Another in our on going 'confidence' series, by the end of which, I am confident that I'll be writing a 300 word post on how confident I am that I can write a post with no topic at all.
Anyway, I do have a ton of confidence in some of the guys in our minor league system. We are very deep in the minors. Three years ago, Hugo had a 'Top 11' prospects list. This off-season we put together a Top 40 prospect list and there were still a few guys left of the list that we very much liked. I'll list a few of the batters I have the most confidence in (that way I can save the pitchers for a future 'confidence' post, smart I am):
- Brett Lawrie: I have very little doubt that Lawrie will become an excellent third baseman for us. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't make the All-Star team at least a few times in his career. I saw him some in Florida, and though he wasn't hitting well at that point, he didn't looked over matched at the plate. He surprised me with his speed, he has a strong arm and will likely have decent range.
- Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick: Similar types of players, Gose is faster but Marisnick is fast. Both are 20 this year. Gose has the better arm and more range in CF but Jake won't be bad. Marisnick is having a better start to this season, hitting .306/.375/.472 to Gose' .200/.234/.222, but it is very early yet. Gose is a step ahead, at New Hampshire. I'm confident that one of the two of them will turn into our CFer of the future.
- Carlos Perez, Travis d'Arnaud and Brian Jeroloman: I like J.P. Arencibia a lot, watching him, in the early part of this season, even the parts of his game that we were warned wouldn't be good, have been. He has shown a reasonable eye at the plate, his defense has looked good and he has a decent arm. But if something were to happen to him, Carlos Perez looks like he'll have all the parts of the game, by the time it gets to the majors. A very good arm, power, some speed and a good bat. He is a little ways away yet, so lots could happen. d'Arnaud's ceiling might be a big lower than Perez but he is closer to the majors. He is having a slow start to this season and maybe the back troubles will cause troubles, but he good defense, has some power and could be a good major leaguer in a couple of years. Jeroloman could be a good back up catcher very soon. Very good defensively, great eye at the plate and a left-handed bat that would make a natural pairing with JP.
- David Cooper and Eric Thames: Pairing them even though they play different positions. Cooper took Ricky Romero's place on the 'JP couldn't draft' list, but in the second half of last year he started hitting and then this spring he looked great at the plate with the Jays. He has continued the great spring into a good start to the Vegas season, hitting .365/.421/.577 in his first 13 games. Yeah he has to do it for longer but maybe he has turned the corner and could become a useful part of a major league team. Thames' minor league career has been marred by injuries until last year, when he had a terrific season at New Hampshire, hitting .288/.370/.526 with 27 home run. He started this spring well then cooled off later in spring training. He is raking with Vegas, .434/.500/.736. Either one of the two of them could get some at bats at DH or fill in if there is an injury this season.
- Adeiny Hechavarria, Dickie Thon, Jr. and Gustavo Pierre: Any of the three of them could grow into a major league SS. Pierre is a long way back. He is only 19 and at Lansing. He is a rough prospect, but could become something in time. Thon, Jr. is also just 19 and a long way away from the majors but if he is anything like the player his dad was, before his dad took a fastball in the head, he could be really good. Hechavarria, you all know, was signed as an international free agent, for a ton of money last year, hasn't hit as well as we would like to see in his short time in the Jay's system, but his glove is major league ready and everyone that has seen him play seems to like him. I'd like Escobar to stay with the team for a long time but, if he doesn't, I'm confident one of these three will fill the role.
There are other batters in our system that I have high hopes for, but let's stop there for now.