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2003 Wrapups: Toronto Blue Jays

With the 2003 season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
December 31, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Syracuse International 62 79 .440
AA New Haven Eastern 79 63 .556
A+ Dunedin Florida State 77 63 .550
A Charleston (W.Va.) South Atlantic 57 76 .429
SS Auburn New York-Penn 56 18 .757
R Pulaski Appalachian 38 29 .567
TOTAL 369 328 .529
   * won league championship


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. Dustin McGowan, rhp      Age: 21
McGowan survived poor run support at Dunedin, limiting Florida State League batters to a .223 average while allowing two or fewer earned runs in 11 of 14 starts despite a 5-6 record. Finally got some offensive help from a loaded New Haven team, and went undefeated in the second half while showing off much improved control.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Dunedin (MLB) 5-6 0 2.85 14 75.2 62 29 24 25 66
New Haven (Double-A) 7-0 0 3.17 14 76.2 78 28 27 19 72

2. Jayson Werth, of/c      Age: 24
A wrist injury suffered in spring training prevented Werth from breaking camp with the Blue Jays, but he was impressive in a rehab stint in the Florida State League. Struggled coming off the bench for Toronto and after a demotion to Syracuse, as his once solid walk rate plummeted.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Dunedin (High Class A) 18 62 10 23 5 0 4 18 3 14 1 .371 .388 .645
Toronto (MLB) 26 48 7 10 4 0 2 10 3 22 1 .208 .255 .417
Syracuse (Triple-A) 64 236 37 56 19 1 9 34 15 68 11 .237 .285 .441

3. Kevin Cash, c      Age: 26
Raised his average at Syracuse 50 points from the previous year, but struggled mightily in a final month audition with the Blue Jays. Will play a platoon role with Toronto in 2004, and projects as a defensive catcher with occasional pop.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Syracuse (Triple-A) 93 326 37 88 28 2 8 37 29 81 1 .270 .331 .432
Toronto (MLB) 34 106 10 15 3 0 1 8 4 22 0 .142 .179 .198

4. Francisco Rosario, rhp      Age: 23
Rosario had a breakout season in 2002 (9-4, 1.94), but injured his elbow in the Arizona Fall League at the end of the year, and Tommy John surgery cost him the entire 2003 season. Should be healthy for the start of 2004, but Tommy John survivors generally take a full season to get their stuff back.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Injured - Did Not Pitch

5. Jason Arnold, rhp      Age: 24
Arnold got off to one of the best starts in the minors in 2003, reeling off six dominating starts for New Haven and earning a promotion to Triple-A. The International League was not as kind to Arnold, who depends more on deception than overpowering stuff, as he managed just six quality starts in 21 outings.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
New Haven (Double-A) 3-1 0 1.53 6 35.1 18 7 6 11 33
Syracuse (Triple-A) 4-8 0 4.33 21 120.2 121 69 58 46 82

6. Brandon League, rhp      Age: 20
League began the year in the Sally League, but earned a quick promotion to Dunedin after putting up a 1.49 ERA in his final 10 starts without allowing a home run. Struggled somewhat in the Florida State League, particularly against lefthanded hitters (who hit .356 against him). For a player with one of the hardest fastballs in the minors, his strikeout rates are surprisingly low.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Charleston (Low Class A) 2-3 0 1.91 12 70.2 58 15 15 18 61
Dunedin (High Class A) 4-3 0 4.75 13 66.1 76 40 35 20 34

7. Alexis Rios, of      Age: 22
Rios established himself as one of the best prospects in baseball, winning Eastern League MVP honors while establishing career highs in nearly every offensive category. Hit .410-5-28 in August, hit lefties and righties with equal aplomb, and hit .422 with runners in scoring position and two outs. The power continues to develop as he surpassed his season total of 11 home runs by hitting 12 bombs in just 40 games for Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
New Haven (Double-A) 127 514 86 181 32 11 11 82 39 85 11 .352 .402 .521

8. Russ Adams, ss      Age: 23
Adams put up nearly identical numbers at both Dunedin and New Haven, scoring 92 runs in 133 games despite lacking any single overwhelming skill. Spent the entire season at shortstop, but experts differ as to his ability to stay there as he moves up the ladder.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Dunedin (High Class A) 68 258 50 72 9 5 3 16 38 27 9 .279 .380 .388
New Haven (Double-A) 65 271 42 75 10 4 4 26 30 37 8 .277 .349 .387

9. John-Ford Griffin, of      Age: 24
Griffin was showing a much improved power stroke at New Haven before a stress fracture in his foot (suffered while rounding the bases) cut his season short. His speed and arm limit him to left field, and he'll need to continue to make strides offensively to project as an every day player there.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
New Haven (Double-A) 104 373 48 104 23 3 13 75 49 85 2 .279 .361 .461

10. Vinny Chulk, rhp      Age: 25
2002's Southern League Pitcher of the Year, Chulk had trouble finding a grove at Syracuse as his diverse repertoire failed to make up for his lack of a true out pitch. Improved somewhat in the second half (3.77 ERA in his final 12 starts), and was productive at times in a late-season callup. Could be an effective middle reliever.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Syracuse (Triple-A) 8-10 0 4.22 23 119.1 118 70 56 46 90
Toronto (MLB) 0-0 0 5.06 3 5.1 6 3 3 3 2


Top Draft Pick:

Aaron Hill, ss    Louisiana State U.   Bonus: $1.675M
One of the few offensive shortstops available in the draft, the Blue Jays had their eye on the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year early on, and it was no surprise when they nabbed him with the 13th overall pick. Had a pair of four-hit games in his first week as a pro, and held his own facing the advanced pitching of the Florida State League, where he'll return in 2004.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Auburn (Short-Season) 33 122 22 44 4 0 4 34 16 20 1 .361 .446 .492
Dunedin (High Class A) 32 119 26 34 7 0 0 11 11 10 1 .286 .343 .345


Emerging Prospects:

David Bush, rhp: A converted closer out of Wake Forest, Bush went a combined 14-6, 2.79 and Dunedin and New Haven, with an impressive 148/28 K/BB ratio. Had three games of 10+ strikeouts.
Vince Perkins, rhp: A hulking (6-5) righty with a raw but powerfull arm, Perkins made tremendous strides in 2003, allowing just 18 hits over 44 innings in the Sally League and finishing the year 14-7, 2.24 with an impressive .179 opponents average.
Guillermo Quiroz, c: Signed for $1.2 million as a Venezuelan teenager in 1998, Quiroz finally began to show some production with the bat in 2002, and that trend continued in 2003, as hit .282-20-79 at New Haven, leading the organization in home runs. Always an outstanding defensive player, he gunned down 44 percent of base stealers.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Alexis Rios .352
Home Runs Guillermo Quiroz 20
Runs Batted In Simon Pond 85
Stolen Bases Tyrell Godwin
Rich Thompson
26
Earned Run Average Vince Perkins 2.24
Wins David Bush 14
Strikeouts David Bush 148
Saves Mark Comolli 24

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