By: Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away
Monday was a little bit of a different day for me. Because of how the schedule worked out, I actually got to leave the complex for a lunch, which actually broke up the day and made it a little less fatiguing. As usual, there was a ton going on as I arrived at the complex.
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The first thing I noticed was that a few players were back in camp. You’ve read about Rowdy Tellez and Alex Monsalve by now (particularly in Emily’s great article), and I also noticed Matt Dermody and his flow.
Batting practice was in full swing, particularly for the “Dunedin” and “Lansing” groups who were getting their work in early before they headed off to Tampa to play the Yankees. I watched a group of the younger guys with Lane Thomas, David Jacob, Reggie Pruitt and Rodrigo Orozco swinging (remember, you can get my “Quick Hit” scouting reports by subscribing to our Premium Content section). In the “Dunedin” group, D.J. Davis was swinging away.
BP was just getting started for the “Buffalo” group as Anthony Alford, Tim Lopes and Rowdy Tellez were getting going. I also got to see Rowdy and Richard Urena (and subscribers will be able to check video of some of their swings in the coming weeks).
While I was watching BP, I noticed a scout and, when I glanced at his credential, I noticed that it was former big leaguer Pete Orr, a member of Team Canada from the World Baseball Classic, Pete Orr. Orr is making the transition from the field to being a scout and we talked about the WBC, his new line of work as a scout and how he loves the Newmarket area.
Our conversation and my BP watching was cut short when I was informed by Mitch, the intern in the office this year, that the two players whom I’d be interviewing that day were ready. I headed back to the office and met Tyler Olander and Jake Fishman. I spoke to Olander about his transition from college and professional basketball to baseball and I spoke to Fishman about his journey from a Division III NCAA school to the pros as well as his being including in the pitchers pool for Team Israel in the WBC (stay tuned next week for those interviews on the Blue Jays from Away Podcast).
Once the interviews were done, the players had all gone in for lunch and I went for the same myself. Upon returning, it was game time! I would get to see last year’s first round pick T.J. Zeuch on the mound, as well as the previous year’s first-rounder, Jon Harris. With the “Buffalo” and “New Hampshire” clubs around, I also got to see Rowdy Tellez in the games, who was joined by Anthony Alford, Dwight Smith, Jr., Harold Ramirez, Reese McGuire and Jose Tabata.
One of Rowdy’s teammates had taken to calling him “Randy” and, I had to admit, it was humourous to hear the calls of “Come on, Randy!” coming from the Jays’ bench whenever he was at the plate. Also, Devon Travis had shown up to play a few innings which was completely unannounced and I didn’t realize until I saw him coming off the field after grounding out!
On the “New Hampshire” squad, Danny Jansen, Cavan Biggio, Ryan Hissey, J.C. Cardenas and Connor Panas were all in the lineup. Like the day before, I had some choices to make. I went back to the diamond where the youngest players are hanging out, checking out Josh Winckowski, Kelyn Jose, Felipe Castaneda and Orlando Pascual on the mound and Luis De Los Santos, Sterling Guzman, Yorman Rodriguez, Joseph Reyes and Ryan Gold at the plate/in the field.
When I returned to the main action, the “Buffalo” game was coming to an end but I got a chance to see the bottom of the ninth on the “New Hampshire” diamond. I had missed Canadian Tom Robson but got a good report after the game when I asked Paul Quantrill (one of the Jays’ roving pitching instructors) about him. The Blue Jays were rallying with Cavan Biggio hitting a double, Jansen and Cardenas following with singles and Connor Panas blasting a walk-off triple (although it would have only counted as a single) to the wall.
One of the great things about coming down to Florida is meeting scouts and personnel, but it’s also great to meet other bloggers. I haven’t seen Baseball Betsy around just yet (but she hangs out more at the Phillies’ complex) but I’ve been seeing Daniel (@ProspectD2J) from MLB Prospect Portal all over the place (he’s the guy who posted the controversial Josh Donaldson home run video that had him not running the bases).
Daniel and I were chatting at the end of the day when we met some of Ryan Hissey’s family (including his granddad and his aunt) and a few wonderfully enthusiastic ladies who had come down from Lansing! These die-hard Lugnuts fans of the people for whom Daniel and I write and post our material and it was amazing to see how much they support their local team and the future Blue Jays who come through!
All in all, it was a great day of baseball in the Florida sunshine.