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All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter: Bluebird Banter Top 30 Prospects Countdown: #30-21

Hi everyone.  Not long ago, we rounded up the year for the minor league system.  Now that that's done, let's take a look at our top 30 prospects, and those who just missed the cut.  Without further adieu, here's 30-21.  Please leave your comments and impressions below!

30.  Jonathan Del Campo – Infield; DOB: 5/88; 6’2”, 185 lbs, Bats S, Throws R:   Del Campo, who mostly played second base this season, had a so-so year for Auburn after a great season last year in the GCL.  Del Campo improved at the plate each month (except for a 22 at-bat September), which was good to see.  He struggled a bit in the field with errors, but that’s not much of a concern given that scouts believe he has the range for second base and the arm strength for shortstop or third base – though he was drafted as a shortstop, he already seems to have moved on.  Del Campo is 20 and so is on track with a respectable 2008. 

29.   Andrew Liebel – RHP; DOB: 3/86; 6’1”, 195 lbs:  Liebel was converted into a starter in college but made only 1 start for Auburn in 7 appearances after the Jays drafted him in 2008.  Liebel doesn’t have overpowering stuff but commands the standard 4-pitch repertoire with skill.  Liebel, originally of Manchester, New Hampshire, has been compared to the Yankees young hurler Ian Kennedy, but hopefully is not as much of a douchebag as the young pitcher known more for his arrogance than anything else.

28.    Robert Sobolewski – 3B; DOB: 12/1986; 6’0”, 190 lbs, Bats/Throws R:  Soba,
who I’m nicknaming after one of my favourite foods, was a bit of a grab for the Jays in the 4th round, as he had played well with the University of Miami and had been suggested as a likely 1st rounder for 2009.  However, the Jays were able to sign him away and the Hurricanes’ loss is our gain.  Soba is raw and showed it in 133 at-bats with Auburn, but he has plenty of power in his righthanded bat and good arm strength that suggests he will stick at third base.

27.   Moses Sierra – OF; DOB 9/1988; 6’0”, 220 lbs, Bats/Throws  R:  The young Dominican is known for having one of the best outfield arms in the minors but needs to work on other aspects of his game in order to continue to progress, particularly his plate discipline.  Sierra had a so-so season at Lansing, but it was an improvement over his 2007 in the GCL.  Sierra has some power potential, and that’s why he’s a top-30 pick, but he’s got some work to do. 

26.   Kenneth Wilson – OF; DOB 1/1990; 6’0”, 165 lbs, Bats/Throws R:  Wilson, the Jays’ second-rounder in 2008, showed the high points of his game in the Gulf Coast League by stealing 25 bases in only 51 games, and getting caught just 3 times.  Wilson also walked 20 times, which was good as he didn’t show much with the bat.  Wilson is obviously raw, he’s only 18, after all, but he has the range to play CF and so it will be interesting to see how his bat develops. 

25.   Joel Collins – C; DOB 4/1986; 6’1”, 195 lbs, Bats/Throws R:  Big things were expected from Collins after the 2007 draftee (actually was originally drafted by the Expos out of high school, but went to college instead, at South Alabama) showed great power in his first taste of pro ball.  However, Collins wasn’t able to catch on with Lansing or Dunedin and eventually had to settle for seeing most of his playing time at low-A Auburn.  That said, Collins did an impressive job at the plate for Auburn, OPS-ing .940.  The Toronto native will likely start 2009 at Lansing and will have to hope to move up during the season, as he will be 23 when next season starts.

24.   Zach Dials – RHP; DOB 7/1985; 6’2”, 200 lbs:  Dials was originally drafted out of Kentucky as a starter but has since been converted into a reliever.  The conversion to reliever seems to have been a very good fit for Dials, as his K rate has blossomed since.   Dials quickly jumped from Dunedin to New Hampshire this season, where he had a little trouble, giving up too many hits and walking too many.  He missed most of August but is currently getting the time back by pitching in the Arizona Fall League.  Dials has a fastball that gets up to the mid-90s and also throws a quality slider and change and he hasn’t had major control issues, so he has the stuff to be a major-league reliever.  He might have been promoted too quickly in 2008, but I would expect a good season in 2009 out of New Hampshire’s (and perhaps Vegas’, before too long) bullpen.

23.   Johermyn Chavez – OF; DOB 1/1989; 6’3”, 220 lbs, Bats/Throws R:  This might be too charitable a ranking for Chavez, who had a tough season with Lansing.  However, we are basing our optimism on Chavez’s young age and on his strong GCL showing in 2007.  My guess is that Chavez will improve quite a bit repeating Lansing in 2009, given a chance to correct what ruined his 2008 – poor strike zone judgment and difficulty making contact.  He did hit 20 doubles, as well as 2 triples and 7 home runs, so he showed something this season.  All is not lost.

22.   Jonathan Talley – C; DOB 2/1989; 6’4”, 220 lbs, Bats L, Throws R:  Talley, one of the Jays two GCL Catchers (the other being Antonio Jimenez, who missed the top 30), repeated Rookie Ball in 2008 after being drafted in the 13th round in 07 (and given a decent signing bonus to forgo college).  Talley isn’t believed to be athletic enough to stay behind the plate, but that shouldn’t be a problem for his long-term development as he has the skills to hit for average and power.  He did a nice job for the GCL Jays, with a .300/.348/.493 line while playing catcher, 1st base, and designated hitter.

21.   Kyle Ginley – RHP; DOB 9/1986, 6’1”, 230 lbs:  Ginley pitched most of the season as a member of Dunedin’s starting rotation, and did well considering his age (21, though he’s now 22) and the nagging oblique injury that dogged him throughout the season.  Ginley throws a solid, mid-90s fastball and does a good job pitching down in the zone.  His other pitches (slider and changeup) need more work before he can move up as a starter, and he is currently working on his pitching in the Arizona Fall League.  Ginley will likely start 2009 in Dunedin, but will be looking to move up to AA if he shows improvement in his secondary pitches. 

Stay tuned for the top 20, coming soon!