Hugo took at look at the players in the 21-30 spots on our prospect list the other day, so I get to check on the players in the 11-20 spots.
20. Ryan Goins - 22, started the season at Lansing and hit quite well there .308/.380/.417 in 77 games. He moved up to Dunedin and had much rougher time, hitting .205/.251/.259. It's just his second year of pro-ball, he was a 2009 draft choice out of Dallas Baptist U. A shortstop, he might he up moving to second at some point, which, considering the shortstops in front of him on the prospect list, might not be a bad thing. He isn't a base stealer (7 for 15 in steals this year) and looks to have doubles power so he's going to have to hit for a high average to continue to move up. He seems to have a good eye at the plate. Didn't do much to move up the list but likely won't move down much either.
19. Eric Thames - Thames likely did as much as anyone to move up on the list. Hit .288/.370/.526, with 27 home runs and 104 RBI in 130 games at New Hampshire. Our 7th round pick in 2008 will be 24 next month. He is having a good start to his fall league season, hitting .308 in 3 games. We aren't talking about a future Gold Glover, but he should be able to play a decent corner outfield spot. He's had injury troubles in the past but this year he stayed in the lineup. He does strikeout a fair bit. Eric was our Webster Award winner for top Jay Double-A player and made the Eastern League All-Star team. He should start in Vegas next year, and the air there should be really good for his bat. If he can cut don't on the strikeouts a bit, he could make the Jay by the end of the year or in 2012. Though a good spring and a injury or two could speed that up.
18. Brad Emaus - Everybody's favorite, he started the year at New Hampshire, hit .272/.402/.434 there, then got moved up to Vegas hitting .298/.395/.495 with 10 HR and 49 RBI in 87 games. He doesn't strikeout much, takes walks. His bat would play better at second base but he played mostly third this year. There are questions about his range at 2B, but I think he could be ok there. Brad could end up being one of those guys that splits time between 2 or 3 positions, playing where the team needs him each year. He'll be 25 in March. I'd like to see him get a chance with the Jays next year. The Jays don't have many players that are willing to take a walk so he'd be a refreshing change. If we don't see him next year his age and the number of infield prospects we have will make it tough to for him to get a career in Toronto.
17. Gustavo Pierre - Pierre didn't have a great offensive season in Auburn this year, hitting just .236/.283/.344 with 3 HR, 22 RBI in 66 games. He doesn't turn 19 until December, so he was playing against older opponents most of the time. He's too young to worry about his numbers, a raw talent that Jay scouts hope will grow into a player with good power. I'd think the Jays will move him up to Lansing so he can play full season ball, but then he may stay there for a couple of years. He is several years away from the majors.
16. J.P. Arencibia -Yeah, he might move up a few spots on the list. In our defense, when we put him this low on the list we didn't know about the injury and vision problems he he suffered through in 200
8 2009. You all know the numbers, he hit .301/.359/.626 with 32 HR and 85 RBI in 104 games in Vegas. He was the Webster award winner for the 51's. I can't really say anything about him you don't already know. I'd like to see him get the starter job next year. I know a lot was made of Jp's game calling ability, but my understanding is that the pitchers at Vegas liked throwing to him. It does seem like he'd be a John Buck/Rod Barajas type wit the bat. Hopefully with more power than either of them.
15. Robert Ray - You know, by Vegas standards, he didn't have that bad a season there. 6-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 18 starts. He walked too many 45 in 96.1 innings and had real trouble with lefties, who hit .344 against him. Ray missed sometime with injuries. He is going to be 27 in January and we have a bunch of pitching prospects so I can't see him being on our prospect list again. It is possible he could win a job in the bullpen out of spring training, but odds are he will be kept as a Triple-A starter who could come up and make an emergency start or two. He was one of the spare bodies that didn't get much work out of the pen in September.
14. Brian Dopirak - Brian had a terrific 2009 and we (or more likely I) thought he could get a shot at a platoon role, sharing time at first with Lyle Overbay. It didn't happen. Dopirak hit .274/.309/.454 with 11 HR and 53 RBI in 86 Vegas games which really isn't good enough for a 26 year old first baseman/DH in the PCL. He played his last game on July 15, missing the rest year with an injury. He is a free agent now.
13. K.C. Hobson - Our 6th round draft choice in 2009. He started his first professional season in the GCL, hitting .279/.303/.403 with 4 HR in 35 games there. He got jumped over Auburn to Lansing where he hit .261/.286/.391 with 2 HR in 23 games. You can't really read much into 58 games, but that he played in Lansing at
18 19 years old is a good sign. Son of former major leaguer Butch Hobson. Baseball America has him 14th on their Top 20 GCL prospect's list. Jake Marisnick, Kellen Sweeney and Christopher Hawkins are the other GCL Jays on that list. After next year we should have a clearer idea of what we have in him. We've added a lot of good players to our system so he will likely move down a few spots.
12. David Cooper - It was a tale of two seasons for Cooper. The year started off poorly. He hit .250/.323/.310 in April, .192/.261/.404 in May and .211/.250/.453 in June. Then things turned around. .317/.398/.529 in July and .286/.369/.480 in August. His 5 games in September were even better, .389/.450/.500. I guess the question is: is this just a hot steak or did he find the swing? We can hope he's found the key to his swing. He is just 23 and last year was just his 3rd year of pro-ball. I think we can all think of a player who made a small adjustment to his swing and became a much better batter. At the mid point of the season, Hugo wrote that Cooper was having back luck with BABIP and suggested he could have a big second half. Pretty smart guy that Hugo. David should start next season in Triple-A.
11. Moises Sierra - Moises missed most of the season with a stress fracture in his leg and then a broken bone in his hand. He only played 20 games, 10 in the GCL and 10 for Dunedin. He had good GCL numbers, .265/.342/.412, not so good in Dunedin, .162/.175/.270. 20 games doesn't tell us anything really, it was basically a lost year. He turned 22 last month so the lost year isn't the end of the world, but he doesn't help. Hopefully he'll make up for lost time next year. He won't be the top outfielder on our list again next year but it isn't his fault.
The title comes from a song on Robert Plant's new CD, Band of Joy called The Only Sound That Matters. I was never a huge fan of Plant, back in the Zeppelin days. I figured if you put me out in front of a band with Jimmy Page playing lead guitar, I'd do ok too. But I really like Band of Joy, the guy can sing.
Hugo will be back with a look at the top 10 on out list.