Some of everything again. A couple of guys who are close to major league ready and a couple who are a few years away.
12. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, age 18 (DOB: 8/25/2000), last year: high school senior
Drafted last year, only pitched 2 innings in the GCL. He did have 4 strikeouts.
Adam was drafted in the 3rd round of last year’s draft, out of Magnolia High School in Houston, Texas, where he played with first round pick Jordan Groshans. He signed for $2.45 million which is well above the $652,900 slot for that spot in the draft.
Adam is a big guy, listed at 6’5”, 243 lb (oddly, normally the listings on Baseball Reference are rounded to the nearest 5). At that size he should be durable enough to be a starter who can pitch a lot of innings.
The scouting reports say he throws a 2-seam fastball in the low 90s with ‘heavy sink’, and a 4-seam fastball that can hit 96. Also has a changeup, curveball and ‘cutter’. About the cutter he said:
I can control it just as about as good as my fastball, I can throw it in any count. That has kind of been my go to recently. It’s starting to become more of a slider, which he told me it would do as I got more comfortable throwing it.
At 6’5” he has room to add some muscle and maybe a little to his fastball.
It seems like the Jays did well with their drafting last year. It will be interesting to see if they try to keep Adam and Groshans on the same team.
11. Anthony Alford, OF, age 24 (DOB: 7/20/1994), last year: 3rd
Anthony took a tumble down our list with a bad 2018 season. In his first full season at Buffalo, Anthony hit .240/.312/.344, with 30 walks, 112 strikeouts and 17 steals.
He did get a callup in mid-September where he hit .105/.190/.105. Being fair, he sat for awhile after the end of the Bisons’ season before the call up, with the Jays worried about his service time.
Everyone should be allowed an off year. Anthony has moved up the ladder pretty quickly, he missed some playing time back when he thought football was the sport for him, so maybe he’ll need an extra year to get used to Triple A. He was facing older, more experienced pitchers.
He is still an exciting player, the kind of player we are wanting - athletic, fast, can steal a base, leg out a triple and play good defense in CF. I’d love the Jays to give him a good long tryout, but that’s not going to happen. He’s going to have to have a good season in Buffalo and force the Jays to promote him.
I keep expecting him to develop some power, but he still hasn’t made it to the double digits in home runs in a season yet.
Like several other outfielders, Matt had Alford higher up than I did. I think the compromise works.
10. Cavan Biggio, IF and OF, age 24 in 2019 (DOB: 4/11/1995), last year: 34th
Cavan had a breakout season last year, hitting .252/.388/.499 with 26 home runs and 20 steals in New Hampshire. He had 100 walks and 148 strikeouts.
And he did well in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .262/.405/.415 in 19 games.
Like half the guys on our list, Cavan’s dad was a Major Leaguer (well it seems like half the guys on the list). But there is only one other player on our list whose dad is a Hall of Famer. Until last year Cavan had been primarily playing the same position as his dad. Last year he played all over the place:
- 68 games at 2B
- 34 games at 3B
- 22 games at 1B
- 2 games at RF
In the AFL he played mostly in the outfield.
It looks like his path to the majors is as a utility player.
On the negative side, he had a pretty poor second half to the 2018 season. Over the last 48 games, he hit .227/.362/.424 with 7 home runs and 55 strikeouts in 172 plate appearances. Keith Law figures it is because he was trying to pull everything and that Eastern League pitchers caught on.
It will be interesting to see how his 2019 season goes. I’d think he’ll spend most of it in Buffalo, but if things go well, we could see him in Toronto at some point.
9. Kevin Smith, SS, age 22 (DOB: 7/4/1996), last year:
playing Silent Bob 22nd
Did you know there is another Jay and Silent Bob movie coming? Yeah, I know the last one was pretty silly, but I’m still going to see it.
Anyway, this Kevin Smith was our 4th round pick in the 2017 draft. He didn’t have a great 2017, hitting .271/.312/.466 with 8 home runs in 61 one games at Bluefield. Not bad, not great.
Before the 2018 season, Smith asked the Jays what the earliest he would be able to go to Dunedin before spring training. He spent the spring revamping his swing.
It seems to have worked. Last year he hit .355/.407/.639 with 7 home runs and 12 steals in 46 games at Lansing. That got him a promotion to Dunedin. There he hit .274/.332/.468, with 18 home runs and 17 steals in 83 games.
The Jays were getting all their minor league players running as much as they could, so I don’t know if the 29 steals (6 times caught) is something that will continue as he moves up.
Kevin cut his strikeouts last year. In 2017 he struck out 24.7% of the time. Last year 21.0%.
Smith played mostly short, 87 games, with 27 games at third base. The Jays seem to have all the minor leaguers playing multiple positions. Most say that Smith should be able to stay at short as he moves up the ladder.
Baseball America has him as at #91 on their list of top 100 MLB prospects.
Smith has also started Elevate Baseball (from a Mark Colley interview with Smith):
“Elevate Baseball is a brand that I have created as an avenue to not only grow as an infielder, but to help others do so too,” Smith told Bluebird Banter. “Looking online, you can find a bunch of hitting content, from e-books to Twitter accounts to Instagram pages, but not so much with infield work.”
“The vision is to put out the most complete defensive information on the web,” said Smith.
He seems to be a thinking baseball player, he’s proactive, working on his weaknesses and he’s trying to figure how to improve. That should serve him well as he moves up.
The best major league career will belong to
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