Up next on the top 50 list is one of the many shortstops from this year’s draft, but one who made adjustments to get himself noticed…
No. 46: Chino Vega
Infielder / 20 years old / 5′8″ 175 lbs
Born: December 5, 1991 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Bats: Right Throws: Right
High School: Trinity Christian H.S.
College: Miami-Dade CC South
Drafted By: The Toronto Blue Jays in the 28th round (859th overall) of the 2011 Amateur Draft
Signed For: $200,000
Jersey Number: 4 for the GCL Blue Jays
Pre-2011 Rank: N/A
- Hit .505 with 13 doubles, five home runs, and 25 RBIs in his final year of high school
- Went undrafted as a high schooler in 2010
- Birth name is Jorge Vega-Rosado, but his family decided to drop his mother’s maiden name, Rosado, from his last name
- Known primarily as Chino Vega, only professors at school called him Jorge Vega-Rosado
- Went 46-for-129 (.357) at the plate with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs, and a .420 OBP in his only college season at Miami-Dade South
- Bilingual in both Spanish and English
GCL Blue Jays Team Stats Ranking (min. 100 PAs):
- 1st in at-bats (183), runs (39), hits (58), doubles (12), stolen bases (22), caught stealings (4), and sacrifice flies (4)
- 2nd in plate appearances (210), RBIs (30), total bases (86), and batting average (.317)
- T-2nd in triples (2)
- 3rd in slugging percentage (.470) and OPS (.850)
- T-3rd in home runs (4)
- 4th in strikeouts (40) and on-base percentage (.380)
- 5th in walks (19)
With Sportsnet 590’s Mike Wilner from a pre-game show on September 25th, 2011:
Extra information and previous experience:
Drafted as a shortstop, Jorge Vega-Rosado started the year playing his natural position for the Jays’ rookie ball affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. However that plan changed quickly, as he found himself getting accustomed to playing second base shortly into the season.
A position switch for Vega, a natural athlete with a great arm, good range, and decent hands, wasn’t exactly a surprise, though, considering the plethora of shortstops that have recently infused the lower levels of Toronto’s minor league system.
Vega was one of six shortstops that the Jays signed from the 2011 draft, and the club also had Shane Opitz and Dickie Thon as shortstops from last year’s draft playing for their lower-level affiliates. Add in a former international signing in Gustavo Pierre, plus a new one in Dawel Lugo (though he might not remain at short), and it almost looks like the Jays have more shortstops than roster spots for them right now.
Despite never playing second base before, from all accounts, Vega looked good playing there this past season. He made significant strides and will look to further hone his craft in 2012, though it remains to be seen if he’ll become a full-time second baseman in the future. With Thon, a more highly-regarded signing, getting considerable time at short for the GCL Jays, it was normal for Vega to play both middle infield positions, starting out games at second base and finishing them at shortstop.
It’s this defensive versatility that could help him stand out from the pack and work his way up the minor league ladder — especially if continues to perform at the plate like he did this past season. Though he was adequate defensively and showcased his above-average speed (22-for-26 in stolen base attempts), the most noticeable part of Vega’s game in 2011 was his bat.
In 51 games, Vega went 58-for-183 (.317) at the plate with 12 doubles, two triples, and four home runs, finishing third on his team with an .850 OPS. He has a patient approach at the plate for his age and wasn’t afraid to take pitches, which should help him as he progresses. He posted similar numbers against left and right-handed pitching and was particularly effective with runners in scoring position, hitting .351 (20-for-57) with four doubles, though the sample sizes were all quite small. Vega’s offensive performance in 2011 was encouraging, and it was a testament to the adjustments that he not only made but successfully applied.
Like all young players in rookie ball, Vega still has to improve in every aspect of his game, but his strong overall showing earned him post-season GCL All-Star honors as well as an R. Howard Webster Award for being the Blue Jays’ most valuable player at the GCL level.
Defensively, he will need to work on turning double plays as a second baseman, something that should come in time with more reps at the position. Since he has a great deal of competition at his most familiar position, not to mention that his path is far from set in stone, it will be imperative for him to develop into a reliable, quality defender at both second base and shortstop to give the Jays more options on how to proceed with him.
Offensively, given Vega’s community college-level of post-secondary experience, it will be interesting to see how he fares against tougher competition. It’s easy to get worked up over his rookie ball stats, but the real tests are yet to come for him and how he makes adjustments will ultimately decide his future.
Expected 2012 Team: Lansing Lugnuts (A)
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Right now, an MLB bench player
Having logged a team-high 210 plate appearances in 2011, Vega should be ready to start full-season ball with Lansing next year, likely splitting time at shortstop and second base once again. However if the Jays want to keep him in extended spring training, he could very well open the 2012 campaign with Vancouver in June.
Far away from the Majors, Vega slotted in at No. 46 given the bevy of other shortstops that the Jays currently have in their system but also because of his bench player ceiling. Should he continue to hit at higher levels and become a legitimate second base option, though, that could possibly change.