After reading another quality piece by Michael Wray on 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects, I started thinking about all the guys that have been toiling in the Blue Jays minor league system. I got thinking about the guys who were once thought of as prospects but are now ‘Organizational Filler or Late Bloomer’. These players go about their business overshadowed by players who were drafted higher, got higher signing bonuses, and are considered more talented than they are. Some of these guys have made appearances on previous Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospect Lists only to see their stocks fall. Over the next complete weeks (maybe longer if it goes well) I am going to poke around the Blue Jays minor league affiliates and pick some players that fit into the above criteria.
Starting in Buffalo, I would like to take a closer look at OF Brad Glenn. Brad attended the University of Arizona and was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 17th round of the 2008 Amateur Draft. However he did not sign and re-entered the draft the following year, where he was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 23rd round (700th overall). He signed a week later and received $1,000 as a signing bonus.
Brad Glenn has a muscular/athletic frame that allows him to generate powerful swing. In college he played tight end and full back, so that right there tells you he is built for power. Glenn primarily plays RF and LF, but could play third base in a pinch. He has an ISO of 0.216 over his first 5 minor seasons, which was mostly the result of him hitting 92 home runs during that span. Some may argue that his power numbers are a result of playing as a 25-year-old in Double-A, which might be true but at 6’3” and 225 lbs, there is no denying he has the build of a power hitter.
After he signed in 2009 Glenn tuned opposing pitchers for 8 dingers over 213 AB in short-season ball. In 2010 he turned heads in Low-A Lansing by winning player of the week honors in August. In 2011 he moved up to High-A Dunedin and took home several accolades, which included player of the week, Mid-Season All-Star, Post-Season All-Star and MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Glenn finished the 2011 season with a slash line of .263/.319/.514 and led the league with 26 homers (the FSL is not a hitter’s league). Glenn spent all of 2012 and most of 2013 playing for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Throughout his minor league career Glenn has continued to produce poor K% and an awful BB%, but has continued to demonstrate the ability to hit 20 HR a year. After a late season promotion to Bison’s, Glenn was hit 5 HR in only 18 games finishing the year with 22 HR over two levels. For his successful 2013 campaign, one that finally saw him get an in-season promotion, Glenn was rewarded with the R. Howard Webster Award; which is given to the MVP of each minor league affiliate.
To say that management has taken their sweet time moving Brad Glenn up the minor ladder is an understatement. His raw power alone should have seen mid-season, or at the very least late season, promotions in 2010 and 2011. Glenn’s inability to make consistent contact has to be the reason for the slow ascent. Sure his BABIP is average-ish and his ISO is above average, but didn’t we just give a catcher his walking papers that fit this same mold.
A post in 2012 by Mat Germain, outlined the difficult road to the majors Glenn would have to travel and the hurdles that he would have to conquer to.
“The problem for Glenn is this: he can show all of the power he wants in AA and perhaps even hit for average, but to make it to The Show with the Jays, he’s going to have to do a whole lot more than that! With big guns like Travis Snider, Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra, and Eric Thames in his way in AAA, as well as Jake Marisnick who just recently joined him in New Hampshire and others climbing behind him, Glenn is going to have to literally tear the cover off the ball – or hope to get traded – to even get a sniff at The Show! Or….will he?”
Fast forward to spring training 2014, Glenn is still “tearing the cover off the ball”, Travis Snider, Eric Thames, and Jake Marisnick have all since been traded. Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra seem to be somewhere in limbo or purgatory, but with a solid spring, either could make the tripl north….further north than Buffalo Bisons (AAA) that is. After our starting 3 of Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus, and Melky Cabrera there are Gose, Sierra and finally Kevin Pillar standing in Brad Glenn’s way. Oh, there is also the small hurdle of not being on the 40-man roster that he will have to contend with, but that can be easily rectified with a long-term injury.
I don’t imagine the odds are very good for Brad Glenn finally seeing time in Toronto this season. Things would have to go terribly wrong for this to happen. If he is still around in 2015 and is able to show more discipline at the plate in Buffalo this season, then maybe he will get a cup of tea (I don’t like coffee) with the big club. Ultimately, I see Brad Glenn following in the same footsteps as Mike McDade and being lost to waivers.