Bastian's back

TORONTO – That’s right, I’m back! But there’s hardly much going on in the way of Blue Jays news that really warrants a new post. Still, better to update this thing so you all aren’t staring at the same entry for weeks.

Happy New Year to everyone. The Misses and I had a marvelous Christmas break back home in Chi-town, where we made sure to check all the to-eat joints off our list. Downed some real Chicago pizza, ate some killer Mexican food, made a stop by my favorite Thai place downtown, made a Portillos run, the wife hunted down a mighty South Side Italian beef sandwich, and on the drive back to TO, we even returned to Roxy’s, our old favorite burger joint in St. Joseph, Michigan.

When we weren’t fattening ourselves up — and taking some time off from our marathon training, in my case — we did have a great time seeing family and escaping with a serious stash of presents. I hauled off a pile of DVDs (the final four seasons of King of Queens, Dexter Season 1, the Bourne Ultimatum, Live Free or Die Hard, Rescue Dawn, the Deer Hunter, among others) and Kelly drove off in a brand new car! No more TTC unless we say so!

We’ve been back in Toronto for a while now, but I’ve been a little busy. Earlier this week I beat Super Mario Galaxy on Wii and promptly called my 8-year-old nephew to gloat (Hey, I let him beat me at air hockey last week, so lay off). The Jays certainly haven’t been keeping me busy. OK, there have been some minor pitching additions to bolster the depth department and Reed Johnson was re-signed, but nothing that’s been earth shattering.

While there isn’t much going on in the baseball world — well, minus the whole Roger Clemens vs. Brian McNamee saga, which is making for quite the soap opera these days. Let me rephrase…while there isn’t much going on in TORONTO’S baseball world, I can bring news from the movie realm. OK, it isn’t news, but advice: those of you out there who haven’t seen No Country for Old Men or There Will Be Blood, do so.

I just returned from seeing TWBB tonight and I walked away utterly satisfied. Many won’t like the ending, but I found it particularly fitting, considering the maddening nature of the film. Daniel Day-Lewis was amazing as always and the flick reminded me of Citizin Kane at points. It was so good that I now want to see No Country again to see which I believe is better suited for a Best Picture nod. Hopefully, the writer’s strike doesn’t stop the Oscars from going on as planned.

On another note, thanks to the fellows at the Drunk Jays Fans blog for their kind words about my blog. The Drunks gave me this review:

"Jordan Bastian, who covers the Jays for MLB.com, probably files more stories during the season than the TMZ correspondent assigned to Britney Spears. Somehow, he still finds the time to write an informative blog.

Don’t expect too many carnal anecdotes about Aaron Hill’s bachelor party (they all drank $90 bottles of Shiraz while listening to him play Layla), but do expect some excellent coverage that other mainstream media members would overlook."

The Misses and I especially liked the TMZ line. Also, I particularly enjoyed the response DJF got from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail. Anyway, on that note, I’m going to move from the kitchen table to the couch and chill out some before hitting the sack. Any of you out there starting to count down the days to Spring Training like I am? My lodging and flights are booked. It ain’t coming quick enough.

Ah, one final note. Baseball Prospectus put out their Top 11 Prospects list for the Jays. They are as follows:

Five-Star Prospects
1. Travis Snider, OF
Four-Star Prospects
None
Three-Star Prospects
2. Kevin Ahrens, 3B
3. Brett Cecil, LHP
4. John Tolisano, 2B
5. J.P. Arencibia, C
6. Justin Jackson, SS
7. Ricky Romero, LHP
8. Yohermyn Cavez, OF
Two-Star Prospects
9. Robinzon Diaz, C
10. David Purcey, LHP
11. Trystan Magnuson, RHP

Just Missing: Ryan Patterson, OF; Curtis Thigpen, C; Tracey Thorpe, RHP

Stay tuned for more…

18 Comments

Welcome back, Jordan, aqnd Happy New Year. A few years ago I was down by the water in Chi-town and needed lunch, so I stopped into a little store front restaurant. Best Mexican food I have ever eaten! Imagine the luxury of being able to choose your eating place!
See, gsumner, BP lists Ahrens at third base.

Happy New Year Jordan.

Gnorman. I don’t know why they list him at 3rd-the Gulf Blue Jays list him at short.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&cid=1390

For the most part the GCBL’s played Johnathon Del Campo and Balbino Fuenmayor at 3rd. Fuenmayer played some ss and Ahrens did play some 3rd, but they really want Ahrens to play ss.

Hey Jordan, glad to hear your holidays were good. I went to see There Will Be Blood last friday at the varsity VIP (I love those seats). To say I was blown away is an understatment. Daniel Day Lewis is just so incredible as Daniel Plainview but its no surprise, in my opinion he is the finest actor working today. What did you think of Jonny Greenwoods score? I liked how unique it was. No country was great too but I wasnt left amazed quite the same was as TWBB.

First off, Ahrens is listed as a third baseman by BP because he projects better as a third baseman down the road. He’d like to remain **** and that’s the plan for now, but a lot of people compare him to a Chipper Jones type (in a perfect world, of course).

TOMGASTON: Greenwood’s work on There Will Be Blood was amazing. I’m a huge fan of Radiohead (just read today that they’re coming to Toronto!) and I was intrigued when I heard he was handling the music. I told my wife that I’ve never before experience such tension in shots that would otherwise seem calm and serene, considering the landscape. And you’re right, while No Country was definitely more unique, I also walked away from TWBB more amazed at what I just took in.

~JB

Yeah I read that Toronto was on the tour routing, hopefully the show will be on a jays off day so that you can go :-) have you ever seen Radiohead live before? I saw them at the hummingbird in 2006 and at the Rogers Centre (skydome back then haha) in 03. But back to movies, P.T. Anderson always has great music in his movies. The soundtrack/score for Punch Drunk Love by Jon Brion is so good and is the only movie soundtrack ive ever bought. (besides The Singles soundtrack of course…Pearl Jam’s State of Love and Trust makes that album gold)

Jordan

Thanks for the clarification; also thank you for the list.

I had missed John Tolisano in the Jays GCL. When I reviewed his record, I noted he hit 10 HR’s in 49 games which is big time power for a 19 year old 2nd baseman and was selected a GCL All-star.

Any inside dope on him?

TOM GASTON: Yeah, I really enjoyed Punch Drunk Love (among the 300+ movies I have) and Magnolia included some great acting performance, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the film as a whole. But Anderson is definitely a quality director and knows how to pick unique soundtracks. And awesome reference to PJ’s version of State of Love and Trust. PJ is my favorite band and if you enjoy solid soundtracks, check out Into the Wild and the music Eddie Vedder provided for that flick. And, no, I’ve never seen Radiohead live. I’ve seen PJ a few times, went to “SARSstock” a few years back to see the Rolling Stones and ACDC, among others, and have seen STP and the Chili Peppers. I’d love to see Radiohead in person, though my wife isn’t a huge fan so we’ll see what kind of luck I have with that.

GSUMNER: Here’s BP’s breakdown of Mr. Tolisano:

4. John Tolisano, 2B

DOB: 10/7/88

Height/Weight: 5-11/180

Bats/Throws: S/R

Drafted: 2nd round, 2007, Estero HS (FL)

2007 Stats: .246/.336/.437 at Rookie-Level (49 G)

Year In Review: After a below-expectations senior year, the switch-hitting infielder struggled to make contact in his pro debut, but nonetheless led the Gulf Coast League in home runs.

The Good: Tolisano’s swing path provides natural loft with backspin from both sides, and he already has a knack for recognizing which pitches he can drive. He has a patient approach, a tick above-average speed, and good overall athleticism.

The Bad: Tolisano often sells out the rest of his offensive game for power, becoming pull-happy at times and flailing at breaking balls at others. He hasn’t gotten good reviews for his range, glove work, or instincts, and many think he’ll need to move to the outfield soon.

Fun Fact: In the eighth inning of GCL games, Tolisano was 1-for-19.

Perfect World Projection: A 30+ home-run producer at a position still to be determined.

Timetable: Tolisano will be another part of the very talented squad at Lansing, where his defense will be watched with as much scrutiny as his power bat.

~JB

First NICE scouting report on Tolisano: Never knew he was this good. He could be a huge power bat for us in the future with some speed(hopefully).

What about CHip Cannon I thought he was pretty good or was i mistaken

Thanks Jordan.

Yes, I agree with your statement on the talent at Lansing.

Harry-Chip Cannon did not have a very good year last year at New Hampshire (AA). His HR production was down (17), OBP, BA, OPS and slugging were down. His strike out ratio was up.

It will be interesting to see what we do with him, since Josh Kreuzer, our 1st baseman in Dunedin (A) who was the FSL player of the year last year has now been put onto the New Hampshire roster.

Jordan – I dig your taste in film and music. I too have seen PJ a couple times. I actually met Scott Schoenwies and BJ Ryan at the 2nd PJ concert at the acc in may of ’06. I had floor seats and they walked into the VIP area by the soundboard halfway through the concert (I guess after a game got out) and once the show was over and I was leaving I went up and shook their hands haha. No worries about if Mrs. Bastian doesnt want to see Radiohead, you have an open invitation to come with me haha

gsumner, dollars will get you doughnuts Ahrens will be playing third with the big team, and you will see Justin Jackson at short. Speaking of minor league players, check out this link:

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2007/01/categorizing_mi_3.php

gnorman

Well, if you read the draft report on Jackson, his range is limited. They might make him a relief pitcher, LOL.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/events/draft_report/y2007/index.jsp?mc=jackson

Tolisano has played ss, as has Balbino Fuenmayor. I think all 4 of these guys could potentially be the ss or 3rd base guy.

The Jays highest hopes (and highest signing bonuses) were on Ahren and Fuenmayor to fill the ss and 3rd base slot and both of them struggled in 2007. Hopefully, that changes, this year and all 4 of these guys become aclimatised and start moving up.

gsumner:
I think the scouting report you posted is flawed in evaluating Jackson’s defense. This is the Prospectus scouting report:

6. Justin Jackson, SS

DOB: 12/11/88

Height/Weight: 6-2/175

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted: 1st round, 2007, Roberson HS (NC)

2007 Stats: .187/.274/.241 at Short-season (42 G)

Year In Review: Another player who dropped because of disappointing draft-year production, Jackson looked lost at times in his pro debut, but scouts are still high on his athleticism and potential.

The Good: Jackson is an excellent defensive shortstop for a teenager, with quick reads, plenty of range, and a strong arm. He shows good patience at the plate, and many feel his long arms and lanky frame should project for power down the road. He’s an above-average runner who should steal 20+ bases annually.

The Bad: Jackson’s hitting needs significant work. His swing is a bit stiff and mechanical, and he’s unable to make adjustments once the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. He struggles mightily against left-handers, often looking to draw a walk to avoid even swinging the bat. Defensively, the worst thing you can say about him is that he’s prone to errors while trying to make spectacular plays on balls that most shortstops couldn’t even get to.

Fun Fact: During his first two years at Roberson, the best player on the team was Marlins center fielder Cameron Maybin.

Perfect World Projection: Jackson’s ceiling is higher than many of the high school middle infielders drafted ahead of him, but his lack of ‘now’ skills also makes him a far greater risk.

Timetable: The Blue Jays would like to see Jackson ready to join his other 2007 draft brethren at Lansing, but that will require an impressive spring training.

ramone

Interesting how scouts see him differently isn’t it. I think the biggest difference is what each scout saw in his running capability. One said he’s slow off the mark and the other calls for him to be a base stealing prospect. It’s almost like they saw a different player. Do you have a link for that report?

The good news I think, is we have 4 prospects, just too bad all 4 had a tough entry season. Hopefully, 2 of the 4 make it up here as ss and 3rd baseman.

gsumner
Two very different scouting reports indeed, I’ve read several reports that say Jackson’s strength is his athleticism and defense and needs to work on the offensive side. I copied that report from someone who was kind enough to post the article (Covering all the 2007 draftees) on the main forum site.

Perhaps one day the Jays will have a starting SS with some certainty and staying power, the last was Gonzalez wasn’t it.

JORDAN:

Why are Jays so high on Diaz and Thigpen for their future catching prospectus? If BA ranks them as 2-star and 0-star, couldn’t they end up being the next Quiroz?

Looks like the 2006 draft crop is doing okay so far. Let’s hope they replenish the farm.

I thought Bourne Ultimatum was awesome, the best out of the trilogy. I for one am NOT counting the days to Spring Training because I’m still playing Super Mario Galaxy. That game is so much fun!

nraoeon

I was surprised that both Thigpen and Diaz didn’t make the list; particulary Diaz. I was also surprised to see Purcey listed as a 3 and Romero listed as a 2. I think Purcey is really close.

But as we’ve just seen in the two different draft reports on Jackson, I guess it depends on who’s seeing them, what the rating criteria is, when they see them, etc. If they saw Purcey just before he went on the injured list, they wouldn’t have been impressed. If they’d saw him in his 2 or 3 start of last season they would have been.

I think Diaz is going to be a good one. I look forward to seeing him up here as soon as he’s ready. I think a combination of Diaz and Thigpen solve our catching problems for quite some time.

A bid chunck of the prospects on the list are from our 2007 draft, which is likely going to be remembered as a real good one for the Jays.

nraoeon
completely agree with you on ultimatum in what as a great trilogy. That fight with Desh was worth watching alone.

Surprising that the jays’ prospects aren’t ranked higher. Based on feedback from Gsumner (mostly) I would’ve thought more would be better. I’ll admit I don’t know enough about any of those guys to get into any debates with anybody but it just goes to show that not everyone thinks our prospects are the be all end all.

Also for anyone interested there is a fun little interview on the fan590 website with Eckstein. Surprisingly, his wife actually encouraged him to come here.

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