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The 2018 Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects: 9-12

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Top 40 Prospects

As we get closer to the top of the list we have a couple of long time members of our top 40 lists, both who have dropped a few spots and a couple of new members of the organization.

2018: 13-16 | 17-20 | 21-25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40

2017: Top 40 Index

12. Richard Urena, SS, age 21 (DOB: Feb 26, 1996), last year: 4th.

Richard Urena didn’t have a great 2017 season, hitting just .247/.286/.359, with 5 home runs in 129 games in New Hampshire, but he still got a callup to the Blue Jays. There, despite a hot start (.324/.395/.471 in his first 7 games), he didn’t do well. He had 75 major league PA, hitting .206/.270/.309 with 1 home run.

He’s still young, he was young for Double-A. But, I would have felt a lot better if the power we’ve been expecting started to show.

Defensively, he looks smooth in the field, he didn’t look out of place in Toronto. He made a couple of errors, but the .974 fielding average puts him right at league average.

2018 will be an important year for Urena. He’s already been passed on our list by fellow shortstops Bo Bichette and Logan Warmoth. He needs a good season to regain some of his ‘prospect luster’.

He’s inconsistent (I guess that’s the best word), he can look great for a few days (I saw him in Lansing and he was terrific), with a quick bat, and he’ll line the ball all over the place. Then he’ll have a couple of weeks of looking terrible. But then he is young, and he’s moved up the ladder quickly. It would be nice to see him play a season at Buffalo to polish out the rough edges and find some consistency.

11. Eric Pardinho, RHP, age 17 (DOB: January 5, 2001), Last year: He wasn’t a millionaire, this year, before he was 17 he was a millionaire).

There we go, a DOB year that starts with a 2. I’m starting to think that maybe I’m too old for a MLB career.

Back in June the Jays signed Pardinho to a $1.4 million contract. Can you imagine signing something giving you over a million dollars at age 16? Of course, could you imagine being able to throw a ball 94 MPH at age 16?

That’s the biggest contract ever for a Brazilian international free agent. You might remember Yan Gomes was the first Brazilian to make it to the majors. Since then, there have been 7 others make the majors.

He isn’t a big guy (5’10”, listed at 155). I don’t imagine that he’ll add much height, but he should add muscle. Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com wrote this:

There’s a lot to like about Pardinho. His fastball has touched 95 mph, but it usually hovers in the 90-to-93-mph range. He also throws a curveball, slider and changeup. He’s impressed scouts with his advanced approach on the mound and experience against top competition. That said, some scouts have expressed some concern about his overall upside and projectability given his smaller frame.

I guess, like Marcus Stroman, we are going to hear a lot about whether he should be a starter or if with his lack of size, he would be in the bullpen, but we have several years to decide.

Eric gets the 11th spot on our list totally on the strength of scouting reports, it will be nice to see some numbers once he starts playing pro ball.

10. Thomas Pannone, age 23 (DOB: April 28, 1994), LHP, last year: In Cleveland’s organization.

We liberated Pannone from Cleveland, in the trade for Joe Smith on July 31st last year. I do want to mention that, when we traded for him, he was pitching for the Akron RubberDucks. That’s the team previously known as the Akron Mighty Rubber Ducks.

In 2017, Thomas made 5 starts in Lynchburg, Cleveland’s high A team, putting up a 0 ERA, with 10 hits, 7 walks and 39 strikeouts in 27.2 innings.

Moved up to Akron, he made 14 starts, had a 2.62 ERA. In 82 innings, he allowed 67 hits, 36 walks with 81 strikeouts. He finished the season with 6 starts in New Hampshire, with a 3.63 ERA. In 34.2 innings, 31 hits, 8 walks and 29 strikeouts. I’m a fan of pitchers who strikeout more than a batter an inning.

Pannone was a 9th round pick from the 2013 draft out of College of Southern Nevada. He isn’t a big guy, listed at 6’ and 195 lbs. He throws a low-90’s fastball, a good curve and a changeup.

I’d imagine he’ll start 2018 in Buffalo and be one of a handful of guys who could get a call up if there is an injury. I’m interested to see him this spring.

9. Sean Reid-Foley, age 22 (DOB: August 30th, 1995), RHP, last year: 3rd.

Another of last year’s top 5 who had a rather disappointing 2017.

Sean had a 5.09 ERA in 27 starts for the Fisher Cats. In 132.2 innings, he allowed 145 hits, 22 home runs, 53 walks with 122 strikeouts. Not good, but then, it was his first look at Double-A. The 22 home runs against was a surprise. Up until last year, he never gave up more than 0.4 homers per 9 innings, then, last year, he was up to 1.5 per nine. He went from batters hitting .190 against him, in 2016 (at Lansing and Dunedin), to them hitting .278 against him in 2017 (at New Hampshire). His walk rate was up a tic (3.6/9 innings, from 3.0/9) and his strikeout rate was down a couple of tics (8.3/9 from 10.1).

I’m willing to give him a mulligan on the season, he was just 21 getting his first look at Double-A hitters, and he did set a new high in innings, which is good, just not much went right for him.

He throws mid-90s and occasionally high 90s. MLB.com pipeline says:

Both his slider and his curveball, a pitch he picked up in 2016, have above-average potential, with the latter slightly ahead of the former, and his changeup, once fully developed, could give him a fourth average-or-better offering. Reid-Foley’s deceptive delivery and arm action make him particularly tough on right-handed hitters.

A year ago he was on everyone’s top 100 MLB prospects list. This year not.

This is a big year for him. J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada are both likely to be gone in 2019. If the Jays fall out of the race they both could be trade deadline targets. The Jays have a handful of pitching prospects who could be looked on to fill their spots. A good season could jump Sean to the top of the list, a bad year could cause him to miss his chance.