Sunday, August 1, 2010

Monthly Prospect Review - July

On a day when The Manager kicked off the Two Months From Hell by giving away a critical out for the second straight day, the mind wanders, as it often does, to the halcyon days yet to come - and it occurs to me that being the first day of a new month, it's time for the monthly prospect review.

As always, the list attempts to be relatively exhaustive.

Catchers

1. JP Arencibia - The story of the Jays minor league system to this point has to be the story of the Renaissance of J. P. Arencibia. JPA blistered his way through June and July, hitting 22 homers in 50 games and, oh by the way, draw 18 walks (by comparison, he drew 18 walks in 126 games played in 2008). The Jays have an uncomfortable dilemma on there hands, in that they didn't find a quality offer for John Buck (and they are very happy with his work, by the way) yet the know JPA is ready for promotion. Whatever happens with Buck, count on seeing the kid in Toronto in September.
2. Carlos Perez - The 19 year old Venezuelan is doing everything one might have expected of him for Rookie League Auburn. He's years away, but he's on track.
3. Travis d'Arnaud - As opposed to last year's record, d'Arnaud has gotten steadily worse statistically month over month in 2010. He hasn't seemed the same since a May stint on the DL with his back. Perhaps the pain lingers?
4. AJ Jimenez - Like Perez, he's years away, and like Perez he's done nothing to make one doubt the glowing reviews he's recieved for his work on both sides of the game.
5. Brian Jeroloman - a tale of two season here, in April and May he was something unlike he'd ever been before - a feared hitter. in June and July, he's been anything but. He's a study in not over-reacting to a hot streak.

Others of note: Santiago Nessy, Yan Gomes, Jon Talley

First Basemen

1. Mike McDade - McDade cooled in July, but given that he's one of the younger players in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League yet he leads the league in homers by a comfortable margin, he's still having a nice year. With the departure of Brett Wallace, McDade's profile in the organization rises a bit.

2. David Cooper - written off as any part of the future after Wallace was acquired, Cooper gains a new lease on life with the most recent deal and had his first quality month in AA in July. but his stock has fallen so far it will take more than one hot month (actually, more like a hot 2 weeks) to rebuild his status.

3. Lance Durham - "Baby Bull" hit .902 in July and thereby asks that his name be considered in this conversation. He's 22 in short-season ball, so we'll exercise caution - but there might be something here.

4. K.C. Hobson - such is the lack of depth among minor league 3B that we have to go all the way down to a 19 year old in the GCL to find the next best option. Hobson has skills, but is years away.

5. Balbino Fuenmayor - a decent May created a small uptic of hope but he''s been dreadful since. Time is running out.

Second Base

1. Scott Campbell - still injured. If he were to recover his former skills he'd be the best player on this list, but hip-injuries can be vicious. I list him first because the other options are so unimpressive.

2. John Tolisano - was having a very slow July before going onto the DL two weeks ago. I'm uncertain the nature of his injury.

3. Andy Fermin - Yes, the system is so thin at 2B that this is what we've come to - a 32nd round pick in the 2010 draft, a 21 year old with a good enough eye to take advantage of short season pitching. There's no reason to think, at this point, that he's really a prospect.

4. Jarrett Huffpauir - After a brief stint in the majors, where he did little with a small chance, he's been a lot cooler back in AAA. Hardly anyone thinks he has much upside.

5. Ryan Schimpf - Unacceptable production for a 22 year old college player in Lo-A ball. Fading as a player of even marginal interest.


At both 2B and1B, over time we'll see the list change a good bit as the excess at other positions (suddenly we have quite a few 3B and SS) end up being shifted across the diamond to find playing time.

Third Base

1. Brad Emaus - Jeff Blair would have us believe that the Blue Jays have no faith in Emaus. And it's true he's probably never going to be an all-star. In fact if he's ever a full-time starter he's very likely to just be a marginal player - probably not unlike this year's version of Orlando Hudson (which isn't such high praise as you might imagine). But he's got a good enough batting eye to be a nice role-player and maybe stop-gap starter at 3B until something better comes along. At worst, he could have a fairly long career as a bench player in the mold of a Jeff Keppinger and that's not nothing.

2. Kellen Sweeney - Signed and playing in the GCL, the highest selected hitter in the 2010 draft for the Jays (second round) hasn't enough pro at-bats to really discuss, but the benefit of the doubt is granted here.

3. Shawn Bowman - a good May and a great June put Bowman on the radar of a lot of prospect watchers among Jays fans but I was skeptical. A .211 July has squashed a lot of the buzz he was generating. Bowman is more likely the Brian Dopirak of 3B than he is a future Jays Third Baseman. Still, I'll give him a bit of respect for the homers he has so far.

4. Mark Sobolewski - After a slow start adjusting to a newer and tougher league, Sobo had a very nice July (.773 OPS in the FSL isn''t bad work at all) and by all rights, probably should be second on this list but I'll refrain from over-reacting to short samples for now.

5. Kevin Ahrens - the ongoing experiment to convert the former switch hitter into a RH hitter is, perhaps, beginning to show signs of life. Ahrens is riding the crest of the best two-week sample of his career to date. Quite possibly, it's just a hot streak. But given his pedigree, and the nature of such a conversion, I'll reserve judgement just a while longer.

6. Sean Ochinko - he's only so low here because he's unlikely to stay at 3B long term. He can catch, but there are too many other options there as well. Ultimately, I might as well list him at first. He's having a respectable offensive year but at his age and level, it's nothing to get you real excited.

Others of note, particularly 2010 draftees: Chris Hawkins (third rounder, has been playing in the GCL), Kris Bryant (as yet unsigned but well regarded), Gabriel Cenas (international free agent, probably won't actually play until next season).

Shortstop

1. Adeiny Hechevarria - has silenced those who were mystified at his promotion to AA by settling in and acquitting himself well. With an .822 OPS in his last 10 games and drawing rave reviews from those who see him play, he's beginning to show us what Alex saw.

2. Gustavo Pierre - still getting credit for raw tools - but emphasis on the "raw" - he's struggling in his first season in Auburn, particularly during the 7-for-60 run which opened the month of July.

3. Dickie Joe Thon - Can we start calling this guy DJ or something? Thon is unofficially signed and the announcement should come in the next couple of weeks. Usually in these situations the player goes right to the instructional league rather than being added to a roster.

4. Justin Jackson - Flashes of promise followed by weeks of failure, Jackson's time is running out even if he is only 21. he needs to show something which says "give me more time" by this time next year or his baseball obituary will be in print all over.

5. Ryan Goins - looked skilled in Lansing, has been just awful at the plate since being promoted to Dunedin. Those who saw him in Lansing said he looked like the best hitter on the team but the transition has been very rough, 16 games in.

Outfielder

1. Anthony Gose - don't let the stats fool you, he's raw but the word from the scouts is that he has eye-popping tools. Yes, such players often flame-out, but you can compare him to Alex Rios did at 19 while playing two rungs lower on the ladder and I think you'll see that you can't dismiss him on statistical grounds - and he has a lot better head on his shoulders than Rios.

2. Jake Marisnick - Just promoted to Lansing after a nice debut season in the GCL - was the future of CF until Gose showed up but may well be the future of RF.

3. Moises Sierra - out for the year, will have to rebuild momentum next year.

4. Eric Thames - Just took over the franchise record for RBI at New Hampshire with 82, to go with his 21 homers. He's having his first healthy season in, well, ever, and he's doing well in every offensive facet except hitting LHP. that's a flaw that needs remedy if he wants to avoid falling into a potential platoon situation.

5. Darin Mastorianni - I've been calling him the second coming of Scott Podsednick but to be fair, he's a notch better than that if stats are any indication. Sometimes he's called Reed Johnson 2.0 but he doesn't have Johnson's unfortunate platoon splits. Great on-base skills, 50+ SB speed, lauded defense - but not a lot of power. The Jays might not consider him as gifted as Gose, but hopefully they'll give hm the chance to go as far as those skills will take him.

6. Adam Loewen - July was a slow month for the Loewen express. All three members of the NH outfield will be in AAA next year and there are limited opportunities on the major league roster. As much as I like Loewen's story, he needs to be more than "pretty good" if he wants to wear the uniform of his boyhood favorites. Unless it's at 1B.

7. Marcus Kenect - the now-20 year old native of the Toronto area was the only 2010 draftee among the hitters to start his pro-career as a starter at Auburn. And he justified that faith for the most part. He's probably not that impressive on defense, on the other hand, as he's spent considerable time at DH.

8. Michael Crouse - A 19 year old 2008 draftee, Crouse is on his third tour of the GCL so take his impressive stat line with a grain of salt - still, third tour or not - he IS 19. In theory he'll be tested at Lansing next year and we'll have a better read.

Also pay attention to: Wellinton Ramierez, Kenny Wilson, Eric Eiland (like Ahrens, showing a faint heartbeat at last but might be an illusion)


For the sake of length, I'll do the pitchers in a separate post - hopefully tomorrow.

3 comments:

s. said...

I know he blew his knee out, but (esp. in light of Wallace's departure) wither Dopirak?

eyebleaf said...

Love these prospect reviews. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

The Southpaw said...

I think Dopirak missed his chance to shine. He's just another guy now, like Mottola was for years.