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Top 50 Blue Jays Prospects, Woodman's Just Missed Out List

Mooney hits a double at the College World Series.
Mooney hits a double at the College World Series.

Hugo and I have both been busy, so our 'just missed out lists' are a bit late. Tom's list of prospect who just missed the top 50 can be found here.

Shane Opitz: After recording just 36 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League the year prior, young Opitz played his first true season of professional baseball in the Northwest League, which is full of older players, a lot of them drafted from college. Where Nicolino shone despite his young age, Opitz just barely held his own with the bat: .259/.312/.285, which was 74% of what the average hitter in the league produced. With reasonable walk- and strikeout-rates, the low slugging percentage stands out as the main reason Opitz failed to be valuable at the plate. There's reason for optimism, though, as Opitz is still fairly young at age 20, and plays the middle infield. Although I wouldn't assume Opitz can stick at short, he's a left-handed batter who might make the majors as a utility player who could form the left-handed, and therefore rare, part of a platoon.

Seth Conner: Another high school draftee from the 2010 draft, Conner got a much easier assignment than Opitz by getting to play in the Gulf Coast League. After struggling initially, he got hot late on, bumping his season line to .276/.395/.420. Conner has played third, first and catcher, but I'll assume he ends up at first, so he needs to improve his power production. His eye seems to be good though, and that's a good start. It's a long shot to happen, of course, but Conner could yet improve greatly and surprise us all by becoming a good hitting prospect as he matures.

Derrick Loveless: No, I didn't pick this guy because of his name. Loveless, just 19 this year, was picked late in last year's draft, but has interesting enough tools to have featured in a story on Perfect Game, a baseball scouting website. He's probably athletic enough to stay in center field for a while, which means there isn't too much pressure on his bat. After just 21 at bats in the GCL last year, we've yet to get a good read on Loveless' current skills as a hitter, so we'll be watching him somewhat closely in short-season ball later this year.

Brady Dragmire: Another young guy, another low draft pick who shouldn't be underestimated. Dragmire, drafted in the 17th round from his high school in California, was a multi-sport athlete who also got an offer to play football for Brigham Young and played a mean shooting guard too. He got a pretty sizable bonus of 250,000 from the Jays, and supposedly already throws low-90s, but at just 6'0 might not have the room to add much more. Having pitched just one disastrous inning last season, Dragmire will have learned a lot in instructional league, and after learning even more in extended spring training we'll finally find out if he's as good as he claims to be - he expects to be major league ready in two to three years - once short-season ball starts.

Andy Burns: Burns is the oldest guy on my 'just missed out list', and he's a guy who fit AA's 2011 draft strategy perfectly, as the Jays GM kept targeting players whose stock had dropped in 2011. Burns was seen as a second- to third-round pick before 2011, and his stick dropped because he was ineligible to play after transferring from Kentucky to Arizona. Perfect Game thinks he should be a solid defender at third and a good runner who will flash power at the plate. Burns didn't have a great 90 PA trial with the Vancouver Canadians, but this season Burns can hopefully prove that he can still play. He'll start the season as a 21-year-old, so hopefully he can make it to at least high-A ball this year.

Justin Atkinson: Atkinson follows in the footsteps of Michael Crouse and Dalton Pompey as Canadian-born late round draft picks who are young and have potential. Atkinson wasn't even as raw as you might expect from a 17-year-old with a slash line of .279/.298/.395 in just 48 plate appearances. Awfully small sample size of course, but the fact that Atkinson struck out in only 6 percent of his plate appearances is encouraging. A big kid at 6'3, 200 pounds, the Jays have already moved him off shortstop to third base, where he should be a good defender. If his development as a hitter follows in the footsteps of Pompey and Crouse, he should move on to the top 50 within the next two seasons.

Peter Mooney: A diminutive shortstop - he's listed at 5'8 by Fangraphs but at 5'6 by Perfect Game - Mooney is highly rated for his defense but not so much for his offense or offensive potential. He did hit very well in the 141 plate appearances he got after signing last year as the Jays' 21st round pick. Mooney, who played mostly for Bluefield, had more walks than strikeouts and hit a whole bunch of doubles and triples, along with a single home run, for an overall line of .286/.403/.491. Mooney also hits left-handed, opening up the possibility of a future (semi-)platoon with Adeiny Hechavarria, should the Cuban keep struggling versus right-handed pitching. One more thing about Mooney: he has a College World Series ring, so he definitely "knows how to win".