Blue Jays top-30 prospects #10: Clinton Hollon


The Blue Jays top-30 prospect list enters the top-10 with Clinton Hollon, a high-ceiling righty looking to bounce back from both Tommy John and a suspension

Hon. Mentions Part 1    Hon. Mentions Part 2    #30: Freddy Rodriguez
#29: Evan Smith    #28: Deiferson Barreto    #27: Chad Girodo
#26: Roemon Fields    #25:  Rodrigo Orozco    #24:  Reggie Pruitt
#23: Joe Biagini    #22:  Carl Wise    #21: Tom Robson
#20: Matt Dean    #19: Andy Burns    #18: Guadalupe Chavez   #17: Ryan Borucki
#16: Jose Espada    #15: Dan Jansen    #14: Dwight Smith Jr.    #13: D.J. Davis
#12: Mitch Nay    #11: Angel Perdomo

After nearly three weeks of counting down the top young talents in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, it’s top-10 time.

Once 2013 first-round pick Phil Bickford went unsigned, right-handed pitcher Clinton Hollon became the Jays top choice in that class at number 47 overall. It’s been a difficult road through the past three seasons for the 21-year-old, but his his high ceiling and mound projectability give the Blue Jays one of their more tantalizing arms remaining.

Name: Clinton Hollon
Position: SP         Age: 21
Height: 6’1”    Age: 195 lbs.
Throws: Right            Bats: Right
Acquired: 2013 Draft, 2nd round (47)

Hollon will be facing a delayed start to his 2016 season while he serves the remainder of a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine in violation of the minor league drug program late last season.

Once that hurdle has been cleared, Hollon is still “returning” from a Tommy John surgery that wiped out his entire 2014 season. That elbow had been flagged leading into the draft, so while the surgery was not a shock, it’s set his development back as Hollon has pitched just 76.0 pro innings as a pro thus far.

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He did bounce back well in 2015, however, splitting his season between the Vancouver Canadians and Lansing Lugnuts. Between the two levels, Hollon threw 58.2 innings with a 3.84 ERA and 6.9 K/9. Not dominant, but for an arm coming off that procedure, those results are very comforting.

“Finding success with a four-pitch mix, Hollon uses a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup in his repertoire. But despite his excellent command, the organization played it safe with the righty as they had him on a 75- to 80-pitch limit all season,” wrote Brian Crawford of Baseball Essential back in August.

That fastball will be Hollon’s go-to pitch as he continues to climb the ladder, and his most recent scouting report tells us that he’s begun to jump up from the 92-93 MPH range to touch the mid-90s. Given the natural sinking action that his fastball possesses, this could result in an above-average rate of weak contact and ground-ball outs in the future.

Working hand-in-hand with that fastball, Hollon will also need to fine-tune his off-speed offerings to round out his arsenal as a starter. The finer aspects of pitch control are often slower to return to 100% following the Tommy John surgery, so expect to see him improve in that area as 2016 moves along.

If Hollon can establish himself over a full season in 2016, he could easily climb into the top six or eight prospects on this list and position himself to be steps away in 2017.