Saturday, May 1, 2010
April Prospect Report - Part II
For those of you who read both this blog (both of you) and the excellent Bluebird Banter, I want to assure you that I had no idea they were doing positional reports over there starting last night as well. Hopefully I add some value in my greater verbosity.
Picking up where I left off last night . . .
Chris Lubanski - perhaps not a proper prospect, in the most formal sense, but this is not some Chad Mottola situation either. Lubanski just turned 25 (and is thus younger than everyone's favorite dark horse, Brian Dopirak) and was a #5 overall draft selection. Lubanski failed to master AAA in three attempts for the Royals but this year, in the early going, his OPS is .953 so this year might be different. Obviously we need a lot larger sample to suggest he's back on the radar but it's not unwise to keep an eye on him.
Eric Thames - Jays prospect watchers (especially me!) have been drooling over Thames potential for a couple of years now, and been frustrated by his constant injuries. It's obviously still too early to be sure he won't get hurt again any day now, but so far, he's been justifying the excitement.
Thames has hit five - check that, SIX homers on the season as of this writing (he hit two this afternoon), with the game still ongoing in AA, his OPS is over .860 and he's stolen a few bases. He's said to do everything well except throw, and he's still just 23. If he can stay healthy he could be one who'd come fast.
Darin Mastorianni - The second coming of Scott Podsednik? Certainly looks like it. Good on-base skills, and flies on the basepaths. He has 12 steals (without being caught even once) in his first 20 games. Reportedly a solid defensive CF as well.
Adam Loewen - Showing surprising speed, and a solid walk rate, but the contact and the power stroke are still absent. That said, he was challenged by a promotion despite not impressing in A ball last season so we'll see how he develops over this important (for him) season.
Moises Sierra - On the DL still. No news.
Kenny Wilson - the speedy second round pick in 2008 is beginning to re-establish a bit of his promise at Lansing so far this year. He's still very young so he was far from a failure even though he struggled a lot in 2009.
Eric Eiland - had been practically written off by most observers because of two completely ineffective seasons and he's not setting the league on fire this year. But there's a pulse so the 21 year old might yet re-assert himself. Not likely, but maybe.
(note that some of these guys will likely end up in the 'pen when they reach the majors but I'll list then as starters as long as they are starting in the minors)
Brad Mills - Mills had a bit of a setback in his last game but he still has a 3.03 ERA over his first five starts and, more impressively, a huge 38/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just under 30 IP. Mills has the problem of being presumptively behind the rehabbing Marc Rzepczynski as well as Brett Cecil for the two major league spots which are apparently "in play" so barring injury, it's hard to see where he goes from here but he's making a case for himself.
Bobby Ray - struggling so far. He's never been a top shelf prospect, but the problem here is that BB/K ratio has slipped into very unimpressive territory.
Ray Gonzalez - being exposed, so far, in the early going at AAA, but he's still only 24 so he might yet right himself. Still, a 7.40 ERA can't be spun as anything other than bad news.
Kyle Drabek - Struggled a bit in his first couple of starts but coming on fairly strongly of late. Seems to be making the expected progress but has plenty of time to push for a promotion.
Zach Stewart - Skipped a start, after a particularly bad outing, so that coaches could make a mechanical adjustment. The results since, while a VERY small sample, are encouraging.
Luis Perez - Started off dominating, but lack of control has caught up with him in the last two starts, both pretty ugly. Still has a nice ERA but but 13 walks (and only 15 K's) in 26.2 IP illustrates there's a lot of progress remaining to be made.
Bobby Bell - First two starts were very ugly, last two have been good. Sort of the opposite to Perez in that the ERA is deceptively high but the trend is good.
Henderson Alverez - Dominating. Absolutely dominating the Florida State League. His ERA is 0.37 and that's not deceptive.
Andrew Liebel - Just mediocre so far, which is all I really expected (It's on record I'm not a fan). Still, for his age at that level, he should put up relatively decent numbers before the year is out. I don't think he'll survive well when he reaches AA though.
Joel Cerrano - inconsistent so far, flashes of promise but no trend line.
Chad Jenkins - Like Drabek, he struggled in the first few games but he seems to be gaining some momentum. As a college grad, it is't unreasonable to expect him to preform well enough to reach Dunedin before the season is over and would be a mild disappointment if he didn't.
There are a few other guys - 2009 draftees Daniel Webb and Drew Hutchenson, DSL star Devy Estrada - who will be playing in the rookie leagues when they start up. It's pretty praise-worthy that the Jays can point to half a dozen guys (including Zep, but not including rookie league players) not in the current major league rotation who have an excellent prospect of being solid major league starters.
David Purcey - not technically a prospect, but in a sense he is since he's starting over as a reliever. That project is a work in progress, with mixed results. mostly arising from (you guessed it) control issues. Still, if he can manage to consistently spot the two pitches they want him to throw, he could be an impressive late inning option.
Danny Farquhar - Closing in Hew Hampshire with mixed results. He's getting outs (only one earned run so far in nine innings) but also, six walks. likely to be a plus in the Jays pen in a couple of years but needs to refine the control.
Tim Collins - No longer a novelty act, Collins is a legit prospect. He got roughed up in his last outing, but that only drove his ERA to 2.70 and he has 16 K's in 10 innings so far. He's still just 20 so the Jays can afford to give him a full season in AA if they like, but I'm pretty confident we won't get through 2011 without seeing him in the majors.
Trystan Magnuson - the oldest of the AA "three amigos," Magnuson is doing everything right. No homers allowed, only one walk and 12 strikeout in 12 IP. At 24 years old, it's not unreasonable to expect he'l be the first real prospect to move up from the New Hampshire pen to Las Vegas. That could be as early as June.
While there will always be exceptions, those who are relievers at the lower levels probably don't make it. Good things have been said about Dustin Antolin (who got pounded in his last appearance)and Lansing manager Sal Fasano is impressed with Steve Turnbull.
While there will always be exceptions, those who are relievers at the lower levels probably don't make it. Good things have been said about Dustin Antolin (who got pounded in his last appearance) and Lansing manager Sal Fasano is impressed with Steve Turnbull. Again keep in mind that excess starters often end up in the bullpen at the major league level. guys like Bobby Ray and Joel Cerrano are obvious examples. Bobby Bell is, in my opinion, good enough to be a legitimate starting prospect but if he stayed in our system he might also end up being a very impressive late inning set up man too.
As a suplemental (and largely self-indulgent excess) to this set, I'll throw out a quick update to my list tomorrow.