After a weekend break it's time to gear up for the stretch run of the prospect countdown as #11-#15 are featured today. The players in this portion of the list had some varied rankings among Tom, MjwW, and myself depending on what we personally value the most.
15. Matt Boyd, LHP, age 24 (DOB: 2/2/1991), last year: 24
Boyd was the Blue Jays sixth round pick in 2013 out of Oregon State, becoming the first of numerous high quality college pitchers the team drafted that year. The lefty from the state of Washington didn't move through the system as quickly as fellow 2013 draftee Kendall Graveman, but all it takes is one solid season to end up in the Blue Jays bullpen as we've seen. The 24-year-old split time between Dunedin and New Hampshire in 2014 starting 26 games with much better results in High-A than Double-A. A 1.39 ERA in the FSL ballooned to a 6.96 mark in ten starts with the Fisher Cats.
Boyd doesn't blow anyone away, throwing a low-90's fastball along with a changeup and breaking ball although none of the pitches are considered dominant and a reliever role may be in his future. He should start the season in New Hampshire looking to right his wrongs from last season and continue his climb through the minor league system.
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14. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, age 19 (DOB: 8/30/1995), last year: dominating high school
Reid-Foley was the third Blue Jays pick in the most recent draft behind Jeff Hoffman and Max Pentecost and was considered by many to be a steal at #49. Considered to be a top prep pitching prospect going into the draft, the Blue Jays were miraculously able to sign Reid-Foley for the slot value of $1.128 million keeping him away from his commitment to Florida State.
Born in Georgia, the 19-year-old has an impressive four pitch mix and command well beyond his years although the delivery can be pretty awkward. Take a look at his nasty slider along with his mechanics that include a high pitching elbow:
The draftee spent the remainder of the season with the GCL Blue Jays and was pretty wishy washy (MjwW brings soupçon and I bring wishy washy). His 9.9 SO/9 is certainly nice but the control he exhibited in high school abandoned him and he ended his short debut season with a 4.0 BB/9. Obviously Reid-Foley is extremely young and has a lot of time to refine his craft and hopefully become the type of electric pitcher that he has the potential to be.
13. Mitch Nay, 3B, age 21 (DOB: 9/20/1993), last year: 6
The highly ranked prospect from the 2014 list slid a bit this year although maybe that's doing him an injustice considering his strong first season in the minor leagues. Spending the majority of the year as the Low-A Lansing third baseman, the righty hit .285/.342/.389 with three home runs before being promoted at the end of the season to Dunedin for a handful of games. Nay's power disappeared a bit but he continued hitting quite well and should start the season in High-A looking to continue his steady rise through the system.
In Lansing, the Arizona native made 19 errors at third and didn't exactly blow anyone away with his defense. The position that Nay eventually ends up at is up for debate but the positive is that his hitting has not shown any sign of slowing down which definitely helps going forward. He's not exactly being blocked much at third base and will likely continue playing the position until the team decides there's a better option out there for him, either in right field or first base.
12. Richard Urena, SS, age 18 (DOB: 2/26/1996), last year: 28
Urena is the player that we had most difficulty ranking with a range between #17 and #6 on our lists. The Dominican spent the majority of the year playing shortstop in Bluefield hitting .318/.363/.433 before making a very short appearance in Vancouver. The youngster is considered a good bet to stay at the position going forward which certainly helps his stock considering how strong his offense is as well. Striking out over 20% is certainly a concern, but the left-handed hitter has still yet to turn 19 so there's a lot of development still to come. Urena has one of the highest ceilings for position players in the Blue Jays system and it will be exciting to watch in the next few years to see if he continues tearing it up. Not much more to say at this point...Urena is good at baseball and you should be excited.
11. Matt Smoral, LHP, age 20 (DOB: 3/18/1994), last year: 18
The yoyo life of Matt Smoral on the Bluebird Banter prospect list continues as the lefty betters last year's ranking thanks to a strong showing in Bluefield and Vancouver. In 33.2 innings in the Appalachian League the southpaw struck out 32.5% of batters although his control is still a problem and the 6'8" pitcher will have to get that sorted before having any hope of advancing any further in the minor leagues.
Although it seems like the 2012 first round pick has been around forever he's still just 20-years-old and features an impressive fastball and slider that should keep the team's hopes high on him despite his walk issues. This coming season will be important for Smoral as he'll start to get tested in the higher levels of the minors where the 30% K-rate probably won't stick around, but the 11% BB-rate certainly could.
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