Jays Journal Top 50 Blue Jays Prospects: No. 42 Santiago Nessy

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No. 42: Santiago Nessy

Catcher / 19 years old / 6’2″ 230 lbs

Born: December 8, 1992 in La Victoria, Venezuela

Bats Right   Throws Right

High School Team: N/A

College: N/A

Signed: As a 16-year-old international free agent in July 2009

Jersey Number: 22 for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays

Pre-2011 Rank: 48

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Career Stats:

Year Age Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO AVG OBP SLG
2010 17 DSL 44 162 141 15 35 12 0 2 17 4 14 44 .248 .327 .376
2011 18 GCL 35 144 134 12 41 7 0 3 19 0 8 29 .306 .347 .425

GCL Blue Jays Team Stats Ranking (min. 10 GP):

  • T-2nd in errors (10)
  • T-3rd in hits (41)
  • 4th in RBIs (19) and batting average (.306)
  • T-4th in  doubles (7)
  • 5th in at-bats (134), total bases (57), and slugging percentage (.425)
  • 6th in OPS (.773)
  • T-6th in  home runs (3)
  • 7th in strikeouts (29)
  • 8th in games played (35) and on-base percentage (.347)
  • 9th in runs (12)
  • 10th in walks (8)

Extra Information and previous experience:

The Toronto Blue Jays have a well-known surplus of catching prospects in their minor league system, but that hasn’t meant that a young Venezuelan by the name of Santiago Nessy has been forgotten about. Having recently completed his first taste of baseball in the United States, the 19-year-old has his whole career ahead of him, and those who follow the Jays’ system are intrigued by the big man to say the least.

Big is one of the most accurate words to describe Nessy. Reading up on him a lot since he signed with the Jays in 2009 was one thing, but seeing him up close and behind the scenes was another. His thick frame is certainly noticeable, but not to the point where he looked drastically overweight. While taking the above picture last year, I noticed that Nessy moves around just find behind the dish, and you can see that his 230 pounds are evenly distributed over his 6-foot-2 body.

Officially making his organizational debut for the Jays in 2010, Nessy had a rough start at the plate in the Dominican Summer League before finding his swing as the season continued on. After being named a DSL mid-season All-Star, Nessy continued to pick up steam at the plate after the break by improving his strikeout rate and upping his on-base percentage, finishing with a .248 average and .703 OPS overall. In addition to leading his team with 12 doubles, he tied for the team lead with two home runs.

Since practically no stock should be put into Dominican Summer League stats, I was interested to see how Nessy would fare in 2011 while adjusting to a new life in the United States. He swings a mean stick and has loads of offensive potential, but the Gulf Coast League, even if it is still rookie ball, is quite different from the Dominican Summer League.

After further working on his game in extended spring training, Nessy stormed out of the gate in GCL play in June, going 8-for-27 (.296) with a double, two home runs, three walks, and four strikeouts in his first seven games. Though that power surge disappeared in a 13-for-47 July with just one extra-base hit, he stormed back with a red-hot August that saw him not only finish the year on a five-game hit streak, but hit .341 with an .899 OPS in his final 10 games of the season.

Having only recently turned 19 years old, Nessy made significant strides offensively this past season, getting more comfortable at the plate and swinging the bat more often. More selective, he waited for his pitch to hit more than he did when he was in the DSL, and improved against left-handed pitching. His numbers this season could have been much higher if wasn’t for a .584  OPS in July, and it will be fun to see how much of the power potential inside his big frame is displayed in 2012.

Some people have voiced concerns over Nessy’s weight and his ability to stay behind the plate long-term, but the Blue Jays don’t have that mentality, since there have been many big-bodied catchers that have played in the Majors, like Yadier Molina, for example. It’s Nessy’s defense, rather, that will ultimately determine what position he plays in the future.

It’s no secret that he has a high ceiling offensively, but he’s going to have to continue to work very hard on his defensive game if he’d like to remain behind the plate going forward. At first glance, Nessy’s defensive numbers haven’t been pretty.

In 2010, he committed three errors, was charged with 10 passed balls, and threw out 14 of 57 baserunners (25%). This past season he committed 10 errors, was charged with eight passed balls and threw out an identical 14 baserunners, but in 58 chances for a 19% rate.

Looking past the numbers, though, Nessy really came a long way from a receiving standpoint this past season and became more comfortable working with his pitchers. It’s improving his throwing and pop time that he’ll look to really work on in the coming years.

Expected 2012 Team: Bluefield Blue Jays (Rookie)

Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Everyday MLB catcher with an offensive focus, like a Victor Martinez

Still so young, there’s reason to be excited about a guy like Nessy. However, being so raw and far away from the Majors, his career can definitely go a variety of ways.

Given that he’ll play short-season ball again next year, likely with Bluefield, he will have had extra months of learning in both instructs and 2012 extended spring training before he plays his first regular season game next year. Hopefully we see some changes next year, as he’s certainly a catching prospect to keep an eye on.

- JM

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Topics: Santiago Nessy, Toronto Blue Jays

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  • spada4

    Haven’t had a prospect analysis in 6 days.have you discontinued the countdown.

  • spada4

    Really enjoy keeping up with the Jays prospects…great job.Haven’t had any reports in the last 6 days…have you discontinued the countdown?

  • spada4

    Haven’t had a prospect analysis in 6 days.have you discontinued the countdown.

  • spada4

    Really enjoy keeping up with the Jays prospects…great job.Haven’t had any reports in the last 6 days…have you discontinued the countdown?

  • dbenson1399

    Hey Jared, I love these prospect reports, they really help get me pumped for the upcoming season. I know with Matt not being able to contribute much these days, that this is an awful lot of work for you, but please know that it is appreciated and keep up the great work! Of all the off season reporting, these are the articles that I look forward to the most.

  • dbenson1399

    Hey Jared, I love these prospect reports, they really help get me pumped for the upcoming season. I know with Matt not being able to contribute much these days, that this is an awful lot of work for you, but please know that it is appreciated and keep up the great work! Of all the off season reporting, these are the articles that I look forward to the most.

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @dbenson1399 Darren, I appreciate the kind words. The top 50 prospect profiles are easily the articles that are the most fun to write. After some unfortunate occurrences that I mentioned in my other comment below, it’s great to be back and I can assure you that you’ll get caught up on the top 50! Without sacrificing quality, yes the articles do take a lot of time to research and write, but that’s all part of the fun, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @spada4 Spada, thanks for the comment, I appreciate it. I can guarantee you that the countdown is CERTAINLY NOT discontinued and it shall resume today with No. 41. In addition to a family emergency, I underwent minor surgery last week, so those are the reasons for the lack of activity from me over this last week or s, which I’ll be mentioning later today. That being said, I’m beyond excited to be back and get the ball rolling again on the top 50 list, so check back throughout the day!

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @dbenson1399 Darren, I appreciate the kind words. The top 50 prospect profiles are easily the articles that are the most fun to write. After some unfortunate occurrences that I mentioned in my other comment below, it’s great to be back and I can assure you that you’ll get caught up on the top 50! Without sacrificing quality, yes the articles do take a lot of time to research and write, but that’s all part of the fun, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @spada4 Spada, thanks for the comment, I appreciate it. I can guarantee you that the countdown is CERTAINLY NOT discontinued and it shall resume today with No. 41. In addition to a family emergency, I underwent minor surgery last week, so those are the reasons for the lack of activity from me over this last week or s, which I’ll be mentioning later today. That being said, I’m beyond excited to be back and get the ball rolling again on the top 50 list, so check back throughout the day!

  • dbenson1399

    Glad to hear that all is well and that you are back. @Jared_Macdonald @spada4

  • dbenson1399

    Glad to hear that all is well and that you are back. @Jared_Macdonald @spada4

  • spada4

    Sorry to hear about your setbacks…glad you’re back at it.Your analysis is the best in the business and I look forward to reading the rest of the rankings as I prepare to spend a few weeks down in Dunedin watching these kids in person.This farm system is so deep and it is an exciting time to be a Jays fan.Keep up the excellent work.

  • spada4

    Sorry to hear about your setbacks…glad you’re back at it.Your analysis is the best in the business and I look forward to reading the rest of the rankings as I prepare to spend a few weeks down in Dunedin watching these kids in person.This farm system is so deep and it is an exciting time to be a Jays fan.Keep up the excellent work.