Blue Jays positional prospect and MiLB stock watch: Week Three
After a one week hiatus, the MiLB positional prospect stock report is back!
As with the big club, many of the Toronto Blue Jays’ minor league teams aren’t off to the best of starts. The triple-A Bisons currently sit last in their division, the double-A Fisher Cats are second last in their league, and the Dunedin Blue Jays are hovering around .500.
The bright spot on the minor league spectrum thus far has come from the Lansing Lugnuts (11-7), who are only a game and a half out of first place in the division. Still, as I stressed in the last edition of this column, it’s too early to make any major assumptions about any team’s performance.
This rule goes for players too. It’s always nice to open a season on a hot streak. Nobody likes to look up at the scoreboard and see low numbers next to their name. What’s important is sustaining early season success throughout the entire campaign, and not letting a cold start impact their approach at the plate. There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played.
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- Blue Jays 2022 Draft: Who did Toronto Land in Round Two?
A Look Back: In the previous Stock Report I listed top prospect Anthony Alford as a player to watch for the week ahead; unfortunately, he’s still sidelined with a pesky leg injury. Infielder Matt Dominguez received a call up to the Blue Jays last week and should receive sporadic playing time, relieving Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak. He doesn’t figure to make a major impact with the club, but with Chris Colabello out for the next three months this may be his chance to prove that he has what it takes to stick in the majors.
In 359 career games, Dominguez owns a lifetime batting average of just .232. When given a chance to start in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the 26 year old did show signs of upside at the plate, crushing 37 home runs over that span. Any offensive contribution from Dominguez will be welcome from the Jays point of view..
Now, for the Stock Report…
Jesus Montero, First Base – Montero made an appearance in the first version of this column, and has only continued to raise his game since. If Dominguez falters in the MLB, Montero might get a chance to try his hand at first for the Jays. A .325 average is among the highest he’s ever posted at the minor league level, and he leads the Buffalo Bisons in hits. The only worrisome stat is his strikeout total, which now sits at 19. Fortunately, strikeouts have never been a huge problem in the past for Montero, so he should be able to correct this in the near future.
D.J. Davis, Outfielder- Davis was also in the Week 1 edition. He hasn’t yet been able to turn his season around, and has already struck out 24 times in just 70 at bats. Strikeouts have been a problem for Davis in his young career. His transition to a higher level clearly hasn’t gone as well as planned. There is, however, a silver lining to this all: Davis has stolen 7 bases this season; as long as he doesn’t lose his speed, he won’t be in a slump for too long. A few infield singles will go a long way to breaking Davis out of this funk.
Dan Jansen, Catcher – Yes, he’s only hitting .222, but he’s getting on base nearly 40% of the time. As long as Jansen can continue to get on base, he’ll be a valuable part of Dunedin’s lineup.
Jonathan Davis, Outfielder – A relatively unknown name entering the year, it’s impossible not to notice Davis’ start to the season. At the moment, he carries a slashline of .270/.432/.527 to go along with nine stolen bases. Davis leads Dunedin in hits, runs, home runs, runs batted in, and walks as well; if he continues to put up these sort of numbers it won’t be long before others take notice.
Jon Berti, Second Baseman – Berti has proven in the early going that he is a threat to steal every time he reaches base, which is helpful considering his OBP is sky-high at .417. His 21 hits led the Fisher Cats, and he’s one of only five players to register a home run. Thanks to his hot start, Berti got the call up to triple-A.
Next: Full series preview and pitching match-ups vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Dwight Smith Jr., Outfielder – His second straight week labeled as a ‘faller’, Smith’s rocky start hasn’t shown any sign of letting up. He’s struggled to hit the ball with any sort of authority (only two extra base hits), and needs to improve his play here in his second season in double-A.
Shane Opitz, Shortstop- At 24, he should be able to hit double-A pitching. It’s early, but Opitz hasn’t shown any improvement from last season in which he only hit .240.
Junior Lake, Rightfielder- Lake participated in the Blue Jays MLB training camp, but hope of an early season call up has been delayed due to his poor performance in the opening month. He’s already struck out 20 times, and memories of his stellar 2013 appearance in the MLB are slowly fading away.
Player to Watch This Week:
Anthony Alford, Outfielder – For the second week in a row, Anthony Alford takes the title of ‘Player to Watch This Week’ as Blue Jays nation waits in anticipation for his return to action. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reported earlier this week that Alford will be taking part in extended spring training games beginning sometime this week, suggesting that his return will take place sooner rather than later. Alford is a must watch every time he takes the field, and his return to Dunedin will be sure to encourage his teammates.