It’s that time of year, where the team here at Jays Journal once again discusses the Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects. We’ve compiled our Top 20. Basically, we wanted to create the most all-inclusive Blue Jays prospect ranking out there.
So, we took a mixed approach to our rankings. Not only did we take a ranking from each member of our writing staff, but we also figured in the rankings from other publications as well, including MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball.
We’ve already begun our Top 20 prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays system. #20– A.J. Jimenez, #19– Matthew Dean, #18– John Stilson, #17- Alberto Tirado, #16- Dwight Smith Jr., #15- Anthony Alford, #14- Dawel Lugo, #13– Richard Urena, #12– Matt Smoral
Today we focus our attention on tall Lefty Jairo Labourt who checks in at #11 on our list.
Name: Jairo Snaider Labourt
Date of Birth: 03/07/1994 (20)
Acquired: Signed on March 7 as an international free agent ($350, ooo USD)
Born: Azua, Dominican Republic
Height/Weight: 6’4″/204 lbs
Awards and Accomplishments
- Post-Season All-Star 2013
- Mid-Season All-Star 2014
- Previously ranked 21st by Jays Journal
The big LHP struggled in his first attempt at Low-A Ball with the Lansing Lugnuts, but really impressed as the Vancouver Canadians ‘Ace’, earning a selection to the Mid-Season All-Star game. He was teamed up with Miguel Castro and Chase Mallard to help the C’s get to another Northwest League Final.
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In Vancouver, Jairo was able to get his innings in, which for a 20 year old with visions of becoming a starter is just as important as putting up impressive numbers. Jairo was able to do both. He finished with the most innings on the team with 71IP, he also led the team in strike outs and games started.
Labourt’s didn’t have any drastic splits, 2.20ERA vs LHB and 1.64ERA vs RHB. He did a decent job limiting the damage when runners got on-base with 81.5 LOB%, which is no surprise for a guy that struck out 10.35 batters per 9IP, finishing the year with a 2.22 K/BB ratio and holding opponents to a minuscule .186 batting average. He also generated a very good 3.41 FIP and a solid .275 BABIP, all while pitching against competition that was more than year older.
What really impressed me about Labourt’s numbers in 2014 come from August. It’s not uncommon for 20 year old pitchers to run out of gas at the end of the year, but Labourt got stronger. He finished August with 3 wins and no losses, a 0.65ERA in 27.2IP. He also showed improved control with only 9BB and 33K, good for a 1.084 WHIP.
Throwing from a 3/4 arm slot, Jairo will continue to utilize a quick repeatable delivery to delivery his 95mph fastball, an 85mph slider (with downward break), and a low 80’s changeup to strike batters out in Lansing next year.
The Lugnuts should have a very good starting five, littered with high ceiling arms like Jairo Labourt, Miguel Castro, Chase DeJong, Adonys Cardona, and Starlyn Suriel (with Canadian Tom Robson likely to added when fully healthy). A repeat of last season’s number while in Lansing is unlikely. This fan thinks that he will be fast tracked if he can put up similar number in Lansing to those he put up in Vancouver, with a possible landing destination of New Hampshire.
Don’t expect his strike out numbers to fall, this kid has a power arm and has the composure on the mound to find success at every level. His success will be decided on how well his secondary pitches develop in 2015.
Likely upside is as a 3rd/4th starter or at the very least a power arm out of the pen.
ETA: 2016 as a reliever or 2017 as a starter.