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12/11/08

Meet and greet Jason Jones (& Nick Punto)

The Twins today filled their 40 man roster (they can move Pat Neshek to the 60 day DL and still have an open spot) by re-signing Nick Punto and drafting Jason Jones from the New York Yankees in the major league part of the rule 5 draft (they lost 3 players in the draft and acquired one in the minor league portion, but this will be another post).

Who is Jason Jones?

Jason who turned 26 last November 20th, was selected in the 4th round of the amateur draft of 2005 by the Yankees from Liberty University. A couple of times he was named the pitcher of the week (2006, Florida State League) and 2008 (Eastern League). He was a Florida State League Mid-season All Star in 2006. His arsenal of pitches include a 2-seamer that tops out at 92 mph, a plus plus 81-83 mph slider with late breaking action in to lefties and away from righties, a split-finger fastball (his strikeout pitch) and a changeup that he throws occasionally.

He started his professional career with an excellent campaign in 2004, when he pitched 79 innings and started 14 games split between the State Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League (low A) and the Battle Creek Yankees of the Midwest (A) League. He accumulated a 2.62 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and had 7.67 K/BB and 5.24 K/9. In 2005 he was promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League (high A) where he pitched 128.1 innings with disappointing results: 5.68 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 3.8 K/BB and 5.34 K/9. This drove two changes in his pitching style brought about by the Yankees pitching staff: a. a change in his mechanics and b. abandonment of his erratic curve ball for the favor of a newly tought split-finger fastball. In 2006 he split time between the Tampa Yankees and Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League (AA). His totals for the year were 3.39 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 2.39 K/BB and 5.22 K/9. The decrease in his K/BB was due to the increase use of the split-finger fastball that he was learning at the time. In 2007 he spent the whole season in Trenon where he pitched 131.2 innings resulting to a 3.62 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.51 K/BB and 5.35 K/9. He split last season between Trenton and Scranton of the International League (AAA) and pitched 160 innings accumulating a 3.26 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2.04 K/BB and 5.74 K/9.

How does he fit in the Twins' plans? He could be a change of page reliever in the major league club (however, that would require that one of the current relievers or Phillip Humber who is out of options get dealt.) or his contract could be bought via a trade and have a spot in Rochester's rotation in 2009. If I were to guess, I would guess that unless there is a trade and he shocks the universe in spring training, he would either return to the Yankees or get traded by the Yankees and will start in Rochester. The Twins will surely get a good look of him in spring training because there would be several of their pitchers expected to play in the the World Baseball Classic, which would result in Jones pitching more innings.

Not much I can say about Nick Punto. We all know him. As I indicated previously, he was not that bad last year. He ranked 15th and above the major league average for shortstops in BFE. The huge perception of disappointment is probably a combination of the facts that a. people do not seem to forget 2007 and b. there have been no significant moves by the front office to improve this team. Yet. There are still about 4 months before the first pitch of the 2009 season is thrown, and I will wait to hold judgment about this off-season performance of the Twins' front office until then. For an organization that values "continuity" at all levels, this was not a surprising singing... However, this organization has not won much since 1991, so sometimes the pot needs to be stirred in order for results to be produced.

Time will tell...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

if Bill Smith makes good on his promise to upgrade 3b with a rh power bat...

then I have just one question: What does the Punto signing say about the Garza trade?

DY has been relegated by Gardy to the 4th OF....and Harris has no home...I assume Tolbert will be the utility guy...will Harris even make the team?

thrylos98 said...

Well,

I think that it is fairly obvious how I feel about Gardy.

As far as the Garza/Young trade goes, last season was pretty even. I hope that Gardy has Young every day in his starting lineup next year. I can see Harris having a sub role in the infield at getting 250-300 AB. At this point there will probably be 2 utility infielders and Harris/Tolbert/Tolleson/Machado/Hughes will fight it out at spring training. Let's evaluate the trade after a while, because when the Tigers gave Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander in 1987, for a year it looked like a great trade for the Tigers...

Anonymous said...

Jason Jones has some good stuff. I saw him pitch when he was with Double-A Trenton. He outsmarts batters as opposed to simply trying to overpower them. He should be a great addition for the Twins.

Marv said...

The anti-Young stuff I read is funny. Like a guy has little or no value unless he has a .300 BA. For that matter, thrylos98, you're not fond of the kid who hit .294 as a rookie either, but I'm not trying to pick a fight. I would say that the Twins have had quite a bit of success in the 21st century. Certainly more than most teams.
I really appreciate your insights thrylos98. I just don't always agree with you.
BTW: Ty would be fine, but it seems the Twins could clean out some of the guys they cannot keep anyway (Humber, as an example) and trade for a young player, like Kouz or someone of that ilk. Isn't there some downside to trying to keep all these guys who are out of options? Your thoughts?

thrylos98 said...

Marv,

I am extremely fond of Young. Not sure where you got that idea. Read this:
http://tenthinningstretch.blogspot.com/2008/12/gardy-gardy-gardy.html

If one of the outfielders has to go it should be Cuddyer. You just don't throw away 23 year olds with a ton of potential.

I am not sure why they are piling up guys without options but they are doing it. They did it last year with Bass (and it bombed) they will do it this year with Humber. They should really try to go with quantity vs. quality and trade a bunch of the never will bes for a good young SS prospect, because that it where this organization is hurting...

Marv said...

I stand corrected. Thanks for the response.