The Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects: 20-16

Welcome back to the top 40 prospects!

You can find the previous parts of this list here, here, here and here.

20. Tyler Gonzales - Tyler is a supplemental 1st round pick from the 2012 draft. He was a bit older than most of the high school class, a not very projectable, so he didn't fit in with the Jays' other picks all that well. Gonzales's slider is supposedly a pitch with a lot of potential, but the lack of a good changeup could hurt him if the Jays are unable to teach him one. Gonzales got into Gulf Coast League games after having been drafted, but initially just could not get batters out. He did pitch 11 1/3 innings in August to a 0.79 ERA, so we can reasonably expect Gonzales to improve on the 8.40 ERA his 2012 season added up to. We'll just have to wait and see, the kid's still a long way from reaching the big leagues, if he ever does.

19. Dalton Pompey - Dalton is one of my favorite sleepers, and if it weren't for my enthusiasm Pompey would not have made last year's list at all. As it is, he made the 2012 list just barely at number 50. Unfortunately Pompey was out of action due to a broken hand for much of the 2012 season, so his numbers (.286/.375/.429 spread out over three levels, just 82 ABs) don't mean much, even if they're positive. Pompey is a speedster, a very successful base stealer and probably at least a decent defensive center fielder. At the plate, he seems to have good plate discipline but not a lot of power yet. I expect Pompey to start the season at Lansing, hopefully a season without injuries will tell us more about his ability to hit.

18. Kevin Pillar - Pillar's a guy who wasn't on anyone's radar when the season began, as a lowly 32nd round pick from the 2011 draft. He did hit .320/.388/.449 in Lansing, which did raise some heads. Before you get excited though, please note that Pillar was much (~ 3 years) older than real prospects are at that level. His 177 PA stint at Dunedin wasn't very impressive, his success in the AFL was mostly BABIP-driven and it's unlikely that Pillar will be able to stick at center field. Raise your hands if the thought of a corner outfielder who doesn't hit for power or draw walks, basically a corner outfield version David Eckstein, excites you. Of course, Pillar's not that far away from the majors, which is usually a plus, but it doesn't matter how far away you are if your contributions are unlikely to be worth much.

17. Andy Burns - Another sleeper, Burns didn't make last year's top 50, but he did make my 'just missed out' list. He was surprisingly good in Lansing, hitting .248/.352/.464 as a 22 year-old. Before he could make the probable move to Dunedin, though, injury ended his season. Burns, an infielder, has defensive value and intriguing power and speed. Like with Pompey, a full season of baseball would tell us more about his abilities as a hitter. Notable minor league analyst John Sickels also has him pegged as a potential sleeper.

16. John Stilson - Stilson, 28th on our list last year, was once seen as a definite 1st round draft pick in a very good draft class. Injury concerns made him drop down draft boards pretty drastically, so the Jays snapped him up in the 3rd round. His 2012 season was one of two halves: one with Dunedin (2.82 ERA) and one with New Hampshire (5.04 ERA). Stilson, whose best pitch is his changeup, was always seen as a likely future reliever, was a starter throughout 2012. If he continues to have problems with higher level hitters, though, I expect him to be moved to the bullpen quite swiftly. Stilson could well provide the Jays with a good option there, so he's not looking like a wasted pick just yet, unlike a lot of other players from the 2011 Blue Jays draft class.

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