Jays From the Couch continues counting down our 2016 Blue Jays Top Prospects with Pt 2 of our Honorable Mentions.
To kick off our inaugural Top Prospects List, Ryan Mueller looked at a couple of Honorable Mentions in Angel Perdomo and Hansel Rodriguez. This time around we profile a couple of guys who you have likely heard of, one of whom might be a long shot to join the big league club’s bullpen in 2016.
Andy Burns is a 25 yr old infielder who spent the bulk of his 2015 season with the AAA Buffalo Bisons. Drafted in 2011 by the Blue Jays, he’s seen his progress slow down over the last couple of seasons. Chad Girodo was drafted in 2013 and has had some success as he rose all the way to AAA last season. He also had a good fall in the Arizona Fall League.
DOB: Aug 7th, 1990
Bats: R Throws: R
After rising rather steadily from 2011 through 2013, Burns has seen his ascent to the big leagues slow down in pace. After rising 4 levels in 3 seasons, he’s spent the last 2 between AA New Hampshire and AAA Buffalo. And that is exactly how 2015 played out for him. He started in AA for just 6 games and ended up putting in what amounts to a full season for the Bisons.
In 126 games, he slashed .293/.351/.372 proving himself capable with the bat. His power took a dip in Buffalo, though. He hit 4 HR with an ISO of .079 when in the previous 2 seasons, he managed a .176 and .143 respectively. Despite the power drop, his skills with the bat were fairly impressive in that he managed 140 knocks with a K rate of 13.1% and a walk rate of 7.2%, which led to a wRC+ of 112, a mark that is higher than his previous, less powerful seasons. To follow this up, it should be noted that he managed a higher GO/AO (ground outs to air outs) mark (1.31). Hitting the ball on the ground more may have benefited him a bit more, or vice versa as his BABIP sat at .335. Burns also hit .328 vs lefties and .280 vs righties.
Defensively speaking, Burns showed off his versatility and saw 62 innings in the outfield, which resulted in no errors. But, it was his time at third and second that really showed off his range. He made 1 error at 2B and 8 at 3B. His range also came in handy when filling for 112 innings at first base.
Burns will likely start the 2016 season in Buffalo. His versatility and ability to make contact will prove to be quite useful. This will help his position on the Blue Jays depth charts. This is not to say that that he’ll be first in line for a promotion to the big league club. With Josh Donaldson, Devon Travis, Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney ahead of him, he’s got to have a lot of things go in his favor.
DOB: Feb 6, 1991
Bats: L Throws: L
It is usually not a good sign when a prospect is relegated to reliever duty. The guys the organization are really high on tend to start and see more time. Girodo is one of those who have been relieving since he entered the Blue Jays’ system. Since 2013, he’s had but one start. He’s never thrown more than 72 innings in a season. 2015 was no exception.
Girodo got in 60 innings of work as he worked his way from Dunedin through New Hampshire and finally to Buffalo. In fact, it wasn’t until Buffalo that he really seemed to experience any kind of difficulty. His ERA in Dunedin was a crisp 1.32 going 2-2 in 20 games. He finished 10 of those and struck out an impressive 32 in 27 innings and walked just 4. He was promoted to New Hampshire where he was even better. His ERA in 29 innings was an attention grabbing 0.62. He struck out 23 in AA and walked just 2.
When he hit Buffalo, Girodo experienced his first bit of difficulty. However, it is too easy to make too much out of 4 innings of work, so we should not read anything into his 6.75 ERA. That is especially true when you consider that he went into the Arizona Fall League and had only given up 2 earned runs in 10 innings of work. He struck out 7.
If anything, the knock on Girodo is that he catches too much of the plate. His walk totals are nice because they indicate command. But, when you give up a fair share of hits (as indicated by his 7.3 H/9 in 2015 over the 3 levels), you’re flirting with disaster. It’s the reason his WHIP is 0.961 when his walk totals are low and his whiff totals are high.
Girodo is an intriguing lefty arm that comes from a side arm angle. He’s tough on lefties, which may make him a valuable asset as he moves forward. All of this makes me excited to see how he does in Spring Training. He would have to blow the roof off much like Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna did last year to earn a legit shot at cracking the big league roster. But, if he can prove that 2015 was no fluke, he may force the Blue Jays into a decision for their bullpen. More than likely, though, he’ll head to Buffalo and work on less contact. IF he can master this, we may see him in Toronto in 2016.
Stay tuned for the rest of our Honorable Mentions in our 2016 Top Prospects List as we get closer to counting down the Blue Jays’ bright future.
Thank you for visiting Jays From the Couch! Check us out on Twitter @JaysFromCouch
Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.