I mentioned last week that with the three short season leagues beginning, the standards for making the hot sheet would go up. That held true, as even in expanding the list to the hottest six prospects, some very solid performances fell to the honorable mention category. The Midwest League All Star break wasn’t even enough to thin the group, as two of their pitchers who made only one start a piece were in legitimate contention for the top spots. Three new names made the list – including in the number one position – and with that, here are the Blue Jays hottest prospects from June 18th through 24th.
1. CF Dalton Pompey (VAN): 20 AB, .350/.500/.550 (1.050 OPS), 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 6/4 BB/K
When the short season rosters were announced earlier this month, it quickly became clear that Vancouver drew the short straw in terms of quality of prospects. While Bluefield and the Gulf Coast Blue Jays each have a dozen or more legitimate talents, you can count the number of Vancouver’s high ceiling prospects on one hand. A 2010 draft pick out of a Mississauga high school, Dalton Pompey may be the Canadians’ best. Pompey has been hitting out of the two-hole, and has acted as the team catalyst and table setter. He reached base 13 times in seven games, one of which was a pinch running appearance. Of those 13 times on base, Pompey scored seven runs, and while a lot of that must be attributed to his teammates, that’s exceptional efficiency.
2. RHP Joe Musgrove (BLU): 0-0, 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Bluefield has quickly become Lansing south, as they boast yet another pitching staff capable of making scouts drool. Musgrove may not have the depth of arsenal or pure ceiling of Daniel Norris or Kevin Comer, but it can’t be argued he’s the most polished and physically mature (6’5”, 230 lbs). Musgrove features a heavy sinking fastball, and he used it to perfection this week. Of his 24 outs recorded across two games, 19 came by way of the strikeout or groundout. That’s precisely the type of production you want to see from a pitching prospect. Similar to the Lansing group, the Bluefield starters have been pitching in tandem, with Musgrove’s partner being the team’s top pitching prospect, Daniel Norris.
3. CF Anthony Gose (LAS): 21 AB, .333/.461/.571 (1.032 OPS), 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3 SB, 5/7 BB/K
Gose finished the week with an 0-for-5 with four strikeouts on Saturday and a day off on Sunday, which isn’t exactly ideal for placement on the prospect hot sheet. Regardless, he did enough in his previous four games to earn a spot. After nearly two weeks without a stolen base attempt – whether the team dictated it or he was sore I couldn’t tell you – Gose finally got back on track this week, going a perfect 3-for-3. His performance at the plate was very well rounded, as in addition to the impressive .333 average, he went for extra bases on four of his seven hits, and drew five walks against seven strikeouts. Unfortunately for Gose, Colby Rasmus has center field in Toronto completely locked down.
4. CF Jake Marisnick (DUN): 22 AB, .318/.444/.545 (.989 OPS), 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB, 5/4 BB/K
It’s been a disappointing season for Marisnick, who I ranked as the second best prospect in the system entering the year. Matters were compounded when he was forced to the disabled list with a minor injury, forcing him to miss roughly two weeks worth of games in May. Coming out of the FSL All Star break, he’s turned things around, including three straight multi hit efforts from Wednesday through Friday. Both his ISO and walk rate have remained nearly constant from his breakout 2011 season, so despite a deflated batting average, his year as a whole hasn’t been too bad.
5. 2B Christian Lopes (BLU): 17 AB, .294/.369/.882 (1.251 OPS), 0 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 2/5 BB/K
As a member of the Bluefield Blue Jays, Lopes finally made his long awaited professional debut this week, and he did not disappoint. He was only a 7th round pick in the 2011 draft, but his well above slot $800,000 signing bonus is much more indicative of his talent level. As a shortstop turned second baseman, he wasn’t drafted for his glove, he was selected because he can be an offensive force up the middle of the diamond, which he gave fans a taste of this week. In four starts and one pinch hit appearance, Lopes totaled only five hits, but four of them went for extra bases – two triples, two home runs. The result was a very slugging-heavy line, but it’s hard to deny a 1.251 OPS a spot among the system’s hottest prospects. He narrowly edged out teammate Art Charles, who had a similar offensive line, with defensive position giving Lopes the edge.
6. RHP Noah Syndergaard (LAN): 0-0, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
I wrote an article detailing how Syndergaard had been masterful in the rotation and awful in the bullpen, so it should come as a surprise to no one that in his first five inning start of the year, he had his best performance. 12 of his 15 recorded outs came by way of the strikeout or groundout, which as I mentioned with Musgrove, is an outstanding ratio to see from an elite pitching prospect. There are still rumblings that he’s overly reliant on his fastball due to an inconsistent curveball that only flashes, but if he’s finding this success working almost exclusively off one pitch, in my mind, that makes the performance even more impressive. If/when he can get his curveball to consistently solid-average, he could be a monster.