Toronto Blue Jays 2017 top prospects: #13 OF J.B. Woodman

Oct 4, 2015; 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
Oct 4, 2015; 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 /

J.B. Woodman brings an exciting style of play to the field that includes power, speed and defence

The Toronto Blue Jays selected J.B. Woodman in the 2nd round, 57th overall out of the University of Mississippi in the 2016 amateur draft.  Woodman had been previously selected out of high school in the 40th round by the New York Mets in 2013 but opted to increase his draft stock at Ole Miss.

Woodman finished three seasons with the Rebels compiling a .289 batting average while swatting 24 home runes during his collegiate career. In his final season leading up to the draft, he led the Southeastern Conference with 14 home runs while also chipping in with nine outfield assists.

Name: J.B. Woodman
Position: OF        Age: 22
Height: 6’2”    Age: 195 lbs.
Throws: Right           Bats: Left
Acquired: 2nd round pick (2016)

The 22-year-old outfielder impressed during his first taste of professional baseball last season showing an ability to hit to all fields while mixing in above-average speed to his repertoire. The 6’2″ Woodman began the season with short-season Vancouver hitting .272 with a .796 OPS and 53 hits in 54 games with the Canadians.

Woodman slugged 22 extra base hits, three of which were home runs while swiping 10 bags in 12 attempts. Woodman did fall victim to the strikeout in his debut season whiffing 72 times in 232 plate appearances.

The outfielder also saw action in nine games with single-A (Lansing) before the conclusion of his debut season. Woodman took no prisoners in his brief stint with the Lugnuts, hitting .441 with 15 hits in 39 plate appearances.

In speaking with Woodman yesterday, he explained that he is “the type of hitter who looks to drive the ball all over the field while focusing on hitting the fastball up the middle.” He
acknowledged that he wants to cut down on the strikeouts, as he “needs to get in the zone earlier and stay there longer.”

Last season Woodman struck out at a 32% clip while in contrast he only drew a base on balls at a 11.6% rate. This is one area Woodman will need to improve upon before he reaches the higher ranks and is facing pitchers with nasty secondary stuff in their arsenal.

Woodman shows his opposite field power versus Hillsboro:

Woodman was utilized predominately as a centrefielder last season seeing action in centre in 42 games while spending 15 games in right field.

“The Jays haven’t told me where they want me to play,” Woodman said. “I pride myself on being able to play any of the 3 outfield positions so it’s just wherever they need me.”

The Blue Jays have yet to inform Woodman where he will be assigned to begin the 2017 season but he has his sights set on one place in particular. “I don’t know where I will start the season; the goal for me is to start in Dunedin at the high-A level.”

In watching clips of Woodman, his swing trajectory and ability to go the other way reminds me of former Blue Jays first-baseman Lyle Overbay. Woodman however is blessed with more speed than that of the slow-footed Overbay. Woodman doesn’t mold or emulate his game around anyone specific, “I don’t know if my game resembles anyone, I just try to be the best me possible.”

Next: Looking at the remaining Blue Jays bullpen options

Woodman is an intriguing prospect who has the tools to dominate on both sides of the field. The native of Orlando, Florida realizes that consistency is key to his success on the field. “My strengths are that I can do most things on the baseball field, to get to the next level I need to just be more consistent in everything.”

Look for Woodman to climb the prospect rankings in the coming year and don’t be surprised if you see him make the jump to double-A (New Hampshire) before the season concludes.

Top-30 Blue Jays prospect rankings:
#30: RHP Jordan Romano     #29: RHP Yennsy Diaz     #28: CF Reggie Pruitt
#27: 1B Ryan McBroom     #26: CF Roemon Fields     #25: 2B Cavan Biggio
#24: RHP Jose Espada     #23: RHP Patrick Murphy     #22: C Danny Jansen
#21: OF Dwight Smith Jr.     #20: RHP Zach Jackson     #19: RHP Francisco Rios
#18: OF Harold Ramirez     #17: C Max Pentecost     #16: Ryan Borucki
#15: OF Joshua Palacios    #14 C Reese McGuire