Apr 3, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The roster had a mix of 2015 draft picks and International free-agents, some who we can expect to graduate to the GCL and get their first taste of baseball in America in 2016, some will return for more seasoning. This transition is a challenging one for kids between the ages of 17 and 21.
The team got some solid performances from a couple 17-year-old IFA signings. RHP Guadalupe Chavez, who I mentioned in the GCL wrap up, cut his teeth with the DSL team before heading to the GCL. He was impressive in 10 starts, striking out 45 batters over 42.1IP. He also showed good command with only 14 walks, while posting a 4-1 record and 2.98 ERA.
The other 17 year-old’s to impress were Sterling Guzman, Kevin Vicuna, and Jesus Navarro. There were many a comment/question posted about Guzman; unfortunately, there isn’t much out there. All three were signed in 2014, with Vicuna getting the most ink. Vicuna signed for 350K, was praised for his defense, trained at the Guillen Academy, and was ranked 30th ranked IFA for 2014. Navarro was signed for 200K, described as a grinder, offensive over defense, and more likely to stick at 2nd than at short.
All three talented prospects are listed as short stops, but they lineup up left to right on the infield as such: Guzman, Vicuna, and Navarro. Each showed the ability to work a walk, showed average speed, and versatility.
The DSL Jays got a look at pipeline prospect 24th-ranked RHP Juan Meza, who signed for 1.6M out of Carlos Guilen’s academy. Meza was the 10th ranked IFA in 2014. He’s tall and lanky at 6’2″, 172 lbs. Despite his high ranking, the native of Barinas, Venezuela, struggled with his command and got hit around pretty good. Next year will be fun with 6th ranked Vladimir Guerrero Jr. likely to cut his teeth at this level.
At the plate the DSL Jay’s stats fell mostly in the top half of the league. There wasn’t much power to speak of with the team 2nd last in double and middle of the pack in home runs. They did manage to finish the season in the top 10 in runs (2), hits (3), triples (9), RBI (3), BB (5), K (3), OPS (2) and average (3). They relied heavily on their plate discipline, loading the bases with baserunners and timely hitting to drive in runs.
On the mound, the DSL Jays were pretty well middle of the pack in most categories, except ERA (4), hits allowed (4), WHIP (8), and runs allowed (9). .
Next: 2015 team leaders and statistics