Top 50 Jays Prospects, Jays Journal Edition: #9 Asher Wojciechowski

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One of the more imposing pitchers drafted in 2010 is next on our list…..

#9: Randall Asher Wojciechowski

Right Handed Pitcher /  22 years old / 6’4″ 235 lbs

 

image courtesy of rumormill.com

Born: December 21st 1988, in Pensacola, Florida Bats Right  Throws Right

High School Team: Beaufort High School, South Carolina

College: The Citadel Bulldogs

Drafted: in the 1st sandwich round, 41st overall, of the 2010 draft

Signed: for $815,400 by John Hendricks

Quick Facts:

  • Oddly enough, just as he ranks 9th on our list, he also wore #9 for the Bulldogs.
  • Majored in Business Administration in College.
  • Sturgis Michigan is listed as his home town on his Bulldogs bio page.
  • Was noted as having the best fastball of the 4 top pitcher picks in 2010 by BA’s Jim Callis.
  • Named the SoCon Pitcher of the week 3 times.
  • Was named to USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Watch List.
  • Also received 1 letter to play football, but chose The Citadel after receive 3 letters to play baseball for colleges.
  • His name is pronounced Woah-jeh-how-ski, and he’ll give Marc Rzepczynski a run for his money as scrabble jr.

Jersey Number: #36 for the Auburn Doubledays

Stats:

Team W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
AUB 0 0 0.75 3 3 12 6 1 1 0 4 11 1.67 0.146

 

Interviews/Videos:

Other Experience:

  • 2009 College Stats: 3-3 / 4.39 ERA / 2 CG / 69.2 IP / 61 hits / 34 ER / 34 BB / 75 SO / .235 AA
  • 2010 College Stats: 12-3 / 3.58 ERA / 3 CG / 125.2 IP / 111 hits / 50 ER / 32 BB / 155 SO
  • Pitched for Team USA Collegiate in 2009, throwing 20.2 innings, allowing 11 hits and 5 ER for a 2.18 ERA, and only walked 4 while striking out 29. In 72 ABs against, hitters hit .151 against him, showing just how much he rose to the moment!

The fact that the Blue Jays were able to nab Asher in the 41st spot of the draft after he was rated as the 22nd best player in the draft by Baseball America, and numerous other evaluators, was a steal. Some pre-draft rankings had him going as high as 14th overall, so Jays fans should be happy that he was still around when that third sandwich pick came around.
A true power-pitcher, Asher’s bread and butter pitch is a fastball that he can run up to 96 MPH when he wants to, but that normally sits in the 92 MPH and 94 MPH range. When you watch the videos linked above, you can see how effective he is in getting using all of his momentum and driving as much effort towards the plate, instead of across his body like some of the other Jays pitching prospects from the 2010 draft use. That allows Asher to be more precise at the same time. However, there has been some concern that his heater has below-average movement on it as he leaves it straight much of the time. That may be alright for now, but if he wants to succeed at the higher levels of the minors, he may have to work on adding a little movement to it.

His slider is also an above-average pitch which he uses at 80-82 MPH, one that he can break wrists with. The combination of the great fastball and this great slider is what allows Asher to keep hitters honest, but he will need to sharpen a third pitch in order to remain a starter. Therefore, since turning pro, Asher has been working on refining a change up and there are positive reports about its effectiveness already. If he can really turn his change up into at least an average offering, he’ll be extremely effective and his already outstanding 96 MPH fastball will play up, with or without lots of movement.

In terms of demeanor and work ethic, Asher is second to none. Everything I read about him had the highest of praises for his state of mind and he enjoys the pressures that come with the biggest stages, such as was shown when he suited up for Team USA.He is level headed, hard working, and takes instruction very well.

His build is perfect for long, hard seasons and he should be durable with an effort-filled but not violent action in his delivery. At a minimum, Asher can become the workhorse of a rotation. Someone who provides his 200+ innings of work with average stats. But, that’s only the floor of his potential. His ceiling is much higher, in the #2 range, just because of how great his two offerings play off of one another and with the potential of a change up to enhance their effectiveness further.

Case and point was his pro beginning in Auburn, when Asher began using a change up more regularly. He didn’t allow an ER against RHB and only allowed 3 RBH hits in 15 ABs, and he only allowed 3 hits in 21 LHB ABs. Talk about dominance!

There are some who believe that Asher is better suited for the bullpen and that he could add a few ticks on his fastball if that were the case. With 2 above-average pitches and workhorse style body, he could shut down opponents in the late innings and would most likely be available back-to-back-to-back. Visions of Asher making a Chis Sale type ascent to the Blue Jays pen does have some enticement to it. He does go right after hitters and has the type of mound presence needed to be dominant as a back-end reliever.

But, the Jays are rightfully leaving Asher in the rotation for now, to see if he can develop the 3rd offering that could make him a #2 starter. Durability is not an issue for Asher, so if the Jays feel that they’ve seen enough mid-season and want to move him to the pen, look for him to continue his rise through the system late in 2011 at a high speed. He could feasibly be in the Jays pen by 2011, 2012 at the latest, or in the rotation sometime in 2013.

Expected 2011 Team: LoA Lansing

Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: #2 Starter or Closer

If he does as well as is anticipated by most, Asher could make it through up to 3 levels in 2011 and wind up in New Hampshire before the year is done. He could move more quickly if used as a reliever instead. It could really go either way at this point, but if his pro debut from 2010 is an indication of what he can do as a starter, my bet is that he’ll remain in the rotation as long as possible. He’s going to be a very exciting pitcher to watch, and will likely lead the 2010 draft class along with Deck McGuire to be one of the first to make his MLB debut.

– MG

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