Enjoy Minor Leaguers graphic.
Continuing our annual look at the top Blue Jay prospects.
This is the first time in my little history on the site that we are doing a shorter prospect list than the year before. With us trading away a number of out best prospects and with Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Drew Hutchison 'graduating' from the world of prospects (though I tend to still think of them as prospects, but we'll play by the rules we are given) our list of prospects isn't near as impressive as last year.
Woodman took a look at the 36-40 spots on our list here.
35. Deck McGuire - Deck had an awful time of it in his first full season at Double-A, with a 5.88 ERA, 5-15 record, 62 walks and 97 strikeouts in 144 innings. This is one of the few guys that Woodman and differed on. He's hoping that last year was just a bad year, which is entirely possible. I'm thinking that he may have missed his moment. If he had been even half decent 2011, we'd have seen him in Toronto. Going into last season he was likely number 8 or 9 on the depth chart for starting pitchers. This year, he won't be on it at all. He better have a good year, there are a lot of great arms behind him in the system, he could get buried in a hurry.
Last year Deck was number 8 on our list. What went wrong? Too many hard hit fly balls for one thing. He gave up 22 home runs in 144 innings, where the year before he only allowed 13 in 125 innings. In 2010 he had 124 strikeout, almost 1 an inning, last year 97 k, 6 per 9 innings.
I don't think anyone figured him to be star but, when he was drafted in the first round in 2010, the hope was that he would get to the majors in hurry, eat innings, fit nicely in the middle of a rotation. It doesn't seem to be happening.
34. Matt Dean - Another guy that has dropped on our list, he was number 17 last year, after being drafted in the 13th round of of the 2010 draft. He would have gone much higher, but he was committed to going to the University of Texas. $750,000 convinced him to uncommit. He's a big guy, and he was supposed to have power.
Well, he didn't show it in his first professional season. He hit just .222/.282/.353 with 2 home runs in 49 games, in Bluefield. He was also supposed to be a good defensive third baseman, but he made 24 errors in those 49 games. He's just turned 20 and we shouldn't read all that much into his first 167 professional at bats, but those 167 at bats included 60 strikeouts.
He's young, but he has a lot of work to do.
33. Tom Robson - Our 4th round pick in the 2011 draft, we had him 31st on the list last year. The 6'4" right-hander from BC didn't give us enough data to help us place him on this year's list. He made 3 starts, with 4.09 ERA, 7 strikeouts, 0 walks, before hitting the DL with an elbow injury. He didn't have surgery but spent the rest of the season rehabbing.
32. Taylor Cole - Our 29 round pick in 2011 out of Brigham Young had a great season in Vancouver, going 6-0, with a 0.81 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts, 57 strikeouts, 17 walks, 0 home runs allowed. He was a little old for the level, he is 23 now, but then he missed 2 years of pitching doing a Mormon mission, so he gets a bit of a pass on the age thing. He throws a 90 MPH fastball, with some sink on it, a slider and a changeup. I wouldn't expect much more than a spot in the Jays bullpen, but a ERA below 1 catches your attention.
31. Richard Urena - Urena was rated the 13th best international prospect this past year. He's just 16, he might take Adeiny Hechavarria's spot as a great glove/lets hope he hits, shortstop prospect. He's a left-handed batter, 6' from the Dominican republic. Here is some from a scouting report from Dominican Prospect League:
He's a 6.8 runner, and while he may not be a big base stealer at the upper levels, his speed will turn plenty of singles into doubles and doubles into triples. Urena is the most patient hitter of the DPL hitters and has the best bat control. Most of his hard contact comes up the middle and to the left side, but it wasn't soft contact, as he drove one ball over the left fielder's head against a very good Yankees minor league pitcher and consistently drove the ball to the left centerfield gap. He had another at-bat against a Red Sox minor leaguer where he fouled off four straight 2-2 pitches, then took two additional pitches just off the plate to draw the walk.
At shortstop, Urena doesn't lack for either flash or tools. He throws from a quick side arm release but consistently registered 85-88 mph on the gun without really letting the ball go. He showed outstanding range up the middle on a couple of plays. If there is any fault to his defensive game it's that he'll get a bit casual and flashy on routine plays and his hands will swipe at the ball instead of taking it in. But all the tools are there to be a top flight big league shortstop.
And a bit of video: