Blue Jays: 10 Minor League Contract Targets

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Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Domonic Brown, LF/CF/RF, LHB, 28 yrs old

  • Last played for (MLB): PHI in 2015
  • 2015 Stats (MLB): 189 AB / 43 H / 12 XBH / 25 RBI / 19 SB / .228 / .284 / .349

Because he will be seen as the perfect reclamation project, he will have no shortage of suitors this offseason. Just about every team wants and needs OF depth and there’s a very good chance that Brown will have to earn his playing time once he does latch on somewhere.

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It’s hard to peg down what happened to Brown as he went from a sure-fire prospect to a player that had no value whatsoever on the trade market. It was only in 2013 that he hit 27 HRs, drove in 83 runs, and managed a decent .272/.324/.494 line and 2.5 WAR. From then on, it was all downhill for the youngster.

However, I attribute the slide to the pressure he was under as they wanted him to become a middle-of-the-order bat. Meanwhile, Ryan Howard led MLB with 190 strike outs, and it only added to the pressure he faced. They revamped some of the things he did at the plate, and it didn’t work out. While the changes he made in 2013 worked to his advantage, he seemed completely lost in 2014 and 2015 and may have “thought” about hitting too much instead of getting back to basics.

If I’m the Blue Jays, I take a big shot on Brown. First and foremost, he has the talent. That’s a guarantee. Next, I believe that the influence of big hitters on the team and the approach they have at the plate could do wonders for him. With the vast majority of his HR coming against RHP (46 of 54), he could be used in a platoon role to rebuild his confidence, even if I do believe he could eventually regain his confidence vs both LHP and RHP.

Finally, the Jays need a LHB in the lineup or on the bench. If Michael Saunders can make that happen for 2016, Brown would be nice insurance and the competition between the two could get the best out of each of them. Meanwhile, Brown could be attracted to the possibility of hitting in a very powerful Jays lineup, where he would have less pressure and would likely see more fastballs.

Travis Snider, LF, LHB, 27 yrs old

  • Last played for (MLB): BAL and PIT in 2015
  • 2015 Stats (MLB): 237 AB / 55 H / 18 XBH / 28 RBI / 1 SB / .232 / .313 / .350

It’s time to bring the kid home and see if he can be the power LHB off the bench the Jays can call on to change the course of a game. If they Jays can’t get Brown to come to Buffalo – or Toronto’s bench – they should target Travis Snider next. His power potential, if he ever figures it out, is very high and he could very well blossom into a power hitting machine before he hits 30. I know it’s unlikely, but I love to dream about it happening.

As recently as 2014 Snider provided the Bucs with a 2.1 WAR performance while playing 140 games for them. He had a decent 29 extra base hits in 322 AB and had a pretty even split of RF and LF use. Still, he has decent stats playing at Rogers Centre (.266/.324/.466 with 48 XBH in 480 AB) and may be able to improve on those now that he’s a more matured hitter.

I’m not sure how Lunchbox feels about returning to Toronto, but I’d be a huge fan of it. Just imagine him walking up to the plate off the bench in a playoff series at Rogers Centre…..

Next: Blue Jays Free Agent Target: Jordan Zimmermann

In 2015, the Blue Jays had veteran players like Luke Scott, Alex Hassan, Chris Dickerson, and Caleb Gindl in AAA, ready to fill in should they be required. As it was, the Jays were remarkably healthy overall, so they didn’t get the call and wound up spending the entire season in the minors. However, the Jays need to play it smart each year and do the same in order to protect against an unlucky rash of injuries.

Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins are two prime examples of guys who were depth pieces within AAA in 2014 and got their chance to prove they belonged once they got the call. On the pitching side, guys like Rob Rasmussen, Liam Hendriks, and Todd Redmond have played the same role, earning innings by doing the work in AAA.

If the Jays are going to have insurance for their roster in 2016, I’d like them to take a long look at some or all of the guys listed above. They each have skills that can provide them with the insurance they need at various positions.

We’ll see if any of these wind up being a fit. Do you have any ideas or favourites? Let us know in the comments!