It's the time of year where we unveil our prospect list.
I always enjoy picking through the Blue Jays system, trying to figure out who should make our list and who misses out. My first year on the site, we had an 11-man prospect list. The next year we went to 20 players, mostly because there was a player I liked who I couldn't make the case to have him in the top 10 (he never made it to the majors). I think we jumped to 30 then 40 prospects the next two years.
This year, it was pretty tough to come up with 40 prospects. In the past year we've had a number of prospects graduate to the majors. And then Alex traded many many prospects, at the deadline, to give us the players to push for the playoffs.
Add in that we made the decision to limit ourselves to players 25 and under for our list. Players have to be 25 or younger on June 30th of this year. We feel that players over 25 are past the prospect stage, they are more finished products. That doesn't mean that minor leaguers over the age of 25 can't ever make the majors (look at Chris Colabello), just that they are past the stage we project them to grow as a player.
So there are many on this year's list who are new to the Bluebird Banter prospect list.
The guys down here, at the bottom of our list, are maybe more potential prospects, guys that, if they have a good season could be considered prospects.
40. Dusty Isaacs, RHP, age 24 (DOB: August 7, 1991), last year: Not on list.
Isaacs was the Pirates 50th (last) round draft pick, back in 2010, but he decided to Georgia Tech instead. He pitched there for 4 years, and had a very good season the 4th year, throwing 61 innings of relief with a 1.92 ERA, with 21 walks and 53 strikeouts. That convinced the Jays to pick him in the 18th round of the 2014 draft.
In 2015, he spent most of the season pitching for Lansing, putting up a slightly better than league average, 3.93 ERA, over 50.1 innings in 25 relief appearances. He allowed 55 hits, 11 walks and had 60 strikeouts.
He throws four pitches, fastball, slider, changeup and curve, but it will be mostly the fastball and slider when he comes in from the pen, throwing everything at the bottom of the strikezone, keeping the ball in the park (he gave up just 4 home runs). Most important, he throws strikes (just 2.0 walks and 10.7 strikeouts per 9 innings).
Dusty was bit old for the level, but that happens when you spend four years pitching college ball. He isn't a particularly big guy, 6'1", 190 and doesn't throw all that hard, low 90's at best, but you to have to like pitcher with a better than 5 to 1 strikeout to walk rate. He's not going to more than a reliever, but could move up the system quickly.
39. Yeltsin Gudino, SS, age 19 (DOB: January 17, 1997), last year: #32.
Yeltsin was an international free agent signing, out of Maracay, Venezuela. He signed for $1.29 million (at age 16, can you imagine being offered over a million dollars at age 16?), back in 2013.
So far, he hasn't shown much for that money. Last year, he played in Bluefield, hitting .185/.251/.265, with 1 home run, 1 triple and 12 doubles. Add in 17 walks and 36 strikeouts, in 211 at bats, and well, you can see there is a lot of work yet to be done.
He's still very young, he has lots of time to figure things out, but it doesn't look all that hopeful yet. He is playing against guys 2 to 3 years older, but, still his numbers don't look good.
Gudino is said to have strong arm and good range. He made 35 errors last year, but then rookie league playing fields and rookie league scorers leave a bit to be desired.
Listed at 6' and 150 pounds, I'd guess there is a fair bit of growing to do yet. He's still 2 years away from actual prospect (or bust) status.
38. Jeremy Gabryszwki, RHP, age 22 (DOB March 16, 1993), last year #31.
Jeremy was a second round pick in the 2011 draft (getting a $575,000 signing bonus) and he's done a nice job in the minors since. He's a ground ball pitcher, he's been near the back of our annual lists mostly because he doesn't get many strikeouts. He was #26 on our 2012 list, #32 in 2013 and #31 in 2014. He missed our list altogether, last year, though he appeared on my "just missed out list".
In 2015, he had a 3.77 ERA, at Dunedin, in 129 innings, in 20 starts and 5 relief appearances. He allowed 146 hits, 31 walks with 91 strikeouts. The 6.3 k/9 innings is his best mark since 2011, his first season in the Jays system. He also pitched 6 games (5 starts) in the Arizona Fall League, after the season, getting a 4.63 ERA, in 23.1 innings, allowing 28 hits, 6 walks, with 11 strikeouts.
He has a fastball in the 90 mph range (he was throwing harder when he was drafted), with a slider and a changeup. He's a groundball pitcher, and has been throwing a lot of innings. He's coming into his age 23 season, and should be pitching in New Hampshire. His hope is to be an inning eater type, but I would like to see him get a few more strikeouts.
37.Andres Sotillo, C, age 22 (DOB December 28, 1993), last year: not on the list.
Sotillo, from Tucupita Venezuela was an international free agent signing in 2012, signing for $11,000. He's 5'11", 180 lb. A right-handed hitting catcher. He played in Bluefield, this past season, hitting .250/.375/.403 with 2 home runs, 9 walks and 16 strikeouts in 26 games. He threw out 27% of players trying to steal against him.
2015 was his fourth year in the Jays system, he's hit ok, .257/.358/.341, not much power, but good eye. And he's said to be a decent defensive catcher. But he hasn't been getting a lot of playing time, as the Jays have had other catchers they liked better, but he could move up the prospect list with a gets a decent amount of playing time this year.
This is him back in 2013:
36. Carl Wise, 3B, age 21 (DOB May 25, 1994), last year: waiting to be drafted.
Wise was our 4th round draft pick, this year, and took a $450,000 signing bonus. He's a right-handed batter, listed at 6'2" and 210 pounds. The Jays drafted him out of the College of Charleston, where he hit .313/.380/.557 with 12 home runs in 60 games in 2015. After signing with the Jays, he played 7 games for Bluefield, hitting .258/.303/.323, then moved up to Vancouver, hitting .231/.268/.308. He didn't show the power that we were expecting, but then, it was just his first look at professional ball. He played mostly third base, with a game at short.
Like most of the guys at the back of the list, he's more a prospective prospect than an actual prospect, at the moment, but, the hope is that he'll show power and good enough bat to move up the ladder.
He is going to have to hit because he isn't' likely to be able to stay at third base, he's likely to move to first at some point.