Hugo took a look at players from our GCL Jays and Auburn Doubledays who aren't on our Top 30 Prospects list but are making a case to join it after this season. So it is my turn to look at Lansing Lugnuts and Dunedin Blue Jays who are trying to get on the list.
- A.J. Jimenez: Is part of our long list of minor league catchers who look like they could be pretty decent. Jimenez was our 9th round draft pick in 2008. Last year in his first full pro season he didn't show much with the bat, but in his second go at Lansing he's doing much better (.301/.350/.431, with 4 HR and 16 steals in 19 attempts). He is just 20 so repeating the level isn't a bad thing. He isn't a big guy, 5'11", 200 pounds but you'd expect a little power to show as ages. He has thrown out 54% of runners that have tried to steal against him. His defense is reported to be very good. There have been a number of good catchers out of Puerto Rico in the last while. If we didn't have a half dozen other good catchers in our system he'd get a lot more press but I'm thinking he'll make our prospects list this off-season.
- Sean Ochinko: Got noticed, at least around here, for some good play in some spring training games this year. He was an 11th round pick in 2009 draft out of Louisiana State. He hit very well last year in Auburn and has continued to hit this season in Lansing, .294/.352/.447, 5 HR. He's caught, played third and first this year. I don't think defense is going to be his calling card (not a strong arm from behind that plate and has made a few errors at third this year) but a utility player that can catch and play the corner spots could be pretty valuable. He is 22 so would have to move up the ladder quickly.
- Eric Eiland: Not listing him because he has any chance at making our list this year but more as a cautionary tale. 2nd round pick in 2007 but hasn't hit at all in pro ball. This year he is hitting .238/.336/.324, 15 steals, but caught 8 times. Still only 21 but time is running out on him.
- Balbino Fuenmayor: International free agent signing in 2006, I think he was on our prospects list at one time. Moved from 3B to 1B this year but he's not hitting much .224/.273/.382. Did well in the GCL in 2008 but has gone downhill since. Only 20 and a big guy so there is time, is showing a bit more power this year. Not sure why I felt like listing him, I guess I like the name.
- Kevin Ahrens: First round pick in 2007. The Jays dropped him from Dunedin to Lansing earlier this season and have had him give up on switch hitting. It really hasn't helped, he's hitting .190/.232/.267 in Lansing. 21 now, he's gotta start hitting very soon if he wants to get back on the prospects list. I wouldn't hold my breath.
- Ryan Tepera: Drafted in the 19th round last year, did well in a few GCL appearances and was moved up to Lansing this year. He's 8-4 with a 3.30 ERA, 88 hits, 30 walks and 70 k, in 101 innings. With the number of pitchers we have in the system a good year isn't going to get him on to our list but he is having a really good year. 22 now.
- Egan Smith: Our 7th round pick last year, he made our ‘just missed out' list last year after 9 good starts at Auburn. This year he made two good starts at Auburn, 11 innings, no runs, 11 k and then was moved up to Lansing. He has had 5 starts there, 3-0, 2.73 ERA. 33 innings, 5 walks, 23 k. A big lefty, 6'4", 200 lb. Just 21, with the number of pitching prospects we have he'll have to be great to get noticed, so far he's been that.
None of the bats in Dunedin are all that interesting, except for guys that are already on our prospects list, but they do have some pitchers that are doing well:
- Joel Carreno: Joel is doing great at Dunedin. 6-5, 4.13 in 18 starts. 98 innings, 25 walks and 126 k. Don't really know a lot about him, 23, right handed, fastball/slider pitcher. You would think that even with the number of pitchers we have, with his strikeout rate. he should be a possible relief candidate at very least.
- Chuck Huggins: 23rd round pick in 2008 out of University, he's looked good in his pro career and was on our list of just missed when we put the prospect list together this past winter. He started the year in New Hampshire, had a couple of bad starts and then was moved back to Dunedin. He's done better there, 5-3, 3.17, 23 walks, 59 k in 88 innings. His biggest problem is that he's 24 in A-ball. With a dozen or so good pitching prospects, I don't think he'll be making our list.
- Frank Gailey: We had an interview with Frank back here. A 23rd round pick in 2007, he's never had an ERA over 2.45 in his first 4 minor league seasons. This year he is 5-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 56 innings. He has just 9 walks and 63 k. A little old for the level but a great strikeout to walk rate. A small 5'9", lefty, maybe they could move him up a level and he could take Tim Collin's place in our hearts. The changeup is how he gets guys out.
- Matthew Daly: Another small reliever (5'9", 180), but a right hander this time. 1-2, 2.70 and 20 saves in 40 innings. 12 walks and 40 k. 13th round pick in 2008, he had a 1.46 ERA in Auburn in 2008 and 1.65 in Lansing and Dunedin last year.
The title is, of course, from Tom Cochrane's Big League. I know, it is about hockey, but still....
Hugo will be back with a look at our New Hampshire and Vegas teams.