Low Class A Lansing's rotation worth watching with lefthander Justin Nicolino and righthanders Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez. The lineup should pack a punch too with catcher Carlos Perez, infielders Andy Burns and Kellen Sweeney, and outfielder Chris Hawkins. High Class A Dunedin will also be watched closely. The outfield is loaded with Michael Crouse, Marcus Knecht and Jake Marisnick while the pitching staff has Sam Dyson and John Stilson coming off of injuries and Asher Wojciechowski looking to take off after a lackluster 2011.
Leap Of Faith
Injuries limited Sweeney to 35 at-bats with short-season Bluefield in 2011, bringing him to 80 career at-bats. He'll start the season with in the Midwest League, but he was known for having an advanced bat as a prep so he should be able to handle the transition. Righthander Sam Dyson—a 2010 fourth-round pick—has yet to throw a professional inning after signing late and then having Tommy John surgery. He will start 2012 with Dunedin.
Where Is That Guy?
Lefthander Daniel Norris is advanced enough to handle a Lansing assignment, but the Blue Jays have shown they start cautious with high school arms so he will stay back in extended spring training for now. The same can be said for righthander Kevin Comer and third baseman Matt Dean.
Time Is Running Out
Righthander Chad Jenkins made 16 starts for Double-A New Hampshire in 2011 and returns to the Eastern League for 2012. Considering how hostile Triple-A Las Vegas can be for pitchers, it's understandable to keep Jenkins in Double-A, but the 2009 first-round pick is 24 years old. He should get a chance to pitch in the big leagues this season. Speaking of Las Vegas, first baseman David Cooper hit .364/.439/.535 there in 2011, but had only nine home runs and struggled in 71 major league at-bats. At 25 years old, he'll return to the 51s to start 2012. The Blue Jays attributed Wojciechowski's drop in velocity to adjusting to pro ball. At 23 years old, he shouldn't be in Dunedin for long and may rocket through the system if he shifts to a bullpen role.
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