Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
With almost a week of spring training under our belt and some of my colleagues already starting to experience sleepless night over the state of the Blue Jays starting rotation, I thought now would be a good time to look at Steve Tolleson. Is he a Place Holder or Late Bloomer?
Orginally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 5th round of the 2005 draft. Tolleson made his major league debut with the Oakland A’s on April 28, 2010. Steven Tolleson played his college ball with South Carolina. He was never regarded as highly as other South Carolina Alumni, such as, Adam Everett, Brian Roberts, and Drew Meyer. Tolleson, son of Wayne Tolleson former major league infielder, did possess his dad’s defensive abilities; however, if he had any chance of making to the majors he would do with on the strength of his bat. As a prospect, Tolleson showed good plate discipline, decent bat, and fundamentally sound baseball…..yup that sounds like a Minnesota Twins prospect to me.
Tolleson has appeared in 54 major league games with the Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles amassing over 100 at-bats and a triple slash line of .225/.273/.350. Last season he appeared in 116 games with Chicago White Sox’s AAA team and put up decent numbers. On December 17, 2013, Michael Wray broke the news, for Jays Journal that Steve Tolleson signed on with the Blue Jays. Micheal Wray hit the nail on the head when he stated,” It’s probably not the move that Blue Jays fans were hoping for but anytime you can stash a player with MLB experience in your Triple-A system it’s not a bad thing.”
What can we expect for Steve Tolleson in 2014?
Jay Blue wrote on Blue Jays from Away,
"“Tolleson is more of a super-utility type of player (in the mold of Mike McCoy) who can play shortstop and has done it for extended periods of time but probably isn’t the guy you want manning that position daily at the major league level.”"
I can’t really think of any argument that I would win against that statement; Jay Blue hit the nail on the head with that one….again.
Best case scenario for Steve Tolleson is for him to start the year in Buffalo, play his rear end off and be ready if the need arises in Toronto. With any luck, in 2014, he will replicate some semblance of his career minor league numbers (.283/.372/.409) as a super utility player with Toronto….but that is unlikely. A more realistic prediction would be for Tolleson to be 2014’s version of Jim Negrych. So Jays fans in a few weeks please don’t be calling for Ryan Goins head if Steve Tolleson is hitting .300ish and Goins is only hitting .220 as we near the end of Spring Training. At the end of the day Steve Tolleson’s role in 2014 will be a place holder and not a late bloomer.
Good Luck in 2014, Steve Tolleson