With Sergio Santos and Ryan Patterson hitting below the Mendoza line and Jamie Vermilya, Justin James and Ricky Romero struggling with the strike zone, outfielder Travis Snider (.800 OPS) and LHP David Purcey (leading the league with eight strike outs) are the bright spot for the Blue Jays so far in the 2008 Arizona Fall League.
Thursday, the nightmare continued for the Scottsdale Scorpions who remain winless (0-9) since the start of the six-week schedule. Five Toronto prospects took part in the 6-2 defeat to the Mesa Solar Sox.
CF, Ryan Patterson
The outfielder batted in the number two spot of the lineup yesterday, where he hit a single to the left side of the field and struck out on four pitches. The one-base hit was a welcomed sight for Patterson who was hitting safely for the first time in three games.
The 24-year-old could really profit from some exposure at the top of the lineup, where he will be required to take some pitches and work on his strike zone recognition. In 64 AB last season in the number two spot, he recorded his second lowest OBP compared to his performances in the rest of the batting order.
Combined playing time between Dunedin (High-A) and New Hampshire (Double-A) in 2007 saw him draw 25 walks, his highest total in pro baseball. At the age of 22 with Louisiana State University (2005), he had actually posted 30 base on balls compared to 28 strike outs in 249 AB, the only time he was able to record more walks than punch outs.
SS, Sergio Santos
Back to his usual position on the field, Santos was good for a single during a night in which opposing pitchers attacked him inside, resulting in four batted balls (hit, two fly outs and a groundball) to the left side of the field. Only 97 of 329 batted balls during his stay with the FisherCats in 2007 were hit to right field.
In five game (16 AB), Santos has two singles, a walk and three strike outs.
RF, Travis Snider
The Jays prospect ended a modest three-game hitting streak by going 0-3 with an RBI. The run batted in was produced on a sacrifice fly to the opposite field in the second inning, giving Evan Longoria time to score from third base.
While the sample is still small, Snider has been far better versus right-handed pitcher (.912 OPS) that southpaws (.542 OPS) with a total of twenty at-bats. Last season, the first rounder was able to post batting average over .300 against both.
RHP, Jamie Vermilyea
The reliever has been struggling mightily in this edition of the AFL, with his third consecutive outing in which he has allowed at least two earned runs in one inning of work. Opposing hitters are pounding him with a .556 batting average against. His 27.00 ERA ranks as the worst in the fall league.
He finished his work on the mound, Thursday, having thrown only 18 of 34 pitches for strikes.
RHP, Justin James
After allowing no walks and punching out two in his first three innings on the mound (two outings), the fifth round pick of the 2003 draft put three men on the bases with walks and allowed two earned runs on one hit during two innings.
He labored through 40 pitches (21 strikes) to finally induce two ground outs and three fly outs.
James has been very successful throwing the ball down in the zone, posting a very good 0.48 HR/9 during his pro career, and a 1.26 Go/Ao combined between Syracuse (Triple-A) and New Hampshire (Double-A) last season.
HAWAII WINTER BASEBALL
In Hawaii, where the league was not in action yesterday, INF Anthony Hatch impresses with the bat (.370/.426/.522), but has committed 7 errors in the field in only 12 games, while playing at 3B, SS and 2B.
The OBP maniac, C Brian Jeroloman, will be looking to improve on his already impressive .811 OPS.