Prospect Pulse: Rising Stock

Griffin is proving his case

<b>Prospect Pulse</b> takes a day off from interviewing minor league players, and takes a look at the players in the system that have their stock rising. Many interesting names in this list, and some surprises early in the season. Prospect Pulse runs part two of this feature tomorrow with those player with a falling stock.

All stats as of Thursday morning April 21

John-Ford Griffin, Syracuse: Last month an outfielder in the Jays system surprised everyone in spring training and broke out of the gate on fire to win a spot on the opening day roster – something that nobody expected. That outfielder was Gabe Gross. Now, one month later, another prospect is proving he is not a bust and is making his case to go up north with the parent club. This second outfielder is John-Ford Griffin, who spends most of the time as Syracuse designated hitter. Griffin has played in twelve games so far and is batting 18-50 (.360) with four homers and twelve RBI. Griffin has scored twelve runs and is posting a .640 slugging percentage.

Bryant Nelson, Syracuse: The journeyman infielder has played baseball all around the word, and is now hitting the ball all over the field with the Syracuse SkyChiefs. Nelson has appeared in thirteen games and is batting .339 in fifty-six at bats with six runs scored, three doubles, a triple and seven RBI.

Aaron Hill, Syracuse: The top ranked prospect in the Jays system is starting off on the right foot, and is proving to everyone he deserves a shot in the major leagues. Hill is batting 19-57 (.333) in thirteen games and has hit two homers while driving in nine runs. The main blemish on Hill is the fact that he has committed six of the seven errors that the SkyChiefs have this year. Hill might be causing a stir with his bat, however, he must prove he can play a successful shortstop before he takes away somebody's job in the major leagues.

Chad Gaudin, Syracuse: A trade that J.P. Ricciardi made quietly this off-season could end up helping the Jays immensely. Gaudin, who has major league experience, has started three games for the SkyChiefs as of press time and has allowed just three earned runs. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.47 ERA and in 18.1 innings he has allowed 12 hits, 6 walks and 14 strikeouts. Gaudin will continue to remain in the Syracuse rotation and will be the first starter called upon if an injury with Toronto occurs.

Francisco Rosario, Syracuse: Many are down on Rosario because he has yet to develop a third effective pitch, however, that is not stopping him through three starts with Syracuse. Rosario is 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA and has allowed twelve hits and struck out twenty-two batters in seventeen innings of work.

Chris Baker, Syracuse: The person famous for losing eleven games last season with the SkyChiefs, is proving it was a fluke. Baker has started two games, and appeared in one game as a reliever, while totaling a 1-0 record with a 0.82 ERA. Baker has allowed just one run in eleven innings of work and has struck out ten batters in the process.

Spike Lundberg, Syracuse: Lundberg has not allowed a run in five relief appearances this season. He is 1-0 and has allowed six hits in ten innings while striking out seven batters.

Josh Banks, New Hampshire: The top pitching prospect in the Jays system is proving he can handle the Double-A level early in the 2005 season. Banks is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts. Banks is showing his tremendous control having walked just two batters in eighteen innings of work, and having allowed twelve hits. The right-hander has struck out thirteen batters through his first three starts. Banks is not expected to remain in Double-A long, and should be receiving a promotion if he keeps this up.

Josue Matos, New Hampshire: Matos has been an effective reliever for the Fisher Cats this season. He has appeared in four games and has allowed just one run in nine innings of work. The right-hander has struck out twelve batters, and has yet to issue a walk.

Eric Arnold, Dunedin: Arnold is a player of the week candidate for the Florida State League, and has begun the season on a tear. He is batting 18-47 (.383) in forty-seven at bats and has hit one homer while driving in thirteen runs. Arnold is posting a slugging percentage of .574 and has scored ten runs while having struck out just five times.

Clint Johnston, Dunedin: Johnston is the second of three players to begin the 2005 season on a tear for the Dunedin Blue Jays. The infielder is batting 17-46 (.370) in forty-six at bats and has scored seven runs while hitting one homer and driving in four runs. The only blemish in his season is the fact that he has struck out sixteen times.

Adam Lind, Dunedin: Lind is projected by InsideTheDome to be the Breakout Player of the Year in the farm system this season, and is on his way of doing that. In fifty at bats this season, Lind has accumulated eighteen hits, good enough for a .360 batting average. The outfielder has driving in sixteen runs this spring, and is showing a good awareness of the plate having struck out just four times.

David Purcey, Dunedin: The first-round draft choice in the 2004 draft by the Jays is living up to the hype and has not let the pressure get to him. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in three starts for the Blue Jays this season. In fifteen innings he has allowed ten hits, and has struck out fourteen batters. Purcey should be looking to improve his command as his ten walks will not shape up positive down the road.

Jason Armstrong, Lansing: Armstrong is coming full force and is making his case that he should be an everyday player. The reserve infielder is batting 9-21 (.429) in seven games this season and has scored seven runs while driving in four runs of his own.

Juan Peralta, Lansing: Another infielder that is off to a fast start, Peralta is batting 12-33 (.364) in ten games for the Lugnuts. The infielder has scored four runs while driving in seven runs.

Casey Janssen, Lansing: Janssen is perhaps the best pitcher in April in the Jays system as he has dominated the Midwest League in his three starts. Janssen has posted a 2-0 record with a 0.47 ERA. He has pitched nineteen innings and has allowed just one earned run on nine hits and has walked just two batters while striking out fifteen. Janssen is well on his way to a promotion if he keeps this up for the next three-five starts.

A.J. Wideman, Lansing: The native Canadian must have been motivated after being traded to Toronto, and is looking to prove reward the Jays for making him apart of the system. Wideman has started three games this season and has posted a 1-0 record with a 2.81 ERA. In sixteen innings he has allowed twelve hits, five runs, four walks and has struck out thirteen batters.

Email: BVangelatos@aol.com

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