Out of the Top 50 Jays Prospects (for now): Frank Gailey and Brad McElroy

Up next on the list of 25 players who just missed out on our top 50 prospects list are two clients of the Canadian-based agency Oak Sports Management

Frank Gailey

Pitcher / 25 years old / 5’9″ 190 lbs

Image courtesy of Bryan Green via Flickr

Born: November 18, 1985 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bats: Left   Throws: Left

High School: Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, PA)

College: West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Drafted By: The Jays in the 23rd round (715th overall) of the 2007 draft

Quick Facts:

  • Two-time PSAC East Division Pitcher of the Year
  • West Chester University’s all-time strikeout leader with 242
  • Was a starter in college
  • Follow him on Twitter: @FrankGailey
  • Once drafted, he received a call from Blue Jays regional crosschecker Tom Burns

After signing quickly following being drafted in 2007 by the Blue Jays in the 23rd round, Gailey reported to the Gulf Coast League for his first taste of professional action. He did not disappoint, posting a 2.45 ERA (2.93 FIP) and 1.091 WHIP in 33 innings, on top of a 7.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.

The Jays promoted Gailey to the Auburn Doubledays for the start of the 2008 season, but he was not there for long. After striking out 5 and walking 1 in a whopping 4.2 innings, the Jays promoted Gailey again, this time to the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts. All he did there was go 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA (2.70 FIP) and 0.757 WHIP in 35.2 innings while striking out 40 (10.1 K/9).

Currently, some people have said that Gailey is old for his level and that his eventual shot at the Majors may be affected by that. While I don’t personally agree with that, I feel that what the Jays did with Gailey developmentally after the 2008 season is the main reason those comments have even come up recently.

After a successful 2008 season with Auburn and Lansing, the Jays could have easily promoted Gailey to Hi-A Dunedin to open the 2009 season, but they decided to have him repeat the whole year at Lansing instead. Once again Gailey responded, this time by going 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA (3.05 FIP) and 1.087 WHIP in 65.1 innings, while striking out 60, good for a 8.3 K/9.

The Jays wound up finally promoting Gailey to Hi-A Dunedin, to open the 2010 season, and it seemed Gailey was eager to make a statement.

He certainly did just that this past season, going 6-4 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.058 WHIP in an impressive 91.2 innings, while giving up only 2 home runs and striking out 99 (9.7 K/9). Even more impressively, Gailey walked only 10 batters all season and his 1.80 FIP was actually lower than his already respectable ERA. His numbers this past season got him noticed by MiLB.com, who awarded him 2010 organizational Reliever of the Year honors.

With career minor league numbers like a 2.15 ERA, 1.020 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, and 9.1 K/9, Gailey has definitely made the most of his career with the Jays so far. His dominant showing this past season has likely earned him a ticket to open 2011 with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and if the Jays get behind him – assuming he pitches the way he has his whole career with New Hampshire – it’s not unreasonable to think a stint with Triple-A Las Vegas by the end of the season is possible.

Expected 2011 Team: Double-A New Hampshire

Top 50 Range if he makes the list in 2012: #35-50

Brad McElroy

Outfielder / 24 years old / 5’11″ 195 lbs

Image courtesy of Bryan Green via Flickr

Born: April 24, 1986 in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

Bats: Left   Throws: Right

High School: Saunders Secondary (London, ON)

College: University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Drafted By: The Jays in the 25th round (759th overall) of the 2008 draft

Quick Facts:

  • Hit .407 over 2 years at Kellogg Community College
  • Set a University of North Carolina-Charlotte batting average record with .401
  • Got married last year
  • Never had any favorite baseball players growing up, just loved the game of baseball in general

Being not only a Canadian baseball player but one from Ontario — rather than the usual hotbed for Canadian talent out in British Columbia — Brad McElroy had a relatively uphill climb to get where he is today. He vividly remembers visiting American Division-1 schools and wanting to play for a school like that before eventually turning pro.

McElroy’s strong work ethic got him his foot in the door at Kellogg Community College, because he was always being told he was too small or too slow. He went on to impress for two years there before moving on to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte prior to being drafted by the Blue Jays in 2008.

He wound up signing with the Jays quickly, and reported to the Gulf Coast League for his first taste of professional baseball.  There he wound up drawing 15 walks in 79 at-bats, and finished with a .241/.381/.342 line.

The Jays kept him there for only 6 games the following year, before promoting him straight to Hi-A Dunedin for the remainder of the season, skipping stints with Auburn and Lansing in the process. McElroy held his own with Dunedin, finishing the year with a .269/.390/.400 line, 10 doubles, and 31 walks in 49 games, on top of going 15-for-17 in stolen base attempts.

After McElroy’s decent showing with Dunedin that year, the Jays kept him there to open the 2010 season. To say that the rest of his season was back and forth would be quite an understatement.

After struggling out of the gate with Dunedin, McElroy was sent down to Lansing on April 19th to work on a few things. He responded successfully at the plate, and was promoted to Dunedin on June 2nd. After an extended look at Dunedin, McElroy still struggled and was eventually send back down to Lansing on August 15th, where he finished the season.

Overall, McElroy’s numbers with Lansing and Dunedin were complete opposites, which likely frustrated the outfielder considering he had had success at Dunedin just one year ago.

Lansing: 52G 194 AB – .330/.404/.495, 37 R, 64H, 14 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 21 BB, 34 SO

Dunedin: 58G 200AB – .210/.279/.305, 25R, 42H, 10 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 17 BB, 47 SO

McElroy did manage to be effective on the base paths at both levels, though, going 20-for-22 in stolen base attempts between Lansing and Dunedin. Some contribute his struggles with Hi-A Dunedin to his very busy swing, which helps him hit to all fields, but could affect him the further he moves up the minor league ladder.

Going forward though, McElroy got his first full season of baseball under his belt — appearing in 110 games this past season — and he’ll just need to find his eye at the plate that he had in his first couple of seasons in the minor leagues. He’ll likely start the year with Dunedin again, but here’s to hoping that he sticks it out and possibly even gets the call to Double-A New Hampshire.

Expected 2011 Team: Hi-A Dunedin

Top 50 Range if he makes the list in 2012: #45-50

-JM

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Topics: Brad McElroy, Dunedin Blue Jays, Frank Gailey, Lansing Lugnuts, Oak Sports Management, Toronto Blue Jays

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