Image courtesy of The Californian

Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects (for now): K.C. Hobson and Lance Durham

Up next in this mini series of prospects that just missed out on our top 50 list are two first basemen who are both sons of former Major Leaguers…

Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects: K.C. Hobson

First Baseman / 20 years old / 6’2″ 205 lbs

Born: August 22, 1990 in Bakersfield, California

Bats: Left   Throws: Left

High School: Stockdale H.S. (Bakersfield, CA)

College: Signed a letter of intent with Texas A&M

Drafted By: The Jays in the 6th round (190th overall) of the 2009 draft

Quick Facts:

  • Son of Butch Hobson, who had an 8-year Major League career, and has coached 18 seasons in minor-league baseball
  • Named The Californian’s Baseball Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009

After going 10-0 as a pitcher in his junior year of high school, Hobson followed that up by going 7-1 with a 2.72 ERA in his senior year. Even though he had never pitched before high school, Hobson drew some interest as a pitching prospect.

Even though his pitching stats were decent, Hobson was considered above average defensively at first base, and his graceful, left-handed power stroke helps make his bat his best tool.

In his final year of high school, Hobson had a .489 batting average and 1.674 OPS, all while striking out only 6 times all season. That was not a typo; he struck out only 6 times all season. Not only does Hobson have potential to be quite selective in the batter’s box, he has plus power potential given his frame and a great mental approach to the game.

It doesn’t hurt having a former Major League as a father and growing up in the game of baseball either.

Hobson was unable to see professional action with the Jays after he was signed in 2009, so he made his professional debut this past season in 2010. The results weren’t eye-popping, but he managed to hit .279/.316/.411 in 35 games with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays to start the season. Toronto thought highly enough of Hobson to aggressively promote him right to Class-A Lansing where he did struggle, but he is still only 20 years old.

Hobson will look to build on his experience in the Midwest League this season in 2011, and continue to work on his approach at the plate in his second professional season.

Expected 2011 Team: Class-A Lansing Lugnuts

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

Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects: Lance Durham

First Baseman / 23 years old / 5’10″ 210 lbs

Image courtesy of Batter's Box

Born: February 20, 1988 in Forest Park, Ohio

Bats: Left   Throws: Right

High School: Roger Bacon H.S. (Cincinnati, OH)

College: University of Cincinnati

Drafted By: The Jays in the 14th round (430th overall) of the 2009 draft

Quick Facts:

  • Majored in Communications
  • Father Leon Durham had a 12-year Major League in the NL Central with the Cubs, Reds, and Cardinals
  • Hit .338 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in one season at Kaskaskia Community College
  • Follow him on Twitter: @youngbulltwo3
  • Second-team all Big East honors in 2009

After finishing a successful stint at Kaskaskia Community College, Durham eventually went on to play for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, where he was just downright nasty at the plate.

UC head coach Brian Cleary thought Durham was going to be a decent player, but had no idea his impact was going to be so pronounced. In 58 games with the Bearcats, Durham raked a .427/.507/.629 line with 35 walks and 42 strikeouts. More impressively, his 99 hits eclipsed Kevin Youkilis’ previous single-season hits record.

Lance’s father played an immense role in his development as a baseball player.

Leon Durham pushed his son to the brink all the time, so that Lance would live and breathe baseball every single day. Lance is naturally right-handed, and wanted to be like his father so he worked on shifting to become a full-time left-handed hitter.

Lance has a powerful, solid frame for his height and he has a really nice swing. He has the ability to be selective at the plate, and only hit pitches that are in his wheelhouse.

After signing with the Jays in 2009, Durham saw action with the Auburn Doubledays, and struggled at first. He compiled a .221/.299/.323 slash line in 63 games with four home runs and 67 strikeouts. This caused him to repeat the level this past season in 2010, but the results were completely different. He finished with a .256/.371/.468 slash line, 35 walks and 9 home runs in just 62 games this past season, and is likely to open the 2011 season with Class-A Lansing.

Expected 2011 Team: Class-A Lansing Lugnuts

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

-JM

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Tags: K.C. Hobson KC Hobson Lance Durham Lansing Lugnuts Toronto Blue Jays

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