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Bluebird Banter Top 50 Blue Jays Prospects: 16-21

Continuing through out list. If you want to see the previous write ups here are the links 46-50, 41-45, 36-40, 31-35, 26-30 and 21-25.

20. Marcus Knecht: Marcus was number 27 on our list last year. Our 3rd round pick from 2010, born in Toronto moved up from Auburn to Lansing this year and had a really good season, hitting .273/.377/.474 with 16 home runs and 86 RBI. That's the good news, the bad news is he had a slump in the second half of the season, hitting just .228/.346/.417 and just .200 in August. I'm not sure if there was a minor injury or something else that caused the slump but he struck out more in the second half, 31% of at bats ended in strikeouts, after 26% in the first half. He's got good power and a good eye at the plate, but he's going to have to cut back on the strikeouts to have a keep a decent batting average as he moves up the ladder. A right-handed batter, he's just 21, it would be nice to see him start the year at Dunedin and move up from there. Defense isn't his strong suit, he does run well enough and has decent arm, so he should be able to be improve to the point where he is at least an average LFer.

19. Joel Carreno: We all got a chance to see Joel last year, and he looked great in our bullpen, with a 1.15 ERA in 15.2 major league innings. I figured he earned a spot on the team this year, but Alex has added a bunch of arms to the pen, so Joel will likely start the year in the minors. But then there are always injuries, so I'm sure we'll see him at some point this year. Before the call up, Joel made 23 starts in New Hampshire, with a 3.41 ERA. He struck out 10.2/9 innings while allowing just 6.7 hits/9. He did allow too many walks, 4..5/9 but that was unusual for Joel, in his minor league career he's averaged 2.9 walks/9. He is basically a two pitch pitcher throwing a low 90's fastball and a good slider, so the bullpen is likely the place for him and, if he can keep the walks down, he could end up a closer someday. Carreno was 35th on out list last year.

18. Asher Wojcieshowski: Asher was a first round supplemental pick in 2010. We had him 13th on our list last year. He didn't have a great first full season in pro ball, but really more it was an up and down year. He made 4 starts in April with a 0.87 ERA and then was awful for May and June, with a 7.76 ERA in 11 starts, but he righted the ship again, going 7-2 over the last 3 months of the season with a 3.18 ERA. It would be nice if he struck out more batters, he only got 6.6 K/9 this year, but his fastball can hit mid-90's, he has a good slider and is (like every pitcher in the Jays system) working on a changeup. And he threw strikes, walking just 2.1/9.He turned 23 in December, so he was a little old for Dunedin, but he'll likely move a long quickly, now that he's got a year in the Jay's minor league system under his belt. He's a big RHP, 6'4", 235 and sometimes he takes bigger guys a little bit longer to figure how to keep their delivery consistent.

17. Matt Dean: Dean fell to the 13th round, where the Jays picked him, because he was committed to the University of the Texas. A $737,500 signing bonus convinced him to drop that commitment. He signed too late to get in any playing time. Matt turned 19 in December. He played short in high school but he'll be a third baseman in the pros. He's good power, should hit for a good average, but will have to work on plate discipline Just like any high school draft pick. He's a big guy, 6'3", 190.

16. Dwight Smith, Jr: Another supplemental first round pick from last year, out of school in Georgia. Dwight Smith, Sr was a journeyman outfielder in the majors. This Dwight is also a left-handed batter, thought to be similar to his dad, a little better hitter at the same age and hopefully he'll have a little better career. He'll end up a corner outfielder. The term 'power to all fields' comes up a lot. Again, getting to see him play in the minors will help us figure where to put him on the list next year.