Sometimes, we forget to look deep in the minors, and even when we do, we often overlook those who didn’t receive big bonus money. Such is the case with the 3 players that I will highlight in this article. All 3 were drafted in the 25th rd and beyond, but all 3 have been lighting it up in the GCL. Here’s a little about each of this hot GCL Jays trio:
RHP Colby Broussard, 6’4″ 220 lb, from Luling Louisianna, selected with the 44th rd pick in 2011
- Past: Went to Faulkner College where he was 4-0, had 8 saves (was a closer for the squad), and held a 4.17 ERA
- Stats in the GCL in 2011: 14 GP (0 GS), 18 IP, 0.50 ERA, 6 hits, 1 ER, 6 BB, 13 Ks, .103 average against
- Analysis: As unimpressive as his stats were for Faulkner, they are completely the opposite with the GCL Jays. Simply put, he has been lights out as a closer for the squad and is surely on his way to Bluefield or Vancouver in the near future. The 22 year old should be pushed up the ranks fairly quickly as a reliever, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do once he reaches Lansing and higher. It always seems hard for pitchers that go through the minors as relievers to make it to The Show, but there is always a chance that gems will come through and earn a spot in the pen, as Tim Collins has proven this year. Keep an eye on Broussard, as he could be a fairly good relief prospect for the Jays despite being such a late round pick.
SS Jorge Vega-Rosado, 5-9″ 180 lb, from Puerto Rico, selected with the 28th rd pick in 2011
- Stats in the GCL: 131 ABs, .321 AVG, .389 OBP, .481 SLG, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HR, 17 SB (3 CS)
- Analysis: He’s hitting for some power, tons of average, and has shown lots of speed and smarts on the base-paths, so what’s not to like about the man with the coolest name from the 2011 draft? To top it all off, he has also shown patience at the plate with 14 BB! Interestingly, he has walked 6 times against LHP despite having very few ABs against them. This 19 year old is making his mark and is definitely having a successful inaugural season with the GCL Jays. He is 1st in hits with 42, 1st in SB with 17, and 1st in doubles with 7, second in TB on the team with 63, and sits 3rd in HRs with 4. His 8 errors are his lone black mark at this point, but as a young SS, some defensive struggles are usually expected.
C/1B/ OF Eric Arce, 5-10″ 205 lbs, from Tampa Bay Florida, selected with the 25th rd pick in 2011
- Past: Arce was hurt a little draft wise due to an arrest in 2010. Before that, he was expected by some to be drafted between the 2nd and 4th rounds of the 2010 draft (he was a catcher at the time but has only played LF for the GCL Jays), and the Jays took a shot on him in the 27th round but didn’t get him signed. He had been a Rawlings 2nd team All-American and a Florida All-Region 1st Team player at the time. You can watch him hit 2 HRs in one game here.
- Stats in the GCL: 105 ABs, .267 AVG, .421 OBP, .638 SLG, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 10 HRs, 1.060 OPS
- Analysis: Power, and tons of it, is what will get Arce moving up the ranks. The Jays got a great power bat when they drafted him and they have to be happy with how he has done so far. His performance over his last 10 shows that he is not only doing well, but is improving as he has managed a .400/.568/.967 line with 5 HRs over that span. He has 9 BB and 10 SO over that span as well, showing just how patient he has been at the plate. To me, he may be one of the steals of the draft for the Jays if he can find a place to play while he climbs the ranks. With below-average speed, Arce fit best behind the plate, but he may ultimately need to find a hole in LF, at 1B, or as a full-time DH. He sure has the power to take on such a role (DH), but obviously the Jays will want him to keep playing the field to maintain some versatility. With an extra base hit every 6 ABs or so in the GCL and leading the GCL Jays bats in most categories, Arce has proven that at 19 years old, he needs to be challenged a little more. Expect him to reach Vancouver, or Bluefield, in the very near future, possibly Lansing if the Jays feel he’s ready for the challenge and will begin the 2012 season there anyhow.
This trio of 2011 draftees currently heating up in the GCL are just a few of the hidden talents that deserve some attention from the extremely deep Jays system. It’s way too early to say whether any of the 3 will make it to Toronto, but I sure like what they’ve shown us so far. Of the 3, I certainly am most intrigued by Eric Arce, and do believe that he has the best legitimate chance to make it past AA as a Jays prospect.
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