Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Blue Jays MILB Players of the Month - May

    Wow - where did May go?
Seems like just the other day we were blogging about the top Blue Jays organization prospects for April , and now we're into the first week of June.

Baseball America photo

Player of the Month - Derrick Chung
   This was a no-brainer.  The Dunedin catcher has now hit safely in 15 straight games, and here's his line for the past month:

Last 30 Days
0.443  0.500 0.511 0.557   1.068

   Clearly, this isn't sustainable, especially the BABIP.  At the same time, Chung has been lauded for his work behind the plate, handling the D-Jays pitching staff with aplomb, and keeping the opposition running games in check.  He has an advanced approach at the plate, and he consistently hits the ball hard.
   We've suggested that the 26 year-old Chung is a bit old for this level, even though he still essentially is learning the position.  His numbers would suggest a promotion to New Hampshire soon. 
   For the season, Chung has a line of .338/.413/.453, in a league that can be downright chummy to pitchers/

 Honourable Mentions
Matt Dean - hit .381 with a .993 OPS, but time on the disabled list limited him to 45 plate appearances.  Lansing missed his bat in the middle of their lineup.
Marcus Knecht - the Torontonian outfielder is on a tear of his own with Dunedin, hitting .450 over his last ten games.  For the month, the Florida State League repeat slashed .355/.402/.256.
Dawel Lugo - one of the youngest players in the Midwest League, Lugo could be an impact bat one day, and after being overmatched for the first month of the season, he appears to be putting things together, hitting  .330/.359/.402 for May.  The power has yet to show up in Lugo's first year of full season ball, but that's usually the last tool to develop. photo

Pitcher of the Month
   Another easy pick - Dunedin lefthander Daniel Norris.
Norris was named MLB Pipeline's pitcher of the month for May after another month of dominating Florida State League hitters.  With only a pitch count about the only thing keeping him from a promotion to AA, Norris posted a miniscule 0.68 ERA over 26 innings covering 5 starts for the D-Jays, walking only 8 and striking out 34.  
  We've written about Norris in detail for over a year now.  He has gone from high draft pick bust in the making to one of the rising prospects in all of baseball in about 13 months.  Whether or not he gets promoted to New Hampshire, he seems like a shoo-in, depending on his pitch and inning totals, for a roster spot in the Arizona Fall League.

Honourable Mentions
Deck McGuire - the 2010 1st round pick finally seems to be able to command the strike zone.  Promoted from New Hampshire to Buffalo, the big righthander fashioned a 2.75 ERA in 6 starts between AA and AAA,  with a WHIP of just over 1.00 in 39 innings.  McGuire routinely pitches well into the sixth and seventh innings, and is profiling as a mid-rotation innings eater.
Liam Hendriks - topped off his month with a promotion to the big leagues for a pair of starts, where he acquitted himself well under his return to Buffalo.  Discarded by three other organizations in less than a year, the Aussie righthander may have found himself a home with the Blue Jays organization after a stellar April and May in Buffalo.
Taylor Cole - the Dunedin righthander leads the FSL with 82 Ks (in 66 innings), 16 more than teammate Norris.  Cole posted a sparkling 1.96 ERA for the month, walking only 7.  Cole has three pitches working for him, and has kept hitters off balance with his ability to throw any of them in any situation.  

   With the rookie-level Dominican Summer League having started this week, and other rookie and short-season leagues about to start play in a little more than a week, we're going to have a busy time of things in another month.
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