Jay Blue Mail call: Howdy Rowdy

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tellez

* Will Rowdy Tellez start the 2015 season at class-A Lansing? Photo: Jay Blue. ….

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By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away

Welcome to another edition of the Blue Jays from Away Mailbag where we take your questions on the Blue Jays minor leagues!

@JaysFromAway do you think DJ Davis is still a decent prospect? Numbers last year seemed really bad, that the exception? Tks
Patrick Kenneally (@Kenniglio) March 31, 2015

Great question, Patrick. D.J. Davis is a very complicated young player. On the one hand, I’ve seen his ability to catch up to premium velocity, his tremendous speed and his incredible power in person. On the other hand, I’ve seen him look completely helpless against anything offspeed, particularly when it’s out of the strike zone. The inability to recognize breaking balls out of the zone is what led D.J. to strike out 167 times last year. Basically, in the three most important aspects of his game — his hitting, his speed and his defense — Davis has had a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on where he can look like a world beater one moment and like he’s never played the game before in the next. You never really know. That’s the sort of thing that he’s going to have to sort out if he wants to see some progression in his career.

That said, I’m not giving up hope on Davis yet. I watched BP down in Lansing last year and he, easily, put on the best show that day, hitting at least eight balls out of the park. And he was more impressive than Rowdy Tellez. Another little tidbit about Davis: He’s actually noticeably taller this spring and he told me that he grew a couple of inches. That could even help him create more leverage when he connects with the ball. If he figures things out, Davis could be one of the most exciting players in the Blue Jays’ system and in the majors in a few years. But right now, I’m putting the odds of that happening at about 40%.

Speaking of Tellez . . .
@JaysFromAway Where does Rowdy Telez start the season?
Pete (@Peeeteeee) April 1, 2015

Well, Pete, I think that Rowdy is going to start the year in Lansing. It’s his third year in the Jays’ system and the club generally likes to have the high-school draftees who have been successful in Rookie Ball head to Lansing for their third year. They also like to give some players who are going to be moving up in a future year a little taste of the higher level at the end of the season. Just like Mitch Nay moved up to Dunedin at the end of 2014, Tellez played a bit in Lansing (and he raked there). While Rowdy could start 2015 in Dunedin, the Blue Jays have a couple of other prospects — Matt Dean and L.B. Dantzler — who are likely going to be clogging up first base at that level and Rowdy is probably going to Lansing to split time at first and DH with Ryan McBroom.

@JaysFromAway will there be any prospects worth seeing in Buffalo or just career minor leaguers?
Vladimir Dobrovolski (@v_man76) April 1, 2015

Excellent question, Vladimir. The one thing that the Blue Jays’ ‘€œYouth Movement’ is doing is keeping some of the club’s top prospects out of Buffalo, at least to start the year. There’s no guarantee that all of the Blue Jays’ highly-touted rookies will succeed and, in fact, as little as we want to think about it, at least one of them is going to have a rough time in the majors and will likely get sent to Buffalo.

I think there are a few prospects on the pitching side but, for the Blue Jays, a lot of the guys who have come up through the system who will be in Buffalo at the start of the year are getting to that “career minor leaguer” status. It also depends on how you want to define prospects. Is there an age cutoff? At 26 or younger, you have A.J. Jimenez, Andy Wilkins, Juan Oramas, Ryan Schimpf and Rob Rasmussen. Chad Jenkins is still just 27 (but has too much big league time to be considered a prospect) and so are Scott Copeland, Greg Infante and Brad Glenn. John Stilson is starting on the DL and is only 24. But as things shape up, it’s looking like you might have to wait until June or July to some of the more interesting prospects to bubble up to Buffalo from New Hampshire. I’m thinking of guys like Dwight Smithh, Matt Boyd, Taylor Cole, Jayson Aquino and Andy Burns.

Here’€™s one more question about where a player might start the season:

Mike Wilner has suggested Fields could play in the bigs by September. Any chance he starts higher than Dunedin after ST? @JaysFromAway
Stewart Rogers (@StewartRogers) April 1, 2015

Interesting question, Stewart. I’m sure you got to see Roemon Fields a ton last year in Vancouver and he’s been up to major league camp a couple of times, playing in the game against the Canadian Junior National Team and going 1-for-4 with a triple in Grapefruit League action. While Wilner may be indicating that the club is high on Fields (and they may well be), he hasn’t played any affiliated ball above the Short-Season-A level and it would be extremely unlikely if he jumped straight up to New Hampshire.

The Blue Jays have a jam in center field in A-ball and a conundrum to figure out. With Anthony Alford, Davis and Fields all looking for everyday at bats, who goes where? I could talk myself around in circles trying to figure this out and I can make a good case to start any of the three of them at either Dunedin or Lansing. I think in the best-case scenario for Fields, he’€™ll be in Dunedin for at least half a season although, if he proves that he can handle more advanced pitching, could end up with a similar trajectory to Dalton Pompey’s 2014.

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