Friday, 11 December 2009

Farm Report 2009: The Outfielders

Short on preliminaries this week, since the list is longer - I'll get right to it.
(see the 2008 list here)

1. Mosies Seirra: 9-24-1988 / 6'0", 225 / signed as free agent out of Dominican Republic

Like some other positions, this is a list with a very close choice for the top spot. Unlike the other positions, the choice here is between two candidates who did well in 2009. the margin between 1 and 2 is very slim. So what's to like about Seirra?

Well, he held his own in the FSL at age 20, which is no mean feat and something that other Jays' 20 year old prospects didn't do - in fact, Seirra got into 8 games in AA. He has good control of the strike zone for his age (he had a .360 OPS to go along with his .286 BA) and is a highly praised defender with an arm that draws comparisons to Jesse Barfield. He has solid doubles power which should develop as he progresses up the chain. It's also well known that the FSL is a league which strongly favors pitching and suppresses home run power too.

He's not a speedster, but he also doesn't seem to take foolish risks on the basepaths. Jays management is sending signals that perhaps they'll be slowing down the aggressive promotion schedule of the previous team, but even so, it's not inconceivable Seirra could be ready for RF in Toronto by 2012.

2. Johermyn Chavez: 1-26-1989 / 6'3", 220 / Free Agent signed out of Venezuela

Four months younger than Seirra, Chavez also had a breakout season in 2009, though he did so for Lo-A Lansing. The difference in the two is that Chavez displayed both significant power and also much less strike zone discipline, racking up 21 homers over against 137 strikeouts. Chavez is not reported to be a sub-standard defender, but he possibly behind Seirra in that regard primarily because of throwing ability. It would be wonderful for the Jays if one of them was at least an average CF but I've seen nothing to suggest that is the case. of course, Chavez is likely at least 3 years away if not more and by the Travis Snider might fit best as a DH.

3. Eric Thames: 11-10-1986 / 6'0", 205 / 7th Round, 2008

Thames is an interesting case. He apparently has an impressive set of tools and when he is on the field he makes things look easy with the bat. The problem is staying on the field. The Jays snagged him so late in the draft because he had a major leg injury as a senior in college. He didn't get into a professional game in 2009 as he recuperated. Starting off 2009 at Hi-A Dunedin - an aggressive placement - he roared through the first month of games as if he was under-matched (.340 - .412 - .462 - .884). Then, before the middle of May, he was on the DL again.

He got into 14 games in June, then went back to the DL. He somehow managed to drag himself back for the last 10 games of the season and posted a 1.033 OPS over those 10 games. That kind of record throws up all kinds of sample size alerts, but it also makes one drool over the possibilities if he could ever play through a full season. Thames is fairly fast, but not stealing a lot of bases yet (possibly protecting the previously injured leg) and is a solid defender with the exception of having a weak arm. Here again, if he could make passable throws from CF the anticipation level would be that much greater. but it remains to be seen if his body will let him reach the majors at all.

4. Jake Marisnick: 3-30-1991/ 6'4, 200 / 4th round, 2009

Now here's your center fielder.

Marisnick was rated #42 overall by Keith Law and not a few mock drafts had him as a first round talent. the Jays flat out stole him in the 4th round and he has not only all the physical tools you'd want but a tremendous attitude. he's already talking about championships and being the best prospect in the organization and in a year or two he might very well be just that.

Expect AlexA and company to take it slower with prospects than JP did, but Marisnick might just be the exceptional guy who moves fairly quickly. Admittedly though, it's just speculation until he plays some pro ball.

4. Adam Loewen: 4-9-1984 / 6'6" 235 / signed as minor league free agent

Normally a guy who spent his age 25 season at Hi-A ball wouldn't be on anyone's list, especially with an OPS of .695 - but this isn't a normal situation. Informed fans know Loewen was a very high draft pick for the Orioles as a pitcher, but not so many know that - like Rick Ankiel - he was considered almost as good a hitting prospect out of high school as he was a pitching prospect. After arm issues pushed him from the mound, Loewen picked up a bat after some six years or so of disuse. 2009 was his first year back in the role of hitter/fielder.

Thanks to's maddening tendency to let fall league stats trump full season stats, I can't give you the details that I'd like but the story on Loewen is that in the first half he was totally lost at the plate, except for showing a decent ability to take a walk. as July rolled around he found a grove and roared (comparatively speaking) through most of the second half before fading in the last couple of weeks. the Jays sent him to the AFL where he floundered, striking out almost 2 times a game.

This ranking may well be too high, but so much good has been said about Loewen's natural hitting ability that I'm inclined to not give up my optimism just yet. The Jays signed him to a two year contract so he needs to show them something next year. He'll likely have to start back in Dunedin but he'll advance as fast as his bat will allow, he's on a different clock that the rest of the system.

5. Darin Mastorianni: 8-26-1985 / 5'11", 190 / 18th round, 2007

If you've been missing the days when the Jays featured a speed merchant at the top of the lineup, you have to be rooting for Matorianni. The speedy CF racked up a total of 70 stolen bases between Dunedin and AA New Hampshire in 2009. Beginning the season in A ball, he posted an .816 OPS through 61 games and accumulating 32 steals. After his promotion to AA, he took a few weeks to find his groove at the plate (again, stat breakdowns are impossible to find at the moment) but his speed didn't slump and he accumulated another 38 steals in 70 games. He adjusted with the bat and he was a capable hitter down the stretch.

Mastorianni probably doesn't have the tools to be a full time starter in the bigs, but it wouldn't be at all inconceivable to see him turn out like Scott Podsednick, for instance.

Other names of note:

Kenny Wilson - young, fast, raw. showed some sparks but needs to establish himself

Marcus Brisker - Like Wilson, only more unsuccessful in 2009

Eric Eiland - like Brisker, only more unsuccessful - to the point of being written off if he doesn't show something in 2010.

Its also worth noting that some of the other players in the system might wind up in the outfield. Gustavo Perrie, for instance, is expected by some to outgrow SS; KC Hobson has played as much OF as 1B though the scouting reports suggest he doesn't have the tools to handle the OF as a pro; John Tolisano and Scott Campbell are both second basemen who have enough defensive questions to provoke questions about moving to the outfield.

No comments: