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Echoes From 527: Depth

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Lets all take a break from reading about Josh Hamilton for a minute and reflect on something equally as exciting as the 31 year old power hitting outfielder… Toronto’s MiLB depth!

On Tuesday, the Blue Jays announced the signing of 8 players to MiLB contracts, 6 of them coming with invites to Spring Training.  Of the 8 signed, 6 of them are Pitchers while a SS and 1st Baseman round out the mix.

Luis Antonio Jimenez is coming off one of his most dominant seasons in professional baseball while playing for the Tacoma Rainiers. 2012 saw the 30 year old hit .310/.394/.514 with 20 Home Runs and 81 RBI’s during 125 games at the PCL level. His strong play earned him a September call up with the Mariners making his Big League debut vs Boston.

Jimenez has been invited to join the Blue Jays in Dunedin this March and will likely compete with David Cooper as Toronto’s first choice to back up either Lind or Encarnacion should something happen to one of the two 1st basemen.

Eugenio Velez returns to the Blue Jays organization after last appearing as a Lugnut in 2005. Since his departure, Velez has not only made his MLB debut (with San Fancisco) but has played in a total of 259 Major League games, primarily as an Infielder.

With Hechavarria having been sent to MIA, Bocock signing with the Nationals and Chris Woodward retiring , Velez will likely become the Bisons SS in 2013 and be available to fill in for Jose Reyes should he  fall victim to an injury or have a difficult time adapting to playing on the turf at Skydome. Although his MLB totals are lacking, it’s worth noting that the 29 year old holds a career MiLB line of .297/.348/.450 to go with 232 Stolen Bases in 764 games.

If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that you can never have too many arms in your farm system and the 6 arms acquired earlier on this week will provide an added boost to Toronto’s pitching depth at the AAA level.

Right Handed Pitchers:

Buddy Carlyle (34)

Carlyle made an appearance in 33 games during the 2012 season throwing 76 IP’s and recording an ERA of 3.43. During hit career as a pro, Carlyle has appeared in 112 MLB games going 11-12 and averaging 7 Strikeouts per 9 innings pitched.

Claudio Vargas (34) Invite to Spring Training

Vargas, a one time Expo, had an overall record of 7-1 with a 3.69 ERA in the hitter friendly PCL while striking out 84 batters and walking a mere 32 batters in 109.2 innings pitched (2012).

Richard Thompson (28) Invite to Spring Training

Thompson recorded a 3.34 ERA while going 4-2 in 46 games out ofSacramento’s Bullpen in 2012.  2011 saw Thompson get in to 44 games with the Angels ending the season with an ERA of 3.00 in 54 innings pitched. In total, Thompson has appeared in 82 MLB games over the past 6 seasons.

Chorye Spoone (27)

If the name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because the one time Oriole prospect appeared in 14 games with New Hampshireafter coming over from Pawtucketlast season. In 22.2 IP’s, Spoone struck out 15 batters and recorded an ERA of 3.18 with the Fisher Cats in 2012.

Left Handed Pitchers:

Juan Perez (34) Invite to Spring Training

Perez appeared in 38 games out of the bullpen for the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee) in 2012 while en route to posting a 3.60 ERA. During his 40.0 innings of work, Perez struck out 54 of the 168 batters he faced while walking only 20.

Greg Smith (28)

Smith allowed 61 Earned Runs in 138.1 innings pitched (ERA of 3.97) for the Salt Lake Bee’s in 2012. Opposing batters managed to hit a mere .257 while striking out 83 times vs Smith last season.

In other news, Eli Whiteside has been claimed by the Rangers leaving a vacancy on the 40 man roster. This of course leaves Anthopoulos searching for yet another Catcher to round out Toronto’s AAA roster.

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