Mar 28, 2013; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Devon Travis (3) leaps for a ground ball during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium. Houston defeated Detroit 11-4. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports
6. Devon Travis – 2B
Trading for Travis is one of the better trades the Jays have made in a while. Batting near .300 at the AA level Travis has proven that he has the talent to be an everyday major league player. Along with batting .298 he was able launch 10 HR’s and swipe 16 bases. If his defense continues to improve I would not be surprised if he is the talk of camp this spring. Could we have finally found a second basemen? My guess is that his season will begin in Buffalo.
7. Roberto Osuna – RHP
This 6’2″ righty has been on this list year after year it seems but the kid is still only 20. He signed out of Mexico in 2010 and is known for having an electric arm. After having Tommy John surgery the prior season he was only able to make 22 innings for the Dunedin Jays this past season. He did play in the Arizona Fall League and showed that he is fully recovered from the Tommy John. With a plus fastball that can reach the mid to high 90’s he has the tools to develop into something special. Hopefully he will continue to improve his secondary pitches and we will see him in Toronto in a couple years. I have a feeling he may eventually be converted to a reliever at some point. Seems like a guy that would come out of the pen and throw smoke to me.
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8. Miguel Castro – RHP
Mr. Castro is a young athletic hurler who could possibly pay off big. Looking at his numbers from short season and High-A ball I was sticker shocked. He was able to hold batters to a .202 batting average with a 2.15 ERA. Let that settle in for a second and then I mention he had 53 strikeouts in 50.1 innings. There is the jaw dropper I had mentioned. Castro is a highly athletic and could be one of the bigger breakout candidates on this list.
9. Sean Reid-Foley – RHP
Here we have another 2014 draft pick making the list. Sean projects to be a mid of the rotation arm at the major league level. He has a great arsenal of pitches starting with a plus slider and a good curve. After watching some footage of his performance in the rookie league I was surprised to see great command at his age. He must have been a Roy Halladay fan growing up. I could not believe how similar his mechanics are. The arm angle even looks astonishingly close. His surprising amount of maturity in his approach to pitching could have him in the majors sooner rather than later. Could he take a path similar to Daniel Norris and jump multiple levels in a season? My guess is that they will play it safe with him this coming year and then let the handcuffs off next year.
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10. Mitch Nay – 3B
This player has the makings of a special hitter. His quick delivery to the ball allows him to hit hard line drives at an impressive cliff. Raw power is the calling card for this young man. He looks to become a great run producer from the hot corner. He has already led the Appalachian league in RBI’s once. I do not see Nay becoming a major home run hitter but I do see him being in the Paul Molitor style of hitter. His condensed swing will draw comparisons to such line drive hitters. Expect him to have an abundance of doubles and RBI’s throughout his career. His defense at 3rd base may eventually be brought into question but I think this will be more dependent on his work ethic. If his defense suffers he could move across the diamond very similar to how Edwin Encarnacion did.
11. Jairo Labourt – LHP
Jario is a smooth throwing lefty. His mechanics appear effortless as the ball explodes from his hand into the mid 90’s. Once he is able to repeat his motion regularly I would guess the control will come around. From reading multiple reports on him control seems to be the one issue. My guess is the training staff will be attempting to create some muscle memory for his delivery to ease the control issues. Once that clicks for this tall lefty everything else should fall into place. He should be a dynamic arm in the middle of the rotation but if I had to guess he would fit better in the bullpen. Assuming the control issues linger his plus fastball would play well out of the pen.
Things are looking up for the Jays minor league system. After trading much of our talent the past years it is nice to see such a resurgence of talent. There are many athletes in our system that I feel could have made an argument for the bottom of this top 11 list. For example Richard Urena is a young shortstop that made trading Franklin Barreto an option. There are also players returning to form like A.J. Jimenez that could improve quickly. Plus many more talented players round out our system nicely. I am sure I will get to writing about the majority of them in the future. It should be fun to watch these guys mature the next few years and see them in Toronto. It is nice to have a rich talent pool in the minors again.
research from MLBpipeline.com