While he has shown a lot of improvement in his most recent appearances, Gailey struggled mightily at the beginning of his call up to New Hampshire. He has been allowing less ground balls than he induced in A and is showing less control as well.
Dunedin Blue Jays (Single-A), 32-24, First in FSL North Division (Second Half)
Despite the constant movement of players in and out of the roster, especially in their rotation, the baby Jays have been able to put together a very nice second half performance.
Drew Hutchison—Recently promoted to AA New Hampshire, his third level this year, Hutchison has had a major coming out party this year that has sky rocketed himself up the rankings of Jays prospects. He has held opponents to a .194 average in his 11 starts in Dunedin and went 5-3 with a 2.74 ERA.
Kevin Ahrens—Ahrens has been nothing but a disappointment since being drafted in the first round of the 2007 MLB draft. His .238 average is well below average and he has shown only moderate power. I think it is safe to say that he is a bust.
Lansing Lugnuts (Low-A), 30-25, Third in MID Eastern Division (Second Half)
While not performing as well as they did in the first half, the Lugnuts get a playoff berth due to their first place finish at that time. They are getting big boosts from recently called up top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Justin Nicolino.
Jacob Marisnick—The young Marisnick has put together a very impressive season in Lansing this year and should start the year in Dunedin in 2012. He is batting .318 with 12 home runs. He also possesses great speed as evidenced by his 34 stolen bases and great defense in center field.
Daniel Webb—Although he was injured for a majority of the season, Webb has still started 12 games for Lansing, putting up a 5.86 ERA and walking way too many batters.