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Bluebird Banter Top 50 Blue Jays Prospects: 40-36

After Tom got us started with 50-46 and hugo continued the list with 45-41, it's now my turn to get you informed on numbers 40 through 36 on our long list of Jays prospects.

40. Daniel Barnes, RHP - Barnes was a relief pitcher with the Lansing Lugnuts last season, where he was incredibly dominant. He held opponents to a ridiculous .225 OBP (I didn't count intentional walks), while striking out 39.5% of the batters in relief. I looked for pitchers in the recent (2006-2011) history of the Midwest league with similar numbers, and I could only find a few pitchers who were too old for the league. Barnes, a college draftee, was also relatively old for the league at 21, but not old enough for us to ignore his outrageous dominance. He was briefly tried as a starter, but in his two tries Barnes gave up too many hits, though the rest of his numbers were fine in that small sample. He could get another chance next year, and he should start the year at Dunedin while looking to move to New Hampshire before the season ends.

39. Mike McDade, 1B - Mike McDade is a switch-hitter who is often praised for his defense at first. Unfortunately, that's not a premium defensive position, so he will have to hit well to provide value in the big leagues. While he got off to a flying start this past season, he then had a knee injury which did seem to affect his numbers, as he was very unimpressive in both July and August. McDade did win the Eastern League Home Run Derby, and he does have some power, but his walk rate is not promising at all. McDade did cut down on the strikeouts in 2011, but he'll have to improve his overall performance at the plate to become a decent first baseman.

38. Eric Arce, 1B - Eric Arce is an intriguing one: he was drafted by the Jays in 2010 but decided to go to college, then changed his mind about the whole college thing to get drafted again, and the Jays landed him with their second try. Arce is quite diminutive for a first baseman, but he's got some real power. It helped him become the Gulf Coast League's best hitter (100+ PA, age <20) with a line of .268/.437/.621. He had a relatively low BABIP, because he hit almost every ball into the air, and that will be something to watch for as he moves up to tougher leagues, where trying to hit every ball out might not work as well. Arce's debut was promising, but he has a long way to go.

37. Mark Biggs, RHP - Biggs was drafted in the 8th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Don't let that fool you, however, as Biggs got a big bonus more befitting a 2nd round pick. Biggs broke a vertebra in his back after making only one start in the 2011 High School season, which made teams hesitant to pick him early. The Jays nabbed him relatively late, hoping that Biggs could return to the 90-93 mph fastball velocity he had before his injury, or even better, given his solid pitching frame. Biggs could turn out to be a very clever pick by the Jays if he lives up to his potential.

36. Griffin Murphy, LHP - Whereas fellow 2010 draft pick Justin Nicolino started in Vancouver and dominated, Murphy started in the Gulf Coast League and struggled. While he did strike out a decent 21.3% of the batters he faced, he gave up too many hits and homers, without keeping the walks to a minimum or getting a good number of groundballs. On top of that, he's already 21 and that would normally mean he should be at least in Lansing. Murphy has got the draft pedigree, but little else at the moment, so he needs to start doing well to remain on this list.