Join Jays From the Couch, as we review four middle infielders which didn’t make this year’s Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospect List
Every year baseball fanatics put their heads together in an attempt to separate Top Prospects from Organizational Fillers. What should be an easy task, quickly turns into an internal struggle, especially for me. You see I am very very biased when it comes to prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays system. I think they should all be on they should all be on Top Prospect Lists, therefore, I spend more time moving names up and down lists than I should.
It’s due to this internal struggle that I feel obligated to fully inform/introduce the Jays From the Couch readers of potential prospects which don’t show up on our Jays From the Couch 2017 Top Prospect List (link). I can’t list every prospect, that’s crazy. The prospects I’ll cover, either had good years, have appeared on other Top Prospect Lists, or quite simply I think they are worth recognizing.
You can find Part 1 HERE. In part 2 we have a look at an advanced hitting 2nd baseman, a prospect hoping to follow in his dad’s footsteps, a slick-fielding Cuban, and a future top prospect.
After being drafted in 2015 in the 19th round, La Prise only played one game in 2015 and started 2016 on the DL. I might be wrong, but I remember something about a wrist injury. Praised as an advanced hitter La Prise started the year on June 13th with the Lansing Lugnuts.
The 2nd baseman started off strong batting .300 in June but struggled in July. La Prise went from 10/16 BB/K in June to 5/33 BB/K in July. Fortunately, John La Prise was able to rebound in August with a .250 BA and a better 10/27 BB/K.
The cherry on top of an already successful first season came on August 26th when La Prise earned a promotion to Advanced-A Dunedin to close out the season.
.261 BA, 13 doubles, a triple, no HR, 21 RBI, 27/81 BB/K and 5 SB
The 23-yr-old will start 2017 with the D-Jays where he should see regular at-bats at 2nd base. He will need to improve his BB/K ratio before advancing to higher minor league levels but should hit for a higher average in 2017.
Drafted out of Notre Dame in the 5th round in 2016. Biggio started his professional career on June 20th with the Vancouver Canadians going 0-for-3. He followed the oh-for up with a 4-for-4, 2 double showing.
In his first year, Biggio showed an advanced eye at the plate, walking more times than he struck out. He also displayed an advanced feel for hitting with 15 multi-hit games.
During his time with Vancouver Canadians Biggio struggled versus LHP, hitting just .222 versus .304 against RHP. This splits flipped during his limited time in Lansing where he hit .429 against LHP and just .172 against RHP. Clearly, it’s too soon to make any assumptions.
2016 Stats (2 levels)
.273BA, 12 doubles, 3 triples, no HR, 26 RBI, 33/35 BB/K, and 11 SB
The 21-yr-old Texan will start his second season in Lansing and should continue to display an advanced baseball IQ. Don’t expect Biggio to move quickly, as the system has other 2nd basemen ahead of him. This should allow Toronto to slowly develop the young Biggio.
The 22-yr-old Jean Carlos Cardenas was born in Cuban but has spent much of his life in Miami, Florida. Drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 Draft, Cardenas is best known for his fielding and a strong arm.
In two years in the Blue Jays farm system, he hasn’t shown much. He hasn’t shown much power, speed or ability to hit for average which is forcing the coaching staff to use him more and more as a part-time player. This could explain why he failed to start more than 19 games in a month in 2016.
In 13 games Cardenas hit a respectable .273 but followed it up with a horrible .109 BA in 15 May games. He wasn’t able to find much of a groove all season, failing to hit above .241 in the following months.
.206BA, 14 doubles, no triples, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 27/71K and 2SB
A return to Lansing appears to be in the cards. Cardenas will once again be given a chance at being Lansing’s starting shortstop; however, he will be on a short leash if consistency continues to be an issue.
The Blue Jays Top International Free Agent signing of 2013, Gudino (signed for $1.29M). This continued a trend that saw Toronto signing premium position, athletic IFA’s. It seemed to be working Franklin Barreto and Richard Urena finding early success in the Blue Jays farm system.
One of the youngest players in the Northwest League, Gudino just turned 20 in January. Yeltsin Gudino struggled to hit for power as he saw his extra base numbers fall. The slick fielding native of Venezuela showed improved contact and plate discipline in 2016. He got off to a slow start with a .139 June but turned his season around by hitting .247 and .246 in July and August.
Despite his 22 errors, Yeltsin Gudino reacts quickly, reads hops extremely well, and possess a strong arm. Gudino turned 34 doubles while posting a decent .923 fielding percentage in 54 games at short.
.226 BA, 4 doubles, a triple, no HR, 15 RBI, 29/43 BB/K and no SB.
The development of Yeltsin Gudino hasn’t been an exciting journey. Before he was signed and every year since, it has been stated that Gudino needs to add some meat and strength. That hasn’t changed. He’ll never be known as a power hitter; however, with a little more strength, Yeltsin could turn himself into a very good contact hitter.
Yeltsin Gudino should challenge JC Cardenas for playing time in Lansing, but would benefit from an addition year in Vancouver would do him some good.
*Featured Image Credit: Wade Black- JFtC
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