Redmond Jays' rising star

Catcher Mike Redmond with the Florida Marlins July 20, 2004. (Reuters file photo)

Catcher Mike Redmond with the Florida Marlins July 20, 2004. (Reuters file photo)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:22 PM ET

TORONTO - We always write about the fuzzy-cheeked guy with a 95-m.p.h. fastball.

Or the young buck hitting line drives off or through fences.

Yet, the Blue Jays have a prospect in their system who seldom gets any recognition.

Mike Redmond made his debut at class-A Lansing a year ago after a 13-year career with the Florida Marlins, Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians.

Redmond guided Lansing to a postseason berth in the Midwest League last year as the Lugnuts went 74-63 and Redmond earned manager of the year honours.

This year? Redmond is managing class-A Dunedin.

This week?

Dunedin clinched a playoff spot with a 7-1 win over Clearwater Sunday to run its record to 42-19.

In his two years managing, Redmond’s clubs are a combined 118-80 (.596).

Sure, general manager Alex Anthopoulos stockpiled picks and scouting director Andrew Tinnish and his staff drafted wisely, but the manager has to get the most out of his players.

Redmond has done that.

His best weapons are shortstop Kevin Nolan and lefty Sean Nolin, otherwise known as no relation.

Nolan is fourth in the Florida State League with a .322 average, sitting second in hits (79), second in extra-base hits (28), first in runs scored (46), second for total bases (119) and fourth in on-base percentage OBP (.392).

Nolin is second with an ERA of 2.35, ranking first in wins (seven), third in strikeouts (73) and fifth in innings pitched (722/3).

That’s not all Redmond has on his lineup card ... for the time being: first baseman Jon Talley has a .308 average (eighth) and second baseman Ryan Schimpf has 18 doubles (second) and 27 extra-base hits (third).  Closer Danny Barnes leads with 17 saves an a 2.36 ERA as the Dunedin staff ranking second in the league with an ERA of 3.49.

Nolan, Nolin, Talley, Schimpf and Barnes all were named to the Florida State League all-star team.

Kevin Ahrens, in his fourth year at Dunedin, earned player of the week honours, hitting .471 (8-for-17) with a double, two homers and eight RBIs.

A year ago he hit 14 homers, but was homerless the first two month of the season. He went deep at Charlotte last Sunday and again Monday, highlighting a 3-for-3 output against Clearwater on Saturday.

ON THE RISE

Lefty Brett Cecil is on the move.

He was promoted and made his first start at triple-A Las Vegas Tuesday night against Tuscon.

Whacked from the Jays rotation the final day of this spring, Cecil was sent to double-A New Hampshire. There, he has improved of late, making six consecutive strong starts. He was 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA. Cecil had walked 14 and struck out 34 in 422/3 innings in nine starts.

However, he’s not rising with a bullet. Cecil was demoted from the Jays to Vegas a year ago where he made 14 starts.

A year ago Wednesday he also was in Vegas. Cecil had been demoted last April, returning to the Rogers Centre in late June.

Reliever Ron Uviedo, 25, was also promoted to triple-A along with Cecil.

The former Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer was 3-2, with a 3.10 ERA, walking 15 and striking out 23 in 29 innings.

PLAYOFF BOUND

Lansing, under manager John Tamargo, continue to sit first, clinching a playoff spot Saturday with a 6-5 win over Lake County.

Outfielder Kevin Pillar, a 32nd-round pick, is second in the league with a .323 average as well as being second in stolen bases with 23.

Closer Ajay Meyer sits atop the league with 19 saves. He has a 4.71 ERA.  Both Pillar and Meyer earned all-star honours.

Lansing pitchers own the best team ERA in the league with a mark of 2.75, a wide margin over runner-up Bowling Green’s ERA (3.35).

Tamargo has starting pitching today, tommorrow and the next day.

A look at his starters:

Lefty David Rollins (5-0, 3.21, 22 walks, 53 strikeouts in 56 innings in 13 starts), Marcus Walden (5-1, 2.48, 17 walks, 28 whiffs in 61 2/3 innings over 13 starts), Jesse Hernandez (4-3, 2.42, 13 walks, 44 strikeouts in 702/3 innings in 11 outings), Noah Syndergaard (3-2, 4.31, 13 bases on ball, 51 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings in seven starts), Anthony DeSclafani (4-1, 2.91, 10 walks, 44 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings in six starts), Justin Nicolino (2-0, 1.47, five walks, 39 strikeouts in 43 innings in six starts) and Aaron Sanchez (5-0, 0.66, 21 walks, 47 strikeouts in 41 innings in six starts).

POWER RANKINGS

One evaluator’s look at the top five prospects in the Blue Jays system:

1. Travis d’Arnaud (.333 average, 14 homers, 43 RBIs, .976 OPS in 55 games at Las Vegas).  “He’s one of the top catchers in the minors with a bright future. I don’t see how they have anyone better.”

2. Adeiny Hechavarria (.326, four, 41, .830 in 59 games at Vegas)  “He’s an all-star shortstop with the glove, which everyone knew at the start of the season. Now, he’s starting to hit some, look at his runs scored (50) and RBI.”

3. Anthony Gose (.289, three, 30, .778, 24 stolen bases in 63 games as Vegas). “He hasn’t figured it all out yet, but he’s close. We don’t have anyone like him in our organization.”

4. Aaron Sanchez (6-0, 0.84 ERA, 23 walks, 48 strikeouts in 43 innings at Lansing) “They have to move him soon. He has a 96-m.p.h. fastball and has a plus curve. Not bad for a young pup.”

5. Noah Syndergaard (3-2, 4.31, 13 walks, 51 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings at Lansing) “You have to like a 6-foor-5 power pitcher who throws nothing but strikes and his delivery is not violent, which means he should be injury-free.”

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • After waging a losing battle against the elements, Travis Snider finally began his rehab at Dunedin and went 4-for-13 (.308) with a double and an RBI in his first three games.  New Hampshire second baseman Ryan Goins 10th in the league with a .309 average and is second in hits (75), while first baseman Mike McDade is fifth in RBIs with 36 and owns a .308 average.
  • Extended Canuck numbers: Mississauga outfielder Dalton Pompey is hitting .250 with 10 RBIs and 18 stolen bases at extended spring ... Grafton’s Nicholas Purdy has a 2.80 ERA with six walks and 18 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings ... Belmont’s Shane Davis had a 5.09 ERA with eight walks and 17 strikeouts in 23 innings ... Amherstburg’s Zach Breault had a 6.00 ERA with eight walks and 12 strikeouts in 24 innings ... Scarborough’s Leslie Williams has a 6.16 ERA with 11 walks and 17 whiffs in 19 innings ... Justin Atkinson of Surrey, B.C. is hitting .228 with a homer and seven RBIs ... Tom Robson of Lander, B.C. had a 6.37 ERA with five walks and 15 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings.
  • More extended: Daniel Norris had a 3.19 ERA with 12 walks and 26 whiffs in 28 2/3 innings ... Roberto Osuna has an 0.69 ERA, walking seven and fanning 30 in 26 innings ... Dickie Thon is hitting .215 with eight RBIs ... Kevin Comer has a 4.66 ERA with eight walks and 20 strikeouts in 29 innings.

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