The 2014 Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects: 6-10

Almost at the top of the list.

Since the Blue Jays game is cancelled, I'll put up the next five of our prospects.

10. Jairo Labourt: Jairo was an international free agent signing, back in 2011, out of the Dominican Republic. He had a really nice season in Bluefield, 1.92 ERA, in 12 games, 8 starts. 39 hits, 14 walks and 45 strikeouts in 51.2 innings. Batters hit

Labourt turns 20 on Friday. He's a big guy, 6'4", we seem to like drafting tall guys. He's throwing low 90's, he's young enough to gain a couple of MPH as he matures. This year he was getting a lot of ground balls with a sinker/slider (48.3% ground ball rate, up from 35.1% in 2012). And of course, is working on a changeup.

He took a big step up on our list, last year he as 29th. It will be nice to see what he can do at a full season league, and we can get a good read on whether he should be in the top ten on our list.

9. A.J. Jimenez: You guys all know enough about him. A.J. was a 9th round draft pick in 2008, and has moved nicely up the Jays system. He turns 24 on May 1st. It's going to be his glove that gets him to the majors, but the bat will decide if he is going to be a starter or a backup. Last year, he was coming off Tommy John surgery and then missed time with "elbow nerve irratation". He played 67 games, mostly at New Hampshire, with a few at Dunedin (to start the season) and Buffalo (to end the season). He hit .287/.332/.406 with 4 home runs, 18 walks and 42 strikeouts.

This year? He's just an injury or two from being in the majors. He says he put on muscle in the offseason and he figures/hopes to hit with more power. We haven't seen much of him, so far, this spring. With Dioner Narravo needing to learn the pitching staff, and Erik Kratz and Josh Thole battling for the backup job, there isn't enough at bats for everyone.

Next year he should, at least, have a share of the major league job. He was 8th on our list last year.

8. D.J. Davis: Our first round pick in 2012 had an ok season in Bluefield last year. He hit .240/.323/.418, with 6 home runs, 13 steals (8 caught), 26 walks and 76 strikeouts. Yeah, way too many strikeouts, but then, he's a work in progress.

Just 19, Davis is fast, maybe faster than Anthony Gose. He has doubles and triples power, but won't hit a lot of home runs. He will play great defense in CF, even if he doesn't have the best arm. The hope is that he'll cut down on the strikeouts (29.5% strikeout rate last year), while keeping the walks (10.1% last year).

We had him #3 on the list last year.

7. Sean Nolin: Sean was number 4 on last year's list and he really didn't do anything that should have had him moving down on the list. He made 17 starts for New Hampshire, and had a 3.01 ERA, with 89 hits, 25 walks and 116 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. He made 3 starts in Buffalo, putting up a 1.53 ERA, with 13 hits, 10 walks and 13 k in 17.2 innings.

But then he had the one awful start for Toronto, being clubbed for 7 hits, 6 earned runs in 1.1 innings. I really hate when teams do that, call up a good prospect, let him get shelled in one start and then ship him back to the minors  with his confidence ( and the opinions of every Blue Jays fan) shattered. It seems like we used to be good at bringing young pitchers along.

Anyway, he turned 24 this winter and, hopefully, he will have another chance to show what he can do.

6. Mitch Nay: Mitch a first round pick in 2012, jumps up from #15 on last year's list. He had a really good season at Bluefield, hitting .300/.364/.426 with 6 home runs, 25 walks and 35 strikeouts. He did make 17 errors (.901 fielding average), at third base, but he was just 19, he has time to work on defense. A very encouraging start to his professional career.

And he got everyone's notice. Marc Hulet has him at #100 on his 'top 100 MLB prospects list' on Fangraphs and #3 on his top 10 Blue Jays prospects. Baseball America has him as our #4 prospect. John Sickels has him as our #3 prospect. Keith Law, on the other hand, didn't have him in the top 13 Jays prospects.


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