Jacob Anderson did it again
DUNEDIN, FL - The Blue Jays were victorious against the Yankees in Instructional League play on Wednesday, holding on to an early lead that resulted in a 6-3 final.
First-round supplemental pick Jacob Anderson promptly struck out in his first plate appearance, but was not deterred at all. His next time up, Anderson belted a three-run shot over the left field wall on the first pitch he saw. For both at-bats, Anderson displayed a smooth, compact swing.
Left-hander Daniel Norris took to the mound as the Jays’ starter. The second round pick in this year’s draft featured a fastball which topped out at 93, but lived around 89 to 91. He was inconsistent for the two innings he pitched, striking out two and giving up the only three runs that the Yankees would score on the day. Two of the runs came in the second via a homer. Norris did not walk any batters.
Blue Jays starting lineup: Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith, Matthew Dean, Art Charles, Daniel Arcila, Jorge Vega-Rosado, Jacob Anderson, Santiago Nessy and Dickie Thon.
Dwight Smith led the scoring off when he ripped a single to right field in the first inning. He then stole second and scored a run. Smith’s remaining at-bats did not go as well. He grounded out to third and flew out to center. Both of these outs came on first pitches, as Smith was aggressive to swing the bat. He later struck out and finished 1-4 on the day.
First baseman Art Charles had the looks of a cleanup hitter. In his first at-bat, he hit a booming two-run home run to centerfield to put the Jays up 3-0. The following at-bat, he took two huge hacks at the ball and came up empty. The result was a strikeout, but the 6-foot-6, 250 pound lefty looked solid in his two ABs. He also fielded his position well, having no trouble reaching for balls and making picks when needed.
Dalton Pompey was the lead-off man. A switch-hitter, Pompey batted from the left side only in this game. He started the game with a walk, then took second base easily on a steal. He scored a run later in the inning off of Smith’s single. Pompey did not record a base hit in the game, but both of his ground outs — a hard chopper to first and a rocket right back to the pitcher — were tagged well, just to the wrong parts of the infield.
Right-hander Denny Valdez may have been the most intriguing pitching prospect who saw action in the game. Valdez was throwing an easy mid-to-upper 90s fastball while incorporating, although sparingly, a high-80s changeup. The flamethrower had two strikeouts in his two innings of work. The trouble for Valdez was his command. He walked three batters and was often leaving his pitches up in the zone. If Valdez makes improvements to his location, his fastball/changeup combo could be greatly effective.
Fourth-round pick Thomas Robson also worked two innings on Wednesday. Though his fastball has been known to live in the low-90s, it was topping out at 88 in this outing. He also featured a mid-70s curveball that had a lot of break to it. Though the opposing batters got some good swings off Hobson [three deep fly balls, two of which were just foul and one which was a fly out], he allowed no runs and no hits. He overcame some early location troubles, in which he walked a batter on four pitches then started the next AB with three balls, to inevitably collect three strikeouts.
Santiago Nessy played fairly well behind the plate. He kept most balls in front of him for the five innings he played. One pitch that did get away bounced off the backstop, and as the runner from third tried to score on the play, Nessy quickly snagged the ball and got it back to pitcher Carlos Pena who was covering the plate for the out. Offensively, Nessy was 0-2 with ground outs to short and third.
Kevin Comer came on in the 9th to pick up the save. He mixed his pitches well throughout the inning. He featured a fastball that consistently hit 91 to go along with a mid-80s slider and a high-70s to low-80s curveball. After striking out the first batter he faced, Comer got into some trouble. The Yankees loaded the bases on a couple singles and a free pass. He came back strong, though, and finished out the inning for the Jays.
Daniel Arcila [2-2, SB], Jorge Vega Rosado [ 1-2, K], Wuilmer Bucerra [1-1, CS], Seth Connor [1-2, K, SB], Jesus Gonzalez [1-2], Chris Hawkins [1-2, CS] and Andy Burns [1-2] also had hits in the win.