Jay Blue: Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Thoughts, Day 1

 Toronto native Connor Panas was one of the Blue Jays' prospects competing in intrasquad games at the Bobby Mattick Training Center on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Toronto native Connor Panas was one of the Blue Jays' prospects competing in intrasquad games at the Bobby Mattick Training Center on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Jay Blue

Blue Jays from Away

I've been in Dunedin for a whole day now and there's lots to talk about despite the major league club having the day off. You know me, though, plenty of stuff to watch and see over at the Bobby Mattick Complex.

Wednesday was a "camp day" for the Blue Jays minor leaguers, meaning that they weren't going to be playing the minor leaguers of another club. This made their day a little lighter than normal. But for me, it meant a lot of work covering the chaos of a camp day. Usually when I'm watching a day's minor league game, there are two teams of Blue Jays playing, with the possibility of an intrasquad game played by the players on the "Extended Spring Training" work group. On camp days, however, I'm watching six teams out there playing with three intrasquad games going on at once.

With each pitcher throwing for a maximum of two innings, it's all I can do to take photos, get scouting reports and watch hitters with so much simultaneity. I reserve my scouting reports for subscribers to our Premium Content section and I'll start posting my "Quick Hit Scouting Reports" soon. To access them, subscribe to the Premium Content section and you'll be able to access all of the scouting reports (going back to 2015) in that section as well as the player profiles. Once we release The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, you'll be able to download that e-book for free with an annual subscription (just $16.99) while you'll be able to access the web-only site for just $1.99 per month.

One of the first things I saw were the pitchers heading over the diamonds for their warm ups and their agility drills. It's nice to touch base with players again after the winter and I spoke to Kyle Weatherly who looks good. I also saw Eric Pardinho who is dwarfed by his gigantic teammates.

One player whom I didn't see was Justin Maese. I'll have to ask about him on Thursday, although when asked, Gil Kim didn't mention anyone when I asked about injuries.

Speaking of Kim, I had a chat with him on Wednesday. Last year, I asked him about his dark horse players for 2017 and he told me to watch Danny Jansen. Well, Danny had a fantastic year and clearly was listening. Who did Gil mention this year? Gil talked about a pair of 2017 draftees in Zach Logue and Graham Spraker, saying that these guys were ones to watch. He also mentioned Jonathan Davis and Harold Ramirez. Ramirez was the guy he emphasized as coming into camp early and in good shape. While Ramirez didn't have the best year in 2017, he could be someone to watch for as he tries to bounce back. Oh, and he's got a new hairstyle too.

I was impressed by another 2017 draftee, Kevin Smith's, batting practice. Gil also said that he's got the most accurate arm from the infield in the organization.

On the "interesting" front, John La Prise was taking ground balls at shortstop during batting practice.

Injury report: Elieser Medrano appears to have undergone Tommy John surgery and had his arm in a cast. I also met up with Spraker later on and he told me that he tweaked a hamstring earlier in the spring but is back throwing but probably won't get into a game until the middle of next week. He first needs to throw another bullpen session and a live BP session.

I spoke to a couple of the new players in the system. Recently signed pitcher Devin Malone talked about being a Mississippi guy who played with former Bison Wil Browning at University of Louisiana-Monroe. Wil retired this offseason and we wish him all the best for him and his family.

Another player I caught up with was Josh Almonte who is undergoing his transition to pitcher. He spoke of just having a goal for each day rather than having one for the season and is working on his mechanics when he's out in the bullpen. Josh seems in great spirits and seems to be energized talking about pitching!

Finally, I had the chance to interview Nate Pearson before the end of the day. Look out for podcasts coming to Blue Jays from Away to catch that interview!

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Jay Blue

A lifelong Toronto Blue Jays fan, Jay Blue started blogging about the Jays when he was living in Berlin, Germany. He founded his own blog, Blue Jays from Away, to write about developments with his home town team, focusing on the Jays' minor league system. When he's not watching baseball, he is usually on the diamond umpiring or he's pursuing his research interests in the field of ethnomusicology.