JaysProspects http://jaysprospects.com A Blog of Toronto Blue Jays Prospects Interviews, Evaluations and News Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:34:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 David Harris Offers Great Utility For Lugnutshttp://jaysprospects.com/2014/07/17/david-harris-lugnuts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=david-harris-lugnuts http://jaysprospects.com/2014/07/17/david-harris-lugnuts/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:17:05 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9678 Every great baseball team has utility guys – players that can play a wide variety of positions and fill numerous roles on the team. The Lansing Lugnuts have that and more in David Harris, who joined the team in June. With the ability to play anywhere on the left-side of the field, Harris displays above [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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David Harris takes batting practice with the Vancouver Canadians (Charlie Caskey/Vancouver Sun)

David Harris takes batting practice with the Vancouver Canadians (Charlie Caskey/Vancouver Sun)

Every great baseball team has utility guys – players that can play a wide variety of positions and fill numerous roles on the team. The Lansing Lugnuts have that and more in David Harris, who joined the team in June.

With the ability to play anywhere on the left-side of the field, Harris displays above average speed with quick hands at the plate. Excited to get to know the speedy prospect, Lansing Lugnuts hitting coach Ken Huckaby discusses what he has seen from Harris since he has arrived in Lansing.

“I’m still getting to know David Harris,” said Huckaby. “David has really quick hands and great speed. David is a clubhouse guy and an excellent baseball player. I’m looking forward to getting to know him better in the future.”

Joining the Lugnuts was exciting for Harris as well. Enjoying the opportunity to play the game with a lot of his 2013 teammates from the Northwest League is a huge thrill for the Texas native.

“It’s a blast playing in Lansing,” said Harris. “I’m more comfortable with these guys from playing the game with them last year. I know how they play and they’re all team players.”

Currently batting ..333 with three doubles, a triple, four home runs, and ten RBIs in 74 plate appearances, Harris is enjoying the facilities the Blue Jays Midwest League affiliate has to offer the players.

“Lansing is really nice,” Harris said, smiling. “It’s a great baseball town with an awesome stadium. I feel Lansing has some of the best facilities in minor league baseball.”

The utility player is also enjoying the opportunity to work with his new hitting coach Ken Huckaby. Harris really enjoys Huckaby’s approach to coaching.

“Huckaby is a great guy,” stated Harris. “Huckaby keeps it loose and makes sure you’re sticking to your approach at the plate. He doesn’t focus a lot on mechanics, but more on your swing timing.”

Harris batted .263 with nine doubles, two home runs, and 19 RBIs as a member of the Vancouver Canadians in 2013. He had a great time in the Northwest League, especially winning the championship, last September.

“Winning the Northwest League Championship was awesome,” Harris recalls. “The guys were great and it was cool being part of a winning squad. Everybody wants to be on a team that wins games and it was a great way to begin my professional career.”

Selected in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB draft, Harris has nothing but good things to say about his draft experience which he was able to share with his family.

“My draft experience was cool,” Harris said with a smile. “It was exciting having my family there. Everybody showed up at the same time when my name got called. My cousin was the first to hear the news and he went nuts. It was a really cool and memorable experience.”

Prior to playing professional baseball, Harris played college baseball at Southern Arkansas University. An experience he claims was great due to excellent coaching and advice.

“My time at Southern Arkansas was amazing,” said Harris. “Playing for Coach Browning was awesome. He’s a hard-nosed coach.”

“Coach Browning always told us to never give up and we would have a chance after college,” he added. “That message really stuck in my mind and I’m glad it worked out.”

It was while attending Southern Arkansas that Harris had his most memorable baseball game of his career when he hit a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to give the Muleriders a 13-11 victory.

“It was the bottom of the 9th inning and I came to the plate with the bases loaded. It was a 1-2 count and I fouled off a curveball for the fourth pitch. The pitcher threw another curveball for the fifth pitch and it hung up a little bit. I hit it and it left the field. It was a great feeling and a great day!”

Hopefully David Harris will continue to make memories in the game of baseball for years to come.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Blue Jays Rule 5 Selection Roberto Espinosa Improving with Increased Fastball Velocityhttp://jaysprospects.com/2014/07/15/roberto-espinosa-lansing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=roberto-espinosa-lansing http://jaysprospects.com/2014/07/15/roberto-espinosa-lansing/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:39:56 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9706 With a focus on pitching last December, the Toronto Blue Jays selected three arms in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Right-hander Roberto Espinosa was the highest selected of the Blue Jays three picks when he was taken with the 6th overall pick of the Triple-A Phase of the draft. Espinosa was [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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With a focus on pitching last December, the Toronto Blue Jays selected three arms in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Right-hander Roberto Espinosa was the highest selected of the Blue Jays three picks when he was taken with the 6th overall pick of the Triple-A Phase of the draft.

Espinosa was one of the youngest players available in the draft, which probably explains why the Blue Jays were so high on having him in their organization. Currently, just 22-years old, Espinosa discussed what being picked up in the draft meant to him.

“Being selected by the Blue Jays felt really good,” Espinosa explained. “It felt good, because it presented a new opportunity for me with a new organization. Being selected felt like a new beginning to my career. It was a moment I will never forget. It was very exciting.”

Starting his Blue Jays career in the Midwest League, Espinosa made an instant impression on his new pitching coach Vince Horsman.

“I really liked Roberto from the start,” explained Horsman. “What stood out to me at the beginning was Roberto’s ability to throw everything over the plate for strikes. Roberto features a great slider and a slurvy little curveball that he can get over the plate. Roberto makes hitters swing the bat.”

After a slow start to the season, which saw Espinosa go 1-0 with a 7.00 ERA and 23 strikeouts in his first 27 innings of work, pitching coach Vince Horsman knew an adjustment had to be made. The former major leaguer noticed Espinosa was overexposing his slider, so he expressed the importance of a quality fastball for future success at higher levels.

“I changed Roberto’s mindset,” stated Horsman. “Roberto needed to understand the difference between playing in Mexico and playing here. I stressed the importance of the fastball when moving up the levels.”

“Roberto has adhered to the change well,” he added. “Roberto is going out there and is attacking the strike zone more with his fastball, not his slider. Earlier in the year Roberto was relying on the slider a little too much. Roberto deserves all the credit, because he has taken all the information I gave him and he’s applying it to his game. He’s doing a really nice job, it’s great having here with us.”

The transition has worked out well for Espinosa, who is currently 1-1 with a 0.81 ERA and 25 strikeouts since the beginning of June. Excited for the increased velocity in his fastball, Espinosa discusses what stands out to him about working with Horsman.

“Vince has a lot of experience, so I feel good learning from him,” said Espinosa. “Honestly, I’m just trying to feed off of him, so I can learn as much as possible while I’m here in Lansing.”

“My velocity has gone up from working with Vince,” he added. “It feels good. I feel more comfortable using my fastball. I have a lot of confidence in the pitch now.”

Roberto Espinosa

Roberto Espinosa was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization in the Triple-A portion of the Rule V Draft. (begreen90/Flickr)

Prior to joining the Blue Jays organization, Espinosa spent five seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, playing games for their Venezuela Summer League, Gulf Coast League, New York-Penn League, and Florida State League affiliates.

“I really enjoyed playing in the Pirates organization,” stated Espinosa. “I feel my numbers were pretty good and I made a lot of memories in their organization. It was a great experience, both professionally and personally.”

While playing in the Pirates organization, Espinosa achieved his biggest baseball accomplishment when his GCL team won the league championship in 2012.

“Winning the GCL Championship is my greatest baseball accomplishment to date,” said the young prospect. “Obviously when you play the game, you play to win, so winning that championship really means a lot to me personally.”

Watch for Roberto Espinosa as he continues to develop his game with hopes to win a championship with his new organization.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Tim Raines Mentors in Lansinghttp://jaysprospects.com/2014/07/09/tim-raines-lansing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tim-raines-lansing http://jaysprospects.com/2014/07/09/tim-raines-lansing/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:37:59 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9669 The Blue Jays’ outfield and baserunning duties are in good hands with roving instructor Tim Raines. The retired outfielder and four-time National League Stolen Base Champion brings his knowledge to the Blue Jays organization and helps players sharpen their skills – specifically in the areas of base running and defensive outfielding. “I really enjoy being [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Fred McGriff and Tim Raines (John Lott)

Fred McGriff and Tim Raines (John Lott)

The Blue Jays’ outfield and baserunning duties are in good hands with roving instructor Tim Raines. The retired outfielder and four-time National League Stolen Base Champion brings his knowledge to the Blue Jays organization and helps players sharpen their skills – specifically in the areas of base running and defensive outfielding.

“I really enjoy being around the players,” explained Raines. “It’s great working with them and to be a small part of their lives. I enjoy all the players in the organization. It’s great helping them; it’s my small way of giving back to baseball all that it has given me in my life. Hopefully all the teaching and encouragement will help them become major league players one day as well.”

Bringing more than just coaching to all the Blue Jays affiliate clubs, Raines prides himself on his experience in the game and willingness to be a role model for the younger players trying to reach the major leagues.

“I’m always there to answer player’s questions,” said Raines.“It’s not like I’m a guy who never played the game. I have over 30 years’ experience between playing and coaching. There isn’t a lot they can ask me that I don’t have an answer to.”

Enjoying every opportunity to mentor the Lugnuts, Raines feels Lansing has a great atmosphere and amazing facilities for a low-A baseball team. “This is a low-A club and the players here never complain about anything. The fans in Lansing are great – especially on Thirsty Thursdays,” Raines said, smiling. “The players compete hard every outing. It’s a great atmosphere for baseball.”

Playing a game with my son was the number one moment of my career

Another aspect Raines enjoys is Lansing’s coaching staff which features two familiar faces from his playing days. “I love hanging out with these guys. John Tamargo is awesome. I played the game against Vince Horsman and Ken Huckaby. It’s a great situation because you know them as players and coaches. I look forward to coming here every time.”

Having spent a lot of time in Canada during his 13 seasons with the Montreal Expos starting in 1979, Raines discusses how baseball has progressed in Canada in the last 35 years.

“Baseball has come a long ways since I began my career with the Expos,” explained Raines. “You’re seeing MVP’s coming out of Canada. When I first started there was Fergie Jenkins, a hall of famer, and a couple other guys from Canada. There’s a lot of talent in their junior baseball program. A lot of Canadians get drafted every year and you’re seeing major league all-stars from Canada all the time. It’s great to see.”

With a long list of accolades in the game of baseball, which includes being a seven time all-star and a three time World Series Champion, the moment that sticks out the most to Raines was playing a game with his son, Tim Jr., with the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.

“Playing a game with my son was the number one moment of my career,” Raines recalls. “It was the most exciting and unexpected moment of my career. It was the biggest joy I could have as both a player and a father. It’s something I never imagined would happen. The Griffeys are the only other father-and-son combo to play in a MLB game together. That moment was very special.”

Spreading his love of the game to all the players in the organization, Raines hopes mentoring will produce a lot of future talent for the Blue Jays.

“Baseball is my life,” said Raines. “I have been involved in the game as a player and a coach every year since I was drafted at 17. I hope all the players that I’ve coached can take the information I gave them and use it towards their career in some way.

“I love baseball.”

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Frank Viola III Developing his Game in Lansinghttp://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/30/frank-viola-iii-lansing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=frank-viola-iii-lansing http://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/30/frank-viola-iii-lansing/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 19:01:39 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9676 The Blue Jays made headlines when they signed knuckleballer Frank Viola III in March. The second generation pitcher is looking for a second shot at pitching in the big leagues after many thought his career was over when a series of injuries sidelined his development in the Chicago White Sox minor league system. Throwing the [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Frank Viola III is learning the art of throwing the kunckleball. (MiLB.com)

Frank Viola III is learning the art of throwing the kunckleball. (MiLB.com)

The Blue Jays made headlines when they signed knuckleballer Frank Viola III in March. The second generation pitcher is looking for a second shot at pitching in the big leagues after many thought his career was over when a series of injuries sidelined his development in the Chicago White Sox minor league system.

Throwing the knuckleball is still relatively new for Viola, but he is appreciating the transition he has made to get a second opportunity in professional baseball.

“Learning the knuckleball is a mental journey,” explained Viola. “It’s still a work in progress, but the organization feels it’s ready to take the next step to test things to see what works and what doesn’t.”

It’s safe to say the transition is working so far in Lansing as Viola is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA and 11 strikeouts through 20 1/3 innings of work with the Lugnuts.

Even though Viola is pitching well in Lansing he’s really enjoying the opportunity to work with the Lugnuts coaching staff. Specifically, he really appreciates the ability to learn from former professional catchers and left-handed pitchers, which makes up the Lugnuts coaching staff. Pitching coach Vince Horsman was a major league lefty, hitting coach Ken Huckaby was a major league catcher, while manager John Tamargo Jr. is a son of a former major league catcher who caught a couple games in the minors himself.

“I love the coaching staff in Lansing. They’re baseball guys,” said Viola. “Catchers are my favorite players to talk to because they know the game better than anybody. They remind me of caddies in golf. I might shake a catcher off once, but never twice because they know what’s happening out there.”

“I really like left-handers too,” he added. “I think that comes from my Dad. I tried throwing left-handed, but never got it down. I consider myself an internal lefty.”

Viola gets a big boost from working with his new teammates. He thrives off of the passion and talent that exists in the Lugnuts clubhouse.

“My teammates are great guys,” stated Viola. “They’re young in their early 20’s which is fine with me. I was their age not too long ago.”

“The talent here really stands out,” he added. “The talent in Lansing is just as good as AA, AAA, and the big leagues. It’s just a matter of finding consistency out of these kids and figuring out what they need to do to move forward. I hope with me being an older guy I can impart some of my wisdom on them to better their games. They’re great kids.”

Knuckleballers are said to be a part of a secret club since nobody else fully understands the pitch and what it takes to throw it with consistency. As such, Viola credits his success on the coaching and advice he has received from R.A. Dickey, Tim Wakefield, and Charlie Hough.

“I wouldn’t have gotten here without the help of Dickey, Wakefield and Hough,” he said. “The knuckleballers are in a fraternity, because we’re the only ones that understand the success and failures of the pitch. It’s a very hard thing to do; because you’re throwing one pitch you’re not fooling anybody they know what pitch is coming to them. I’m just looking for consistency.”

Inspired to be a pitcher from his father Frank, the younger Viola is looking to take the best parts of his father’s 421-game big league career and insert his best parts to make the best version of himself.

“My dad was a major influence on my career,” Viola said, smiling. “I think every boy wants to be like their father and in my case it’s pretty damn hard. My dad was always a great influence and my hero growing up. I accept the fact I will never be quite like him, but I can be the best me I can be. I’m trying to take his best parts being my father and combine them with my best parts and be the best I can be.”

Enjoying the opportunity to help Viola out, Lansing Lugnuts pitching coach Vince Horsman is enjoying the opportunity to coach a knuckleballer and impart the knowledge he has on the pitch from being around the game a long time.

“I’m going on what Frank says,” explained Horsman. “Working with a knuckleball guy is harder, because there are not a lot of them around. I’m using information from him and from other knuckleballers like Tom Candiotti, who was a teammate of mine, and from watching Tim Wakefield pitch to figure out the dynamics.  I’m helping with the mental side of the game as he needs to adhere to the mechanics of pitching. The knuckleball is a feel pitch and a very unpredictable pitch. Frank is still new to it, but he’s doing well throwing the pitch and I’m doing well coaching a kid who can throw it. It’s been a good experience.”

Watch for Frank Viola III as he continues to develop the knuckleball and work his way up the Blue Jays minor league ladder.

 

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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50th Midwest League All-Star Game Previewhttp://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/12/lansing-lugnut-midwest-league-all-star-game/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lansing-lugnut-midwest-league-all-star-game http://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/12/lansing-lugnut-midwest-league-all-star-game/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 22:21:22 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9641 The Midwest League will hold their annual All Star Game at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan on Tuesday, June 17th. This game is always special for the selected prospects, but this year’s game has a little more appeal, as it’s the 50th anniversary of the event. As usual, the Lansing Lugnuts are well-represented in [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Midwest League All-Star Game.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Midwest League All-Star Game.

The Midwest League will hold their annual All Star Game at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan on Tuesday, June 17th. This game is always special for the selected prospects, but this year’s game has a little more appeal, as it’s the 50th anniversary of the event.

As usual, the Lansing Lugnuts are well-represented in the game. The Lugnuts are sending four of their best players to represent the Blue Jays organization. Participating are: First baseman Matt Dean, third baseman Mitch Nay, outfielder Derrick Loveless, and left-handed pitcher Griffin Murphy.

While the Lugnuts could arguably have more all-stars, manager John Tamargo Jr. is excited for the group of young players that will represent the Lugnuts on the 17th.

“The managers did an excellent job picking the all-star rosters,” explained Tamargo. “All four of the guys selected are having great seasons. I personally congratulated all four of them and there were probably a few more deserving guys, but there are only so many spots on the team and we are well represented.”

Matt Dean

Matt Dean (Kevin W. Fowler / Lansing State Journal)

Matt Dean will be the starting first baseman for the East squad. Being named an all-star was a huge honor for the Texas native who just started playing first base professionally last season.

“Being named a Midwest League All-Star is big,” explained Dean. “To be considered one of the top guys in the league was exciting. I feel very blessed for the opportunity.”

“I’m very excited to be the starting first baseman,” he added. “It just shows you that the work you put in every day will help you get rewarded in the end.”

Dean is batting .311 with 12 doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 21 RBIs in the Midwest League. While Dean has the numbers to be honored as an all-star he didn’t expect it because he had an injury earlier in the season.

“I was surprised when I was named an all-star,” explained Dean. “I missed a couple weeks in the first half, so I thought that would hurt my chances, but Mitch Nay came up to me and told me I made the team. It was a little surprising, but well-deserved in my opinion.”

The area Dean enjoys most about being an all-star is the opportunity to share the moment with his parents and sister who were coming up to spend time with him over the break.

“My parents and little sister are coming to the game,” Dean said with a smile. “They already planned on coming up for the all-star break, but since I’m playing in the game. They’ll get a chance to see me play. I’m really excited about that.”

Mitch Nay

Mitch Nay (Justin Rinaldi/Rinaldi Photos)

Mitch Nay will be the starting third baseman for the East team. While quietly piecing together an excellent first half of the season, Nay is showing signs of why he’s the Blue Jays top third base prospect.

Batting .278 with 11 doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 34 RBIs in the Midwest League, Nay is humbled by the honor and looking forward to his first all-star game.

“Being named a Midwest League all-star is exciting,” Nay said, smiling. “There are a lot of good guys in this league and I’m honored to be considered one of them. It’ll be my first all-star game and I’m looking forward to the festivities.”

Nay is also looking forward to sharing the moment with three of his teammates. Nay feels all the players on the Lugnuts’ get along great and he’s excited to share the moment with three of his friends.

“It’s going to be really cool, playing with three of my teammates,” Nay said. “It’s always great playing with familiar faces. I have been playing the game with Matt Dean and Derrick Loveless for a couple years now. It’s my first season playing the game with Griffin Murphy, but it’ll be fun having them there with me. They’re all great guys and I’m really looking forward to it!”

Manager John Tamargo Jr. is proud of the first half play of Matt Dean and Mitch Nay.

“It’s a testament to those guys hard work,” stated Tamargo. “They both had great first halves and they deserve all the credit for this honor. They’re both great players with high ceilings. We just want them to get at-bats so they can continue to move up in the future.”

LHP Griffin Murphy (Patrick Kerwin/Flickr)

LHP Griffin Murphy (Patrick Kerwin/Flickr)

Left-handed reliever Griffin Murphy will be part of the East’s pitching corps. A second year Lugnut that transitioned to closer in 2014, Murphy is showing the signs of why he was a coveted prospect when he was drafted four years ago.

“Being a Midwest League all-star means a lot,” explained Murphy. “It’s a recognition of the things I’ve accomplished this far in the season. I’m really proud and grateful that the Midwest League wanted me on the team.”

Murphy is 2-2 with a 1.80 ERA, 40 strikeouts, and 10 saves through 29 innings of work. Enjoying the transition Murphy made in 2014, Manager John Tamargo talks about Murphy’s transition and why being a closer is an excellent fit for him.

“I really like Murphy closing games,” explained Tamargo. “Murphy’s pitches are a lot better this season. He has the temperament in the 9th inning to handle that role. It’s an excellent fit for him moving forward.”

The left-hander is excited that he will be participating in the 50th annual Midwest League All-Star Game, as he feels an anniversary game adds a little more appeal and it’s broadcasted through the MiLB website which will give his parents an opportunity to catch the action.

“Being the 50th is a cool deal,” stated Murphy. “In an anniversary game the stage is a little bit bigger and it’s very cool it’s at West Michigan’s home stadium. It’s a great venue.”

“I’m also excited about the MiLB broadcast,” he added. “My parents cannot make it to the game on short notice, because they both have busy schedules. The online broadcast will make it available for them to see the action.”

Derrick Loveless Justin (Rinaldi/Rinaldi Photos)

Derrick Loveless Justin (Rinaldi/Rinaldi Photos)

Outfielder Derrick Loveless was added as a reserve player. Being named an all-star was an unexpected moment for Loveless, but he’s very honored by the selection.

“I was humbled when I found out I was an all-star,” explained Loveless. “I didn’t honestly expect it at the beginning of the year. There are a lot of great players in this league and to be on the list is an amazing feeling.”

“When I first found out I thought they were playing a joke on me,” he added, “I felt I had a pretty good first half. I felt my play was decent enough to help my team win games, but I wasn’t expecting to be named an all-star, but I’m very excited and honored to be on the roster.”

Batting .262 with nine doubles, three triples, a home run, and 24 RBIs throughout the first half of his Midwest League season, Loveless caught the eyes of the opposing managers who made sure he was part of the all-star team.

“I’m not surprised Derrick Loveless made the team,” explained Tamargo. “I’m not sure if his name was on the all-star ballot when it first came out, but he really heated up and the other managers saw that. It’s a well-deserved honor for Loveless.”

Be sure to catch your Lansing Lugnuts’ all-stars on June 17th. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM EST.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Class of ’12 Blue Jays Draft Share Experienceshttp://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/08/blue-jays-2012-draft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blue-jays-2012-draft http://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/08/blue-jays-2012-draft/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 23:16:11 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9629 Being selected by a major league organization is the ultimate goal for any baseball player. Every June, over a thousand high school and college players get selected by MLB franchises for a chance to play minor league baseball with the hopes of making it to the major league one day. The moment is special for [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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D.J. Davis

D.J. Davis in fielding practice. (Toronto Observer)

Being selected by a major league organization is the ultimate goal for any baseball player. Every June, over a thousand high school and college players get selected by MLB franchises for a chance to play minor league baseball with the hopes of making it to the major league one day.

The moment is special for the player and their families, but every player has a different experience throughout the process. A few members of the Toronto Blue Jays draft class of 2012 highlighted their draft experience from two years ago.

OF D.J. Davis, 1st round (17th overall) out of Stone County High School in Mississippi:

“It was exciting to get drafted, especially in the first round,” stated Davis. “A lot of teams showed interest in me, but the Blue Jays showed more interest, so I had a feeling they were going to pick me and they did.”

 

3B Mitch Nay, Supplemental 1st round (58th overall) out of Hamilton High School in Arizona:

“My draft day experience was a lot of fun,” stated Nay. “I was really happy to get an opportunity to play professional baseball. Getting the opportunity right after four years of high school baseball with my buddies was special.”

 

RHP Chase De Jong, 2nd round (81st overall) out of Woodrow  Wilson High School in California:

“My draft process was very hectic,” De Jong recalls. “I had a lot of people saying were I was supposed to go, but once the Blue Jays picked me it was a huge burden off my shoulders. The first thing I did was hug my mom. I will never forget that moment.”

“I was contacted by all 30 teams and 27 of them visited me at my house,” stated De Jong. “It definitely made my senior year of high school fun and not everybody gets to experience something like that.”

 

OF Ian Parmley, 7th round (235th overall) out of Liberty University:

“I was excited when I found out Toronto drafted me,” Parmley recalls. “I really just wanted to continue playing after college and I really appreciate the Blue Jays giving me a shot to play professional baseball.”

 

LHP Shane Dawson, 17th round (535th overall) out of Lethbridge Community College:

“My draft experience was really good,” explained Dawson. “I was definitely ready to sign with an organization at that point, so I was definitely locked in the whole time waiting for my name to get called.”

 

LHP Alonzo Gonzalez, 18th round (565th overall) out of Glendale Community College:

“Being drafted by Toronto was a dream come true,” stated Gonzalez. “Ever since I was a little kid I knew I wanted to play professional baseball, so when I got that call it just made all the hard work and sacrifice worth it at that moment.”

 

SS Jorge Flores, 19th round (595th overall) out of Central Arizona College:

“Being drafted by Toronto was exciting and a little surprising,” explained Flores. “Talking to a lot of organizations throughout the process, I had no idea which team was going to pick me. Once I got that call, I remember being really excited and ready to begin my professional career.”

 

LHP Colton Turner, 21st round (655th overall) out of Texas State University:

“I was super excited to be drafted by Toronto,” stated Turner. “My whole family was there when I got drafted which made it even better. It was a great experience.”

 

SS Jason Leblebijian, 25th round (775th overall) out of Bradley University:

“Being drafted by Toronto was unexpected. I didn’t hear a lot from them, but I’ve always heard good things about their organization and farm system,” Leblebijian said. “The overall draft experience was amazing, it was everything I had expected and more from playing baseball every day.”

 

C Jorge Saez, 32nd round (985th overall) out of Lee University:

“I was between going to summer ball or waiting for the call,” stated Saez. “I couldn’t wait anymore, so I went to the pool. I don’t think my phone was down for even five minutes, but when I returned to it, I had so many messages of congratulations. I jumped high into the air and was incredibly excited. I couldn’t wait to get started.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Blue Jays 2013 Draftees Highlight Their MLB Draft Experienceshttp://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/06/mlb-draft-blue-jays/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mlb-draft-blue-jays http://jaysprospects.com/2014/06/06/mlb-draft-blue-jays/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 19:17:17 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=9540 Being selected by a major league organization in the MLB draft is the ultimate goal for any baseball player. Every June, over a thousand high school and college players get selected by MLB franchises for a chance to play minor league baseball with the hopes of making it to the major league one day. The [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

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Matt Boyd is currently with the Dunedin Blue Jays (Advanced A) (Jim Goins Photography)

Matt Boyd is currently with the Dunedin Blue Jays (Advanced A) (Jim Goins Photography)

Being selected by a major league organization in the MLB draft is the ultimate goal for any baseball player. Every June, over a thousand high school and college players get selected by MLB franchises for a chance to play minor league baseball with the hopes of making it to the major league one day.

The moment is special for the player and their families, but every player has a different experience throughout the process. A few members of the Toronto Blue Jays draft class of 2013 highlighted their draft experience from a year ago.

LHP Matt Boyd, 6th round (175th overall) out of Oregon State University:

“Being drafted by Toronto was a dream come true,” stated Boyd. “I felt blessed that a great organization like the Blue Jays believed in my ability, as much as they did.”

 

RHP Kendall Graveman, 8th round (235th overall) out of Mississippi State University:

“It was an exciting time to get a call from a major league club like Toronto and for them to think so highly of me,” Graveman said. “To pick me where they did was an honor.”

 

LHP Chad Girodo, 9th round (265th overall) out of Mississippi State University:

“Being drafted was a big surprise. I had no idea I was going to go in the 9th round,” stated Girodo. “I really had no idea when I was going to go specifically, but it was a very happy time for sure. I was excited to start pitching with the Blue Jays!”

 

1B L.B. Dantzler, 14th round (415th overall) out of the University of South Carolina:

“I was playing in a college super regional when the Blue Jays selected me,” Dantzler recalls. “I was on deck and a fan yelled I hope you have a passport. I figured I was drafted, so I had one of my teammates check his phone and sure enough Toronto picked me. It was a cool experience.”

 

OF Chaz Frank, 20th round (595th overall) out of the University of North Carolina:

“My draft experience was awesome,” stated Frank. “I was actually playing in the super regional against L.B. Dantzler’s South Carolina team. I came off the field, not knowing I was drafted. One of my buddies came up to me and said congratulations you’ve been selected by the Blue Jays. It was a humbling experience for sure.”

 

LHP Scott Silverstein, 25th round (745th overall) out of the University of Virginia:

“I was really excited when I found out I was drafted by Toronto,” Silverstein recalls. “It validated everything I’ve worked on my whole life and it was a dream come true. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity the Blue Jays presented me.”

 

LHP Matt Dermody, 28th round (835th overall) out of the University of Iowa:

“My draft experience was good,” stated Dermody. “I just finished up my senior season at Iowa and I was selected by the Blue Jays. It was a great experience.”

 

RHP Garrett Pickens, 29th round (865th overall) out of Delta State University:

“My draft experience was awesome,” stated Pickens. “I was just sitting around waiting for the call. The Blue Jays called me in the 29th round saying they were going to pick me. It was an awesome experience.”

Author information

Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford is currently in his third season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. Feel free to connect with Brian on Twitter @CrawDaddy222.

The post Blue Jays 2013 Draftees Highlight Their MLB Draft Experiences appeared first on JaysProspects.

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