Saturday, 24 September 2011

2011 in Review: Vancouver Canadians

Like Bluefield, it's really kind of remarkable this club made the playoffs  (and in this case won a championship). In both cases the premium talent isn't very deep. both have just a bare handful  of studs, some interesting sleepers, and a bunch of organizational player type. both suffered a good bit from their best players being promoted. But the September results were there. The Canadians were particularly ordinary on the offensive side.

1. Kevin Patterson, 1B, 22, 6'4", 220
Patterson was the Blue Jays 30th round pick in 2011, and any enthusiasm about his hitting has to be tempered with another look at his age. A 22 year old with any skill at all SHOULD be knocking around opposing pitching at this level. Still, Patterson was the best hitter on this team in 2011 with an OPS that would have ranked 4th in the league (.859) had he enough at bats to qualify. Patterson played in roughly half of the teams games (after destroying GCL pitching for 15 games) so one might double his counting stats to get an idea what a full season might have looked like.

2. Jon Berti, 2B, 21, 5'10", 175
There's a rule of thumb that suggests that if you are drafted as a 2B, particularly beyond the first couple of rounds (Berti was selected in the 18th in this years draft) you are really on the margins of having a future. Berti is at very best a sleeper. But he did post an impressive OPS and stole 23 bases (against five CS) and being the best hitter over the full season of the team's play, he deserves to at least be noticed.

3. Jon Jones, CF, 22, 5'' 11", 185
The speedy Jones, a 29th rounder from 2010, didn't really hit that well except for power. He's started the year in Lansing but with that impressive OF he lost out. Perhaps he resented the demotion? He did, however, hit much better after the break, and he led the team in home runs while also stealing 18. He's probably still got a better chance than some guys above him like Marcus Brisker and Kenny Wilson.

And on the mound...

1. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, 19 (pitched virtually entire season at 18)
It's difficult to overstate just how well regarded Syndergaard is. After seven appearance in Bluefield he made 4 excellent starts in Vancouver and then got the call to bolster the Lansing squad in the playoffs (he made 2 starts at that level). Over the three levels combined he threw 59 innings and compiled a 1.83 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, and 3.78 K/BB - and opponents hit .211 off of him. He's a classic power pitcher in a classic power pitcher's body, working off a fastball with excellent movement. Reportedly his secondary pitches are raw but show plenty of promise. The kid is a top 10 prospect in the Jays system  and given the depth he's competing against, that's high praise. but hes worthy of it.

2.Justin Nicolino, LHP, 19
Nicolino was chosen by the staff at Baseball America as the best overall prospect in the Northwest League (Syndergaard didn't meet the playing time limits in any of the leagues he played in) and they called him a pitcher with #2 starter projection in the majors. It's easy to see why. A 2nd round pick in last years draft, the 6'3" lefty is still listed at just 160 pounds so he has room yet to grow and perhaps improve on his already impressive ability. Check out this stat line from his 12 appearances for the Canadians:
1.03 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 5.82 K/BB, 1.89 BB/9, 11 K/9, .156 BAA
He was truly a man among boys  and it's puzzling that the jays didn't advance him to lansing before the very end of August.

The list for the VanCans is a short one, particularly for a playoff team. There are likely some sleepers there that haven't posted gaudy stats yet but whom we will be talking about in years to come - Remember Nestor Molina was my #46 prospect a year ago! But it's the nature of such things that it's difficult to know who that might be. Here's a combined list for the Vancouver and Bluefield teams:

1. Noah Syndergaard
2. Aaron Sanchez
3. Justin Nicolino
4. Chris Hawkins
5. Kevin Pillar
6. Tyler Ybarra
7. Mitch Taylor
8. Dave Rollins
9/10 (tie) Kevin Patterson and Art Charles

Next up, the mighty Lansing Lugnuts.


gabriel said...

Great write-ups as always, and you remind me that we do have some hitters down in the low minors. In the low levels I'm far more interested in our pitchers than our hitters, and I'm sceptical of performances by those old for the level. Hawkins is interesting, but otherwise I'm not nearly as interested in the hitters.

The question of Nicolino vs. Sanchez is an interesting one, and a preference for either is defensible, but I'd prefer Nicolino due to his outstanding season. Down in Bluefield, I'm intrigued by Deivy Estrada and Myles Jaye as well as those you mentioned - both have age on their side, and had respectable years.

I'd suggest a combined list could look like this:

I. Noah Syndergaard
2. Justin Nicolino
3. Aaron Sanchez
4. Mitchell Taylor
V. Christoper Hawkins
6. Deivy Estrada
7. Tyler Ybarra
8. David Rollins
9. Kevin Pillar
X. Myles Jaye

Anonymous said...

Hey, Tammy, I've got a totally selfish/lazy question for you. A lot of the lower minor levels seem a little muddy to me. If you feel like it, would you care to explain the general path of progression through the system? And, when we see guys on these lists (actual prospects like Syndergaard), how far away are they from the majors if they're in, say, Bluefield or Dunedin?