Happy weekend, hope you all are relaxing and enjoying. Me, I spend the time before the football games writing. But then looking at our prospects is always a lot of fun and a great place to start arguments. Of course the difference between being in the 21-30 slots and being in the Just Missed Out group is pretty small.
The nice part about this year is I have more confidence in the 21-30 group than I did in last year's. I think our system is deeper than it was a year ago.
30. Scott Campbell, 2B - He was number 7 on the prospects list last year. Left-handed hitter was drafted in the 10th round of the 2006, out of Gonzaga University and made pretty good progress through our system, but started slow with the bat this year then got injured when he started to hit. Played 52 games at third, only 11 at second this year, which makes little sense because he doesn't have the power for 3B, but then he is blocked by Aaron Hill at second. A high OBP guy, .389 in his 4 years in the minors. Played in 3 levels this year (mostly AA) and hit .272/.368/.356. I still like him a lot but he's 24 now and the Jays signed Mike McCoy and Jarrett Hoffpauir, which doesn't seem to be a statement of faith in Campbell. If he doesn't become the first New Zealander to make the majors this year, I'm not sure he has a chance to make it with the Jays. On his Wikipedia page it says ‘has been compared to Chase Utley' by JP. Now that's a stretch.
29. Daniel Farquhar, RP - A right-hander, picked in the 10th round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Louisiana. Daniel started the year in Dunedin, pitched 17 innings and had a 0.53 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 7 saves. Then was moved up to New Hampshire and pitched 45.2 innings with a 2.36 ERA, 15 saves and 51 strikeouts, holding batters to a .193 average. He walked too many 5.9/9 between the two stops but struck out 10.6/9 and only gave up 1 homer. He's just 22 (23 in Feb) so he has time to cut down on those walks, he hasn't walked as many in the past. Not a big guy at 5'10" and 170. Throws sidearm mostly but will go three-quarter and over the top and gets lots of ground balls. I hope he starts the season at Triple-A, from there you never know with the number of players that move up and down from our bullpen.
28. Michael McDade, 1B - McDade was a 6th round pick in 2007 out of high school from Las Vegas. A big guy, 6'1" listed at 270, he found the power stroke this year at Lansing hitting 16 homers in 108 games, one less homer than Travis Snider hit at the same stop, though Snider was a year younger. A switch-hitter, he hit much better from the left-side (.293/.355/.498) than the right (.234/.283/.378). He's just 20 so he has time to develop; with his size it's the power that is going to carry him.
27. John Tolisano, 2B - John had a poor year at Dunedin and has dropped from the 10 spot on last year's list. He actually was doing pretty decent then hit just .179 in August and .125 in September, I wonder if there was an injury in there somewhere. A switch-hitter, he hit much better against right-handers (.250/.313/.418) than lefties (.165/.277/.235). Just turned 21 in October so he has time to right the ship, but would like to see it soon. A second round pick in 2007 he has a bit of speed, a decent eye, some power and a good glove. The good news about his season was he cut his strikeout rate some, while hitting more homers and he had some bad luck on BABIP. I expect a better year this year.
26. Darin Mastroianni, CF - Darin had a really good year, starting at Dunedin he hit .325/.426/.390 and then moved up to New Hampshire hitting .271/.372/.340 with 70 steals between the two stops. A right-handed bat, he was picked in the 16th round of the 2007 draft out of the University of Southern Indiana. He turned 24 last August so the time is now to make a move but with his speed and a good eye at the plate he could be a good leadoff hitter for the Jays. His defence is reported to be good and he must have a good arm, he had 10 assists in 70 games in New Hampshire, though apparently 4 were in one game, which must be some kind of record. If not for assists, then for base running stupidity.
25. Andrew Liebel, SP - He was 29 on our list last year so has moved up 4 spots, but then down at the bottom of list there isn't that much difference between the rankings. Started the year in Dunedin and didn't have a great won/loss record (5-13) but a good ERA 3.63 and a strikeout (118) to walk (42) rate and gave up less than a hit an inning. He made a couple of good starts for New Hampshire at the end of the year (1-0, 2.08 in 13 innings). A right hander who turns 24 in March, he does have to continue to pitch well but since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft he hasn't had an ERA over 3.68 in any of his minor league stops. His problem is he doesn't have great ‘stuff' and, of course, we have like 20 good looking young starters at the moment. But don't count him out.
24. Justin Jackson, SS - Dropped way back from being number 5 on our list last year, it seems like we've been talking about the guy forever but he just turned 21 in December. Grouped with our trio of 20 year olds that had a poor season in Dunedin (deservedly .213/.321/.269), his season ended in July with a shoulder injury. Still has time to be the player we hoped he be when he was picked in the 1st round of the 2007 draft, has all the tools but would be nice if he showed them too us. Has good range in the field and a good arm, did make a few too many error (18) but that's part of the learning process. He seems to have a bit of a long swing, strikes out too much. At 21 it's too early to write him off but a good season would help a lot, but then even if his bat doesn't progress as hoped, he might have a career because of the glove. Still two years away and I'm thinking Pastornicky has passed him by as shortstop of the future.
23. Josh Roenicke, RP - We had a bit of a debate on whether Josh is still a prospect or if we should consider him ‘graduated'. He pitched in 13 games for us, not very effectively but throws hard (mid to high 90's) and struck out 10.9/9 in the minors over his career. He is 27 now so it is time for him to show what he can do. A potential closer, we can hope. You can read more about him in Hugo's post from when he came to the team.
22. Ryan Schimpf, 2B - Our 5th round pick this past draft out of LSU, he'll be 22 in March. Had a very impressive short stint in Auburn for his first taste of pro ball, hitting .287/.369/.426. He has a little speed, a little power and a good glove. Early to guess what he might do but seems to have the tools. Likely will start at Lansing this year and, I'd imagine, will be moved up quickly if he shows well. Left-handed bat, John Sickels said ‘at best a cross between Dustin Pedroia and Frank Catalanotto. At worst a Tony Graffanino style utility player.' I'd have to guess that worst is really not that good but there is a lot of room in there for him to be a very useful player.
21. Tim Collins, RP - Tim Bits, we've dropped him back 5 spots from his 16 place in last year's list, through no fault of his. Started the year in Dunedin and moved up to New Hampshire and had a 2.91 ERA with 116 K's in 77.1 innings with only 1 homer allowed. A small (5'7") lefty, you'd have to think that. at worst, he could be a LOOGY, but considering he is just 20 now and has made Double-A, he could be more than that. He has a low 90's fastball, a good curve and is working on a change. He does walk a few too many but he's just turned 20, find another 20 year old reliever that strikes out 12+/9 that doesn't walk a few. Would be nice to see him make Vegas at some point this year and then you never know, could be a September call up.
Hugo will be back with the 11-20 in the next little while.