Blue Jays Chat with Michael Levesque

Moderator: Michael Levesque will begin taking your Blue Jays questions at 2 p.m. ET

 Q:  Sam the Cat from Kennesaw Georgia asks:
Miguel Negron was suppose to be more talented then Alexis Rios, however, He has stalled out at High A. Was it because of his attitude? Or the tools were not there?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Negron has one of the best tools packages in the Jays system but has yet to develop the skills to fully utilize them.

 Q:  Westy from Victoria BC asks:
Most of the current Latin prospects were signeddeveloped during the Gord Ash regime. Is this one of the areas that the Blue Jays need to improve on?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: The organization needs improvement in this area. But one guy to look out for is left-hander Wil Aguirre. He throws low 90's with a good breaking pitch.

 Q:  Jordan from Ottawa asks:
What's your take on Shaun Marcum and Jamie Vermilyea, two guys who've had success as starters but could end up in the bullpen? Marcum's BBK rates at Dunedin were pretty amazing.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Vermilyea, commands a five-pitch repertoire, consisting of a solid-average fastball that tops out at 93 with plus late arm side run and sink, 79-82 mph slider with sharp 11-5 tilt and late bite, and 80-83 mph splitter. He also mixes in a curve and 78-80 mph change with fastball type arm speed, good deception out of his hand, and late fade. He struggles with his delivery from the stretch because he lacks balance, but he has average arm speed through a loose easy 34 slot and gets good extension in back and out front. He split time this year between the pen and starting and could contribute in either role in the majors. Marcum has a medium wiry athletic frame and is a four pitch guy with quick arm and incredible control. He walked only 20 batters all season as he pounded the strike zone with an 89-92 mph fastball. He complements his fastball with a sharp plus slider, average 126 curve and a good change with late movement and fastball type arm speed. He will head to Double-A to start the year, and Jays officials believe he has a chance to move fast.

 Q:  Shawn from Batavia, IL asks:
How would League stack up against McGowan had he not been injured?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: McGowan would have been number one

 Q:  Westy from Victoria BC asks:
How well did Rosario bounce back from surgery this year? What's the prognosis on McGowan after his surgery this year?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Rosario hit 98 mph six times last week in the AFL, and sat at 95-97 mph. He flashed a 90 slider and an 88 mph change that looked like a splitter

 Q:  Jordan from Ottawa asks:
Who would you rank as the Jays' three best hitting prospects below New Hampshire?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Rodriguez, Lind and Thigpen

 Q:  John Venditte from Albany, NY asks:
When is Dustin McGowan scheduled to return and what are his long term prospects following his surgery? Thanks.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: He should be back by June at the lastest. The Jays think he will be good as new.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
What are your thoughts on Curtis Thigpen? Where do you think he'll start next year?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Thigpen didn't play much behind the plate at Texas because the Longhorns also had Taylor Teagarden, the best defensive catcher in college baseball. But the Blue Jays saw enough in Thigpen to draft him in the second round as a catcher. He has a medium frame with a lean muscular athletic build but projects to have minimal gains physically. At the plate he starts from a balanced stance, and has a line drive stroke with hand quickness. He uses the whole field and has a solid hitting approach, but has below average power and lacks the lift in his swing to drive the ball out of the park. He's not raw as a catcher, but his defensive skills do lag behind his offensive game. He is agile behind the plate with playable hands and average arm strength. He should start in Low Class-A this year.

 Q:  Charles from Brantford, Ontario asks:
Ever since the Jays organization has developed the Money Ball philosophy, they've pretty much concentrated on drafting college players. However, the Jays are still going after the odd high school or asian players. My question for you is why do they deviate from the traditional money ball strategy? Is it because they can get these players cheap and they have high upside? Or can we expect to see JP deviate from the Money Ball design in the later rounds more often? Thanks
 A: 

Michael Levesque: I don't think anything is set in stone. The Jays have the six overall pick in the 2005 draft and if a stud high school player like Justin Upton was on the board I'm sure they would consider taking him.

 Q:  Westy from Victoria BC asks:
Miguel Negron, Jason Arnold, or Griffin, Are any still prospects?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Negron and Griffin both made the Top 30

 Q:  Tom McCullough from York PA asks:
Do you have a progress report on Jason Arnold? Thanks.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Arnold has been okay in the AFL. He has added a split that the Jays hope will be an out pitch

 Q:  GBall from East Lansing asks:
Michael, what do the Jays expect from Raul Tablado? Does he have the D to play third, or is he growing out of the infield??
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Tablado's bat showed improvement this year as he began to get comfortable at the plate, and did a better job of staying on the ball and not pulling off. The ball really jumps off his bat, and he displayed above average raw power. He has a plus arm and catches what he gets too, and most scouts that I talked too think he profiles as a third baseman.

 Q:  Nate from Denver, CO asks:
Why isn't Ismael Ramirez, The FSL MVP, on this list?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Ramirez made the Top 20. He has a easy arm action with an over the top slot that gives him good downward action on an 90-93 mph four-seamer. In the past Ramirez front side would fly open causing him to elevate pitches and would keep him from getting to his extension side. The Jays worked with Ramirez slow down his delivery and keep him more online to the plate. Ramirez has two other quality pitches, an above average change, and a sharp slider that has the potential to be a put-way pitch

 Q:  GBall from East Lansing asks:
Have the Jays given up on Miguel Negron??
 A: 

Michael Levesque: No, I think you will see them add him to their 40-man roster later this off-season

 Q:  Tom McCullough from York PA asks:
The raps on Seung Song at Montreal were that he forgot to bring his fastball with him from Boston and that he was tough to coach. Now that he is with the Blue Jays, do they feel that they spotted something mechanical in his delivery and that they have a coach who can work with him, or is this a case of his being a low cost pickup with some topside? Thanks.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Because the six-year free agent pitching crop is so weak this year they Jays felt that Song was a low cost pickup to help fill out their Triple-A rotation, and fill in the majors if needed

 Q:  johnnys99 from Toronto, Ontario asks:
Whats the Status of Matt Foster, has he fulfilled his Navy obligations? If so where do you see him starting this year.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Toronto does not expect Foster back any time soon. He is still in the Navy and has four or five more years of service to fulfill.

 Q:  Greg from Guelph, Ontario asks:
Jason Arnold is having an excellent AFL, while Francisco Rosario has been brilliant and also the opposite. Of those two and Gustavo Chacin who was excellent this year, who is most likely to be in Toronto's starting rotation some time next year?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Right now, Chacin is the favourite for the fifth spot in the rotation

 Q:  Braden from Toronto asks:
Where do you ultimately see Francisco Rosario ending up? And what do you expect his ETA to be?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: He should start the year in the rotation at Triple-A, and with a solid season should be in the bigs by September.

 Q:  johnny mcmonic from CANADA asks:
Where would you rank the bluejays farmsystem?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: In the middle of the pack.

 Q:  Jeff from Los Altos, CA asks:
Will David Bush be in the Toronto rotation to start the season?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Yes

 Q:  Ray Lopez from Miramar,Fl asks:
Did any of the following Blue Jays Latin American Program Prospects make your top 20 list. RHP Ismael Ramirez, C Robinzon Diaz, SS Juan Peralta, CF Yuber Rodriguez, SS Emmanuel Sena.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Ramirez, Diaz and Rodriguez all made the Top 30. Rodriguez may have the high upside of any player in the system but it may take him four or five more years to reach it. He has plus raw power, plus speed, plus arm strength and is a solid defensive outfielder. After chasing a lot of pitches out of the zone in the past, he made strides with his plate discipline this season. His base running needs improvement but the biggest thing he needs, is repetitions.

 Q:  Pat from Toronto asks:
Shaun Marcum's K:BB ration of 154:20 looks pretty impressive. How close was he to making the top 10?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Marcum made the top 15

 Q:  Ryan Cain from Waterloo asks:
What kind of power can we expect from GQ next year?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Quiroz has the best raw power in the system. Down the road he could hit 25-30 HR.

 Q:  Julio from Mexico city asks:
Ismael Ramirez and Gustavo Chacin, altough not blessed with overpowering stuff, are maturing into solid pitchers. What is their ceiling? In your list where was Ramirez? Gracias
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Ramirez and Chacin profile as back of the roatation starters.

 Q:  Kurt from Mancheter, CT asks:
Adam Peterson was called up to Toronto, struggled, and then continued to struggle when he was sent back down. In the AFL he seems to be bouncing back, but his walks still seem high (9 in 12 23 innings). Are his problems mental or mechanical, and whats the chance he can get back to his pre-Toronto form?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Peterson was rushed to the majors this year and struggled. When he returned to the minors he lacked confidence and his struggles continued. I spoke with a Jays scout this week who said Peterson looked like he was on his way back. He was 95-96 mph and was pitching with a lot more confidence.

 Q:  David Stevens from Medicine Hat asks:
League, Rosario, Banks starters or relievers
 A: 

Michael Levesque: I would use them a starters until they prove they can do the job. In the long term I think they are all starters.

 Q:  Jeff from KC asks:
Hi, and thanks for taking our questions? How good is Aaron Hill? Will he be the clubs future shortstop, or will they move him to third?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: I think you will see Hill shift to third base. I had one scout who compared him to Hank Blalock with the bat

 Q:  Warren from Ottawa, ON asks:
In your opinion what makes Aarron Hill a better prospect than Russ Adams. Is it just the greater power potential or is there something more?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Hill has a higher upside. Except for speed his tools and skills grade out better

 Q:  Mike Hunt from Ottawa asks:
In a deep system like the Blue Jays, I am shocked you rated a reliever #1. Are you saying League will be in the Gagne, Rivera mold? There are atleast 2-3 starters in this system I would rate above a good minor league closer.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: League may break into the majors in the pen, but long term I see him as a stud starter if his change develops.

 Q:  Jordan from Ottawa asks:
Have you heard anything about Po-Hsuan Keng from the Chinese Taipei Olympic team, whom the Jays signed last month? It'd be interesting to get a scouting report or projection.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: I saw Keng at the 2002 World Juniors. He will touch low 90's with his fastball and has a good breaking pitch. curveball if I remember right.

 Q:  David Stevens from Medicine Hat asks:
Who is the jays best firstbase prospect
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Vito Chiaravalloti

 Q:  Mike from Toronto asks:
How much power potential do you see in Adam Lind, and how is he defensively in the outfield? Thanks.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Lind best tool for sure is his bat. Some Jays officials say its the best theyve drafted in the past three years.He has a sweet left-handed stroke and gets the bat head through the zone in a hurry, and shows raw power to all fields. His power would grade out around 55 on the 20-80 scale.

 Q:  Kyle from Toronto asks:
With the 6th pick in this years draft who do you think the jays will target and will they take a player with less talent stricktly because of signability when they should get an A Plus prosepect there.
 A: 

Michael Levesque: I think the Jays will go after either a college (Jeff Clement, Alex Gordon) or HS position player (Upton, Cameron Maybin) if he is too talented to pass up.

 Q:  johnnys99 from Toronto, Ontario asks:
How close was Vince Perkins to making the top 10?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Perkins was in the Top 15. You'll be happy to note that he was 96 plus in the AFL with an above average slider. He was doing a better job of keeping his front shoulder closed. He was flying open in the past which would cause his pitches to flaten out. He should start the year in the Double-A rotation.

 Q:  Scott from Victoria, BC asks:
What are your thoughts on Davis Romero? If he was a few inches taller and 40lbs heavier do you think he would be in the Top 10?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Top 10, no. But he could be an effective guy out of the pen down the road. Jays have to hope no one takes him in the Rule-5 draft.

 Q:  ryan from toronto asks:
who will be the better pitcher? mcgowan or the d-rays scott kazmir?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Kazmir

 Q:  GBall from East Lansing asks:
What do the Jays think they have with Ron Davenport?? Is he a solid prospect, or no more than a AAAA-guy??
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Davenport has a chance, but it will depend on his bat. He just slipped into the Top 30

 Q:  Chris from Vancouver asks:
Who's got the better stuff to be a future closer, Adam Peterson or Vince Perkins?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Perkins...He has better secondary stuff.

 Q:  Johnnys99 from Toronto, Ontario asks:
Where do you see Vince Perkins starting in 2005?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Double-A, as a starter

 Q:  Mike Forbes from Nova Scotia asks:
Out of Adam Lind, Ryan Klosterman and Curtis Thigpen, Who has the highest upside?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Thigpen

 Q:  josh from edmonton asks:
What do you see happening in John Hattig's baseball life the next few years?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: I see the Jays adding him to there 40-man roster, and then he heads to Triple-A to start the year.

 Q:  rexy canachi from ottawa asks:
Where do you think Purcey and Jackson will end up? Mid-rotation? Front? Pen? Syracuse?
 A: 

Michael Levesque: Last question guys, sorry I coudn't get to them all. Purcey and Jackson will start off the season in High Class-A. With some success they could be in Double-A by mid season. I think they both profile as mid-rotation guys in the majors.

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