We hear so much, for good reason, about Sean Nolin, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. I feel good about the Blue Jays pitching future with these arms in the system We may be seeing another great underrated arm developing before our eyes. He has put up some impressive numbers so far and when he fills into his tall lanky frame he may get the extra oomph on his pitches that will take him to the Blue Jays. It is Jays Journal #9 top prospect Chase DeJong.
Name: Chase DeJong
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 12/29/1993 (20)
Acquired: 2nd round (81st overall) in 2012 MLB Amateur Draft
High School: Woodrow Wilson HS (CA)
College: None (had commitment to USC)
Height/Weight: 6’1″/190 lbs
Awards and Accomplishments:
- Previously ranked 22nd on 2013 Jays Journal Top Prospects
- Ranked as Blue Jays #9 Top Prospect by Baseball Prospectus
- Ranked as 2013 Appalachian League’s 6th Top Prospect by Baseball America
Stats and Analysis
The Blue Jays are definitely taking a cautious approach to DeJong’s development. With the number of injuries experienced by the organization in recent years, the Jays have been careful to monitor the now 20-year-old’s workload. His advanced baseball acumen and instincts were on display during his 16 innings in 2012 when he pitched for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. Aside from the 1.50 ERA he struck out 15 batters and walked only a single batter. It was a reassuring start to his professional career.
With that strong start, DeJong was moved up to the Advanced Rookie Appalachian League in 2013 and his innings pitched increased to 56 with the Bluefield Blue Jays. His stats were not quite as strong as in the GCL but they were still very encouraging… his K/BB dropped from 15:1 to 6:1 and his ERA crept up to 3.05. Nonetheless the numbers were impressive for the young right-hander especially if you look at some of his advanced metrics.
Strong strikeout numbers (10.6 K/9) and low walks totals (1.6 BB/9) led to DeJong putting up the second best FIP in the Appalachian League at 1.90. He also suffered from an unusually high BABIP of .359, which means he was either unlikely or had awful defense behind him, or both. His BABIP should likely regress back to the norm (around .300), which would make his stingy numbers even stingier.
Scouting Report and Outlook
Video Credit: MLB Prospect Portal
When Noah Syndergaard, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino were dispatched in the off-season last year there was a bit of a backlash from the public for trading away our future. It’s pitchers with the potential of DeJong that allowed Alex Anthopoulos to part with the aforementioned star prospects. DeJong has not progressed to this point because of overpowering stuff. He progressed because of a high baseball acumen and athletic ability.
If his fastball bumps up a few MPH (he currently works in the 88-91 MPH range, touching 94) and if his curveball and changeup continue to develop we could be looking at a future Top 100 prospect. He commands the heater well but it has a tendency to flatten out. His curve is of the 12-6 variety and was borderline unhittable for Appy League opponents. It has lots of spin and and a big vertical drop with the only knock being that it will occasionally break too early. The curve is his best pitch now and also projects to be a plus pitch at the major league level. His change is developing and can still be too firm at times but when he doesn’t throw it too hard it looks like another potential plus offering.
DeJong will, in all likelihood, make his full-season debut for the Low-A Lansing Lugnuts in 2013. His short-season resume, combined with the hope of future velocity, means that his risk remains relatively high. Expect the Jays to use the piggybacking method (two starters pitching two halves of the same game) so again it will be a season of careful use. Until his wiry frame starts to truly fill out expect him to throw about 100-125 innings in 2014.
Projected MLB Potential and Arrival: Mid-rotation starter in 2016 or 2017.