JaysProspects http://jaysprospects.com A Blog of Toronto Blue Jays Prospects Interviews, Evaluations and News Mon, 13 Apr 2015 20:30:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Andrew Case Excellent Out of the Bullpenhttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/04/13/andrew-case-excellent-bullpen/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/04/13/andrew-case-excellent-bullpen/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 20:26:14 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10004 The popularity of baseball in Canada has continued to rise in recent years. This increased love for the sport has led to more players competing and better development opportunities throughout the country and it’s starting to show throughout minor league baseball as more players from Canada are signing professional contracts than ever before. Showing some [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative.
Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Andrew Case

RHP Andrew Case is thrilled to be in his second season of professional baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays organization. (Toronto Sun)

The popularity of baseball in Canada has continued to rise in recent years. This increased love for the sport has led to more players competing and better development opportunities throughout the country and it’s starting to show throughout minor league baseball as more players from Canada are signing professional contracts than ever before.

Showing some Canadian flavor on their opening day roster, the Lansing Lugnuts’ are proudly showcasing three Canadian born players, which is the most of any professional baseball team this season. Right-handed pitcher Andrew Case is one such Lugnut born north of the border and he’s incredibly excited to be joining a full season affiliate in just his second professional year.

“Lansing is a nice town. It’s a little colder than spring training in Florida, but I’m happy to be here,” said Case. “Downtown Lansing is nice and so is East Lansing. I’m just taking it day by day, but so far it’s been really good.”

It’s not just Case who is thrilled to be a member of the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, but his parents are equally excited for their son’s accomplishment. In fact, Case’s parents made the trip down to Lansing for the clubs opening series against the Lake County Captains.

“I always receive a lot of family support throughout the season,” explained Case. “My parents made the trip down for the opening series and its great having them here. They have always supported me in my decision to pursue baseball.”

His parent’s long trip was worth the while as they got to see their son pitch 2/3 an inning and pick up a save in a 3-2 Lugnuts’ victory in game one of a double header on April 11th.

Prior to playing in Lansing, Case’s career was primarily focused on pitching in his home country. Choosing to leave his home in New Brunswick and move west to Alberta to pursue a collegiate career at Leftbridge Community College showed the dedication the young prospect has when it comes to his craft.

Choosing Leftbridge for their long history of producing professional players, Case had only one focus when he was there and that was perform well enough to get noticed by a major league organization.

“When you’re playing college ball you always have one dream and that’s making it to the big leagues,” explained Case. “Obviously the second step towards that dream is becoming a pro ball player, so when I was at Leftbridge I went out there and competed every outing and every pitch.”

Two years later his dream became a reality when the Toronto Blue Jays signed the righty to a minor league deal after a dominant Tournament 12 performance where he threw a no hitter at the Rogers Centre.

“I really had no idea the Blue Jays were interested in me. I was in more contact with some other teams, but I’m happy with the result,” stated Case. “The Blue Jays were always my favorite team even before I started playing baseball, so I’m really happy that I’m a part of their organization. Being a Canadian boy playing for the Canadian team, it doesn’t get any better than that in my books.”

“I was signed shortly after throwing a no hitter at the Rogers Centre,” he added. “That moment was really special as Roberto Alomar was sitting behind the plate. He came up to me afterwards and gave me a hug. He told me I did a great job and he was proud of me. I was actually only one pitch away from a perfect game, but I was a happy with the no hitter. I don’t know any pitchers who wouldn’t be happy with a no-hitter.”

It was only fitting that Case would begin his professional career in the country that produced the talented young pitcher. Spending his entire 2014 season in the Northwest League, Case was a key piece of the Canadians bullpen.

The prospect did nothing but impress in his 44 innings of work for the C’s. Maintaining a 2.45 ERA and racking up 37 strikeouts was a nice way to start his career. But his ability to be tough on hitters in 2014 was his biggest attribute as the righty maintained an impressive 1.159 WHIP to put an exclamation point on an already great season.

“Playing in Vancouver was really cool as I was the only Canadian on the 2014 roster,” said Case. “It was great having a bunch of Canadians on my back. The support I received from all the fans was unbelievable.”

It was in Vancouver when Case began working with pitching coach Jeff Ware. With some shuffling in their minor league coaching pyramid this past off-season; the two will work together again in Lansing and Case is excited for that opportunity as he enjoys the way Ware handles his business.

“I like that Jeff Ware is down-to-earth and will tell you exactly what you need to work on,” stated Case. “Jeff is always there if you have anything you want to work on. He’s the right guy at the right time. I couldn’t say enough good things about him.”

Finding success due to his approach on the mound, Case likes to work fast, while throwing strikes with his three pitch repertoire, which includes: a fastball, a slider, and a changeup. Known for his ability to get through lineups quickly by getting a lot of groundballs, Case describes himself as a finesse pitcher.

“I’m not a really hard thrower,” said Case. “My fastball usually tops out around 91 or 92 miles per hour. I’m more of a finesse pitcher that relies on throwing strikes and hitting my spots.”

His ability to work fast is exactly what Lansing Lugnuts’ pitching coach Jeff Ware is looking forward to this season from Case. After coaching the up-and-coming pitcher last summer, the former major leaguer feels confident in Case’s ability to handle high pressure situations.

“Andrew Case is aggressive on the mound. You love that as a pitching coach,” stated Ware. “Andrew will challenge anybody who walks into the batter’s box. It doesn’t matter who they are, he’ll challenge them. Andrew is a hard worker that competes his butt off out there and that’s what I love about him as a pitcher.”

Be sure to follow Andrew Case all season as he works hard to get back to the Rogers Centre to make more memories in the near future.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative. Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Ian Parmley Using His Speed to His Advantagehttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/04/02/ian-parmley-dunedin/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/04/02/ian-parmley-dunedin/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 10:00:39 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9904 An important area for young baseball players to understand is their game and exactly what they have to do to reach their full potential in professional baseball. Thus is the case for Blue Jays outfield prospect Ian Parmley, who completed his third season in the organization climbing as high as advanced-A Dunedin by the end of [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative.
Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Ian Parmley

Ian Parmley advanced to Dunedin during the 2014 season. (Scott Mapes / MiLB.com)

An important area for young baseball players to understand is their game and exactly what they have to do to reach their full potential in professional baseball. Thus is the case for Blue Jays outfield prospect Ian Parmley, who completed his third season in the organization climbing as high as advanced-A Dunedin by the end of the 2014 campaign.

Known for his excellent defense and above-average speed, Parmley is a grinder, known for giving long at-bats, while drawing walks, bunting for hits, and causing havoc on the base paths. These lost arts are what Parmley needs to do to be successful in professional baseball, as the Washington native has limited power in his bat, causing him to continually find ways to reach base and help his team manufacture runs.

Beginning his 2014 campaign with the Lansing Lugnuts, Parmley had a tough run to begin his season. He fought off multiple injuries and had to deal with limited action, as being named as the club’s fourth outfielder. Appearing in 41 contests for the Lugnuts, Parmley batted .209 with two doubles and nine RBIs. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, Parmley grinded out 20 walks and swiped 11 bases, all the while maintaining a .326 OBP.

Earning a late season promotion to the Florida State League, Parmley continued to display his strengths at the high-A level. The prospect batted .261 with three doubles and an RBI. Parmley continued to be tough on the base paths going 3-for-3 on steal attempts. Parmley registered seven more walks and maintained a .358 OBP in his 15 high-A contests.

Enjoying both opportunities presented to him in 2014, Parmley discusses what he enjoyed about his time in the Midwest League and the Florida State League. While there’s a slight talent jump between the two levels, Parmley feels its baseball and every aspect of the two leagues is just business as usual for him.

“What I really enjoyed about Lansing was how friendly the residents are,” stated Parmley. “We ran into a lot of people at the complex where we live and they’re all really nice and the fan support at the games is fantastic. The city really gets behind the Lugnuts, which just makes it a great place to play baseball.”

“I really loved playing in Dunedin,” he added. “The Florida State League has a great atmosphere for baseball and we played some really good ball there.”

“The difference between the Midwest League and the Florida State League is pitchers locate their pitches a lot better down there,” said Parmley. “Other than that the talent is very similar.”

Parmley has always had the ability to be a great base runner, but he feels his skills have continued to improve in the Blue Jays organization thanks to the help of Roving Outfield and Base Running Instructor Tim Raines.

“Raines has helped me a lot with my base running,” explained Parmley. “He’s one of the best runners of all time, so anytime he talks I make sure to listen. When he says something that I can use to improve my game, I’m going to use that information to my advantage.”

From a defensive standpoint, Parmley plays all three outfield positions. The 25-year old outfielder only committed one error on the season maintaining an excellent .989 fielding percentage between the three positions. The prospect also registered two outfield assists and was involved in one double play on the season.

Watch for Ian Parmley as he continues to put his skills on display with one of the Blue Jays minor league affiliates in 2015.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative. Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Seth Conner Looking to Rebound in 2015http://jaysprospects.com/2015/04/01/seth-conner-vancouver/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/04/01/seth-conner-vancouver/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 10:00:25 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9954 With the season opener around the corner, players are putting the finishing touches on their routines as they prepare for the season to begin. While some players are looking to pick up where they left off the previous season, others are looking to get a fresh start and improve their game in certain areas. One [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative.
Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Seth Conner

Seth Conner plans to improve his consistency with his bat to remain with a full-season affiliate in 2015. (Scott Mapes)

With the season opener around the corner, players are putting the finishing touches on their routines as they prepare for the season to begin. While some players are looking to pick up where they left off the previous season, others are looking to get a fresh start and improve their game in certain areas.

One player in the Blue Jays system looking to improve in 2015 is catcher Seth Conner. After two seasons that had the same result of beginning the year in Lansing and finishing in Vancouver, Conner will be looking to stay on a full season affiliate the entire season this year.

And find success.

This result will happen if the Missouri native can find some consistency at the plate. Conner was a tremendous hitter in rookie ball, but the success he showed in Bluefield back in 2012 has yet to transfer to low-A. The 23-year-old batted .221 with three doubles and six RBIs last season in Vancouver. Even though those numbers don’t jump off the page, the utility player managed a respectable .312 OBP playing for the Canadians.

Known more for his defensive prowess, Conner committed just one error in 73 chances behind the plate in Vancouver, maintaining an excellent .986 fielding percentage at the toughest defensive position in the game. The young prospect also appeared in 12 Northwest League contests at first base. Conner’s play at first was flawless, as he maintained a 1.000 fielding percentage while taking part in six double plays and assisting on two.

“I developed a lot behind the plate. I feel comfortable back there. Now it’s developing the bat again,” stated Conner. “I feel if I can get both sides going. I’ll be a good player moving forward.”

Conner has enjoyed every aspect of his two stints in Vancouver. While the city is huge and has a lot to do from an entertainment standpoint, the young prospect’s favorite part of Vancouver is the continued fan support the C’s receive at Nat Bailey Stadium every night.

“Vancouver is an awesome city,” said Conner. “You’re in Canada, so there’s a bunch of Blue Jays fans. There isn’t a lot of baseball around there. Seattle isn’t too far. But Vancouver is great because it’s a big city and the fan support is outstanding. Home country affiliate. It’s really cool.”

Understanding that there are only so many chances to prove yourself in the minor leagues, Conner looks to put the past two seasons behind him in 2015, as he is looking to redevelop his game at the plate with hopes of finding his stroke from Bluefield when he carried an excellent .296/.421/.423 slash line.

“Going from an everyday player to a backup messed with my rhythem a bit at the plate,” said Conner. “I don’t like to make excuses, but it’s tough to make adjustments to pitching when you’re not playing every day. Baseball is a game of numbers and I didn’t make the most of my opportunities the last two years.”

Returning home to Missouri this off-season, Conner enjoyed spending time with his family. He also focused on doing some workouts to stay in shape and teaching lessons to younger players are just a few of Conner’s plans.

“My off-season was really good,” explained Conner. “I spend a lot of time with my wife Laura and I do my workouts. I also teach lessons. The kids I work with are between third grade and seniors in high school. Basically they’re anywhere from eight to 18-years old. Other than that I spend time with my family. I really enjoy seeing everybody!”

Watch for Seth Conner as he continues to be an excellent defensive option with hopes of improving offensively with one of the Blue Jays full season affiliates in 2015.

Author information

Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative. Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Matt Dean Getting Acclimated at First Basehttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/03/31/matt-dean-lansing/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/03/31/matt-dean-lansing/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:19:45 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9899 Players always think they know how their careers will unfold when they’re entering professional baseball. While some are not far off, most are thrown a few curveballs along the way. Such is the case for Matt Dean who began his professional career at third base before the organization decided to transition him to first base [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative.
Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Matt Dean

Matt Dean played first base with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2014. (Scott Mapes/MiLB.com)

Players always think they know how their careers will unfold when they’re entering professional baseball. While some are not far off, most are thrown a few curveballs along the way. Such is the case for Matt Dean who began his professional career at third base before the organization decided to transition him to first base prior to the 2013 season.

Playing first is still relatively new for Dean, who just completed his second year at his new position. The Texas native is developing nicely on the right side of the diamond and showing why he is one of the organization’s top prospects at the position.

Playing first presents some challenges for Dean in the field, as first baseman have different footwork drills to work on. Being more responsible for holding runners on and moving into the play as the pitcher is winding up are areas the young prospect is still working on, but he’s satisfied with his results so far.

“The footwork is coming around. I would say last year it wasn’t as good,” said Dean. “I feel this season it’s turning into muscle memory
which is a big plus for sure.

“Moving into the play with a runner on was a tough transition for me, especially with a big lefty at the plate,” he added. “The balls hit in your direction come quick. I’m still working on that as well. Hopefully I’ll work on that more this off-season.”

Another area Dean will be working on for 2015 is making a cleaner pickoff tag. With most first basemen being left-handed it’s easier to tag runners going back to the bag as they just go straight down with the glove after catching the ball. For a right-hander like Dean, it’s a little harder as they need to torque their body a little bit to make the tag.

“Being a right-handed first baseman the tag is a little bit tougher, but the coaching staff is working with me to make the move quicker,” explained Dean. “Obviously, it’s easier for a lefty because it’s straight down, but the coaching staff is trying to make it easier and I’m still learning as well. I’m trying to perfect it and I’ll keep working on the move in the future.”

In 2014, Dean performed well at first for the Blue Jays full season low-A affiliate Lansing Lugnuts. Appearing in 64 games, Dean maintained a .982 fielding percentage while taking part in 40 double plays and 16 assists. While his numbers were solid at the position, Dean admits there’s still a lot of work to be done at first base moving forward as he committed 11 errors.

“I still need a little work at first, but I’m starting to learn it,” explained Dean. “I’m starting to feel comfortable over there. I feel the more games I play there the more comfortable I’ll get. I just need to keep working at it and hopefully someday I’ll be a gold glover at the position.”

A big area for first basemen is their play at the plate. Generally regarded as a team’s big power threat, first basemen are usually expected to hit 30 or more home runs a year at the major league level. Still developing that area of his game, Dean showed excellent extra base power all season in the Midwest League. Registering 43 extra base hits on the season: which included 29 doubles, five triples, and a club leading nine home runs, all-the-while driving in 51 runs.

Dean’s excellent play earned him Midwest League Mid-Season All-star honors and he was able to take part in the league’s annual all-star game which was played on June 17th at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan. Dean was the East’s team starting first baseman and went 0-for-2 in the game. Even though he would have preferred better numbers in the game, Dean enjoyed meeting players from other teams and sharing the moment with his family that drove up from Texas for the event.

“My All-Star experience was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed meeting all the guys from the league,” stated Dean. “They were all nice guys. It was fun hanging out with them and then getting the opportunity to play the game with them. It was a good experience.

“It was special having my family here for the all-star game, as it was the first All-Star game I’ve played in,” he added. “Having them here to share the moment with me was incredible.”

Excited to have his father witness his first professional All-Star game, Dean’s professional career was inspired by his father Martin, who played college baseball at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1981. The older Dean’s professional career never took off due to an injury in college, but he put all of his knowledge and work ethic in his son. Matt admits it wasn’t always easy having his Dad as his high school coach. But he’s very thankful for what he did for him, as he taught him what he needed to know to play professional baseball.

“My Dad was a major influence on my career,” Dean said, smiling. “Growing up, I hated that he was my coach, but he was a great role model for me and he taught me how to play the game the right way. He pushed me hard and had higher expectations for me than I had for myself. I think that coaching made me the player I am today. He worked my tail off and I’m thankful he was my coach.”

Enjoying every aspect of his Midwest League experience, Dean was sad to see the 2014 season end, but was grateful for the experience he went through, as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. Enjoying all the cities and stadiums along the way, Dean feels the Midwest League has amazing facilities for low-A baseball.

“The Midwest League is great because you usually have good crowds at every game. The stadiums are great. Good atmosphere with good playing surfaces,” recalls Dean. “The team made the experience fun. There were a lot of good players on this team. The coaching staff made it a lot of fun. I was very fortunate to be here the whole season. I was kind of sad when the season ended, but it was a great experience.”

Heading back to Texas this off-season, Dean is looking forward to giving his body a bit of a rest before jumping back into his busy off-season routine, which helps him get bigger, stronger, and faster, as he’s looking for more success in 2015.

“I’ll take a little break once I got home just to let the body rest a little,” said Dean. “After a short break jumped back in and hit the weights. [I’ve done] a little speed training. I’m going to try to get a little bit quicker and a little bit stronger while staying flexible.”

Be sure to follow Matt Dean this season as he is likely to jump up to high-A to continue developing his game at first base as well as at the plate.

Author information

Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative. Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Conor Fisk Preparing For 1st Full Seasonhttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/02/18/conor-fisk-bluefield/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/02/18/conor-fisk-bluefield/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 05:02:44 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9968 Helping amateur players reach their goal of playing professional baseball is the number one focus of the major league draft. While the process is exciting for players and their families, the results can be surprising, with some players getting selected by organizations that had little to no interaction throughout the process. Such was the case [...]

Author information

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative.
Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Conor Fisk

Conor Fisk with the Southern Miss Eagles

Helping amateur players reach their goal of playing professional baseball is the number one focus of the major league draft. While the process is exciting for players and their families, the results can be surprising, with some players getting selected by organizations that had little to no interaction throughout the process.

Such was the case for right-handed pitcher Conor Fisk.

Receiving consistent contact from numerous organizations throughout his senior season at Southern Mississippi, Fisk knew he would be selected somewhere. But he never would’ve guessed he’d be putting on a Toronto Blue Jays hat on draft day.

Surprised and humbled by his 24th round selection, Fisk was excited to begin his lifelong dream of playing professional baseball. While the news of joining the Blue Jays was shocking, Fisk is more than willing to put the work in to prove the organization made the right choice.

“Being drafted by the Blue Jays was an exciting moment in my life that has given me an opportunity to continue to play the sport that I love,” said Fisk. “I honestly had no idea. I heard from a few teams before the draft, but not the Blue Jays. With that said, I’m very thankful they have given me this opportunity.”

The selection looked like a solid one, as Fisk had an excellent first professional season with the Blue Jays advanced-rookie ball club in West Virginia. Appearing in 33 2/3 innings, the righty registered 36 strikeouts, maintaining an excellent 9.6 K/9 ratio.

As impressive as his K/9 ratio was in Bluefield, Fisk’s best stat was his 1.158 WHIP. The prospect achieved this while transitioning to relieving. Performing as a starter at every other level of baseball, Fisk admits this adjustment took him a little time to figure out.

“Transitioning to relieving was a little difficult at the beginning, because I was always a starter in my career,” explained Fisk. “I was used to having as much time as I wanted to warm up and in Bluefield I had to learn to get hot fast in the bullpen. It’s much different, but I have developed a routine, just as I did as a starter to help me be prepared for every game I’m available for and it’s still a work in progress.”

Preparing for professional baseball at the collegiate level, Fisk split his time between Wabash Valley College and the University of Southern Mississippi. Thankful for both opportunities; the young pitcher feels each program excelled in certain areas that made the transition easier.

“I feel college baseball prepared me extremely well,” explained Fisk. “My two seasons in junior college was as close to playing pro ball as you can get at the college level in terms of playing the game with guys from around the USA and other countries. My time at Southern Mississippi gave me more experience playing at a higher level. It also gave me the discipline to work and grind every day.”

Continually finding success on the mound comes from Fisk’s approach. Throwing from a 3/4 arm slot, the righty features four pitches: a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. Using four different pitches helps Fisk keep hitters off-balanced. But more importantly, it’s the speed and action he uses when winding up that keeps hitters guessing.

“I use a 3/4 arm slot because I try to use the same arm speed and arm action with all of them,” stated Fisk. “This makes all my pitches look like my fastball coming out of my hand.”

Making a lot of memories in college baseball doesn’t compare to the emotions he felt in his final season of high school baseball. After the loss of a teammate and friend, Fisk’s Grafton High School squad rallied together and reached the state finals.

“My best baseball moment was helping to lead my team to state my senior year of high school, after one of my teammates and friend died in a car crash, just before our season began,” Fisk recalled. “Even though we didn’t win the journey, what my team and I did for the community goes far beyond any single achievement I’ve received in baseball.”

The Wisconsin native also had another memorable moment after his senior season when he was selected by his hometown team, the Milwaukee Brewers in the 34th round of the 2010 MLB draft. Honored by the selection, Fisk had to make a tough decision between signing, or pursuing college.

“The Brewers were my hometown and favorite team, so being drafted by them only amplified everything about making the decision,” said Fisk. “Having to make a choice like that wasn’t easy at all. But when it comes down to it I think I made the right choice to pursue college.”

Putting the finishing touches on his off-season routine, Fisk feels he’ll be well-prepared for the challenges of his first spring training. Not knowing what to expect, the 22-year old is hoping to make a solid impact this season in hopes of earning a promotion to a full season affiliate.

“I have followed our off-season strength and conditioning program, as well as doing my own workouts that I’ve learned over the years to keep my body strong and my arm in great shape,” stated Fisk. “I don’t have any expectations for spring training. I just want to go out there and compete the best I can, as I hope to be with Lansing or Dunedin at some point this season.”

Be sure to follow Conor Fisk as he looks to make the jump to a full season affiliate in 2015.

Author information

Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative. Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Scott Silverstein Polishes Skills In New Rolehttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/01/18/scott-silverstein-lansing/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/01/18/scott-silverstein-lansing/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 01:51:44 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9502 Entering professional baseball is both exciting and nerve-wracking, because it presents a great opportunity filled with many unknowns. Players have no idea how far their journeys will carry them or what roles they will have to fill along the way. Such was the case for left-handed pitcher Scott Silverstein who has adjusted to relieving since [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative.
Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Scott Silverstein

Scott Silverstein has found a solid place as an 8th inning set-up reliever. (Wendy Smith/MiLB.com)

Entering professional baseball is both exciting and nerve-wracking, because it presents a great opportunity filled with many unknowns. Players have no idea how far their journeys will carry them or what roles they will have to fill along the way. Such was the case for left-handed pitcher Scott Silverstein who has adjusted to relieving since joining the Blue Jays organization in 2013.

Prior to beginning his professional career, Silverstein spent five seasons at the University of Virginia predominantly in a starting role. But at 6’6” and 260 pounds, the Toronto Blue Jays saw someone they felt could be an intimidating late-inning guy when they selected him in the 25th round of the 2013 MLB draft.

Many scouts view relieving as a faster path to the major leagues than starting. So putting Silverstein in this role was a perfect fit, as he was roughly two years older than the majority of his Midwest League competition. Silverstein’s health is another reason why the organization went this route, as the big lefty has had two shoulder surgeries.

Accepting his new role with an open mind, Silverstein admits he enjoys pitching in any situation. While he’ll take the ball in any inning, he really strives off the adrenaline he feels with the game on the line

“Would I prefer to be out there at certain moments with a certain score? Of course I would,” Silverstein admits. “I don’t know any pitcher who doesn’t enjoy pitching when the game is on the line. More importantly, I go whenever the team wants me to go and that is all that matters.”

As a member of the Lansing Lugnuts, Silverstein pitched 64 innings primarily in the setup and closing role. The Maryland native led all Lugnuts’ pitchers in wins with 11 while striking out 67 batters.

The lefty also had four saves on the season in 11 opportunities, an area he had a little trouble with early in the season. Once he was moved into the 8th inning role, he settled in nicely and became one of the Lugnuts’ most reliable relievers through the remainder of the season.

Lugnuts pitching coach Vince Horsman provides some insight on why the organization is high on Silverstein at the backend of the bullpen as he feels experience and age are important factors when selecting a guy for the role.

“I liked Scott in the later innings because he’s an older guy in our bullpen,” said Horsman. “I feel being an older guy he’s less likely to let the moment get to him. Scott is aggressive and attacks the strike zone. He makes the hitters beat him.”

Appreciative of all the coaching he has received from Horsman throughout his 2014 campaign, Silverstein feels he learned a lot about himself this past season, and was able to make a great connection with his pitching coach.

“Working with Vince is awesome,” said Silverstein. “Vince is very knowledgeable about the game. Guys have come through Lansing and made it to the major leagues, which speaks volumes about him as a person and he did it himself. You couldn’t learn from a better source.”

“Vince and I have similar roles from a pitching standpoint and obviously he’s a great resource to go too,” he added. “Vince knows this stuff frontwards and backwards. It’s just a matter of picking your spots and picking the right information when it comes to you.”

Truly enjoying his Midwest League experience to its fullest, Silverstein feels Lansing has some of the best facilities in the league available to their players, as well as incredible fans that support the team through thick and thin.

“The ballpark in Lansing is awesome. The facilities are some of the best in the Midwest League,” stated Silverstein. “The new grounds crew guy, Lenny, did a great job keeping our field looking nice all year. The players in Lansing are really lucky to play in a stadium this nice.”

“Another great aspect of Lansing is the camaraderie of our fans. Everybody has been very welcoming to us as outsiders to their town,” he added. “We always have over 1,000 fans a game. Our Fourth of July game was an amazing experience with over 11,000 fans. The Booster Club does a great job as well. Playing in Lansing is an amazing experience all around.”

Watch for Scott Silverstein as he takes his next step in the Blue Jays minor league system in 2015 with hopes of making it to the major leagues in the near future.

Author information

Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative. Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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Ryan McBroom Pushes Forwardhttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/01/07/ryan-mcbroom-vancouver/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/01/07/ryan-mcbroom-vancouver/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 05:47:41 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9873 One of the stars of the 2014 Vancouver Canadians’ campaign was first base prospect Ryan McBroom. The 2014 15th round draft pick was relatively unheralded when selected out of West Virginia University, but it didn’t take long before his name became well known after posting an excellent .341/.404/.512 slash line over 70 games in Vancouver. [...]

Author information

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative.
Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

The post Ryan McBroom Pushes Forward appeared first on JaysProspects.

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Ryan McBroom

Ryan McBroom hit his way to an .841 OPS with the Vancouver Canadians. (Cam Tucker/Metro)

One of the stars of the 2014 Vancouver Canadians’ campaign was first base prospect Ryan McBroom. The 2014 15th round draft pick was relatively unheralded when selected out of West Virginia University, but it didn’t take long before his name became well known after posting an excellent .341/.404/.512 slash line over 70 games in Vancouver.

The Blue Jays were fortunate the 22-year-old decided to go back to school to finish college, which involved majoring in sport and exercise psychology, instead of signing with the Royals when selected a year before.

“Being selected by the Blue Jays was a special moment for my family and I. Since last year going in a later round I chose to go back to school for my senior year, get my degree, and finish college on a positive note,” stated McBroom who was originally selected in the 36th round of the 2013 draft by the Royals. “I was able to polish up my skills during my senior year and was lucky enough to get picked up by an amazing organization like the Blue Jays.”

Quickly signing his professional contract in June, McBroom joined the Vancouver Canadians for their season opener. The young first baseman appeared in all 70 regular season games for the C’s batting .297 with 23 doubles, 11 home runs, and 59 RBIs.

My power is a work in progress. I am figuring myself out as a player.

“From what I heard prior to joining professional baseball, Vancouver is the top minor league city you can play in, so after spending my summer there, I was able to experience things I’ve only seen on TV,” said McBroom. “I was extremely lucky to be placed in Vancouver, as a first year player. I had a great summer, playing for great coaches.”

One of those great coaches McBroom spoke highly of is Vancouver Canadians hitting coach Dave Pano, who didn’t just serve as McBroom’s first professional hitting coach, but as a mentor that gave great advice for the young prospect moving forward.

“Pano was one of the most consistent coaches I have ever played for,” stated McBroom. “He was constantly trying to develop my swing in the hopes of extending my baseball career later down the road and I will be forever grateful for all he was able to do for me.”

McBroom’s 34 extra base hits didn’t go unnoticed as he led his team in home runs and was tied for first in doubles with shortstop Franklin Barreto, which explains why the Virginia native had the highest slugging percentage on the team at .502.

With a major emphasis on power for a first baseman at the major league level, McBroom describes his power as a work in progress which isn’t surprising for a minor leaguer. With an unspoken rule that people expect major league first baseman to hit 30 or more home runs a year, McBroom is excited for the kind of hitter he has the ability to develop into over the next couple years.

“My power is a work in progress. I am figuring myself out as a player and hitting for power is becoming my identity as a professional,” explained McBroom. “I understand that first basemen are expected to be power hitters and I’m taking the concept to heart of turning into a guy that produces runs by hitting homers. I am more than excited to put in the work to do just that.”

Even though McBroom is an exciting young hitter, he’s very proud of his defense as he feels it is an area you have to exceed at to make it to the highest level of play. McBroom was a great fielder all season in Vancouver committing just four errors in 616 chances, maintaining an excellent .994 fielding percentage. His fielding numbers are stats that the 22-year old first baseman takes a lot of pride in.

“I was always told if you can play defense, you can play in the big leagues,” explained McBroom. “I have always prided myself on being an above-average fielder. Plus playing defense is something I’ve always enjoyed doing even growing up as a kid.”

Currently in his first professional off-season, McBroom is preparing for spring training. The young prospect doesn’t have any expectations for what his first spring training will have in store for him, but he is definitely focused on a busy off-season routine to be in the best physical shape possible for spring.

“I don’t have any expectations for spring training besides getting back to baseball and having fun all while toning and developing my game,” stated McBroom. “I will also be looking forward to seeing my friends again.”

“Lifting and conditioning are some things I will be doing this off-season to stay in shape. Another thing I will be doing is getting clean in the kitchen,” he added. “Diet can sometimes separate the average athletes from the elite ones.”

Be sure to follow Ryan McBroom as he continues to be an excellent first base option in the Blue Jays minor league system for years to come with hopes of playing in the show in the near future.

Author information

Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Mr. Crawford is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects. Dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, Mr. Crawford hopes you find his articles both engaging and informative. Feel free to follow Mr. Crawford on Twitter: @CrawDaddy222, or you can email him directly with any questions, or requests: briancrawford@mail.com

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