Toronto Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette has had Jays fans frothing at the mouth all season long with his offensive accomplishments and star potential, however, there is actually another prospect on the farm who is having a similar season albeit in a smaller sample size.
Meet the Bluefield Blue Jays recently drafted first-baseman Ryan Noda who has made a name for himself in his first 23 games of professional baseball. the 21-year old Noda was selected by the Jays in the 15th round, 459th overall in the 2017 amateur draft.
Noda quickly signed for $125,000 and was assigned to the Blue Jays rookie level affiliate in Bluefield. In his first 23 games, Noda is slashing .463/.551/.756 with 4 round trippers. The 6’3″ slugger has tallied 38 hits, 14 of which have been for extra bases in his first 82 at bats. He leads the Bluefield team in pretty much every single offensive category to date.
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Noda was drafted out of the University of Cincinnati and in his three collegiate seasons with the Bearcats slashed .239/.370/.430 with 22 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 167 games. In 2017, Noda smashed a career high 9 home runs and defensively only made 1 error while recording 436 putouts and 21 assists in 55 games played.
Noda has light-tower power as he is one of only two players to hit a home run to the roof of the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati. The only other player to accomplish the feat was coincidentally also a former Blue Jays draft pick in Lance Durham.
The southpaw is hitting righties in Bluefield to the tune of a .485 clip while still fairing surprisingly well versus lefties at .375. He is also hitting a clutch .625 in late/close ball games and .412 with runners in scoring position thus far on the farm. Obviously, it is a small sample size but impressive nonetheless.
The Bearcats baseball program has churned out a few formidable major league talents of late in the likes of Ian Happ (2015), Josh Harrison (2008) and Kevin Youkilis (2001) to go along with Noda. We will see if Noda can continue his torrid pace in his first taste of professional baseball as the summer progresses.
Even if Noda does not sustain his current offensive pace, you never get a second chance to make a first impression and the rookie definitely made a good one on the Blue Jays. Stay tuned, the future looks bright.