Ryan Casey of the Denver Post reported on the 9th of July that the Jays were close to signing Short Stop Shane Opitz, although the title of the article “Opitz inks deal with Blue Jays, skips Nebraska” tells us that only a physical could put this deal in jeopardy. Make no mistake about it, when this deal is announced it will cause quite a stir amongst other teams because the Jays will have to offer this 3 sport star a ton of money to forgo his time in Nebraska. It would be a sign that Alex Anthopolous was serious when he said that the Jays would be willing to go far above slot money to sign the right players and a great start to ensuring the Jays bring top talent on board.
Opitz is 18, 6’1″ and 180 lbs, and has a brother in the Cubs system, an indication of the blood lines. His family stated that “would take “life-changing” money” to sign Shane, an indication of just how highly they thought of Nebraska’s opportunity and the College experience.
The article also states that Shane will begin his pro career in Dunedin. I’m not sure if that’s in extended spring training or if it’s for the HiA club, but I doubt the Jays would throw him to the Wolves like that, so I’m guessing the former is right. There are some who believe Shane will likely shift to 2B at some point, which definitely fills a need in the minors for the Jays at that position.
Here are his stats for the 2010 season:
17 games/ 57 AB/ .544 AVG/ 13 runs/ 31 Hits/ 28 RBIs/ 9 doubles/ 3 triples/ 3 HRs/ 5 SB/ 1 SF/ 8 BB/ 1 K/ .597 OBP
High School stats are definitely inflated in comparison to most, but you can tell that he rarely strikes out, has great hand-eye coordination, and does have some pop and speed, although neither are off-the-charts or above average.
.977 FP/ 44 TC/ 12 PO/ 31 A/ 1 Error/ 3 DP
His D seems sound and time will tell if the change in speed of the game and pressure affect it a little.
Whatever negatives you can find about Shane, I know 1 thing is certain: he is a great athlete. Any time the Jays add a great athlete to their system, I get excited. So, I like this move a lot, hopefully Shane can get the ball rolling soon on his 2010 season, and we can all sit and watch him grow into an every day MLB player.