#30: Moises Sierra
Right Fielder / 22 years old / 6′1″ 225 lbs
Born: September 24th, 1988 in Santo Domingo, DO
Bats: Right Throws: Right
College Team: N/A
Signed By: The Toronto Blue Jays as a non-drafted free-agent on December 20th, 2005
Jersey Number: #43 for the Dunedin Blue Jays
- 2009 Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star
- Florida State League Player of the Week on June 15th. 2009
- 1st in games played (110), at-bats (405), runs (56), and hits (116)
- Tied for 1st in total bases (159)
- 2nd in doubles (24)
- Tied for 3rd in triples (2)
- 4th in stolen bases (10) and RBI (56)
- 7th in walks (34) and strikeouts (66)
Extra Information and previous experience:
A six-figure international free-agent signing, Moises Sierra became part of the Blue Jays organization at the tender age of just 17-years-old. It’s always an indicator that an organization is quite high on a player when they look outside the draft to sign talent., and it’s no exception with the Toronto Blue Jays and Moises Sierra.
Sierra began his professional career back home in the Dominican Summer League, where he managed a .721 OPS along with 62 hits in 245 at-bats (69 games). He certainly displayed some extra base power from his large 6’4′, 225 pound frame, as he managed 16 doubles and four home runs. He was also quick on the base paths for a big guy, as he went 17-for-20 in stolen base attempts.
The Jays decided it was time for Sierra to make his North American debut the following season in 2007, which he spent with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, appearing in 43 games. It’s important to virtually dismiss the lackluster .203/.248/.357 line Sierra put up that season, as he was adjusting to a foreign country while trying to learn English as well.
The Blue Jays did just that, by promoting Sierra to Class-A Lansing anyway the following season in 2008, where he got his first taste of full season professional baseball. In 130 games as the Lugnuts starting right fielder, Sierra managed a .246 average and .661 OPS, along with 16 doubles, 5 triples, 9 home runs, and 114 strikeouts.
Obviously this was Sierra’s first full year in the United States, so he was still adjusting to his new lifestyle as well as continuing to learn English. Similar to what Mat noted yesterday in his article about Adeiny Hechevarria, the lack of Spanish speaking personnel around Sierra could easily have had a negative effect on his instruction and development.
Once Sierra was aggressively promoted to Hi-A Dunedin for the 2009 season was when he really started to show his ability. He hit a .286/.360/.393 line in 110 games with the Dunedin Blue Jays, including 24 doubles, 2 triples, and five home runs, and went 10-for-12 in stolen base attempts. This strong showing led to a late season promotion to Double-A New Hampshire, where he was dominant in the 8 games he played in, going 12-for-35 (.353) at the plate with one home run and 6 RBI.
Offensively, Sierra has considerably improved his approach with two strikes as well as his ability to hit offspeed pitches. His contact abilities improved as well, as he has cut down on his strikeouts, against a higher level of competition to boot. A right-handed hitter, Sierra has always been more effective against left-handed pitching, but he is gradually starting to even out his his numbers between southpaws and right-handers. His thick frame allows for a strong ability to hit for power, but he hasn’t really tapped into his potential yet in that regard. He is still young though, and should be able to address that issue next season.
What makes Sierra special though is his cannon of an arm, with the term “cannon” even being an understatement. One of the best defensive outfield prospects in the Jays’ system, some scouts have said that Sierra may even have the best arm in the entire Minor Leagues, with one admitting Sierra may have the best arm he has ever seen. The numbers don’t lie either: 6 outfield assists in 2007, 11 in 2008, and a whopping 15 in 2009 split between Hi-A and Double-A, where he had 2 in just 6 games with the Fisher Cats. Needless to say, runners are going to have to reconsider advancing from first to third or tagging on a sacrifice fly with Sierra patrolling right field.
After Sierra’s strong 2009 season, it was easy to think that a stint with Triple-A Las Vegas was likely in his sights before the end of 2010, with the possibility of even a callup to the Majors when the rosters expanded in September.
Sierra was unfortunately the victim of some bad luck this past season though, where he appeared in only 20 games and missed almost the entire first half of the season with a microfracture in his shin. When he resumed baseball activities, he broke the hamate bone in one of his wrists that sidelined him for virtually the remainder of the season.
Overall, Sierra hit .265/.342/.412 in 10 games with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, and .162/.175/.270 in another 10 games with the Dunedin Blue Jays. He still managed to notch 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, and 2 outfield assists in those 20 games though.
Sierra will still be only 22-years-old next season, so he has more than enough of an opportunity to rebound from losing a full season from his development. It’s obvious the Blue Jays remain high on him and feel the same way, as he was added to their 40-man roster in November and protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
Sierra got an early opportunity to work out some kinks in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, where he went 3-for-11 (.273) with a double, a home run, and 4 RBI.
Expected 2011 Team: Dunedin Blue Jays
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Everyday RF
With Sierra’s 2010 season virtually a write off, ranking him on our Top 50 was a bit of a challenge. Some will likely consider his #30 ranking this year as low, but it also takes into account other outfielders on our list like Thames, Marisnick, and Knecht.
I sincerely hope for a healthy Moises Sierra to return to Dunedin in 2011 with a vengeance and force the Jays’ hand to promote him all the way up to Triple-A Las Vegas before the end of the season.
Sierra should have an exciting 2011 season, and is yet another Jays’ prospect worth keeping your eyes on next year.