We started to check in on the Toronto Blue Jays top prospects by looking at the Honourable Mentions Shaun Doyle @JaysFromCouch. I provided updates for Top Prospects ranked 26-30 , Michael Wray @Wrayzerblade updated Top Prospects 25-21, and Shaun was at it again with prospects 20-16. Today we will continue with an update on the players we ranked 16-11 on our 2014 Blue Jays top prospect list.
Name: Matt Smoral
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Top Prospect Rank: 15
Drafted in the Supplemental first round, Smoral pitched 25 innings in 2013 for the GCL Blue Jays and remains in the Abysis (Extended Spring Training). Smoral started 5 of the 15 games he appeared in and didn’t show good control…..at all. His strikeout to base on balls ratio was 1:1 and his WHIP was 1.87. Smoral does have an electric arm which he proved by striking out 9.5/9IP. It is easy to see where Smoral will need to improve if he hopes to climb the Top Prospects ladder but at 20 years old he is still a few years away. Here is hoping that he struggles were attributed to his foot still healing from the stress fracture that saw his draft stock drop.
Name: Andy Burns
Position: Everywhere but Catcher
Top Prospect Rank: 14
The 23 year old really turned some heads in 2013, but has yet to find the same level of compete in his game in 2014. Over his past 10 games he is hitting .188/.325/.313 so he is in a bit of a funk to start the year. In limited AB’s Burns has crushed LHP to a tune of .324/.425/.529 and has been equally as bad against RHP…..149/.220/.216. On the bright side Burns has been walking about 10% of the time which is above average but he is also striking out too often at 27%. Based on last year’s stats, Burns should be expected to reduce his strike outs with his BB% remaining is the 8-9% range. Burns OPS has taken a hit so far which has caused his extra base power and homerun to suffer. With Mitch Nay and Matt Dean not too far behind, Burns will need to pick it up or he will fall into the bench role he seems destined for.
Name: Tom Robson
Top Prospect Rank: 13
After dominating in Bluefield and Vancouver a lot was expected from Tom Robson in 2014. Robson struggled mightily in his first four starts but has dominated in his last two starts going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA over 12IP while allowing 2 runs. During this time he has only walked 1 batter and struck out 12. In his 4 previous starts he was 0-3 and never got past the 4th inning. Robson has handled righties (.267) and struggled against lefties (.302). If Robson continues to build off the success of his last two quality starts than it will be a good year for him, but 6 starts into the season and it is looking like Robson will have a tougher time with Low A ball than Rookie Ball.
A.J. Jimenez has gotten into 14 games this season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He has shown and improved eye at the plate thus far walking 9.3% of the time compared to previous years where he averaged 5%. Jimenez continues to generate a high OPS (.750) and decent ISO (.146) numbers. Jimenez will get to the majors on his skills behind the plate, but he has allowed already allowed 4 passed and is 0-4 in throwing out would be base stealers. Jimenez is currently hitting .171/.231/.314 in the past ten games. If Jimenez proves he can handle Double-A pitching he will force the Jays to make a decision on Buffalo catchers Mike Nickeas and Jack Murphy.
Name: Dawel Lugo
Top Prospect Rank: 11
The 19 year old Dawel Lugo continues to move quickly through the Blue Jays minor leagues and is currently playing for the Blue Jays Low-A Ball Lansing Lugnuts. Lugo got off to a slow start but has been turning it on in the past 10 games with a .293/.341/.317 slash line. This stretch games has seen his batting average climb to .245 but he hasn’t been showing much power in the first month of the season. In 27 games, Lugo has one home run and five duobles. This lack of power is why he is sporting an ISO of 0.047, which will need to change if he wants to continue to climb the minor league ladder.
Hope you have been following along as we make our way to the Top 10 Blue Jays Prospects. Feel free to leave us comments or join us on Twitter to voice your options.