Jays Journal: Leonys Martin, Richard Thon, Spring Notes, and Links


I recently broke down the argument for the Jays to sign Leonys Martin out of Cuba (actually, he is currently in Mexico), and heard a lot of feedback from fans who were apprehensive about spending so much money on a light-hitting, good speed and good defensive ability center-fielder. So, I asked John Manuel of Baseball America, a professional who actually has the scouting breakdown on Martin, the following question on Twitter in order to get a sense for how Martin would fare amongst Jays prospects:

"“@johnmanuelba Would Leonys Martin be within the top 15 Jays prospects if signed?“"

And he answered as follows:

"“@jaysjournal Yes, he profiles as top-of-order CF, good profile to have; some Cuban busts have just been guys who don’t fit MLB profile“"

Now, I understand that it still doesn’t guarantee anything if the Jays were going to sign him to a contract, but this information places Martin within the top 15 Jays prospects, which would put him ahead of guys like Chad Jenkins, Adonis Cardona, and within range or ahead of his fellow Cuban, Adeiny Hechavarria based on their 2011 rankings of Jays prospects as presented by Nathan Rode.

Another player that Martin would be ahead of is Dickie Joe Thon, one of the highest ceiling player the Jays drafted in 2010. He is another player that I thought needed to be compared to others for various reasons, including the fact that Thon received the highest bonus given to a position player in the 2010 draft, so Martin would have to exceed this ceiling to be worth signing at a higher cost. Another reason I thought Martin deeded to be compared to Thon is how closely he is ranked when compared to other potential Jays infielders and highly drafted 2010 players, such as Kellen Sweeney and Shane Opitz. As Jays Journal fans already know, we ranked Thon 18th overall on our Top 50 Prospects list (his profile as completed by Jared available here). This placed Thon ahead of 2 other serious contenders for 2B as possible future replacements for Aaron Hill with the Jays in Kellen Sweeney (ranked 25th on our list, and a player who was drafted 5 picks earlier than Thon, profile available here), and Shane Opitz (ranked 24th on our list, and a player who is extremely athletic and still has a ton of projection remaining, profile available here).  So, I asked Jim Callis of BA the following question via Twitter:

"“@jimcallisBA: Likeliest to 1 day replace Hill at 2B for #BlueJays? Opitz, Thon, Sweeney? And which has highest ceiling?“"

Jim’s response:

"“@jaysjournal: Thon for both.“"

What does this information tell us? Well, if Thon received $1,500,000 as a bonus to sign with the Blue Jays after the draft, and Martin is seen as a more highly ranked prospect by many scouts, the Jays could very well get involved in the chase for Martin’s services and would likely be willing to exceed a couple of million bucks to do so. How much higher they’d be willing to go is unpredictable, but now we know 2 things: he may be worth more to the Jays as a prospect than Kellen Sweeney, Dickie Joe Thon, or Shane Optitz, who are all great prospects selected early in the 2010 draft by the Jays, and that he definitely profiles as a top of the order MLB CF.

Hopefully that brings more sense to my argument for the Jays to sign Martin and settles some minds in terms of where his talent sits at this point as compared to Jays prospects.

On a side note, I’m really looking forward to seeing where Thon begins the 2011 season. Just a thought.

Now for the Spring Training Notes!

  • Although I know everyone has Ricky Romero listed as the ace of the Jays staff at this point, I really do believe Brandon Morrow will give him a run for his money in 2011 and that they’ll feed off one-another to get better as the season goes on. Something in the style of the old “anything you can do I can do better” song. Even though the Rays lineup was lacking B.J. Upton, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, and Evan Longoria, Morrow was impressive as he only allowed 2 hits in 3 innings of work, struck out 4, and induced 4 ground-outs in comparison to 1 fly-out. It’s a good start to the spring for the pitcher that will likely lead the Jays in strike outs this season.
  • Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Octavio Dotel who definitely looked “rusty” in his relief appearance. He allowed 4 hits and 3 ER during his 1 inning of work. He has plenty of time to recoup and to figure it out, and this is exactly the reason for grabbing Dotel along with Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco. It gives the Jays options.
  • Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp, and Casey Janssen (who earned the win) all threw scoreless innings after Dotel, allowing only 1 hit while striking out 2 between them.
  • Edwin Encarnacion hit a wind-aided HR against David Price to get his big swing going. I don’t care if the wind helped out, getting a HR versus Price will boost Edwin’s confidence this spring and was nice to see.
  • Darin Mastroianni (.167) got his first hit of the spring and promptly stole 2B. Not to be outdone, Anthony Gose again showed his patience at the plate – something John Farrell and other Jays coaches have raved about this spring – to earn a walk and steal 2B as well.
  • Juan Rivera hit his 2nd double of the spring, while Yunel Escobar and Eric Thames hit doubles of their own. It was nice to see a better extra base hit performance from the Jays than had been seen thus far in spring training.
  • The best part of the game for the Jays, however, was the ability to come from behind and win this game after they were behind 4-3 from the 6th inning through the 8th. Scoring 2 runs in the 9th to earn your first win of spring training should help lift morale in the club house and will hopefully provide a spark to set a winning tone for the remainder of the spring.

Now that the Recap is complete, here are some links to interesting articles within both the Jays scope of things and AL East (you have to look over the fence once in a while….right?):

Birds Watcher (Orioles)

Scott Taylor takes a look at an issue that has plagued the Jays for the last couple of years as well, filling the seats, in this article.

BoSox Injection (Red Sox)

Brian Phair wrote an article on the fine that Red Sox owner John Henry received, apparently for being honest in this article.

Yanks Go Yard (Yankees)

Andrew Corselli writes a piece on ex-Blue Jay A.J. Burnett and his good cameo appearance in this article.

RaysColoredGlasses (Rays)

Ben Ice gives us a great look at what could be a sleeper prospect for you in fantasy leagues by taking a look at Robinson Chirinos in this article.

Here are some Jays related Links:

Bluebird Banter

Minor Leaguer recently asked a poll question about Zach Stewart and his landing spot in this poll. As with most others, he also believes there is little chance Stewart will begin the season with the Jays – as made evident by the lack of that option in the poll.

Batter’s Box

#2JBrumfield takes a great look at a player who may earn the last spot on the Jays bench in Mike McCoy in this article.

The Southpaw

Makes great comparisons of Jays prospect lists in this article.

The Blue Jay Hunter

Takes a look at Scott Richmond as a viable long-relief option in this article.

That’s pretty well it for this morning!

– MG

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