Monday, May 5, 2014

April System Analysis



   
With May here and April now a distant, chilly memory for those of us north of the border, we thought that we would take a look at how the system fared, thanks to some graphic help from mlbfarm.com.
   While winning isn't necessarily the emphasis for a team's farm system, it helps.  Teams try to group their best prospects, depending on their level of experience, at the same level, so they learn to play and hopefully win together.
   Here is how the Jays system ranked for April:



     There the Jays are, with the 5th best record.  This record was helped by the performance of their Buffalo and Dunedin teams, which are veteran teams, loaded either with older players and/or experienced prospects.
  
 Here's a look at where the Jays system ranks in terms of average age for each level:
AAA



AA

High A




Low A

    And in that last graph, there are the Lansing Lugnuts, youngest team in the organization, and stocked with the most high-ceiling prospects.

   We won't inundate you with too many more graphs from Mlbfarm.com, but here are two interesting ones that tell you both where the strengths of the system lie, and how the organization has been able to compile a winning record for the month of April:

   The first is number of collective minor league home runs, by team:



 And finally, collective Earned Runs Allowed by Milb team\;



   In terms of performance, the organization likely exceeded the club's expectations.  Buffalo led the northern division of the International League for the month, and has helped keep the major league bullpen afloat.  Marcus Stroman was promoted to the parent club at the beginning of May, and Sean Nolin may not be far behind.  Liam Hendriks may be further down the depth chart, but he had a dominant month, walking only one batter in April.
  New Hampshire has had trouble reaching .500, but Aaron Sanchez has already answered many questions about his command.  Deck McGuire, back in New Hampshire for a third straight season, is finally beginning to show some of the promise that made the club make him a first round choice in 2010.  The offence has been slow to come around, with Andy Burns surprisingly having trouble getting above the Mendoza line.  AJ Jimenez was hurt, but has returned with a vengeance.  
   Dunedin has been the surprise of the organization, finishing April with a 20-6 record, the best won-loss record in Organized Baseball.  The rotation, led by Matt Boyd, Daniel Norris, and Taylor Cole, has been lights out, and the batting order has been sparked by the play of Dwight Smith Jr and Dalton Pompey.  Boyd was promoted to New Hampshire in the last week of the month.  The only thing that may be stopping Norris from joining him is his pitch count.  
   Lansing struggled out of the gate, with a number of players new to both full season ball and an early midwestern spring.  The pitching staff has started to come around, with Alberto Tirado, Tom Robson, Chase DeJong, and Jeremy Gabryszwksi leading the way.  Mitch Nay and Matt Dean have led the way with the bats, joined by LB Dantzler, who was held back in extended spring training nursing an injury.  The Lugnuts reached .500 by the end of the month, and with one of the youngest teams in low A ball, are starting to grow up before our eyes.
  
 Lugnuts' righthander Adonys Cardona wins the Freak Injury of the Month award.  Cardona, signed out of Venezuela for a $2.8 million bonus in 2010, has never seemed to post the numbers his talent and the opinions of scouts would seem to suggest.  Just the same, Baseball America included him in their top 20 Appalachian League prospects last year, even though his numbers were not league leading, and he was shut down in early August.
   In the first inning of a start last week, Cardona broke the olecranon bone cleanly in two.
The olecranon is the bony point of your elbow, and there isn't much protection for it from muscles or other soft tissue.  It's most often broken as a result of a fall, although there's no indication that such was the case with Cardona.
   
  


   Cardona was shut down in 2012 as well as last year because of soreness in that area - a "stress reaction." Blue Jays assistant GM Tony DaCava told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.  Cardona had surgery last week on the injured bone in Toronto, where surgeons inserted a screw to stabilize and strengthen the joint.  Cardona's season is over, but now maybe we have an indication as to why he's had trouble living up to expectations.



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