The fourth installment of this year's climb up our prospect list
25. Lane Thomas, 2B, Age 20 (DOB: August 23, 1995), last year: #27
Lane was our 5th round pick of the 2014 draft, a high school pick from Knoxwille, Tennessee, getting a nice $750,000 signing bonus. He moves up two spots on our list, despite having a pretty lousy year with the bat. He played most of the season in Vancouver, hitting 225/.257/.391 with 5 home runs, 8 walks and 34 strikeouts in 43 games. He moved up to Lansing, and wasn't any better there, hitting .114/.184/.171 in 9 games. The Jays moved him from the outfield to second base. He seemed to have the range for the position,but he made 20 errors in the 45 games he played at the position. I'm sure, with time, he can cut down on the number of errors. Whether he'll learn to hit is a whole different question. He's athletic, runs fast (though he hasn't stolen many bases), we figured he would develop power. He's still young, there is time for him to turn 'athleticism' into baseball skills, but we'd like to see some sign of it soon.
In last year's paragraph, Scott included this quote from his high school coach:
He has a chance to be a great power hitter, but he also has tremendous speed. He can steal a ton of bases. He set the table for our offense. I couldn't have asked for anything more out of him.
He hasn't shown that yet in professional career.
24. Chad Girodo, LHP, age 25, (DOB: Feb 6, 1991), last year: #32
Chad was our 9th round pick in the 2013 draft. He pitched across 3 levels last year, starting at Dunedin, going to New Hampshire and finishing in Buffalo.
He was great in Dunedin, putting up a 1.32 ERA in 20 relief appearances. In 27.1 innings he allowed 17 hits, 1 home run, 7 walks, with 32 strikeouts. Then was as good in New Hamshire, with a 0.62 ERA in 21 games. In 29 innings, he allowed 26 hits, 0 home runs, 2 walks with 23 strikeouts. He only had 4 innings in Buffalo, giving up 6 hits, 0 walks, with 3 strikeouts.
After the season, the Jays sent him to the Arizona Fall League. He pitched 10 innings, allowed 9 hits, 3 walks with 7 strikeouts.
As you can see, Girodo is a side arm pitcher, finding, in his fourth year of college, that he could get much better movement from that arm angle. He throws a fastball that gets to about 90 mph and a sweeping curve. He could easily end up in Aaron Loup's role as a LOOGY.
23.Juan Meza, RHP, age 18 (DOB: Feb. 4, 1998), last year: not on our list
Mesa was Baseball America's #10 international prospect when the Jays signed him in July of 2014. He was 6'3", 190 lb with low-90's fastball, at age 16.
His first looks at professional baseball didn't go all that well, putting up a 7.34 ERA in 11 games (6 starts) splitting time between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League. In 30.2 innings he allowed 36 hits, 2 home runs, 22 walks, with 29 strikeouts, but we'll give him a mulligan for that.
Matt Garrioch, at Minor League Ball talked about Mesa:
Meza has a nice, smooth delivery and repeats well. He looks like a good athelte and his fastball is in the mid to upper 80's like most of the top arms. His changeup looks excellent but I didn't see a good breaking ball. From his arm slot, a good breaking ball would be difficult. He may end up working on a slider but he's 16 and has a live arm. I bet he's a 7 figure guy as well.
22.Jose Espada, RHP, age 18 (DOB: February 22, 1997), last year: waiting to be drafted
Espada was our 5th round pick in last year's draft. He's a 6'0" right-handers, drafted out of high school in Puerto Rico. MjwW had this in the draft post:
Per Jim Callis on the MLB Network draft broadcast, the Blue Jays told him he was an ahtletic, projectible pitcher who they've had up to 92 MPH, flashing a plus breaking ball. It sounds like he's an under the radar pop-up guy who's taken significant steps forward in the last 6-8 months, someone who the Jays scouts really like and should be a quick and easy sign since you don't go so far off the board for a guy you aren't sure you can sign.
Jose had a good start to his pro-career, pitching in 10 games (7 starts) in the Gulf Coast League, with a 3.41 ERA. In 43.1 innings, he allowed 25 hits, 3 home runs, 8 walks with 31 strikeouts.
At 18, he's years away from the majors.
21. Ryan McBroom, 1B/DH, age 23 (DOB: 4/9/1992), last year: #31
Ryan was our 15th round pick in the 2014 draft, a right-handed hitter, taken out of West Virginia University. Since then, all he has done is hit.
After hitting .297/.339/.502 with 11 home runs in 70 games at Vancouver in 2014, he spent last year in Lansing. There he hit .315/.387/.482 with 12 home runs, 49 walks and 96 strikeouts (you really do have to wonder what he would. have had to do to get moved up). It's nice to see that his walk rate improved. The season earned him the Midwest League's MVP
The power is what will have to carry him up the ladder. He's played mostly at first base and DH, but he did get 10 games in left field last year, but, he's really only suited to first or DH.
It would be nice to see him move up a level or two this year, we'd like to see if he can continue to crush the ball against better pitching.