The seventh edition of the Blue Jays Prospect Hot Sheet is in the books, and after last week’s pitching parade, the hitters have returned to glory. Four of the top five spots are taken by position players, and all three of the honorable mentions are from the offensive side of the diamond. Most teams had a full seven game schedule from May 21-27, which led to some pretty ridiculous offensive lines, as you’ll see below.
1. C Travis d’Arnaud (LAS): 28 AB, .429/.467/.964 (1.431 OPS), 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB, 2/7 BB/K
For the second consecutive week, Toronto’s best prospect is also the hottest prospect. Travis d’Arnaud continued to punish Pacific Coast League pitching, smashing four home runs this week after crushing four last week – bringing his monthly total to an absurd nine. To put a bit of perspective into how well he played, he started the week 2-for-9 with no extra base hits and no walks in the first two games. He went off over the next four, with 10 hits, including the seven that went for extra bases. With his season line now sitting at an awe inspiring .318/.376/.585, it’s fair to say his slow start in April is firmly in the rear view mirror, and to paraphrase the great Dennis Green -– “He is who we thought he is!”
2. CF Anthony Gose (LAS): 29 AB, .517/.600/.621 (1.221 OPS), 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 6 SB, 6/3 BB/K
Much like d’Arnaud, Anthony Gose is experiencing a colossal resurgence in May, and is likely devastated by the fact the month has only four days remaining. For the third time in four weeks, Gose has qualified for the prospect hot sheet, due in large part to skills he doesn’t usually flash. With 15 hits and six walks, Gose reached base 21 times in seven games –- precisely what you want to see from a leadoff hitter. While the power was a bit lackluster, he was more than happy to display his wheels, stealing six bases to give him a PCL leading 20 (with an excellent 83% success rate). And no, there are no errors on his MiLB.com player page; Anthony Gose is actually hitting .291 on the year.
3. 1B Mike McDade (NH): 26 AB, .385/.429/.846 (1.275 OPS), 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 2/4 BB/K
While the fact he’s repeating the level is a legitimate disclaimer, Mike McDade is having himself a year down in Double-A New Hampshire. With three more home runs this week, McDade is up to 9 on the season, and is on pace to exceed his previous career high of 21 back in 2010. Like many Blue Jays fans, you can be sure Big Mac is keeping his eye on the first base situation in both Toronto and Las Vegas, as he appears ready for a promotion to Triple-A, where he’d be playing half of his games in his home town. All he needs now is an opportunity.
4. RHP Asher Wojciechowski (DUN): 1-0, 12 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
It took seven weeks, but Wojo has finally made his first prospect hot sheet of the season. I had pretty big expectations for him after Toronto made him a supplemental first round pick in 2010, but he’s failed to live up to the billing thus far. Velocity and movement on his fastball have been down, and he has yet to develop a viable third pitch. The bullpen is quickly becoming a very real possibility for Wojciechowski, though he has held the wolves back for at least a little while after his performance this week. He turned in arguably the best start of his career on the 26th, pitching six innings of one run baseball, while striking out eight batters. Wojciechowski’s season numbers are still pretty ugly, especially for a 23 year old in High-A ball, so hopefully this week will turn his year around. Just don’t be shocked if you begin seeing a few relief appearances on his player page in the near future.
5. LF Marcus Knecht (DUN): 25 AB, .360/.407/.760 (1.167 OPS), 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 2/9 BB/K
Knecht narrowly edged out his Lansing counterpart in left field, Chris Hawkins, for the final spot on the list. While Hawkins had the better slash line (1.241 OPS, powered by an absurd .550 average), he played in only five games, so the counting stats were seriously lacking. The Canadian Knecht didn’t have the same problem, crushing five extra base hits and earning a spot for the second time in three weeks. He had hits in six of seven games this week, including three multi hit efforts. This is yet another case of a Blue Jays prospect having a terrible April followed by a terrific May, as Knecht produced a .563 OPS in April before clubbing his way to a .935 OPS mark this month.
Brett Cecil Update: 2-0, 12.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 12 K
Cecil self destructed towards the end of spring training, falling from the fourth spot in the rotation all the way to Double-A. His minor league season got off to a rough start, as he went 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA in April before leaving his start on April 19th with a groin injury. He returned to action on May 9th and appears to be back on track. On May 21st, Cecil pitched 5.2 hitless innings while striking out eight. His bullpen backed him up, and the group combined for the third no-hitter in Fisher Cats history. Cecil is now 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in the month of May, and with the recent nose dive in performance by the starting staff in Toronto, Brett could find himself back in the majors before too long.