Welcome to edition five of the 2012 Draft Class retrospective, a regular installment this off-season, looking, in descending order, at the Jays 2012 draft class and how they fared this season. This being the first draft under the new agreement whereby teams were penalized for going over their allotted bonus pool, most picks who signed, did so early, and therefore were able to make their pro debuts much quicker than in years past. For the previous editions, check 40-36 , 35-31 , 30-26 , and 25-21
I won’t be trying to rank these prospects in any particular order. Am sure we’ll see numerous efforts at prospect rankings over the winter. These pieces will simply be a quick breakdown of where the player played, how they did, where they may land in 2013, etc.
This is the first piece where all five of the draftees signed and made their pro debuts. All were young as well, with four of the five under twenty, therefore beginning their pro careers with the high school aged Gulf Coast League. As has been the pattern thus far, the hitters struggled in Florida. There were positives though, as both the left handed pitchers on the list made strong first impressions, and an under-sized shortstop was an integral part of the Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians. Without further ado, your five future Jays.
Dennis Jones – 20th Round – 625 Overall – Signed June 11th – After putting up video game numbers in his senior year at Jefferson Davis High School, Jones was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft by the Brewers. Opting to attend junior college instead, the numbers went downhill, both at the plate and on the mound. Nevertheless, the Jays saw something, taking DJ in the 20th round and signing him to the max slot value of 100k (without it counting against your pool). Like most players we have covered in this series, that are twenty and under, Jones struggled with the Gulf Coast Jays, putting up a .192/.314/.233 slash line in twenty-four games. Despite that line, Jones was promoted to Bluefield in July where he manage to put up the exact same batting average, which must be quite difficult really. Unfortunately, his OBP dropped and slugging remained about the same. To be honest, I have struggled to find any sort of scouting reports on DJ save for a quick comment from Jays Director of Scouting Andrew Tinnish saying he was a plus runner. In that respect, Jones stole five bases versus six failures in the GCL whereas in the Appy, he stole seven versus zero caught stealing. Small victories. Jones was drafted as a center fielder, spending the bulk of his time during his first season there. With DJ Davis moving through the ranks so quickly and the status of Anthony Alford unclear there is a good chance Jones begins the season in Bluefield before a possible move to Vancouver later in the season.
Jorge Flores- 19th Round – 595 Overall – Signed June 11th – Drafted out of Central Arizona College, the Single Digit Assassin was
assigned to Vancouver, spent the entire season with the C’s, became a fan favourite winning the Canadians fans choice for player of the year, and added a Northwest League title to boot. Not a bad first season in pro ball for a 5’5″ 160 pound shortstop who has always had to answer questions about his size. Having seen quite a few Canadians games this year, Flores’ popularity is certainly warranted. He plays the game hard. At the plate he sees a lot of pitches, and has surprising pop (especially to the pull side), generated by above average bat speed. On the basepaths, Flores is constantly in motion, always looking to take an extra base where available. Unfortunately, that agressiveness, didn’t serve him well as far as stolen base percentage, only being successful in eleven out of twenty attempts. In the field, Flores has decent footwork and soft hands. His arm strength may be an issue, possibly precipitating a move to second in the future. With a logjam of middle infielders in the Jays system, Flores may find himself back in Vancouver next year, however, if given the chance with Lansing, I don’t see full-season ball overwhelming him.
Alonzo Gonzales – 18th Round – 565 Overall – Signed July 9th – After having to search long and hard for positives for those that were drafted and played in the GCL in 2012, Alonzo Gonzales was a ray of sunshine. Drafted out of Glendale Community College, Gonzalez’ pro debut was solid. A 6’5″ 200 pound lefty, he mixes a high 80s fastball with a nice feel for his changeup, as per this write up. The most impressive part of Alonzo’s debut is that he got stronger as the season wore on, culminating in two straight six inning shutout starts after his promotion to Bluefield in August. His strike out ratios suggest that he doesn’t miss enough bats, but with his frame, his fastball should add a few miles per hour, and if he develops a second breaking ball (a curve ball from the reports I’ve read) then we may have a legit middle of the rotation southpaw on our hands. As he’ll be 21 when spring training opens, I think Gonzales will begin 2013 in Vancouver, where he’ll look to throw 70 innings or so, readying him for full season ball in 2014.
Shane Dawson – 17th Round – 535 Overall – Signed June 6th – The third Canadian on our list, and second straight lefty pitcher, Dawson put up some decent numbers in limited innings on his pro debut. Predominantly coming out of the bullpen in a piggy-backing situation, Shane threw just over thirty innings, striking out over ten batters per nine. He did start three games last year, and am guessing the plan will be to start in 2013. Unfortunately his size, currently 6’1″ 180 pounds may mean his long term future is back in the ‘pen. I can’t find much news on where his fastball sits but there should be room for improvement. I have read that he is very athletic with a smooth, easy delivery. Having only turned 19 in September, Dawson has plenty of time to build up his arm strength. I’d like to say he’ll begin 2013 as a starter in Bluefield, but there is a chance he repeats the GCL for a spell before moving up.
Will Dupont – 16th Round – 505 Overall – Signed June 11th – One of the assigned ‘high-upside’ high schoolers taken as insurance in case any of the upper round picks didn’t sign, the Jays did quite well in getting a few of these names signed, despite fact they signed (and spent most of their alloted bonus pool) all their picks through round three. The MLB website has Dupont’s signing bonus at 105k which puts him five thousand over slot and therefore taxed at 75%. Not a huge number, but the Jays were obviously keen to get him in the organization. Another prospect that put up ridiculous high school numbers. However, like those we have covered already, Dupont struggled in his first season of pro ball. Having played both short and third in high school, WD transitioned to second for the GCL Jays, putting up a .195/.353/.268 slash line. Again, mining for positives, Dupont managed eight walks in fourty-one at bats for a 15.7% BB rate. Getting on base will be paramount for Dupont going forward. Most scouting reports I read highlight his plus plus speed, having run a 6.47 60 in high school. Dupont is young, just turning 19, and having only played fifteen games for the GCL Jays, limits his sample size. Next year will be much more important in his development, more than likely back in the Gulf Coast League.