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Top 50 Jays Prospects, Jays Journal Edition: #48 Santiago Nessy

Now that we have #50 – Ryan Tepera, and #49 – John Tolisano sorted out, let’s continue the process with the next in line!

#48: Santiago Nessy

18 years old / 6’2″ 230 lbs

Born: 8th of December 1992 in La Victoria, Venezuela

Bats right  Throws right

High School Team: N/A

College: N/A

Signed: As an international FA by the Jays at only 16 years old for $750,000 in July of 2009.

Wore: #64 for the DSL Blue Jays in 2010

Quick Facts:

  • Hit .317 at home and .198 away in 2010.
  • Managed a .286 avg and .386 OBP after the all-star break, got better over time.
  • Really struggled against LHP with a .138 average.
  • His best month was July, when he held a very nice .283/.361/.528 line.
  • Led the DSL Jays with 12 doubles and tied for the lead with 2 HRs and 17 RBI.
  • All of this as Santiago was the youngest regular player on that DSL team.

*Santiago also made the mid-season all-star team in the DSL

Interviews: N/A

Extra Information and previous experience: N/A

As Kiley McDaniel of Baseball Prospectus said of Santiago Nessy when he was signed by the Jays:

“Nessy is big-bodied, offensive-oriented catcher that may move to first, but has a chance to stick behind the plate and swings a mean stick.”

That’s about what you can expect to hear from most people who have read, seen, or heard what Nessy is capable of. Whether or not he sticks at C is still a big question mark, but when you have the depth at the catching position the Jays currently enjoy – as shown an indication of in this piece from Fan Graphs that compares the Yankees and Blue Jays depth at the position, that’s the last fo your worries. Nessy can hit the snot out of a ball, and that’s what will get him to the majors, not the position he plays.

I must admit that I believe Nessy could easily be placed in the top 20 prospects if we based this ranking solely on potential ceiling alone. The sheer power that Nessy projects to hit with could some day rival that of Jesus Montero who will soon make his debut with the Yankees. However, we also have to weigh the variables and the fact that he has a lot of learning left to do and still has some holes in his swing that could stop his progression at some point. Still, I am about as excited about the possibilities that Nessy’s bat holds as with any other Jays prospect, so please don’t take his #48 ranking on this list as a knock, it’s simply a “let’s wait and see what 2011 brings, then we’ll assess his talents more thoroughly” thing.

When Nessy’s 2010 season kicked off, I wrote an article about hsi initial struggles at the plate. I noted the number of strike out Nessy had already, so I thought we should review how the season totals went in that category. Overall, Nessy struck out 44 times in 141 ABs for a 31% strike out rate. But, when we examine his pre all-star break SO rate (28 in 84 ABs for a 33% SO rate) to his post all-star break SO rate (16 in 57 ABs for a 28% SO rate), we can see that he made some significant progress in that category over the course of the year. Simultaneously, his OBP jumped from .357 before the all-star break to .404 afterwards, a clear indication that Nessy was headed in the right direction as the 2010 season ended.

My favorite stat progression for Nessy, however, was the jump in average and slugging percentage with runners on base. Nessy hit .213 with a .295 slugging percentage when the bases were empty, but hit .275 with a .438 slugging percentage when runners were on base. That tells me that he rises to the occasion and feeds off the pressure to drive runs in or to capitalize on an opportunity. If he can continue to be clutch as he progresses, it’ll go a long way to making him an effective player. Teams love players who drive runs home and hit well in key situations. Just ask the Yankees fans how key Hideki Matsui was for them when it counted.

The fact that Nessy was able to make the DSL all-star team despite such a slow offensive start provides an indication of just how good his defensive skills may be. Sure, he’s a big kid who may have a hard time staying healthy behind the plate over the long haul, but his .226/.283/.357 line at the time of his addition to the all-star team tells me that his defensive abilities were strong enough to make him an all-star at the time. If that’s a fact and it translates to the GCL when he makes the jump to the United States, Nessy could very well stick there and continue the string of strong catching prospects the Jays have in their system.

I firmly believe that Nessy will make a huge leap up the rankings once the 2011 season is in the books. His pregression through the 2010 season, his election to their all-star game despite luke warm offensive stats, and his ability to play big when the time counts all point to an impact player in his early development stages. We will need to see how that translates once he plays on U.S. soil, hence his #48 ranking, but chances are that you could find Nessy well within the top-20 Jays prospect ranks by the time 2012 ends. He is one great prospect to watch for Jays fan, as he could bring middle of the lineup power with him to Toronto at some point in time.

- MG

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