Arizona Fall League: Thursday Review

The Scottsdale Scorpions must be hoping Friday brings an exit so they can finally go down Victory Road. They were defeated 7-2 Thursday night in a game that saw the team commit 3 errors in defense. Three Jays were involved in the contest.

RHP, Jamie Vermilyea

Unfortunately for the sinker-ball pitcher, his performance (1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB) probably played the biggest role in the Scorpions defeat yesterday. The only good news from his outing was that he retired batters using his biggest weapon - groundballs.

Vermilyea was wild the entire inning (21 pitches, 11 strikes), throwing the ball right in the middle of the plate and failing to get his usual heavy downward movement out of the strike zone.

The 25-year-old pitched mainly in Triple-A Syracuse this past season (43.1 IP, 39 H, 20 ER, 4 HR, 20 BB, 32 K, an excellent 2.74 Go/Ao and a .242 avg. against), but was also called up for a short stay in the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen where he impressed in limited action. (6 IP, 5 H, 2 K, 1.83 Go/Ao and a .227 average against.

Through five season in the minors (drafted in 9th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft by Toronto), the right-hander has maintained a respectable 3.31 ERA and 1.24 WHIP and he has started 41 of the 155 games in which he has appeared. He attacks hitters with a low-90s sinking fastball, a plus slider, and a solid split-finger, to go along with a curveball and changeup.

Vermilyea is looking to get some work in after missing time in the middle of the year with an arm injury.

RHP, Justin James

James was the player to be named later on the Scottsdale roster and he made an appearance in relief Thursday, tossing one inning and allowing only a single. All three outs were made on groundballs, something the 26-year-old has done a lot last year in New Hampshire (56 GB%) and Syracuse (45 GB%). In five minor league seasons, he has allowed only 23 home runs in 434.2 IP.

While he didn't strike as much batters (5.45 K/9) as his minor league average shows (7.30 K/9), he proved to be a dependable arm in the bullpen and even made four starts at the end of the season in Triple-A when the Syracuse Chiefs starting staff was depleted by injury and call-ups to the big league.

James must remain a reliever to be effective. His three-pitch arsenal (fastball that tops at 90mph, a change-up with great arm action and movement and a developing curve ball) is best suited for the bullpen where he will throw quality strikes and rely on his defense to make the outs.

LF, Travis Snider

Snider was able to take the field for the first time in three games during Thursday game when he was penciled in as the left fielder by manager Chip Hale. While he didn't commit an error in defense, his offensive numbers suffered after he went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. He did draw a walk in the eighth inning.

The hitting sensation has been involved in a long season that saw him play 118 games with the Lansing Lugnuts, played in the Instructional League where base running exercises and outfield practice were front-and-center and now is playing a 6-week baseball schedule against pitching that is, in most cases, from higher levels in the minor leagues that he has not been accustomed to.

The action continues Friday at 10:05pm EST

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