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Farm Beginning to Show Depth

Las Vegas Lineup Crystalizing

The announcement of the Blue Jays AA affiliate New Hampshire
projected lineup gives us a clearer picture of the makeup of the final AAA Las Vegas team as well. Such notables as Kyle Drabek, Brad Emaus and David Cooper will start in AA as expected. Zach Stewart was one of the only names which could have raised an eyebrow but it is likely he’ll be in Las Vegas soon enough anyway. The fact that the competition for promotion is tough is a good sign for this organization and likely means that guys will have to earn their way to the next level rather than being promoted due to injury or rushed out of necessity for lack of depth.

What is exciting is that the AAA team is going to be much stronger than in recent years and features a plethora of prospects who are already knocking at the major league door. First base is particular crowded with Overbay, Ruiz, and perhaps Lind fighting for playing time at first when not the DH. One of Brett Wallace and Brian Dopirak are only a Lyle Oberbay trade and strong start to the season away from a promotion to the bigs. Former 1st round choice David Cooper in AA must be wondering what the Jays have in store for him considering the roadblock ahead of him.

The other position ripe for turnover with the big team is catcher where all eyes are on JP Arencibia and his booming bat. Jays signed Buck and Molina to single year deals expecting Arencibia to be ready sometime this year. If he can find some patience at the plate to turn some of his strikeouts into walks, he likely will be with Jays to stay by seasons end.

The likely rotation in Vegas will be Cecil, Brad Mills, Robert Ray, and Ray Gonzalez three of whom got their feet wet with the Jays last year. Rzepcznski will likely join them once returning from injury to form a pretty strong AAA rotation while Kyle Drabek at AA will be pushing them by mid season. Jesse Carlson, David Purcey, Josh Roenicke are amongst the members of the bullpen who would be recalled to Toronto in case of injury or trade which wouldn’t hurt the big club's competitiveness at all.

Expect an exciting team in sin city this year and a fight for a playoff spot. Minor league playoff teams are also a sign of a strong farm system. The Jays could have 1 or two junior teams in post season this year. Such an event would make Alex Anthopolous proud!

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