Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Tolleson: Place Holder or Late Bloomer?


June 10, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Steve Tolleson (6) throws over to first base to get out Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (not shown) in the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Phillies 5 - 4 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

 Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

With almost a week of spring training under our belt and some of my colleagues already starting to experience sleepless night over the state of the Blue Jays starting rotation, I thought now would be a good time to look at Steve Tolleson. Is he a Place Holder or Late Bloomer?

Orginally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 5th round of the 2005 draft. Tolleson made his major league debut with the Oakland A’s on April 28, 2010. Steven Tolleson played his college ball with South Carolina.  He was never regarded as highly as other South Carolina Alumni, such as, Adam Everett, Brian Roberts, and Drew Meyer.  Tolleson, son of Wayne Tolleson former major league infielder, did possess his dad’s defensive abilities; however, if he had any chance of making to the majors he would do with on the strength of his bat.   As a prospect, Tolleson showed good plate discipline, decent bat, and fundamentally sound baseball…..yup that sounds like a Minnesota Twins prospect to me.

Tolleson has appeared in 54 major league games with the Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles amassing over 100 at-bats and a triple slash line of .225/.273/.350.  Last season he appeared in 116 games with Chicago White Sox’s AAA team and put up decent numbers. On December 17, 2013, Michael Wray broke the news, for Jays Journal that Steve Tolleson signed on with the Blue Jays. Micheal Wray hit the nail on the head when he stated,” It’s probably not the move that Blue Jays fans were hoping for but anytime you can stash a player with MLB experience in your Triple-A system it’s not a bad thing.”

What can we expect for Steve Tolleson in 2014?

Jay Blue wrote on Blue Jays from Away,

“Tolleson is more of a super-utility type of player (in the mold of Mike McCoy) who can play shortstop and has done it for extended periods of time but probably isn’t the guy you want manning that position daily at the major league level.”

I can’t really think of any argument that I would win against that statement; Jay Blue hit the nail on the head with that one….again.

Best case scenario for Steve Tolleson is for him to start the year in Buffalo, play his rear end off and be ready if the need arises in Toronto.  With any luck, in 2014, he will replicate some semblance of his career minor league numbers (.283/.372/.409) as a super utility player with Toronto….but that is unlikely. A more realistic prediction would be for Tolleson to be 2014’s version of Jim Negrych. So Jays fans in a few weeks please don’t be calling for Ryan Goins head if Steve Tolleson is hitting .300ish and Goins is only hitting .220 as we near the end of Spring Training.  At the end of the day Steve Tolleson’s role in 2014 will be a place holder and not a late bloomer.

Good Luck in 2014, Steve Tolleson

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  • Andrew van Laar

    I am suprised he hasn’t had more playing time in the majors. Looking at his minor league hitting stats, he seems to be at least a replacement player who would be on the bench for some team. Mind you, I am assuming this in the light that his defense would be enough to help carry the weight of a light bat. Good signing though in case Reyes or Lawrie goes down with an injury.

    • RyanMueller

      It gives us other options besides our Japanese buddy.

      • Andrew van Laar

        Agreed. Other than a 2B replacement, I don’t think Kawasaki has the defense but more so the arm for SS or 3B. Isturiz is almost guarenteed to be on the team this year on the bench… do you think either Tolleson or Getz will be on the team and if so, who do you think gets the nod? Tolleson has much more versatility but Getz has that speed off the bench we don’t posses.

        • RyanMueller

          I would give Kawasaki the nod if it were up to me, which it isn’t. Between getz and tolleson I would lean towards getz due to his speed and glove work.