Before we head into the draft, I thought it was important to take a gander at what we currently have on board and how well players are doing in the Jays minors. Here is the first of many instalments of the Jays Prospects Review, where I’ll list the Hot, Cold, Trailing off the map, and Skyrocketing prospects in the Jays system.
Hot Jays Prospects:
- 2B Jarrett Hoffpauir AAA – Hit for the cycle for the second time this season in AAA and is hitting .353 with 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 HRs over his last 10 games. He’s doing everything in his power to get the call to the bigs and could actually become some pretty decent trade bait.
- 1B Michael McDade HiA – 20 year old Michael McDade has been tearing up HiA pitching over his last 10 games, getting 3 doubles and a whopping 5 HRs over that span to go along with a .333 average and .349 OBP. More impressive is his .762 slugging percentage. Needless to say that the Jays have a pretty great backup plan to Brett Wallace at 1B and could have a dilemma on their hands in the future at the position. Of course, they could always move Adam Lind and use Michael at DH, but that’s pretty far into the future. For now, we’ll just enjoy Michael’s rise up the Jays prospect charts!
- C JP Arencibia AAA – He calls a good game, and now he’s hitting well for the first time this season. JP is riding a .341 average with an awesome 10 extra base hits over his last 10 games (41 ABs). Sure, his OBP is still sort of low at .333, but who cares when your SLG is .707? He’s heating up at the right time as I’m certain the Jays will be looking to improve all positions if they want to make a run at the playoffs. There’s no rush to move him up with Buck and Molina playing so well, but he’s getting closer to forcing the Jays hand in the matter.
- SP Charles Huggins AA – Just promoted to AA from HiA after holding a 2.09 ERA there in 9 games started, Charles began his AA career with a decent 5.1 inning effort where he allowed 2 ER and 1 walk while striking out 3. His HiA line was dominant to say the least, with only 38 hits allowed in 51 IP and 40 Ks. Hopefully he can build on that success as he was a little older for the level at 24.
- SP Henderson Alvarez HiA – I expect Henderson (5-1) will be one of the first promotions made in June as he has reached his full potential in HiA despite an ugly start in his last game. He has a 2.42 ERA over 48.1 IP, allowed 9 walks to his 31 Ks, and hitters are hitting .259 against him. As one of the youngest pitchers in HiA, that’s a pretty impressive line.
- LF Eric Thames AA – He has been consistent on the year, but has been hottest over the last 10 games. Eric hit .308 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 HRs over that span while adding an impressive .641 slugging percentage.
- 3B John Tolisano HiA – I’m not sure if it’s the shift to 3B that has John getting hot at the plate, but he’s finding a more consistent stroke and more power overall now that he’s made the move. He’s hitting .316 with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR, and a nice .366 OBP over his last 10 games. A very encouraging sign from a player who had a lowly .232 average and .305 OBP in 2009.
- LF Chris Lubanski AAA – Why is it that Brett Wallace’s HRs get so much play while Chris’s 10 HRs on the year go unnoticed? He has a .344 average, 3 doubles, 1 HR, a .417 OBP and 4 to 6 BB/K ratio over his last 10 games.
- OF Brad McElroy LoA – He’s old for the level at 24, but Brad’s been tearing it up in LoA Lansing over the last 10 games. He has a .405 average with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HRs, and a .488 OBP over that span. I’m fairly certain he’s earned a promotion to HiA and could be leaving a spot open for incoming Jake Marisnick some time soon.
- SP Chad Jenkins LoA – He hasn’t been stellar, but Chad’s been consistently good during his tenure in LoA this far. He only allowed 4 ER in 1 of his 9 starts and made it past 6 innings on all occasions but 2. It’s not exactly the kind of dominance the Jays wanted to see from the 1st rd draft pick, but it’s more than adequate for the start of his career. He should be able to improve on that in the second half, although it doesn’t exactly warrant a promotion.
- SP Ryan Tepera LoA – Following in Chad’s footsteps, Ryan has put up very similar stats with a 3.68 ERA and 1 hit allowed per inning over his 51 IP. However, he has struck out fewer (35 Ks to Chad’s 55) but has also had more dominant starts (5 games with 2 or fewer runs allowed to Chad’s 3). He’s on pace to expectations and should progress as well as expected.
- RP Dustin Antolin LoA – Relievers never get enough credit, but Dustin is one of those relievers that could become a major part of the pen sometime soon. He absolutely dominates lefties who hit a lowly 0.29 off him so far in the year, only managing 1 hit in 35 ABs. He still needs to work on getting RHBs out, but he certainly has specialist written all over him, and one that could move quickly through the system.
- SS Adeiny Hechavarria HiA – His stats don’t warrant a position on the hot list on the face of it, but this young man has had to adjust to life in the US and was placed right into the fire by leading off or hitting 2nd int he lineup from the moment he made the team. Therefore, his .281 average with 3 doubles, 3 triples, and .300 OBP are not that bad overall. He also has a 4 game hitting streak that he is currently riding and only struck out 6 times in his last 39 ABs. Not bad for a minors rookie, and here’s to hoping it keeps getting better!
- 1B David Cooper AA – They moved him down to 7th in the lineup and voila, he starts hitting. Although he’s still only hitting .222 on the season, David has hit .273 with 4 doubles, 3 HRs, a .359 OBP and .667 slugging over his last 10 games – the first encouraging sign that he may begin to both hit and show some power. It’s about time, and although it’s not exactly “hot”, it is the best we’ve seen from David in quite a while, so he made the list.
Cold Jays Prospects:
- SP Marc Rzepczynski AAA – I am about as big a Marc fan as you will find out there, but his last 3 rehab starts have been very discouraging to say the least. Either there is still a medical issue underlying his pitching, or he needs to rebuild the strength in his arm – but for right now it’s just downright ugly. In 3 AAA starts he has an ERA over 18 and allowed 33 hits in 10.2 innings of work. That’s right, 33 hits!!
- CF Darin Mastroianni AA – Darin has a .282 OBP over his last 10 games with only 7 hits (none for extra bases) and 1 stolen base, not exactly what you want from your leadoff man. He’s just going through a cold spell, as he still holds a .363 OBP for the year and should be able to turn things around quickly. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on as promotions and demotions near due to deals and the draft.
- 3B Balbino Fuenmayor LoA – I know he’s still only 20 years old, but it’s disappointing to see such a big signing struggle so much. He’s hitting .212 with only 2 doubles and a .297 OBP over his last 10 games – which is sadly better than his season’s OBP of .287. He’s a big guy looking for his swing, so let’s hope he finds it ASAP!
- 1B Brett Wallace AAA – Although I would love to trumpet the inevitable promotion of Wallace to the Jays being imminent, he’s just not doing enough to make that happen. He has a lowly .244 average and .306 OBP with only 3 extra base hits (all doubles) over his last 10 games. Not exactly something that will make the Jays release Lyle Overbay when they’re in the midst of a playoff run. Most worrisome is Brett’s lack of walks (none) to his 12 Ks over that span. He may be trying too hard to make things happen instead of keeping his game intact.
- SP Brad Mills AAA – Just when I was beginning to believe in his skills, Brad has a lapse in performance and proves my previous assessment of him right. He’s too hittable, with 61 hits allowed over 53 IP, and can’t strike guys out as easily once they know his stuff. He took advantage of cold bats at the beginning of the year, but I think it’s close to being time to use BRad as trade bait if you’re the Jays. I still think he’d do well in the NL, I just can’t see him doing well in the AL East. He has a 4.73 ERA which is bloated by the 6 and 8 ER he gave up in 2 of his last 3 starts in less than 3.1 IP each time. Hopefully he can prove me wrong and turn things around.
Jays Trailing Off the Map Prospect:
- 3B Kevin Ahrens HiA: This really comes as no surprise to anyone who follows the Jays minors, but Kevin is one of the biggest disappointments in recent drafts within the Jays system. He was chosen 16th overall in 2007 and was compared to a potential Chipper Jones type 3B at the time by some analysts, but he’s been anything but Chipper like since then. Kevin is hitting .179 over his last 10 games, the same as his season’s average, and has a .238 OBP. He does have 3 doubles and a triple over his last 10 games but has yet to hit a HR in his 78 ABs. If looking for any positives in his game, I guess yo could point to a .278 average and .316 OBP against lefties, but that’s about it. If the Jays draft well and promote as expected, Kevin could be the odd man out and could be released from the minors.
The Jays Skyrocketing Prospect:
- RP Trystan Magnuson AA – Very few pay attention to pen guys, perhaps with the exception of fantasy league owners who are looking for the next in line closers. Trystan has exploded on the pen depth charts this season for the Jays, bringing a dominant 0.90 ERA in 19 appearances with only 22 hits allowed in 30 IP while striking out 28 and walking 5. He has been even more dominant over his last 10 appearances, with no runs allowed over 15 IP, giving up 9 hits, 4 walks and striking out 14 in the process. Hitters are getting a .214 average against him overall, or .180 over his last 10 appearances. All of which adds up to a 3rd up-and-coming RP in AA to go along with Daniel Farquhar and Tim Collins. Take your pick as to which one is the closer of the future in Toronto, with Trystan making things interesting on the subject!