Archive for the ‘Adeiny Hechavarria’ Category

I tend to think this kind of stuff is… pretty much crazy, actually, but here we’ve got another rumour about the Jays and their willingness to move Yunel Escobar. And this time from an actual respectable source! Ken Rosenthal’s latest at Fox Sports.

The Jays are willing to move Escobar, sources say, in part because of their belief that Triple A shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is ready to play in the majors. Hechavarria, 23, is batting .314 with an .805 OPS in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

OK, so Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail has been on the “move Escobar now” train too– though maybe not necessarily based on sourced information about trade talks, but rumblings of a souring on Yunel from within the organization– and I’m not going to disparage his info (um… today), but this stuff still strikes me as a little pecuiliar.

Sure, Kevin Goldstein was saying late last month that Hechavarria’s making real progress at the plate. And yes, the numbers look good, absent the giant wad of context that is the PCL. But… um… GIANT WAD OF PCL CONTEXT!

Read the rest of this entry »

Not Aaron Laffey.

Apparently the Jays are feeling good about their middle infield positions, despite the fact that Kelly Johnson has missed two straight games with a hamstring problem, Yunel Escobar left last night’s game with a tight groin– forcing Brett Lawrie (!!?!?) to be pressed into action at short– and, as Wilner points out at Miked Up, Adeiny Hechavarria didn’t play Sunday in Las Vegas.

So… there’s that.

 

Image via Jonathan Ferrey/Getty.

Greetings From Dunedin
Welcome back to your weekly fix of Blue Jays prospecty goodness. I decided to try something new this week: if you scroll down to the end of this article, you’ll see organization leaders in several hitting and pitching categories (current through games of April 17). If you like seeing them every week, let me know. If enough people are interested in them, I’ll work on a better way of displaying the leaderboard tables.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you’re now able to follow the statistics of Toronto’s top 20 prospects (as ranked by Kevin Goldstein) over at Baseball Prospectus’ new Top 11 Prospects Tracker.

(Note: to conserve pixels, I won’t be running the Top 30 Prospects list every week, but I will include a link to the list in each post) Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial Note: We’re pumped to bring you the first of a season’s full of weekly prospect-y dispatches from Dunedin, FL, home of the Jays’ FSL High-A affiliate, and some of their best prospects, courtesy of the awesome Bradley Ankrom (@BradleyAnkrom) of Baseball Prospectus. Awesomeness awaits!

It’s an exciting time to be a Toronto Blue Jays fan. Despite their competing in baseball’s toughest division, many pundits have embraced Canada’s Team as their “dark horse” or “sleeper” or “ballsy pick” of 2012, and for good reason. The Blue Jays scored the sixth-most runs in all of baseball last year, and project to do even more damage with third baseman Brett Lawrie in the lineup all year. Rotation anchor Ricky Romero has established himself as one of the league’s best starting pitchers, earning AL Cy Young votes for the first time in his career after going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts last year.

The big-league roster is undoubtedly shaping up nicely, but it’s what Alex Anthopoulos & Co. have done on the farm that should tickle Jays fans about the future. In his annual review of organization depth, Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein ranked the Blue Jays 20th, 24th, 10th, and 22nd between 2007-10. A bumper draft in 2010 revitalized the farm system, and players taken that year account for nearly one-third of the team’s top 30 prospects listed below and, more importantly, five of the top 11. In his first winter as Blue Jays general manager, Anthopoulos traded franchise icon Roy Halladay to Philadelphia in a deal that netted the organization’s current top prospect, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, as well as right-hander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Michael Taylor, who was flipped to Oakland for Brett Wallace, who was subsequently traded to Houston for Anthony Gose, Toronto’s third-best prospect.

Read the rest of this entry »

While some folks still aren’t quite ready to buy into what the Jays are selling about the progress Adeiny Hechavarria has made, people who’ve been in the organization continue to heap praise on him. People like… Chris Woodward?

“Las Vegas inflates the numbers on home run hitters, not on line drive hitters,” said Woodward, according to a piece from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. “He reminds me of Tony Fernandez watching his line drives.”

“I’m watching him in the cage and don’t understand,” Woodward added. “He doesn’t swing like a .235 hitter.”

Omar Vizquel liked what he saw as well, noting that “He’ll be back soon. One year, maybe two,” and adding that, when he does return, “They’ll have to trade someone.”

This brings us to the nut of Elliott’s piece, which is the question of what happens to Yunel Escobar if Hechavarria proves he’s ready and Woodward’s specious analysis of the Vegas hitting environment proves true– and the fact that Elliott thinks the Jays might be most inclined to trade Escobar.

“He’s what, 28 year old? He may be able to move like this for a few years, but what happens when he gets to 32, 33?” asks Vizquel, who says he think Escobar will be more of a third baseman down the line. The Jays seem pretty OK at that position, for the moment, and Escobar signed a team-friendly extension last year, which Elliott notes will make him rather attractive in trade.

Most interestingly, though, is that he says “privately the Jays complain about Escobar missing signs.”

This shouldn’t be entirely surprising. You might recall the time last May when the right-handed Escobar missed a squeeze sign and swung away with Rajai Davis racing from third base towards home, and nowhere to hide if Escobar had ripped one down the line. Granted, that’s kind of a fucking dangerous play, but… do missed signs wipe out that much of the value of a 4+ win shortstop who got on base 37% of the time last year?

I’m gonna go ahead and say no. And I’m also gonna go ahead and say it’s not something we really need to bother even worrying about worrying about at the moment.

Ahhh, spring! Where letting nature take its course is never an option.

OK, OK. Now… before we get absurdly wrapped up in the coaching staff- and management-driven mania over the impending supernova of a burst forward that Adeiny Hechavarria is supposedly about to take at the plate (too late?), let’s maybe take a step or two back and enter the world of the not-so-glowing praise, as Kevin Goldstein does today for Baseball Prospectus and ESPN.com (Insider Only).

Heading up the “not-so-good” portion of his piece on the Florida Prospect Pulse, Goldstein writes of Hechavarria:

As slick-fielding, weak-hitting shortstops who defected from Cuba and signed big-money major league deals with American League East teams, [Red Sox prospect Jose] Iglesias and Hechavarria have been the victims of constant comparisons. While Hechavarria finished with a 25-game flourish at Triple-A Las Vegas last year, one National League scout says he’s still not seeing much progress at the plate.

“First off, he can really play shortstop, but I just don’t think he’s going to hit,” the scout said. “He’s fine on fastballs, but he really struggles with anything off-speed, and I have not seen any progress in that area.”

OK, so it’s not quite Goldstein who is crushing dreams. And it’s not really all that bad. But it does give the love-fest a little bit of pause. Especially when remembering that Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday, as I noted, that “I always try to temper that enthusiasm with– it’s Spring Training, and the fact that he’s getting challenged with fastballs, and not as much off-speed.”

So, was his spring success a mirage? Does the same go for his cameo in the unfriendly-to-breaking-balls environment of the PCL?

Well that’s a fucking downer. I liked it way better when we were irrationally building him up!

Alex Anthopoulos was on the Fan590 this morning with Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt (audio here), and while a lot of it was typical Anthopoulosian blather, he did admit that he overstepped when he proclaimed last year that Adeiny Hechavarria was a shortstop, end of story, and he had a few things to say that were definitely worth noting– even if we don’t necessarily believe what he’s saying. Actually, especially if we don’t.

Part Three of Three – Adeiny Hechavarria

On the surface the relatively-early demotion of Adeiny Hechavarria to the Jays’ minor league camp may seem like an indication that all is still not well with the Cuban prospect. But that didn’t quite gibe with what we’d been hearing this spring. For instance, in the Toronto Sun on Saturday, John Farrell raved about the shortstop’s bat after the club faced the Astros.

“The display that Hechavarria put on was as good as anything we’ve seen in camp,” he said. “A line-drive base hit off of (Brett) Myers, a 420-foot home run to centre field. He had an outstanding day.”

He added that Hechavarria looks like a completely different hitter compared to last year. “It centres around his physical maturity. His bat speed is noticeably quicker. He is growing into a man and has a man’s strength. It’s playing out on the field.”

Assistant GM Tony LaCava added that “He’s built like a football cornerback. If he’d been born in this country, I doubt baseball would have gotten him.”

Unsurprisingly, Anthopoulos is in line with his lieutenants when it comes to his evaluation.

“He looked great, and I even told him that this morning when I sent him out,” Anthopoulos explained to Blair. “I said, ‘I didn’t want to have to send you out, because I love being able to see you play.’ He’s so much fun to watch.

“He swung the bat outstanding in Spring Training– he’s got so much better. I always try to temper that enthusiasm with– it’s Spring Training, and the fact that he’s getting challenged with fastballs, and not as much 0ff-speed, but just everything was better. Even, Jose Bautista was telling me the other day, the bat speed seems better, he’s a lot stronger. And he worked out a lot more– you guys have already seen him. He’s already cut and strong, but he worked at getting a lot stronger, he was more prepared, and it’s showing: the strength in his body, the bat speed. Even from a defensive standpoint. He’s great, but I thought he was much better this Spring Training than last Spring Training.”

“The big thing we’ve stressed to him is being selective,” Anthopoulos adds. “And he did it a bunch of times this Spring Training, where he may have gone down 0-2 and worked the count back to full. Just his at bats were so much better. So stressed that to him, to continue to try to be selective, because he’s got power, he’s got strength, and if he can be more selective he’ll really do some damage with the bat.”

“Adeiny’s got tools to be more than that,” he says, comparing Hechavarria to Alcides Escobar, the Royals’ gold glover with a bottom-of-the-order bat, “but he hasn’t shown it yet. I’d love to be able to say that he’s going to be more than that, but until we see it over the course of a season, we don’t know. But there’s definitely more ceiling there– the worst case scenario he’s a bottom-of-the-order bat, but he’s got the ability to be so much more.”

The GM isn’t completely off the deep end here, despite all the good he sees– which, frankly, sounds a lot more optimistic than where I think most fans have been at with Hechavarria to this point.

“We still have a lot of minor league data that shows he doesn’t have the bat yet,” the GM cautions. ”As excited as we are about Adeiny, we’ve seen it with a multitude of young players– Adam Lind, Travis Snider– how many of these young players come up and stay up?”

That said, Anthopoulos was far closer to fawning that to overly cautious. And while it’s not like we could expect him to trash his own very expensive prospect, he certainly didn’t have to say so much, or do it so glowingly. It almost makes you wonder if the poor numbers he’s posted throughout his minor league career really are a product of the things that the Jays have been trying to get him to work on– that maybe they projected him as growing into a bigger and stronger body and set about changing his swing to suit it.

Almost.

Whatever the case, good words are… um… good.