Maybe my favourite part of our annual lists is the ‘just missed out list’. The nice part, this year, is the just missed out guys are pretty reasonable prospects.
My group from last year didn’t exactly knock down walls this year. The only one who jumped onto our 40 man list was Miguel Hiraldo, who jumped onto our list at number 20 this year. The others:
- Francisco Rios had a rough time, putting up a 7.15 ERA in New Hampshire. 21 walks and 29 strikeouts in 39 innings will keep you off our list.
- Harold Ramirez left and signed with the Marlins as a minor league free agent. The Jays didn’t have room to put him on the 40-man. He had quite a good year, hitting .320/.365/.471 with 11 home runs and 16 steals in 120 games at New Hampshire.
- Yorman Rodriguez played in Vancouver. He hit .267/.310/.343 in 45 games. Yeah, that didn’t jump him onto our list.
- Kevin Vicuna, he’s a glove first SS who still hasn’t found a bat. He hit .266/.307/.358 in 89 games in Lansing. He might take the Jonathan Diaz route to the majors, but I don’t have confidence it will happen.
- Nick Hartman had a pretty rough year, splitting time between New Hampshire and Dunedin. He had a 5.09 ERA in 58 innings, allowing 77 hits, 26 walks and 59 strikeouts.
- Kirby Snead wasn’t as terrible, 3.88 ERA in 51 innings, again split between New Hampshire and Dunedin. He allowed 48 hits, allowed 31 walks and 51 strikeouts.
Now on to this year’s list.
Ronny Brito, IF, age 20 for 2019 season (DOB: 11/22/1999)
Ronny came over from the Dodgers in the Russell Martin trade. I had him in my top 40, but I think Matt was right, I had him too high. He’s had three professional seasons and he hasn’t made it past Rookie League. He’s likely more a prospective prospect. A good season, and maybe a step or two up the minor league ladder and then we’ll see about putting him on our list.
Brito is a 19-year-old “shortstop”. The Dodgers signed him out of the Dominican Republic, giving him a $2 million signing bonus (yep, the same year that the Blue Jays gave Vlad Jr. a $3.9 million signing bonus). He had a couple of rather averageish seasons in the Dominican Summer League. Then came 2018. He hit .295/.352/.489 with 11 home runs in 61 games, mostly at Ogden of the Pioneer League. In 262 PA, he had 21 walks and 74 strikeouts.
Ronny’s not a big guy, so I wouldn’t expect a lot of power. He’s listed at 6’ and 165. He’s young enough to put on some muscle, but likely doubles power is what we should hope. Defensively? Everyone calls him a plus fielder. Good arm and good glove at short. MLB Pipeline says he has Gold Glove potential. His glove is what will carry him as far as he goes. He hasn’t stolen many bases yet, but he has enough speed to steal.
Joseph Reyes, 1B/3B, age 21 (DOB: 1/21/1998)
Reyes was a international signing in 2016. The Jays payed him $300,000 to sign, the maximum they could, because of the penalty for spending so much on Vlad.
He’s had 2 seasons in the Gulf Coast Leagues since then. In 2017 he hit .241/.332/.297. Last year his numbers took a big jump, hitting .273/.402/.492 with 6 home runs, 27 walks and 45 strikeouts in 164 PA.
Unlike Brito, he is a big guy, listed at 6’3”, 195. Also unlike Brito, it is his bat that will carry him however far he goes. He’s a lefty bat, good smooth swing, has a good eye at the plate and really should add strength and power as he moves up.
He played third, first and the outfield this past year. I’d imagine he’ll end up in a corner outfield spot, so he is going to have to hit.
Cullen Large, 2B, age 23 (DOB: January 22, 1996)
Of course I like him, we share a birthday.
Large (great name for headline writers, you are going to see a lot of Large Was Huge headlines. If I do one, it is time for me to quit this) was our 5th round pick in 2017. He is 6’, 175 and switch-hitter. He played in 34 games in Vancouver that year, hitting .246/.356/.325. before breaking his pinkie and missing the rest of the season.
This year, in Lansing, he hit .316/.411/.568, but in just 27 games, again missing time with injuries.
He needs an injury free season, but he can play second, has power, a good eye at the plate and makes good contact.
And a few who didn’t make my top 40 but who I’m still interested in:
Jose Espada, RHP, age 22 for 2019 season, (DOB: 2/22/1997)
Jose was number 36 on our list last year, and was just off my list this year. He was a 5th round pick in 2015. He played in Vancouver last year. He made 13 starts, had a 4.88 ERA. In 59 innings he allowed 50 hits, 5 home runs, 26 walks and 70 strikeouts.
He isn’t a big guy, 6’, 170. Throws low 90s, topping out at 94, has a good breaking ball and change. I’m thinking that they will give him another year to show it can start and then, if it doesn’t workout, try him in the pen.
Rodrigo Orozco, OF, age 24 for 2019 season (DOB: 4/2/1995)
Orozco was number 38 on our list last year. It isn’t like he had a bad season. He hit .304/.375/.389 with 1 home run, 18 steals, 40 walks and 53 strikeouts in 424 at bats in Dunedin. He is a switch hitter with speed, he played all three outfield spots last year.
I like guys that can just get on base, we don’t seem to have a lot of guys like that. But, he doesn’t have any power, so he’s going to have to hit for a very good average to keep moving up.
Corey Copping, RHP, age 25 (DOB: 1/11/1994)
Copping came to us in the John Axford trade. He’s a relief pitcher whose numbers took a nice step forward the last couple of years. In 2017, at Double-A Tulsa, he had a 3.57 ERA in 69 innings. He allowed 48 hits, 34 walks and 60 strikeouts.
This past season, he had a 2.39 ERA in 67.2 innings mostly in Double A. In 67.2 innings he allowed 51 hits, 35 walks and 79 strikeouts. Too many walks, but 10.5 strikeouts/9 innings is pretty decent. He throws 92-94. I’d like to see him pitch this spring.
Samad Taylor, 2B, age 20 (DOB: 7/11/1998)
Samad came over from Cleveland, along with Thomas Pannone, in the trade for Joe Smith. He was 25th on our list last year. Cleveland picked him in the 10th round of the 2016 draft.
He had a pretty good 2017 hitting .294/.335/.436 split among three low-A teams. This year wasn’t so good, he hit .228/.319/.387 with 9 home runs, 57 walks and 99 strikeouts in 530 at bats for the Lugnuts. The good part? He stole 44 bases.
Taylor has a bit of power, good speed, will take a walk. He has good range, good hands, but apparently not the arm for short. I think he’s way to the majors is as a utility infielder.
Gabriel Moreno, C, age 19 (DOB: 2/14/2000)
An international free agent signing out of Venezuela, in August of 2016. Last year split time between the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield, hitting .359/.395/.575 with 4 home runs, 7 walks and 20 strikeouts in 153 at bats. It was short season ball, but that is a pretty impressive batting line, even in a small sample. Everything I can find on him says he is a good defensive catcher with a good arm.
Keith Law listed him as a sleeper saying:
Moreno could be a catcher who hits for average, gets on base and has some pop, while providing real value on defense. He’ll play at 19 this year, but given his present skill level, he could spend part or most of 2019 in low-A, and performing well there in a larger sample would launch his value.
Like Keith says, it would be nice if he could move up to Lansing and show what he can do in a decent number at bats.
Dominic Abbadessa, OF, age 21 (DOB: 12/8/1997)
A 2016 draftee out of high school in California, Dom was 48th on my list but I could easily see him having a good year and getting onto our list next year. Last year he hit .311/.366/.420 with 2 homers, 18 steals, 14 walks and 47 strikeouts at Bluefield.
He’s got good speed, plays a good CF, can leg out a triple. It would be nice to see him start the year in Vancouver.