BA’s Jim Callis Ranks Hechavarria as 6th Best Jays Prospect


Jim Callis answered the many Adeiny Hechavarria questions on a column on the Baseball America website called “Ask BA” here. He points out the positive feedback Jose Iglesias got in the AFL as a reason to trust his stuff better than Adeiny’s, but the logic doesn’t really hold when you consider that everyone believes Adeiny’s bat and very good defensive skills make him the better option. By everyone, I mean those who monitor Cuban baseball, the Cuban National team who decide to use Adeiny at SS over Jose, and also the scouts who deemed that Adeiny should receive a better bonus than Jose as a result of his higher ceiling offensively speaking.

Personally, and based on the fact that the Yankees wanted to make Adeiny the heir apparent in New York to one of the greatest SS players of all time, I have place Adeiny in the #4 spot – ahead of Zach Stewart who has struggled thus far in the season and Chad Jenkins, who despite a strong spring training is looking awfully raw in Lansing. I also flipped Travis d’Arnaud with Kyle Drabek in my rankings because of how impressed I’ve been with his performance so far. As much as I am a fan of JP Arencibia‘s, I actually believe that Travis will be the full time catcher when he reaches the majors. He calls great games, is great defensively, and his bat is extremely potent.

So my updated Jays top 10 prospects are now as follows:

  1. 1B Brett Wallace
  2. C Travis d’Arnaud
  3. SP Kyle Drabek
  4. SS Adeiny Hechavarria
  5. SP Chad Jenkins
  6. SP/RP Zach Stewart
  7. SP Brad Mills
  8. OF Jacob Marisnick
  9. SP Henderson Alvarez
  10. C JP Arencibia

I don’t know about you guys, but I certainly believe the Jays are catching up in terms of top-ended talent from their prospect core. They may be within the top ten once the draft is completed in June, and are always on the lookout for more international talent which could help push them even higher in the rankings. I am really enjoying watching this building of a great core of players in Toronto. It’s about time someone with an actual plan stepped up and put it into action. Looking at the list above makes me see everything from a couple of potential aces, to a 5-tool outfielder, to some stellar catchers on both the defensive side and offensive side of the game.

Jim Callis also makes this prediction in his reply to questions on Ask BA:

"“Hechavarria will spend about a month in extended spring training, then report to high Class A Dunedin. He just turned 21, and he’ll probably need at least two years in the minors before he can help the Jays.”"

That seems about right to me. It may not be 2 full years, but it should be very close. That begs the question, if he isn’t ready by 2011, who will man the SS position to begin that season? Will the Jays look to resign Alex Gonzalez who has looked great thus far and could teach Adeiny a couple of this about defending if he was called up at the end of 2011? Or is there a FA that they would rather bring in for 1 season? There are not many internal options that could handle a full season at SS, so I’m not sure that’s an option.

Whatever the case, Alex Anthopolous apparently (by the opinion of Jim Callis and others) spent $10 million on a player who ranks 6th on their prospect list….is that too much if he is correct? Judging by how low scouts were on the Jays prospects overall, what does that mean for Adeiny’s talents if he is only ranked 6th on the list?
Will he be as big an impact player as most Jays fans hope he is and will he be worth that $10 million investment?

I can’t answer any of the question above, and if I could I’d be making some real money betting on sports. But, what I can say is that there is nobody in the baseball scouting business that can honestly say the Jays have had a better SS prospect on board since Aaron Hill – but he moved to 2B so he doesn’t count – or that he won’t be the Jays SS for 6 years and do a wonderful job there. He may not be as great as Derek Jeter, but if he’s anywhere between Derek and Jason Bartlett, the Jays get their money’s worth and Jays fans get to watch their best SS since Tony Fernandez had the role.

I, for one, agree with Jim Callis that caution must be exercised when evaluating Cuban prospects. However, I also believe that if an entire nation, their national team, and the majority of scouts tell me that he’s better than Jose Iglesias, and Jose did blow scouts away with his package of tools in the AFL, then Adeiny Hechavarria is being under rated by a good margin by Jim Callis and others. I think he’ll be an all-star and that he’ll help build the Toronto Blue Jays into a power house in the AL East.