The Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects: 30-26

Today, we reveal the next set of five prospects on our annual Bluebird Banter top prospect list.

If you missed the last part click here to see Tom's descriptions of our numbers 35 through 31.

30. Chad Jenkins - Although he wasn't quite the first round talent we were hoping he would be, Chad Jenkins did at least reach the Major Leagues. Before his callup, Chad was having a poor second season with Double-A New Hampshire, not unlike that other former first round pick, Deck McGuire. In 2011, Chad's ERA with New Hampshire was 4.13, with a 3.63 FIP. In 2012 those numbers were 4.96 and 5.08, respectively. Unimpressed as the Jays must have been, the ten thousand gazillion injuries (this is an approximation) to the Jays pitching staff meant Jenkins could come up. He wasn't awful, surprisingly, as he pitched to a 4.50 ERA (4.83 xFIP) in 32 innings. That's a small sample, and still an unimpressive number, so I think we should all hope that Jenkins' services won't be needed by the big club in 2013. Unless you'd like him to eat innings like a right-handed version of former "fan favorite" Brian Tallet. Omnomnomnomnom, I believe is the technical term we use in these situations.

29. Jairo Labourt - Labourt was new to North America this year, and performed admirably. He had little trouble getting Ks, but did have trouble limiting the free passes. Labourt's a left-handed pitcher, young (he recently turned 19) and with supposedly good stuff, so he'll be an interesting follow. He was #47 on the list last year, but Jairo's 3.79 ERA in Rookie ball has made us cautiously optimistic. That, and many others have been traded, or have simply disappointed. Labourt got better as his (very short) season progressed, so hopefully that's a sign of things to come. I feel like this is the point where I make a very bad joke about not having to 'labour' through starts, but obviously I'm much too serious a writer to include such nonsense in my articles.

28. Anthony Alford - Nobody will deny that Alford has a lot of potential, but his commitment to playing football will likely get in the way of fulfilling said potential. What might help is that Alford will have to sit out the 2013 college football season after his transfer to Ole Miss. Alford had been arrested in an incident supposedly involving a gun (not his) at the end of last november and subsequently suspended and released by Southern Miss. This came a month after Alford's mother had to be escorted out of the stadium, so Alford's probably happy to get a fresh start with a new school. Or, he could spend all of his time playing baseball, because he might be pretty good at it. I mean, he hit a homer in his 20 plate appearances, which we can safely extrapolate to ~30 homers a season, because that's how statistics work. Seriously though, getting good results in the coming season might be key to convincing Alford to focus on baseball, not football.

27. Dwight Smith, Jr - Like fellow 2011 draftees Jacob Anderson and Matt Dean, Dwight Smith was disappointing in 2012. Unlike those two, however, his problem wasn't striking out. Smith actually had pretty decent BB/K rates, but his batted balls didn't go for hits, and when they did they rarely went for extra bases. Smith, then, has a lot of work to do to become a good hitter. Which he needs to be, because he's a corner outfielder with little defensive value. Smith hit 4 homers in 244 plate appearances, which is unimpressive but not downright awful. However, his .226/.289/.340 line in Bluefield is not the stuff of dreams, and his line in Vancouver was worse. I will not post it, as children could be reading this. As we all know, kids can have problems correcting statlines for BABIP, so Smith's line could look extra scary to them. So um, yeah, let's hope Smith's 2013 is significantly better.

26. Jeremy Gabryszwski - Officially nicknamed 'King Scrabble the Third' by yours truly, Jeremy definitely has a more interesting surname than Anderson, Dean and Smith, which is why he ranks higher than his fellow Bluefielders. I'm kidding, of course, his 2.35 ERA played a role too. How Jeremy got to that ERA is interesting and somewhat worrying at the same time, though, as he struck out only 12.3% of the batters he faced, or 22 in 46 innings. If you know me, you'll know I'll take the guy with higher ERA and the healthy (20%+) K-rate over the guy with the lower ERA but Gabryszwskian strikeout-rate. Not all is doom and gloom for the 'Last of the Scrabbles' though, as his control was insanely good, and his groundball rate decent. Will he develop strikeout stuff in the coming years? It's not impossible, so we have hopes for the guy.

Next time, Tom will take a look at numbers 25 through 21 on our list. Until then, may your strikeout rates be more Rzepczynskian than they are Gabryszwskian! Unless you're a hitter of course, then it's reversed.

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