The Top 50 Jays Prospects list is finally ready to kick things off with our first player of the top 50 list!
#50: Ryan Dennis Tepera
23 years old / 6’1″ 180 lbs
Born: November 3rd 1987 in Lake Jackson, Texas
Bats Right Throws Right
High School Team: Brazoswood HS
College: Sam Huston State University
Drafted: by the Jays in the 19th rd, 580th overall, of the ’09 First-Year Player Draft
Wears: #12 for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2010
- Played SS until his Senior year in High School.
- Credits his dad for teaching him a lot about the game.
- If he was forced to turn to academia, he would head towards attaining a Business degree.
- Was actually in Canada, in the Vancouver area, when he found out that he had been drafted by the Jays.
- Although he began his pro career in the pen, Ryan pitched a 7 inning no-hitter in only his 2nd GCL start.
- One of Ryan’s best 2010 starts was a 1 hitter over 5 innings while walking 2, striking out 2. It was his best start because it came immediately after he had thrown 5 hit-less innings the previous start.
Lansing Stats Ranking for Ryan Tepera:
- Led Lansing in wins with 9, tied for 9th in the MWL.
- Ranked 2nd on the team with a 3.98 ERA.
- Ranked 2nd in Lansing with 12o IP. Only Ryan Shopshire (25) had more with 138 IP.
- Ranked 2nd out of the starters with more than 5 starts with a 1.31 Whip over 22 starts. Only Chad Jenkins had one better with a 1.26 whip over 13 starts.
- With Lansing announcer Jesse Goldberg-Strassler here.
Extra Information and previous experience:
- Sam Huston State University Biography Page here.
I wrote an article prior to the 2010 season where I ranked Ryan as one of the top 10 prospects to watch in 2010. Although my expectations were high for such a short amount of data to go with, and Ryan certainly didn’t meet all of them, he still did enough to warrant a look in the top 50 Jays prospect list and has been surprisingly effective as a starter thus far. Ryan is very much still learning to pitch and has a lot of work left to do in order to make it to The Show, but he has shown some real promise during his first 2 seasons as a pro within the Jays minors system.
You won’t find Ryan on anyone’s top 20 or 30 list. Not at Baseball America, not as Baseball Prospectus, and not even on most blogger’s rankings. The reason for this is that he doesn’t have enough polish on any of his pitches to make one a true out pitch. Therefore, Ryan depends mostly on being crafty and on keeping hitters off balance.
Having said that, of all the starting pitchers in Lansing in 2010 he was the one that made the most progress. Here’s a guy who had never pitched before being a Senior in HS before heading to college, and who had thrown just over 100 innings before making his debut in the GCL!! The fact that he was able to turn around and be dominant there after so little experience is outstanding to say the least. So what do you think happened in 2010 when Ryan was asked to pitch a full season as a starter for the first time? Exactly, he burned out near the end of the year and ended up allowing 13 ER over his last 2 games started in August. If we discount those 2 starts, Ryan’s stats start to look a whole lot better overall.
Just to provide an example of what Ryan’s capable of, prior to the all-star break, Ryan held a 3.33 ERA over his first 13 starts. He was 6-2 and had thrown 73 innings to this point, allowing 71 hits, 19 walks, and a .257 average against while striking out 46. To me, this represents a clearer representation of what Ryan can do. These are not all-star caliber stats, but they are more than effective for the level at his age. His most dominant month by far was in June, when he was able to maintain a 1.88 ERA over 5 starts.
Now the questions that remains are: will he get a shot at HiA Dunedin in 2011, or will he be the victim of the large amount of pitchers the Jays drafted in the 2010 draft and be forced to remain in LoA Lansing? And, will he move up the affiliates as a starter, or as a reliever?
I’m not really sure, but I can tell you that his improvements have to be impressing Jays minor league staffs and that he definitely has enough skills to be an effective pitcher at higher levels. There’s no reason the Jays can’t start him in HiA and see how it goes. The team has so many guys ready to make their pro debuts that it has to promote or release some of its less highly ranked prospects. Ryan should make the cut however and should get a chance to prove that all of the work he’s done on his mechanics, and the stamina he added in 2010, should help him succeed in HiA and beyond.
Expected 2011 Team: HiA Dunedin
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: 4th/5th Starter or Long Reliever.
That Ryan Tepera is the 50th ranked prospect on the Jays Journal provides an indication of the amount of talent the Jays have to offer in their system. He was one of the 2 best pitchers in Lansing for the majority of 2010 and we couldn’t imagine moving him closer to the top. This is yet another reason to watch for what’s next as Jared should be coming out with #49 shortly.