JaysProspects http://jaysprospects.com A Blog of Toronto Blue Jays Prospects Interviews, Evaluations and News Tue, 25 Aug 2015 16:38:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Ryan McBroom Named Midwest League MVPhttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/08/25/ryan-mcbroom-named-midwest-league-mvp/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/08/25/ryan-mcbroom-named-midwest-league-mvp/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:51:13 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10186 The Lansing Lugnuts had a memorable season. After clinching a playoff berth in the first half of the season. The Lugnuts have continued to find success as players have been promoted and traded throughout the second half of play. Despite all these changes, the team still finds ways to win ball games. On Monday the [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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Ryan McBroom's 38 doubles and 11 home runs led him to Midwest League MVP honors. (MiLB.com)

Ryan McBroom’s 38 doubles and 11 home runs led him to Midwest League MVP honors. (Kyle Castle/MiLB.com)

The Lansing Lugnuts had a memorable season. After clinching a playoff berth in the first half of the season. The Lugnuts have continued to find success as players have been promoted and traded throughout the second half of play. Despite all these changes, the team still finds ways to win ball games.

On Monday the team was recognized again, but this time it was in an individual way as the Midwest League named first baseman Ryan McBroom league MVP. This is a tremendous honor for the 23-year old prospect that’s having a remarkable season in his first full year.

Carrying a .323/.394/.496 slash line is just the beginning of what McBroom has accomplished all season at the plate. Registering 136 hits on the year, which included a league leading 38 doubles, a triple, and 11 home runs; McBroom has continued to showcase the kind of power you like to see from a corner infielder.

The Virginia native also leads the league in batting average and is second in OBP to his Lugnuts’ teammate Chris Carlson. The prospect is also second in slugging percentage behind Lake County’s (Cleveland Indians low-A affiliate) Bobby Bradley who slightly edged McBroom out in the RBI department as well.

While many fans expected big things from McBroom in April after he was announced on the Lansing Lugnuts’ opening day roster not many saw this coming from the former 15th round pick. For McBroom he was just happy to be on a full season club which was his goal entering spring camp.

“It was an exciting time for both my family and I when I found out I was coming to Lansing,” said McBroom. “It felt great to get out of spring training and be able to perform for a club. It was especially nice to get sent to Lansing, as the team receives a lot of fan support. There are always great crowds every night and it has been great representing the Blue Jays organization here all season.”

Obviously coaching plays a major role in a season like McBroom has had in 2015. Explaining what he’s liked about working with the prospect Lansing Lugnuts’ hitting coach Kenny Graham has nothing but respect for the way McBroom handles his at-bats every outing.

“Ryan McBroom looked good out there all year,” said Graham. “Ryan is an older guy in our lineup as he went through college ball. But he fit right in here from the start. We had high expectations for Ryan after he had a big year in Vancouver a year ago. Ryan has handled the expectations well as he has good at-bats every outing.”

But to get the most out of the coaching the player must first be willing to buy into the process. McBroom did just that in 2015 and the mentoring he received from Kenny Graham only solidified the kind of potential that McBroom has moving forward.

“Kenny is great because he doesn’t mess with my swing too much,” explained McBroom. “Kenny wants me to do what’s best for me and my career. He facilitates the process which is something I really like. He helps me out every day and it’s pretty cool working with him.”

While his rise to the major leagues might still be a few years away, it’s obvious Blue Jays fans should keep their eyes on this prospect in the upcoming seasons as he has all the tools to be a major league talent one day.

Until then fans can savor this accomplishment knowing there’s more to come from Ryan McBroom.

 

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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Look Who’s “Roemon” In The Outfieldhttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/08/14/look-whos-roemon-in-the-outfield/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/08/14/look-whos-roemon-in-the-outfield/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 23:47:23 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10175 Roemon Fields is a talented young player with an unbelievable story. In a matter of two years, Fields has gone from working as a post office employee to playing professionally on the diamond with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Double-A.

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Patrick Cavanaugh

Patrick Cavanaugh

Patrick Cavanaugh is a 16-year-old sports journalist, covering the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for Jays Prospects. He is also the Voice of the Laconia Muskrats, one of the twelve teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He spends his summer traveling all over New England to call the 42 game schedule. Patrick has covered the Fisher Cats for various outlets since 2010. Follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.

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Roemon Fields began the 2015 season with Dunedin. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

Roemon Fields began the 2015 season with Dunedin. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

(MANCHESTER)—Playing for the love of the game. When all else fails after college, and it looks like the end of the road for an aspiring major league baseball player, it’s time to fall in with the rest of society and baseball turns strictly to a weekend hobby. The story of Roemon Fields is one of drive, dedication, and a passion for the game of America’s pastime.

(Headshot courtesy of MiLB.com)

(Headshot courtesy of MiLB.com)

Roemon Fields is a young baseball player with a unique story. He did not blow away scouts while in high-school, did not get a straight-shot to professional baseball, and as a matter of fact, he was not even drafted after he finished his college career at Bethany College in Kansas. When all hope seemed lost for the Washington native, he returned home to Seattle, where he worked for the post office.

“I thought it was the end,” said Fields. “I wasn’t going to be lazy, so I went home and searched for a good career opportunity.”

Fields had settled into a new lifestyle, but his journey took an unexpected turn when he decided to play in local five-day tournament, strictly because he had a strong passion for baseball, and wanted to remain active.

“I wasn’t hoping for anything,” Fields recalled. “I was just playing to be playing, and wasn’t thinking much of it.”

After performing well in front of scouts during the tournament, Roemon Fields was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as a non-drafted free agent on August 27, 2013, nearly two years ago to the date. This “turning-point moment” in Fields’ life was only the beginning of his inspirational adventure.

The Seattle resident began his professional career and raised eyebrows immediately in the Northwest League (short season) with the Vancouver Canadians in 2014. In 72 games played, Fields collected 79 hits, 26 RBI, and stole an impressive 48 bases. It was no surprise to see him begin the 2015 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays (A+), before he got the call up to New Hampshire with the Fisher Cats (AA).

“He’s a man on a mission,” said Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham. “This is just a stopover, and he’s hopefully on his way to bigger and better things.”

Just recently, Fields spent a six-game stint with the Buffalo Bisons (AAA) before returning back to “the Granite State.” In that short stretch, the speedy centerfielder picked up 5 hits and 1 RBI in 23 at-bats.

“Performance on the field determines where these guys go,” Meacham concluded. “If you’re better than everyone else on the field, you move ahead of them, and that’s what (Fields) has done.”

When you combine Fields’ talent with his passion for the game, you get a motivated outfielder that shows up and gives it his all each and every day. His life story is movie gold. Roemon’s advice to rising players who face the same struggles as he did suggest that some of the answers to life’s bigger decisions lie in the hands of a higher power.

“Pursue (your dream) if you really want it,” said Fields. “If it doesn’t work out, then God has another plan for you.”

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Patrick Cavanaugh
Patrick Cavanaugh
Patrick Cavanaugh is a 16-year-old sports journalist, covering the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for Jays Prospects. He is also the Voice of the Laconia Muskrats, one of the twelve teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He spends his summer traveling all over New England to call the 42 game schedule. Patrick has covered the Fisher Cats for various outlets since 2010. Follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.

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Fisher Cats Feature: Conner Greenehttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/08/13/conner-greene/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/08/13/conner-greene/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 00:42:37 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10164 Blue Jays prospect Conner Greene was recently promoted from the Dunedin Blue Jays to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats,
and is expected to contribute is a positive manner as the Fishers begin to wrap up their 2015 season.

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Patrick Cavanaugh

Patrick Cavanaugh

Patrick Cavanaugh is a 16-year-old sports journalist, covering the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for Jays Prospects. He is also the Voice of the Laconia Muskrats, one of the twelve teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He spends his summer traveling all over New England to call the 42 game schedule. Patrick has covered the Fisher Cats for various outlets since 2010. Follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.

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Conner Greene spent time in Dunedin earlier in 2015. (Jim Goins/Dunedin Blue Jays)

Conner Greene spent time in Dunedin earlier in 2015. (Jim Goins/Dunedin Blue Jays)

(MANCHESTER)—It’s another case in which a young pitcher emerges from the darkness of the tunnel, and into the sunny dugout. All eyes are on him as he makes his first Double-A start, and quality outings are just what he needs to put him one closer to dream of making it to the big leagues.

Conner Greene is the Toronto Blue Jays #9 Top Prospect. (connergreene.com)

Conner Greene is the Toronto Blue Jays #9 Top Prospect. (connergreene.com)

Conner Greene, who is just 20 years old, was recently promoted from the Dunedin Blue Jays (A+) to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA) and is expected to contribute is a positive manner as the Fishers begin to wrap up their 2015 season. The right-handed hurler is ranked as the Blue Jays #9 prospect, and numerous scouting reports scream praise about his athletic performance and dominant fastball, but also note that he is still young and needs to iron out several kinks.

“The Blue Jays thought enough of him to move him up to this level after seeing what he could do over the past month,” said Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham. “I think the idea is to get him here, see what he can do, and test if he is mature enough to excel at this level.”

The beginning of his professional dates back to 2013. After being selected by the Blue Jays in the 7th round of the 2013 draft, he was assigned to Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, Toronto’s Rookie level affiliate. In his first two seasons (’13 and ’14), he pitched well, splitting his time with the GCL Blue Jays as well the Bluefield Blue Jays in the Appalachian League. Greene started this 2015 season with the Lansing, but had made quick work through the system, advancing to Dunedin, and he has now been in “the Granite State” with the Double-A club for a couple of days now.

Greene took the hill for the first time in New Hampshire on Thursday night. Going into the game, the Fisher Cats were hoping to snap a four-game losing streak and win at least the final game of the three-game series with the inter-division rival Akron RubberDucks. He had high expectations, as he was coming off a career-best start with Dunedin, in which he threw seven innings

(MiLB.com)

(Headshot courtesy of MiLB.com)

and struck out a new personal best of ten Daytona hitters. According to the skipper, there wasn’t much to say to the newcomer as he prepared for his first Double-A start.

“I don’t give him too much,” said Meacham. “I just gave him basic information about the other team, and he watched the first couple of games (of this series) and familiarized himself with what he’d have to face.”

In his Fisher Cats debut, the California native, had pitched exceptional outing. He threw six scoreless innings, gave up just three hits, walked three, and fanned one Akron hitter.

While his next start has yet to be officially announced, Greene will most likely take the hill for New Hampshire on the road next week against Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) on the road.

FIELD LIGHTS AND SPOTLIGHTS: Aside from skills out on the pitcher’s mound, Conner Greene is a model and an actor. He has starred in several commercials, and even appeared on an episode of FX series “Anger Management,” which stars Charlie Sheen, who also attended Greene’s alma mater, Santa Monica High School. His list of television and film work can be found on his IMDB profile.

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Patrick Cavanaugh
Patrick Cavanaugh
Patrick Cavanaugh is a 16-year-old sports journalist, covering the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for Jays Prospects. He is also the Voice of the Laconia Muskrats, one of the twelve teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He spends his summer traveling all over New England to call the 42 game schedule. Patrick has covered the Fisher Cats for various outlets since 2010. Follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.

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Repetition Helping D.J. Davis FInd Successhttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/07/19/repetition-helping-d-j-davis-find-success/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/07/19/repetition-helping-d-j-davis-find-success/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 03:43:56 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10135 Repeating a level in the minor leagues was never what Toronto Blue Jays’ outfield prospect D.J. Davis wanted to do. However, there can be some definite advantages to performing at the same level for a second season that can pay dividends down the road. The Toronto Blue Jays assigned Davis back to the low-A Lansing [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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D.J. Davis

D.J. Davis is finding success by repeating a year with the Lansing Lugnuts. (MiLB.com)

Repeating a level in the minor leagues was never what Toronto Blue Jays’ outfield prospect D.J. Davis wanted to do. However, there can be some definite advantages to performing at the same level for a second season that can pay dividends down the road.

The Toronto Blue Jays assigned Davis back to the low-A Lansing Lugnuts for the 2015 season in hopes that he can improve on both sides of the ball after a subpar 2014 in the Midwest League.

Fortunately, 2015 has been completely different.

So far this season, Davis is improving in the right areas in his second go-round in Lansing. A major issue with the former first round pick in 2014 was how much he struck out in the batter’s box, striking out 167 times in 494 at-bats. But this season he has only struck out 77 times in 333 at-bats, working an impressive 10 percent drop in his strikeout/at-bat ratio.

A major component to this success is the fact that Davis has refined his approach at the plate. In previous seasons, his approach was basically stepping into the batter’s box and swinging. The Blue Jays and Davis have found an approach that fits what the young prospect is trying to achieve with his career.

“I’ve developed more of an approach at the plate,” explained Davis. “I’m seeing all of the pitches way better than I did in my previous seasons of pro ball.”

Another major improvement is his base stealing. Known for his athleticism, Davis had trouble finding consistency on the bases last season as well, only successfully stealing 19 bases in 39 attempts in 2014. It was obvious that the young prospect was going to have to find a way to use his plus speed more to his advantage to continue to climb the ladder.

Getting better reads on when to go and when to stay back this season, Davis has successfully stolen 13 bases in 21 attempts. While there’s still some room for improvement moving forward it’s a great sign seeing the young prospect developing his speed more.

All of this hard work is showing in Davis as he has improved his slash line to .282/.336/.390 this season compared to just .213/.268/.313 a year ago. These improvements are largely in part to Davis learning how to handle hitting off-speed pitches better.

“I’m getting way better at hitting off-speed pitches,” stated Davis. “You just have to see them and make sure to not chase balls out of the zone. That’s something I have worked on this past off-season and I’m continuing to work on it daily.”

Impressed with the way Davis has handled himself in his second season in the Midwest League Lansing Lugnuts’ hitting coach Kenny Graham has nothing but appreciation for the way Davis competes every at-bat and helps his team win ball games.

“D.J. has been great,” said Graham. “Since the first few series of the year D.J. has continued to have great at-bats for us. D.J. has drawn some walks in key situations and got some big hits that have really helped the team out. D.J. has got some RBIs late in games that helped us go up in the game, or get the score closer for us. D.J. has very competitive at-bats every time as he’s still working on being consistent. For the most part he’s done that this season. It’s good to see him getting better.”

While Davis has improved leaps-and-bounds offensively you cannot overlook what he’s doing defensively either. With the emergence of Dalton Pompey and Anthony Alford, Davis is not viewed as high on the Blue Jays centerfield depth chart so the organization is having him take reps at the corner outfield spots as well.

Playing his best defense in left-field, Davis has yet to commit an error at that position in 31 fielding opportunities. Having also made a strong outfield assist in left, there’s a chance that Davis could continue to develop there at higher levels of play.

Committing just nine errors between the three outfield positions this season, Davis is carrying a .945 fielding percentage, while picking up three outfield assists. The young prospect has also taken part in a double play this season as he put his strong arm on display nabbing a runner trying to tag up on a fly ball.

“My defense has got a lot better,” said Davis. “The biggest difference is I’m playing all three outfield positions now and it’s great seeing the outfield from every angle.”

Some fans might have jumped ship on this prospect prematurely as Davis was viewed as a five year project player when he was drafted back in 2012. Now in his fourth season of professional baseball, fans are starting to see the kind of potential the organization saw in Davis on draft day; if he can continue to develop the way he has this season, there’s still a good chance that Davis could make it to the Rogers Centre one day.

Until then, we just wait to see Davis improve every day.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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Meet Your 2015 Lansing Lugnuts’ All-Starshttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/06/23/meet-2015-lansing-lugnuts-stars/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/06/23/meet-2015-lansing-lugnuts-stars/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:42:03 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10107 The Midwest League will hold their annual all-star game at O’Brien Field in Peoria, Illinois on June 23rd. This game is always exciting for fans of big prospects as the Midwest League has a long history of developing promising young players into major league stars and this talent will be on full display during this [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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Midwest League All-Star Game logo

The 2015 Midwest League All-Star game is on June 23rd at 8pm.

The Midwest League will hold their annual all-star game at O’Brien Field in Peoria, Illinois on June 23rd. This game is always exciting for fans of big prospects as the Midwest League has a long history of developing promising young players into major league stars and this talent will be on full display during this game.

Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays will definitely want to pay close attention to this game as the organization will be represented by five up-and-coming stars that could one day be playing at the Rogers Centre. Of the five Lugnuts’ to take part in this prestigious event, three of them will be in the starting lineup, which is a great sign for the organization moving forward.

Starting for the East squad will be: first baseman Rowdy Tellez, outfielder Anthony Alford, and designated hitter Ryan McBroom. Also representing the Lugnuts’ will be shortstop Richard Urena and left-handed pitcher Shane Dawson.

Proud of the accomplishments of his players, Lansing Lugnuts’ manager Ken Huckaby is excited for the guys that were selected by the Midwest League managers to represent the Blue Jays organization in Peoria on June 23rd.

“I think the managers got it right,” said Huckaby. “The guys that will represent us all deserve this honor. I feel the managers did a good job at picking the teams.”

Obviously receiving the news that you’re an all-star is a very special moment that the players will remember forever as it’s a unique experience that only a select few players get to accomplish at any level of play.

While it’s an individual honor to be part of this team, first baseman Rowdy Tellez wants to give full credit to his teammates for helping him achieve this distinction. Currently leading the team in RBIs with 49, the California native understands he couldn’t have achieved this stat without the players around him reaching base frequently so he can bring them home with a hard hit ball.

“Being named a Midwest League all-star is something that is cool and really special,” stated Tellez. “Being an all-star is something that everybody wants to achieve during the season. I’m looking forward to the experience.”

“It’s really cool being the starting first baseman,” Tellez added. “I just want to thank my coaches and teammates for helping me get this far.”

But Tellez’s game is more than just RBIs as he also has 19 doubles and seven home runs on the season. Carrying a .296/.351/.444 slash line throughout his first half of play, Tellez is turning heads daily and has a very bright future moving forward.

The biggest question mark in Tellez’s game when he entered professional baseball was his defensive ability. This is an area he is working hard on this season as he is getting the most reps at first and has done a respectable job. Committing just six errors so far this season, while takien part in 35 double plays, and assisting on another 35 plays is showing the progression the 20-year old is making at his position.

A major story of the 2014 off-season was the news of Anthony Alford giving up football to pursue baseball full time. That was news Blue Jays fans wanted to hear since his 3rd round selection back in 2012 and many wondered how the speedy outfielder would fare with a full season workload.

Alford has handled the transition very well as the prospect leads the Lugnuts’ in walks with 39, which has been a tremendous component to his.418 OBP and his league leading 49 runs scored. It’s evident that Alford made the right decision to focus primarily on his baseball career.

Honored by his selection, Alford is looking forward to sharing his moment with family and friends that have supported him through all of his endeavors. Although the trip from Mississippi to Illinois is long, it’s something his loved ones will do gladly to support this humble young man.

“Being a Midwest League all-star means a lot,” said Alford. “It means a lot personally being my first full season. But I take it more as a team accomplishment, because if it wasn’t for my teammates picking me up when I’m down I wouldn’t have achieved this honor. They have helped me find success all season.”

Alford added. “My parents and siblings will most likely make the trip to Peoria. I think my high school baseball coach and high school football coach might make the trip. I’ll most likely have friends there supporting me. My wife’s parents are going to try and make it and my wife will definitely be there. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody and I’m thankful for their support.”

Relegated to more of a designated hitting role in Lansing Ryan McBroom is continuing to show the same promise at the plate as he did last season in Vancouver. Carrying an impressive .330/.405/.478 slash line through his first half of play where he has a team leading 23 doubles.

Seeing less action at first base this year due to the fact that Rowdy Tellez is at the same level and one of the two was needed to DH more to keep both power bats in the lineup. This pick was an easy one for the organization as McBroom is already an excellent defender and can get away with fewer days at his natural position.

Committing just one error at first base this season in 141 chances, McBroom has taken part in 14 double plays and has assisted on another six in 20 games at first. The organization has also started to give McBroom some reps in left-field to keep the prospects defensive skills crisp and that change has worked out very well as he is 22-for-22 on his chances in the outfield.

Excited to be taking part in his second all-star game in just two seasons of professional baseball, the young prospect is really looking forward to getting out to Peoria to take in all the festivities that an all-star event brings to the table.

“Being named a Midwest League all-star means a lot. I’m really looking forward to representing this Lugnuts team and the Blue Jays organization as well,” said McBroom. “I’m excited to be sharing this moment with four of my teammates. I’m very proud of their accomplishments as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“I’m really looking forward to spending time with my teammates and meeting the guys from the other teams,” McBroom added. “All-star games are always fun and I’m really looking forward to getting out to Peoria to have some fun the couple days I’m there.”

Shortstop Richard Urena was added as a reserve player one day after the initial all-star roster was announced. Many fans were shocked that Urena wasn’t picked initially as he’s having a specular season in the Midwest League. But once the league received word that Tampa Bay Rays prospect Coty Blanchard was unable to participate they knew right away who they wanted to fill that void. Contacting Lansing quickly to see if Urena would be interested in taking Blanchard’s spot on the roster and it took the Dominican Republic native little time to say yes.

“I was extremely excited when I found out I was added to the Midwest League all-star team,” stated Urena. “I was surprised when they added me. But being named an all-star was one of my goals prior to the season. It’s something I mentally train for every day.”

Carrying a .271/.293/.450 slash line in Lansing; Urena currently leads all Lugnuts’ in home runs with 11 and he’s second to only Rowdy Tellez in RBIs with 46. But the young prospect is more than just a great bat he’s also an above-average defender who has committed just 10 errors through his first half, while taken part in 26 double plays, and assisting on another 126.

Selecting just one pitcher from the Lugnuts’ the Midwest League went with lefty Shane Dawson, a second year Lugnut that’s turning a lot of heads with his phenomenal play. Currently 9-4 with a 3.16 ERA and 68 strikeouts in his 74 innings; Dawson has shown excellent command in his 14 appearances this season as he is currently maintaining an impressive 1.23 WHIP.

While a second season in Lansing wasn’t what Dawson had in mind when he entered spring camp. He has taken his assignment in stride and has been a consistent arm in the Lugnuts’ rotation all season. Humbled by his selection, Dawson admits that a lot of his early success can be contributed to the excellent defenders behind him every outing.

“I came to Lansing this year with an opportunity to build of what I did here last year,” explained Dawson. “I feel I have done that and the all-star nod proves that as well. I’m just hoping I can keep it going for the rest of the year.”

“I’m very thankful for my teammates because without them I wouldn’t have achieved this honor as they have saved a couple runs for me with excellent defensive plays all year,” Dawson added. “But I’m very happy about the honor and I hope I can continue to be an all-star moving forward.”

Be sure to tune in to the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 23rd at 8:00 PM EST

Author information

Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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Interview: Blue Jays’ 2015 draftee Marrick Crousehttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/06/15/interview-blue-jays-2015-draftee-marrick-crouse/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/06/15/interview-blue-jays-2015-draftee-marrick-crouse/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 03:47:11 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10105 Focusing on the big talent in the 11th round of the 2015 draft, the Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher Marrick Crouse out of Dana Hills High School in California. Some people were probably surprised that Crouse was still on the board at that point of the draft as the 6’3 righty already has the ability [...]

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Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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Marrick Crouse

Marrick Crouse was selected in the 11th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2015 MLB Draft. (KDahlgren Photography/Dana Point Times)

Focusing on the big talent in the 11th round of the 2015 draft, the Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher Marrick Crouse out of Dana Hills High School in California. Some people were probably surprised that Crouse was still on the board at that point of the draft as the 6’3 righty already has the ability to pitch at up around 94 miles per hour with his fastball. Although surprising, Crouse had no preference where he was selected. He was just thankful for the opportunity.

“Being drafted by the Blue Jays was pretty surreal. I had known all along that they were interested in me and my advisor told me 20 minutes before the pick that they were going to select me,” said Crouse. “But none of that really hit me until I heard my name called while I was listening to the draft on my phone. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

Staying on the board later due to a strong college commitment to the University of San Francisco, the young prospect goes into detail of why he chose to commit to the Dons and how his recent draft news will play out on his decision in the upcoming weeks.

“I picked the University of San Francisco because it’s a great academic school that has some very good coaches that have been part of that program for 15+ years,” explained Crouse. “I went up there a couple times and every time I went it felt like a family. My selection by the Blue Jays will definitely play a big part and what I decide to do. It’s a big decision with pros and cons both ways. I’m just trying to take some time and decide what’s best for my future.”

Obviously Blue Jays fans are hoping that the 18-year old decides to join their organization, especially noting that the young pitcher already throws four pitches. Mixing in a slider, a curveball, and a changeup to compliment his already great fastball; all of which makes Crouse look well-prepared for the competition he will face in professional baseball.

With that said, Crouse understands if he goes the professional route it’s going to be a challenge as you have more adversity in pro ball compared to what you see in high school baseball.

“I feel my biggest strength on the mound is that I’m very even-keel and I don’t let anything bother me. I keep a level head and handle adversity really well,” stated Crouse. “I understand that some days you just won’t have it and that’s just something that everyone has to accept. The guys who seem to get that are normally the ones who stick around a long time.”

That ability showed during his senior season at Dana Hills when Crouse went 8-4 with a 1.63 ERA in 77 1/3 innings pitched. If those numbers weren’t impressive enough, Crouse pitched five complete games in 13 outings averaging close to a strikeout an inning by picking up 75 Ks on the year.

His excellent senior season capped off an impressive high school career where Crouse went 20-8 with a 1.83 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 187 1/3 innings pitched over three seasons. Opposing hitters only managed a .194 batting average against the righty for his entire varsity career.

But, for Crouse, his time at Dana Hills was more than just great pitching. He was also an outfielder on non-pitching days and it’s an area he speaks very highly as his time in the batter’s box prepared him for knowing what pitches to throw in certain situations.

“I think playing both sides of the game helps you understand pitching a little bit. But only in the aspect of when you’re hitting you try to understand what pitchers do and I think that’s helped me a lot in terms of not being as predictable as most pitchers my age,” explained Crouse. “I see stuff other guys do on the mound. I just try to make sure I don’t do those same things.”

Always throwing out of a ¾ arm slot since the beginning of his pitching days; Crouse was encouraged by others to change his approach over time. But Crouse remained committed on his technique and he’s happy he did as he really likes the movement he can get on his pitches on any given day.

“I started to throw out of the ¾ arm angle the first time I picked up a baseball. When I was little everybody tried to change that and get me away from throwing that way. But I never did and it has benefitted me I guess,” said Crouse. “I’ve never had an injury of any kind from pitching or throwing. The ¾ arm slot just felt comfortable for me. I think it gives me an advantage on hitters, especially from the run and sink it puts on the baseball when I pitch. But I have to make sure I keep the pitch down in the zone or that run and sink turns into a pitch in the upper inner part of the plate and that’s where anybody can get hurt pitching.”

Another area Crouse excelled at in high school was on the basketball court. Many people thought that the young prospect might pursue a career on the hardwood instead of the pitcher’s mound. But Crouse admits that was never the case as he felt that he had a better opportunity in baseball.

“I loved playing basketball and I actually think it helped in most areas of baseball. It really made me more of an athletic person and being an athlete is a good thing,” stated Crouse. “What led me away from basketball was just the fact that I wasn’t getting as much baseball work in as I could before the season. I knew my future was in baseball so I made a tough decision to give up basketball to focus on baseball.”

In fact, Crouse has spent a lot of time following major league baseball focusing primarily on pitching. Spending a lot of time following Felix Hernandez’s career growing up, Crouse admits he likes the way King Felix handles his business in any situation.

“Growing up my biggest baseball influence was Felix Hernandez,” said Crouse. “Every time Felix goes out there something special could happen and he’s been doing it for so long on a team who really before last year didn’t give him any run support. He handles his business well and he’s a constant professional.”

While Hernandez was his biggest baseball influence growing up there’s another young pitcher that’s starting to turn heads that Crouse is really starting to become a fan of and it’s a guy Blue Jays fans know well.

“As much as I like Felix Hernandez’s game. I have really become a big Aaron Sanchez fan of late,” Crouse added. “I love Sanchez’s pitches. He’s got electric stuff.”

Officially done with high school now Crouse can only reflect on what has been an amazing experience at Dana Hills. While there are many memories that will stay with him forever; there are not many that will top playing baseball with his younger brother Hans this past season.

“Pitching on the same team as my brother was very special. It was my last year of high school and I was lucky enough to be pitching alongside my brother who’s also my best friend,” explained Crouse. “The experience was great. We really pushed one another to be better this year, because of a little sibling rivalry. We always wanted to be better than the other guy, but at the end of the day we never let that get between us as brothers and I was very happy and fortunate to be his teammate. I know he’ll do great things as well at Dana Hills the next two years.”

Hopefully Marrick Crouse can continue to make memories in baseball for years to come.

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Brian Crawford
Brian Crawford
Brian is currently in his fourth season of covering the Lansing Lugnuts for JaysProspects.com. In that time he has had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous prospects that have continued to succeed throughout the system. If you have any questions for Brian feel free to ask them on Twitter by following @CrawDaddy222.

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2015 MLB Draft: Jon Harris Select 29th Overallhttp://jaysprospects.com/2015/06/09/2015-draft-jon-harris-selected-in-first-round/ http://jaysprospects.com/2015/06/09/2015-draft-jon-harris-selected-in-first-round/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 04:07:48 +0000 http://jaysprospects.com/?p=10092 If the name Jon Harris sounds familiar to Blue Jays fans, it should, as the recent Missouri State grad was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 33rd round of the 2012 MLB Draft. This year the Florissant, Missouri native was drafted in the first round – with the team’s first pick – with [...]

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April Whitzman

April Whitzman

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Jon Harris

Toronto Blue Jays select RHP Jon Harris as their 1st round choice at 29th overall. (MLB.com)

If the name Jon Harris sounds familiar to Blue Jays fans, it should, as the recent Missouri State grad was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 33rd round of the 2012 MLB Draft.

This year the Florissant, Missouri native was drafted in the first round – with the team’s first pick – with the 29th overall selection.

“I heard my name and I broke down in tears because it’s one of those childhood dreams that every kid has,” Harris said on a conference call with Toronto media.”I look forward to fulfilling that dream in the Toronto organization. It’s a blessing in disguise to be drafted by them again.”

Originally projected by MLBPipeline.com to be drafted with one of the top 10 picks, the Blue Jays appear to have opted for the best player available; one that is ready to bolster their deep farm system of young, talented arms. RHP Jon Harris features four plus pitches including a mid 90’s fastball, a curveball, a slider, and a changeup.

Declining the Blue Jays’ offer in 2012, Harris instead attended Missouri State University. In 2015 he posted an 8-2 record for the Missouri Bears with a 2.45 ERA in 103 innings, striking out 116 batters, and walking 36.

The Blue Jays originally would have possessed the 16th overall selection, but conceded that slot with the signing of catcher Russell Martin. The rejected qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera and his subsequent signing with the Chicago White Sox gave Toronto the 29th overall pick which carries a recommended bonus of $1,944,800.

“I haven’t heard anything about if there’s a deal in place or what I would get,” said Harris. “All I know is I’m the 29th overall pick for the Toronto Blue Jays and that’s about all I know.”

Jim Callis, executive editor for Baseball America, describes the Blue Jays selection as being one of his favorite pitchers in this Draft, proclaiming, “I thought he was the fourth-best college pitcher available and has a higher floor as a starter than the three guys we had ranked ahead of him in Fulmer, Jay and Tate. Missouri State has produced nine big league pitchers in the last 10 seasons and here’s another one on the way.”

Callis is not alone with the thinking. As Blue Jays Scouting Director Brian Parker said they had rated Harris higher than 29th. Shi Davidi tweets that they feel confident about his signability.

This, of course, is great news for the Blue Jays, who failed to sign their top selections in both 2012 and 2013 with both Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford declining to sign. Coincidentally, both have now signed with the San Francisco Giants in back-to-back years.

“Toronto’s going to be a great fit for me. It’s going to be a new home for me,” Harris concluded. “I’m going to do what I can to wear that Toronto blue proudly.”

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April Whitzman
April Whitzman

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