Image courtesy of SCSU

Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects (for now): Yan Gomes and Sam Dyson

Up next on our “Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects” series is a look at another talented catcher that gets lost among all of the talented stoppers the Jays have in their system, and a young man who has been devastated by injuries in his pitching career so far. As a reminder, the 25 prospects that make up this list are in no specific order, and can always be found here.

Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects: Yan Gomes

Catcher / 23 years old / 6’1″ 215 lbs

Image courtesy of Bryan Green via Flickr

Born: July 19, 1987 in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Bats: Right   Throws: Right

High School: Miami Southridge H.S. (Miami, FL)

College: Barry University

Drafted By: The Jays in the 10th round (310th overall) of the 2009 draft

Quick Facts:

  • Majored in psychology
  • Played two years at the University of Tennessee before transferring to Barry
  • 2007 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and All-SEC selection
  • Started 13 games at catcher with Tennessee in 2007 when filling in for current Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia
  • Had 9 RBI in a 2008 doubleheader while with Tennesee, which included a walk-off grand slam

An excellent athlete with strength and speed, Gomes was born and raised in Brazil, playing baseball there in his early years. His family eventually moved to Miami, and that’s where he really started to make a name for himself.

Even before his freshman year of college, Gomes was considered one of the top catching prospects in the country. At the plate he has good hand quickness with average bat speed, and the fact he has filled out his frame over the years has helped his power potential significantly. He is a good runner, especially for a catcher, running the 60 yards in 6.92 seconds. Gomes really shines defensively though, as his quick feet help him not only with his blocking skills but also his lightning-fast, 1.83 second pop time. His arm is perhaps his best tool, hitting up to 82 mph when attempting to stop opposing base stealers.

After being a standout at the University of Tennessee and snagging the starting job over J.P. Arencibia, Gomes transferred to the lower profile, division II Barry University where he continued to rake at the plate. Baseball America ranked him as the sixth-best Division II prospect in the United States heading into his 2009 season, and he lived up to that ranking. In his only season with Barry University, Gomes hit 405/.480/.775 with 21 home runs, 69 runs and 92 RBI in 55 games, en route to being named the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year and  a Division II All-American.

Somewhat lost in the impressive list of quality catching prospects in the Blue Jays’ minor league system, Gomes has quietly risen through the ranks. After playing rookie and short season ball in 2009, Gomes started the 2010 season with Class-A Lansing and finished it with Hi-A Dunedin. Apart from his 7 game stint with Lansing, Gomes has posted at least a .800 OPS at every level he has played at so far. In his two years in the minors so far, Gomes has managed a .284/.339/.456 line with 46 doubles, 11 home runs, and 94 RBI.

Gomes has been primarily a backup catcher wherever he has been, but could surely be a starter, perhaps with another organization. He has to work on his plate discipline and improve his on base percentage, but he’s an under the radar player who’s worth keeping an eye on and who almost made our top 50 this year.

Expected 2011 Team: Double-A New Hampshire

Top 50 Range if he makes the list in 2012: #40-50

Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects: Sam Dyson

Pitcher / 22 years old / 6’2″ 195 lbs

Born: May 7, 1988 in Tampa, FL

Bats: Right   Throws: Right

High School Team: Jesuit H.S. (Tampa, FL)

College: South Carolina State

Drafted By: The Jays in the 4th round (126th overall) of the 2010 draft

Quick Facts:

  • Received Sunbelt Player of the Year honors in his senior year of high school after managing a 10-1 record
  • Drafted in the 19th round by the Nationals in 2006, but opted to play college ball instead
  • SEC Academic Honor Roll member in 2007 and 2008
  • Finished his 2008 season 4-0 with a 4.09 ERA in 12 appearances (9 starts)
  • Drafted in the 10th round by the Athletics in 2009 before opting to finish his college baseball career

A right-handed power pitcher with a plus fastball and average off-speed pitches, Dyson was viewed often by scouts while he was in high school. Prior to the 2006 draft, he had already signed a letter of intent to play for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, and his strong commitment there caused him to plummet in the draft. Scouts had pegged Dyson to go in the top 5 rounds, but he fell all the way down to the 19th round when he was selected by the Nationals. Sure enough, he chose not to sign and decided to play for the Gamecocks instead.

Dyson’s college career got off to a bad start, as he was forced to lose his freshman year to a medical redshirt because of injuries. First, he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum on his throwing shoulder, then he had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, before having surgery on one of his elbows to move a nerve that was scraping against a bone.

The following year in 2008, Dyson’s numbers on the mound were limited because of his redshirt status in 2007, but he improved greatly and pitched fairly well in his sophomore season in 2009: 9-4, 5.21 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, and .237 opp. avg in 102 innings. This prompted the Athletics to use their 10th round pick on him, but he ultimately decided he wanted to finish his college baseball career with the Gamecocks.

That turned out to be a good decision, at first. Dyson had his best college season that final year in 2010, finishing 6-5 with a 4.28 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, and 8.8 K/9 in 18 starts (103 innings). The Blue Jays selected him with their fourth round pick, and shortly after being drafted, Dyson played a pivotal part in South Carolina winning the College World Series. He allowed 4 runs in 7.1 innings to get the win against No. 1 Arizona State,  and got a no decision against Clemson when he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in 6.2 innings. After winning it all with South Carolina, Dyson finally signed his first professional contract with the Blue Jays on August 16th, 2010 with a $600,000 bonus.

Dyson’s injury history came back to haunt him though, especially given the fact he had pitched in back-to-back games during his 2010 season with the Gamecocks. Dyson unfortunately underwent Tommy John surgery in November, and now his complete 2011 season will be written off, so he’ll likely have to wait to make his professional debut right before his 24th birthday in 2012.

Dyson’s fastball, which used to touch 97 mph, has dropped in velocity and is now normally thrown in the 91-93 range and occasionally touches 95. He has a four pitch repertoire — complementing his fastball with a curveball, changeup, and slider — but he’ll have to work on his three off-speed pitches significantly to bring them up to Major League caliber.

Expected 2011 Team: N/A

Top 50 Range if he makes the list in 2012: N/A


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Tags: Barry University Sam Dyson Samuel Dyson University Of South Carolina Gamecocks University Of Tennessee Yan Gomes

  • bankertuck

    Why would Gomes transfer from University of Tennessee to Barry? Is Barry some place that has slipped under my radar ?

    • Roger

      It had something to do with the new coach they brought in. A number of the Tennessee baseball players quit or transfered. His only option must have been division II after that.

  • Jared Macdonald

    Bankertuck, I thought the same thing when I read it when researching him. Barry is a Division II school, and because of that it doesn’t even draw a comparison to any Division I schools like UT.

    I’m not sure exactly why Gomes transferred to Barry after having success at the D-I level at Tennessee, either.

    • Mat Germain

      Maybe there was a girl…..

  • Alex

    Honour code violation?

  • Daniel

    Barry university is in miami, which is hometown. Could’ve been the reason why he switched. I also read a quote from him when he was drafted where he said that transferring to Barry really helped him because he felt more comfortable. Maybe he was homesick.

  • Rob Bott

    I hope Misaul Diaz is making your list. He has had great K and K/BB rates the last two years. He is 21 so he should be in Lansing this year. I also want to see other Latin pitchers who have excelled like Milciades Santana, Alesone Escalante (who are both 22), Victor German and Alex Ramirez (who are both 21)in the bullpen at Lansing.

    Am I wrong that the Jays seem to have been too slow in finding out if their prospects can handle competition. Should you not have an age range of 19-22 for Low A (Lansing), 20-23 for High A (Dunedin), 21-24 for Double A (New Hampshire) and over 24 for AAA (Las Vegas). Should you not have guys that already faced major competition in NCAA and internationally like McGuire, Wojo and Sam Dyson at Dunedin, not Lansing (I like Alvarez, Egan Smith and Ryan Tepera to round out that nice looking starting staff). Then Lansing could be Hutchison, Webb, Nolin, Diaz, Purdy and Griffin Murphy (who is now 20, so was an older high school pitcher). Lansing’s relievers were good last year and should graduate to Dunedin (Turnbull, Wright, Molina, Loup, Antolin and add Marze and Permison who both have college experience.

    Jenkins should be at AA by now and let him struggle and learn there.

    Lance (son of Leon) Durham should be in Dunedin; he is 23 with Big East college experience (where he broke Youklis’ single season hit record). Ahrens, Justin Jackson and Kenny Wilson should be in Dunedin. Gose should stay in Dunedin and just improve (he is only 20). McDade, d’Arnaud, Gomes, Tolisano, Sobolewski, Schimpf and Sierra should be in New Hamshire along with org guys Nolan, Van Kirk, McElroy and Glenn.

    The young arms are really young so short season for them is good (Vancouver, Bluefield or Dunedin GCL): Sanchez, Syndergaard, Nicolino, Taylor, Estrada, Miles Jaye, Zak Addams and Latin pitchers like Vargas, Carmona and Pina.

    Great work on the series, Jared and Mat

    • Eric

      Rushing prospects really doesn’t do anything but make fans happy. Everyone should run the farm system like the Rays; never rush anyone, ever.

    • Mat Germain

      On Diaz, he sure is making it, along with another pitcher.
      Agree on the handling competition bit, but that was partially J.P. Ricciardi’s fault in my opinion. He was great at picking out the cream, just not the crop.

      We’ll see how this year’s placements pan out, but it would be nice to see the Jays push their players a little more, such as Detroit has with many of their prospects.

      • John Havok

        Some players need to be pushed, others don’t. Hard to argue with how the Rays do things right now, then they bring someone up, they are pretty much there to stay without a huge gap in production.