Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’

The skinny on Nestor Molina

The Blue Jays got a dynamic late-inning reliever in Sergio Santos, but the White Sox got a pretty good pitching prospect in return. Here’s some more information on right-hander Nestor Molina.

Like the big leaguer he was traded for, Molina is also a convert to pitching. The Venezuelan originally signed as a hitter, playing the outfield and third base in the Venezuelan and Dominican Summer Leagues in 2006-2007 before turning to pitching full-time in 2008.

He made his United States debut in  2009 and spent nearly all of his first two seasons in the country as a reliever. He pitched well in that role, with a 1.67 ERA in 2009 and 3.11 in his full-season debut across two levels in 2010.

The Blue Jays moved the 22-year-old into a starting role in 2011 and he took to it well, leading the system in ERA (2.21) and finishing third in strikeouts. He walked only 16 while striking out 148. He was a Florida State League All-Star and earned a late promotion to Double-A, where he was extremely effective over five Eastern League starts. The success he had earned him a spot on Toronto’s 40-man roster in November.

Molina features an intriguing four-pitch mix with an advanced feel for pitching. He’ll throw his fastball in the 89-92 mph range and complements it with a slider and a changeup. His best pitch, though, might be his splitter, a true plus offering with a ton of deception. Some have said he might be better-suited to be a top-flight bullpen/setup guy, but his stuff and command say he’ll get more time to start.

Day 9: Sarasota

Hey kids. Back in Sarasota at good ‘ol Ed Smith Stadium. Don’t have a ton of time today, so I’m going to get straight to today’s Prospect Impression:

I must admit going in that I’ve always been a big fan of Ricky Romero. I can’t say it’s because I’ve seen him blow hitters away in the past or because I’ve heard amazing scouting reports on his abilties. No, it’s really because he wrote a player journal for us during the 2007 season. On the field, the 2005 first-round pick (No. 6 overall) has been a little up-and-down in his career, mostly because he’s had to deal with some injury issues along the way.

Here’s the good thing, though. The 24-year-old has climbed back into the race for a spot in the Blue Jays rotation. That wasn’t necessarily because of anything he had done, but because of the futility of the other candidates. In fact, Romero had a 7.50 ERA  and had walked nine in six previous Grapefruit League innings. He hadn’t pitched in a big-league game since March 7. But that’s neither here nor there. He’s back in the race and if Monday is any indication, he could snag the job.

Over the past few weeks, Romero’s been working on making some adjustments to his mechanics, working to not throw across his body. Those kinks were causing much of his command issues. It looked like all that work has paid off, at least for now. The southpaw walked two in his five innings and allowed two runs, but overall looked very sharp. He scattered seven hits and struck out five. It’s looking like he’s going to get at least one more start and definitely seems to be moving forward while the other veteran options are going in the opposite direction. It could come down to a choice between lefty prospects Romero or Brad Mills. Should be interesting to watch the rest of the way.

Jays jabber

Brett Cecil, whom Toronto selected with the 38th pick in last season’s
draft, is slated to make
Thumbnail image for brett_cecil.jpg his season debut tonight for Dunedin. I had the chance
to sit down with Cecil for about a half hour Friday afternoon and he proved to
be an honest, engaging guy. Most players I’ve encountered usually sugar talk
about their injuries or are very secretive but Cecil was pretty open about his
shoulder bothering and even fessed up to getting a cortisone shot, which is
something that the organization didn’t let on to.
 
Now granted, I didn’t ask anyone in the front office about a cortisone shot
and I probably should have. But by now, I’m relying on someone mentioning it to
me when I speak with that person so Cecil gets props for that. He’s only
scheduled to throw two innings or 35 pitches, whichever comes first.
 
Last week when I spoke to Detroit prospect Cale Iorg, he mentioned his
affinity for George Washington. Jonathan Mayo, my esteemed colleague, went to
great lengths to find a picture of our founding father to throw into my blog so
I’m hoping he can do the same for Cecil, who said he’d love to have dinner with
Brandon Lee if he could.
 
brandon_lee.jpgThe late actor and son of martial arts superstar Bruce Lee was a person for
whom Cecil has a great deal of respect. I’m always interested to hear who
players would pick to meet from history and this one certainly caught me by
surprise.
 
“He wanted to do his own kind of movies,” Cecil said. “He was an
independent person and a great actor. I really liked his acting, the way he was
able to change in character. He did that pretty well. He didn’t want to be know
only as Bruce Lee’s son.”
 
As for getting back into game action, Cecil hasn’t pitched in nearly three
weeks, he said he’s not anxious, just excited. When he was throwing this spring,
he said he had been working on getting ahead in the count earlier with greater
frequency while using his fastball so look for that tonight.
 
“Usually I’d throw a first-pitch changeup or curveball to get ahead,” he
said. “But I’m going to try and get ahead with my fastball and work both sides
of the plate.” — Kevin C.
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