In the continuing search for a second baseman, I have turned my attention to Minor League Free Agents that I think Alex Anthopoulos should target. Earlier this week I suggested and polled Tommy Field and Tyler Henson as possible candidates to man this troublesome position in 2015.
Tommy Field received 137 ‘Yes’ votes out of 231 total votes, good for 59%. That’s not bad, but I was hoping for a more unanimous decision.
Tyler Henson received only 19 ‘Yes’ votes out of 94, 32 ‘No’ votes, and 43 ‘Not bad Mueller, but keep looking’ votes. It was obvious from a comment left by a frequent visitor at Jays Journal, Andrew van Laar, that Henson was not one of my better choices.
"I think I would pass on Henson though. His horrible strikeout numbers and atrocious defense in the infield really turn me off of him. I think he would be a light hitting bat in the majors (in terms of number production, not power) and his defense is not good enough to warrant having a player like that on the team."
To hammer it down even further, I had twitter message (I never get twitter messages) to re-emphasised Andrew’s feelings towards Henson:
So lets move on from these two and onto Angelys Nina.
Angelys Nina is the youngest of the three Minor League Free Agent second baseman that I think Alex and Co. should target this off season. He is the prototypical, does everything well but nothing great, prospect which often get over looked.
Nina played for Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2014, where he appeared in 107 games. He has appeared in a 100+ games every year since Rookie-ball so durability doesn’t seem to be an issue. He has spent full seasons at every level, finally reaching Triple-A last year. The natural step would be for him to challenge for a major league spot in 2015.
Angelys struggled in April (.233) and May (.196) but things started to click. He hit .260 in June, .267 in July, and .367 in August. This could be attributed to the learning curve that most prospect go through when experiencing a higher level for the first time. He doesn’t possess a lot of power, but there is some pop in that bat. Nina had a ISO of .115 last year with 21 extra base hits and 7 long balls.
His approach at the plate is falls somewhere between Field and Henson with a wOBA of .319, 5.5 BB%, and 15.2 K%. He generated a slightly below average OPS of .715, but a decent BABIP of .317. His splits suggest that he could play everyday, as he hit LHP (.280) and RHP (.279) the same. Not bad for someone that would bat at the bottom third of the line up; although, he consistently batted in the fifth and sixth spot with the Sky Sox. He did show a preference to batting in the fourth, .364 with 4HR in 11GP, compared to fifth, .315 with one HR.
Nina is a ground ball hitter, who likes hit to the short stop side of the diamond. He hit it the short stop 84 times in 2014 compared to only 36 times to the second baseman. With splits like that I expected to see more than 6 GDP. His biggest drawback for me is his running game drying up in 2014. He stole 19 bases in 2013, but went 6-for-13 in 2014….just blip I hope.
Nina seems to enjoy batting with runners on base. He hit over .400 with the base loaded, with runners on 1st and 2nd, and runners on 1st and 3rd. He only hit .253 with no one on base, but with runners in scoring position he hit .324. Maybe there is a run producer hiding in that bat and we all know that the Blue Jays have had their struggles driving runner without the use of the long ball.
In the field, Nina has appeared in 565 games at second base throughout his minor league career. In 2014, Nina posted a .971 fielding percent and a solid 5.30 RF/G in 87 games at second base. He turned 71 double plays and committed 14 errors. That is a little bit high for the errors but many factors can contribute to those totals, field conditions, first baseman, or short stop…or he just throws like Chuck Knoblauch.
Disclaimer time: I don’t claim to think that Tyler Henson will do an about face and turn into Robinson Cano or even Ryan Roberts for that matter, but if we could get a Joe Inglett year or two out him that would be good enough for me.