Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blue Jays MILB All-Stars

   Believe it or not, Blue Jays fans, but full-season minor leagues are approaching their halfway point, and with that, various league All-Star Games are on the agenda next week. A number of Jays farmhands have been named to their rosters.

   The 50th annual Midwest League ASG will take place at West Michigan's Fifth Third Ballpark on June 17th.  Lansing Lugnuts Mitch Nay and Matt Dean have been named as starters for the East Division at third and first base respectively, while outfielder Derrick Loveless and closer Griffin Murphy were also added to the roster in reserve roles.  Nay has tailed off somewhat at the plate for the Lugnuts, which is not altogether surprising, given that he has started 56 of Lansing's 57 games in his first year of full season ball.  Dean, who recently missed three weeks with a strained oblique, has wielded a big bat in the Lugnut lineup.  Loveless has been a pleasant surprise for Lansing, and leads the team in walks.  Murphy has been lights-out as a closer, and is tied for 2nd in the MWL for saves with 8.
   Given the high hopes for the young Lugnuts this season, we were a little hopeful that one of their young pitchers might have made the team, but the young corps has struggled in their full-season ball debuts.  But, with Tom Robson and Adonys Cardona injured, Jairo Labourt sent back to extended spring training, and Chase DeJong and Alberto Tirado struggling, we're hopeful for a rebound second half from the group.

   Earlier this week, a whopping 7 Dunedin Blue Jays were named to the Florida State League All-Star roster.  Leading the way is Daniel Norris, who will start the game for the North Division, along with fellow starter Taylor Cole, who leads the league in strikeouts.  Catcher Derrick Chung, who just had a 15 game hitting streak snapped,  first baseman KC Hobson, who leads the loop in RBI, were named as reserves, and will join outfielders Dwight Smith and Dalton Pompey on the North Division team.  Closer Arik Sikula, who still leads the league with 15 saves despite being promoted to AA last week, was named to the team, but will not take part in the game.
   The D-Jays have been a huge surprise this season, sporting the best record in minor league baseball at this point.  This season has been a coming out party, in particular, for Norris and Pompey, who have caught the eye of more than a few baseball people this season.
   The FSL ASG will take place on June 14th in Bradenton.
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