Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Not all players in the minors have what it takes to become major league ball players. Not all players in the minors develop at the same rate or start their minor league careers at the same age. In laymen terms, there is no blue print that works for every prospect. Some prospects are blue chips, some prospects are place holders, and some prospects are late bloomers. I consider blue chip prospects are those covered in our organizational Top 30 prospects or those few that make it onto Baseball America’s Top 100 . These are the prospects that fans and scouts are drooling over. We are going to look at the other guys, the underdogs, the long shots.
One of the major issues with the state of Toronto’s minor league system is the lack of high level outfield prospects. Behind Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose the upper levels are pretty barren. Brad Glenn has an outside chance of making his debut in 2014. A guy that has a chance to make some noise in 2014 is Nick Baligod.
Nick Baligod, OF, was taken in the 40th round of the 2011 draft. Baligod signed quickly and was appeared in 70 games with Vancouver in 2011. In my opinion, Baligod, 23, was old for that league and should have produced at higher level. In 2012, Baligod should have started the season in Lansing A-Ball, instead he was sent back to Vancouver where he continued to show little power, little speed, and an advanced eye at the plate. It is this advanced plate vision that saw Baligod finish 2012 with Lansing.
At 25, Baligod played all of 2013 with the Dunedin Blue Jays. The Florida State League’s average age is 23 years old, so Baligod could be considered too old for the level. A lot more was expected from Baligod in 2013 as he made an appearance on the First Annual Pillar Prospect List. In The Second Annual Kevin Pillar Prospect List, Charlie Caskey was nice enough to review his 2013 picks.
"Right: Nick Baligod– solid campaign in Dunedin, albeit with no power, not great for corner outfielder – Loss"
Baligod’s 2013 was considered a loss not just because of his lack of power, but because of his lack of vertical movement up the minor league ladder. Baligod was able to cut his K% down to a very impressive 7.6%. There are very few players which are able to produce more walks than strikeouts. That is exactly what Nick Baligod did in 2013 and it is this ability that will make or break his aspirations of becoming a major league ball player one day.
Baligod does not possess the ability to become a base stealing threat, he hasn’t shown the ability to hit for power or will develop the ability to hit for power, and he doesn’t seem to make enough contact to develop into a .300 plus hitter. So what can we expect from Nick Baligod in 2014?
I would like to see management be very aggressive with him and assign him to man RF or LF in New Hampshire, but Jay Blue from Blue Jays from Away might be more correct. Jay Blue thinks that Baligod will start the year back with Dunedin. A more aggressive assignment would allow management to better assess Baligod and his ability or inability to take the next step. If he starts 2014 with the Fisher Cats, then it could be possible to climb up to Buffalo by the end of the season. This is unlikely and might be wishful thinking, but there aren’t too many guys ahead of him on the depth chart, look at his ability to get on base, and look at what Pillar did in 2013.
At the end of 2014, Baligod will be a 26 year old playing AA ball. I think that he has too hard a climb and will not be able to make it AAA. We may have already seen Baligod’s ceiling and he will continue to provide solid minor league at bats while being a minor league placeholder.
Good luck in 2014 Nick Baligod.