2014 Toronto Blue Jays

C – Dan Jansen – Rookie Bluefield –  19 yo;  –  (2013 – 16th round) –
  • .282 – 5HR – 17RBi – 22R –  .390/.484/.874 slash  –  – PAG: 3.08
  • Baseball America -NR   –  MLB Pipeline-NR   –  Baseball Prospectus-NR
1B – Enmanuel Moreta – DSL Blue Jays – 19 yo;  – (2013 – International FA signee-DO)
  • .287 – 1HR – 37 RBi – 42R –  .367/.437./.804 slash  –  – PAG: 3.26
  • BA-NR   –   MLB Pipeline-NR   –   BP-NR
2B – Timothy Locastro – Short Season Vancouver – 21 yo;  – (2013 – 13th round)
  • .313 – 1HR – 27RBi – 49R – 32SB –  .407/.367/.774 slash  –  –  PAG: 3.19
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR   –  BP-NR
3B – Bryan Lizardo – DSL Blue Jays –  16 yo;  –  (2013 – International FA signee-DO)
  • .263 – 17 2B – 29RBi – 46R – 7SB –  .379/.375./.754 slash  –  – PAG: 3.18
  • BA-NR  –   MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
SS – Franklin Barreto – Short Season Vancouver –  18 yo;  –  (2012 – International FA signee)
  • 311 – 6HR – 61RBi – 65R – 29SB –  .384/.481/.865 slash  –  – PAG: 4.38
  • BA/#5   –   MLB Pipeline (mid-season)/#8   –   BP/#7
  • I love everything about Barreto. He’s young, hits for average, flashes great defense and shows some pop with the bat. He debuted in 2013 and posted a csPAG of 3.31 between the Gulf Coast League (44 gm) and Rookie Bluefield (15 gm). Had Jim and I begun tracking the American League a year earlier, Barreto would have easily jumped of my page as a must-see prospect.  With a breakout performance in 2014 coupled with another solid showing to begin 2015, Barreto could position himself as a premiere prospect in the game and make a case as an overall Top 100 prospect. He’s this good already and still has years of development left in a growing Blue Jays system.
LF – Dwight Smith – HiA Dunedin –  21 yo;  –  (2011 – 1st round (supplemental))  –
  •  .284 – 12HR – 60RBi – 83R – 15SB –  .363/.453/.816  –  – PAG: 3.55
  • BA/#27   –   MLB Pipeline-NR   –   BP-NR
CF – Roemon Fields – Short Season Vancouver –  23 yo;  –  (2013 – NDFA)
  • .269 – 1HR – 26RBi – 64R – 48 SB –  .338/.350/.689  –  – PAG: 3.72
  • BA-NR  –   MLB Pipeline-NR  –   BP-NR
RF – Derrick Loveless – LoA Lansing –  21 yo;  –  (2011 – 27th round)
  • .264 – 6HR – 55RBi – 58R – 17 SB –  .363/.390/.753  –  – PAG: 3.05
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR

The Blue Jays pose quite a quandary for me when panning down through all of their affiliates. I see a bevy of tools, athletic players that post solid batting averages, decent OB% and a stable set of peripherals.  But that’s just it.  Solid, decent, stable. Nothing spectacular.  Sure there are several kids I find ‘drool-worthy” yet past that there’s potential that hasn’t been fulfilled, yet.  What I find alarming is the lack of power production.  Only three players from the DSL squad all the way up through HiA Dunedin hit double digit home runs: HiA OF Dwight Smith (12), 1B Kevin Patterson (11) and Short Season Vancouver 1B Ryan McBroom (11). This must improve drastically in order for Toronto to compete in the ultra-tough high stakes American League East.  Based solely on the treasure trove of pitching prospects alone, the Blue Jays could easily become a top tier system in all of baseball. If the hitters as a whole step up and turn projection into on-the-field production, we could be looking at an easy top-5-10 system.   

Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
1.  RHP Kendall Graveman – (15) SP/TPS .118
  • 23 years old
    • LoA Lansing/HiA Dunedin/Double-A New Hampshire/Triple-A Buffalo
    • MLB September Call-up
  • 8th round – 2103
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (April 12thApril 18thJuly 1st)
  • If you started following this site when it was launched in early April and used it as a research tool to track your favorite team and/or your fantasy roster, then you know the season that Kendall Graveman put together was special.  Graveman was at the bottom of my TPS chart in 2013 when he posted a .143 SP/TPS with LoA Lansing. But its the luxury of having a two-fold system that tracked Graveman’s progression this season, up through the levels, that would have brought his attention to you. I only track the UTR’s until they get that call that sends them to Double-A. To have the right-hander garner (15) mentions before that promotion, raised the flag to take this pitcher serious. Graveman’s promotions didn’t come as your prototypical big strikeout guy. He’s another one those pitchers that just gets outs and mostly by ground balls (58%).
2. RHP Taylor Cole – (14) cSR/TPS .069
  • 24 years old (HiA Dunedin/Double-A New Hampshire/HiA Dunedin)
  • 29th round – 2011
  • 7-Time UTR Mention
  • The further we get down this list the pitchers only get better and Cole was downright dominant this season. He led the minor leagues in strikeouts with 181 in 144.1 innings. He did see a promotion to Double-A, but it came at time where he seemed to lose command of his fastball and he got chewed up in his two starts with the FisherCats. He was sent back to Dunedin to finish out the season.
3. LHP Daniel Norris – (10) cSR/TPS .062
  • 21 years old (HiA Dunedin/Double-A New Hampshire/Triple-A Buffalo)
    • September Call-up
  • 2nd round – 2011
  • Ranked #6 by Baseball America / #4 by Baseball Prospectus / #1 MLBPipeline
  • Norris is letting the Blue Jays know that the $2 million dollar signing bonus was money well spent. With his 2nd round draft slot and ranking as a top prospect within Toronto’s system, Norris, of course, isn’t considered a UTR and thus was not tracked daily in my system. You have noticed with our Organizational All-Stars that Marc and I group these players within our post-season work, to give you an idea were UTR’s stack-up against the top prospects. Norris had a .082 rating last season and trimmed another .020 points in 2014 to confirm his top status. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Cole and/or Graveman are better than Norris, it just gives our fantasy followers options that these pitchers may help gain that competitive edge in their rosters someday. Think of it as a confidence boost when a decision needs to be made to take a flyer on player.
4. LHP Matt Boyd – (10) SP/TPS .081
  • 23 years old (HiA Dunedin/Double-A New Hampshire/HiA Dunedin)
  • 6th round – 2013
  • 4-Time UTR Mention (April 14thApril 25thJune 1stAugust 4th)
  • Boyd was completely off my radar at the end of 2013. His stats were impressive, but it was a small sample with 8 appearances ( 5 starts) going 0-3 with a 2.62 ERA and 23 K’s in 24 innings. In researching for my breakout candidates in the spring, Jay Blue @Jaysfromaway predicted that the left-hander would be on people’s radar in 2014, a prognostication that I dismissed. Jay Blue hit it dead-on, as Boyd had a Taylor Cole-sque season. Pure Domination at HiA striking out 103 in 90.2 innings and only allowing 20 walks. What was most impressive was his Opp. Batting Average of .196 in 16 starts. Like Cole, Boyd took his lumps at Double-A New Hampshire, but his stint was longer than Cole’s as he made 10 starts (6.96 ERA).
5. RHP Chase De Jong –  (9) cSR/TPS .127
  • 20 years old (LoA Lansing)
  • 2nd round – 2012
  • Ranked #11 by Baseball America / #18 by MLBPipeline
  • When the numbers started to shakeout and as each pitcher began to fall into place within my ranking structure, I looked at this Top 5 and it immediately hit me that I could be looking at a future 5-man rotation for the Jays. De Jong held his own as a 20-year old in LoA as his numbers were pedestrian against advanced hitters. He has plenty of time to develop, but must work on his secondary offerings, as his fastball was hittable. De Jong gave up 113 hits and 12 home runs in 97 innings.
 
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
1. LHP Griffin Murphy – (10) RP/TPS .080
  • 23 years old (LoA Lansing/HiA Dunedin)
  • 2nd round – 2010
  • Murphy had some injuries issues early in his pro career, but seems to be back on track. He improved his TPS by .029 points over last season. It was the largest improvement amongst all Blue Jays relievers that were tracked in 2014.
2. RHP Brady Dragmire – (8) RP/TPS .163
  • 21 years old (LoA Lansing)
  • 17th round – 2011
  • Dragmire finishes the season with an exceptional high TPS rate, but another great feature of my system is that it doesn’t handcuff me into taking those numbers at face value. When the numbers seem out-of-kilter, it means to dig little deeper. Case in point with this young right-hander drafted out of high school. He rated moderately  in Mention Points, logged high innings for a reliever (77.1), decent ERA (2.91) and though he did post a very good K/BB rate (5.0) there had to be more of the story to accept his .163 TPS. What I found was that Dragmire was producing tons of ground balls (57%) and an excellent Line Drive rate (6%). Researching his repertoire, Dragmire throws a sinking fastball which he accompanies with a slider. This menu could advance Dragmire quickly.  
3. RHP Chase Wellbrock RP/TPS .103
  • 22 years old (Appy League – Bluefield/LoA Lansing)
  • 33rd round – 2014
  • Wellbrock impressed in his first year as a pro. He only issued two walks along with 39 strikeouts in 31.1 innings over 2 levels.
Top 5 TPS – Starting Pitchers
 
1. LHP Daniel Norris – cSR/TPS .062
  • 21 years old (HiA Dunedin/Double-A New Hampshire/Triple-A Buffalo)
    • September Call-up
  • 2nd round – 2011
  • Ranked #6 by Baseball America / #4 by Baseball Prospectus / #1 MLBPipeline
  • Norris is letting the Blue Jays know that the $2 million dollar signing bonus was money well spent. With his 2nd round draft slot and ranked as a top prospect within Toronto’s system, Norris, of course, isn’t considered a UTR and thus not tracked daily in my system. You have noticed with our Organizational All-Stars that Marc and I group these players within our post-season work, to give you an idea were UTR’s stack-up against the top prospects. Norris had a .082 rating last season and trimmed another .020 points in 2014 to confirm his top status. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Cole and/or Graveman are better than Norris, it just gives our fantasy followers options to gain that competitive edge.
2. LHP Matt Smoral – cSR/TPS .068
  • 20 years old (Appy League-Bluefield/Short-Season Vancouver)
  • 1st round – 2012
  • Ranked 13th by Baseball America
  • Smoral hasn’t lived up to his 1st round hype. At 6’8″ 220 lbs, the left-hander could be still trying to match his mechanics with his frame.
3. RHP Taylor Cole – cSR/TPS .069
  • 24 years old (HiA Dunedin/Double-A New Hampshire/HiA Dunedin)
  • 29th round – 2011
  • 7-Time UTR Mention
  • The further we get down this list it the pitchers get better and Cole was downright dominate this season. He led the minor leagues in strikeouts with 181 in 144.1 innings. He did see a promotion to Double-A, but came at time where he seemed to lose command of his fastball and he got chewed up in his two starts with the FisherCats. He was sent back to Dunedin to finish out the season.
4. LHP Jairo Labourt – cSR/TPS .078
  • 20 years old (LoA Lansing/Short-Season Vancouver)
  • Undrafted – 2011
  • Ranked #12 by Baseball America / #10 Baseball Prospectus / #16 MLBPipeline
  • UTR Mention on August 9th
5. LHP Matt Boyd – SP/TPS .081
  • 23 years old (HiA Dunedin/Double-A New Hampshire/HiA Dunedin)
  • 6th round – 2013
  • 4-Time UTR Mention (April 14thApril 25thJune 1stAugust 4th)
  • Boyd was completely off my radar at the end of 2013. His stats were impressive but it was a small sample with 8 appearances ( 5 starts) going 0-3 with a 2.62 ERA and 23 K’s in 24 innings. In researching for my breakout candidates in the Spring, Jay Blue @Jaysfromaway predicted that the left-hander would be on people’s radar in 2014, a prognostication that I dismissed. Jay Blue hit it dead-on, as Boyd had a Taylor Cole-sque season. Pure Domination at HiA striking out 103 in 90.2 innings and only allowing 20 walks. What was most impressive was his Opp. Batting Average of .196 in 16 starts. Like Cole, Boyd took his lumps at Double-A New Hampshire but his stint was longer than Cole’s as he made 10 starts (6.96 ERA).
Top 3 TPS – Relief Pitchers
 
1. LHP Michael Kraft – RP/TPS .062
  • 22 years old (Appy League – Bluefield/Short-Season Vancouver)
  • 37th round- 2014
  • UTR Mention on August 1st
  • Kraft went 21 innings before giving up his first earn run as a pro. He ended the season allowing two earn runs over 30.2 innings with 24 K’s.
2. LHP Francisco Gracesqui – RP/TPS .063
  • 22 years old (Short-Season Vancouver/LoA Lansing)
  • Undrafted – 2011
3. LHP Angel Pedomo – cSR/TPS .068
2014 Breakout Grades
 
The following pitchers were chosen in early March. Their selection was based solely on their previous season’s TPS rating and using the UTRMinors.com criteria for those under the radar.
 
SP Shane Dawson – After posting a K9 rate north of 10.0 during his first two years since being drafted on the 17th round in 2012, I was expecting big things from Dawson in 2014. The left-hander had the top TPS rate (.068) among Blue Jay starting pitchers after the 2013 season. He posted mediocre numbers being going down with an injury after pitching 56 innings with LoA Lansing. Grade D
 
RP Yeyfry Del Rosario – Looked posed for a breakout when he started the season with LoA Lansing. He made 9 appearances and posted a good very good 4:1 K:BB rate and made a UTR Mention on May 21st. He did suffer a undisclosed injury in early May and I’m unsure  if  any lingering effects may have been the reason he was sent to Short-Season Vancouver in mid-June. There, is K-rate improved, but his BB9 rate increased from 2.4 at Lansing to 7.0 with Vancouver in 18 appearances. Grade C+

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