August 2010

Jays continue to get it done with Draft picks

The Toronto Blue Jays had 11 picks over the first five rounds of the Draft in June and much has been made about their renewed commitment to scouting. And while they’ve yet to come to terms with first-round pick Deck McGuire, it does seem like they’re putting their money where their mouth is.

To date, the Jays have come to terms with seven of the 11 players. Most recently, it was Kellen Sweeney, the 69th overall pick, and one of three second-rounders for Toronto, who signed. His deal was reportedly slightly over slot, as was fellow second-rounder Justin Nicolino’s.

Rumor has it that the third second-round pick, Griffin Murphy, will be next to join the organization. Murphy, the top lefty-hander coming out of the Southern California high school crop, could be headed to Dunedin for his physical. Assuming everything goes well there, an announcement could come on Monday.

Finally, more Pitchers of the Year

It’s been far too long and frankly, I’ve run out of excuses. So I’ll just finally pick up the thread of adding candidates for Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors. In case you forgot — and I wouldn’t blame you — the first post about MiLB PiTY mentioned Joe Gardner, John Lamb and Michael Pineda. Here, at long last, are a few more potential candidates.

Christopher Archer, RHP, Cubs: Originally drafted by the Indians in 2006, Archer has  kind of flown under the radar, but it’s time to get to know him after the year he’s had in 2010. He’s fifth in the minors with a 1.97 ERA and first overall with a .190 batting average against. He’s pitched at two levels and compiled 126 K’s in 118 2/3 IP for a 9.56 K/9 ratio. At 14-2, he’s tied for the Minor League lead in wins. Still just 21, he’s been better since he moved up to Double-A, always a good sign: 7-1, 0.58 ERA in 8 starts, .169 BAA.

Kenneth McNutt, RHP, Cubs: The Cubs seem to be doing quite well in the “pitchers dominating that no one knows about” category. He actually goes by “Trey,” and the 2009 draftee is having one heckuva first full year. He just turned 21 and has split the year between the Class A Midwest League and Class A Advanced Florida State League. Combined, he’s fourth overall with a 1.87 ERA and third with a .195 BAA. He’s gone a perfect 9-0 and has 107 K’s in 91 2/3 IP. for a 10.5 K/9 ratio.

Matt Packer, LHP, Indians:
Can’t ignore the MiLB ERA leader, can we? The 2009 draftee has spent nearly all of the year in Class A Lake County, where as a 22-year-old he’s a touch old to be considered a “prospect.” That being said, he’s done nothing but pitch well while starting and relieving. He got double-jumped to Double-A and gave up one earned run over seven innings, so maybe there’s something more here. Let’s see how he finishes up, but his 1.58 ERA and his 0.94 WHIP (good for third) make him belong on this list.

Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves: He’s not here only because someone recommended him in comments. The 19-year-old has been promoted not once, but twice, and continued to excel. Now in Double-A, the right-hander has a combined 2.34 ERA and .204 batting average against. he’s 11th overall in strikeouts with 138 K’s. His 1.02 WHIP is 10th and is seventh with that BAA. He’s averaging 10.44 K/9 for the year and his 4.18 K/BB ratio is nothing to sneeze at, either.

As always, feel free to make more recommendations in comments. It’s coming up on draft signing deadline time, so I’ll probably be focused on that until the deadline passes on Monday night.

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