Join Jays From the Couch as we predict candidates to patrol the outfield for the Blue Jays top 4 minor league teams
This offseason the Blue Jays front office utilized the organizational depth in the outfield to improve the infield depth at the major league level. Despite the loss of two outfielders, ranked on many Toronto Blue Jays top prospect list, outfield depth continues to be a strength of the system.
In year’s past, Buffalo and New Hampshire had outfields consisting of career minor leaguers (Melky Mesa), once prized prospects which failed to meet their potential (Junior Lake), and one hit wonders (Domonic Brown). This year the Buffalo Bisons outfield will be constructed mainly from homegrown talent, either currently or previously ranked top prospects.
The talent doesn’t end in Buffalo, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats will benefit from Toronto signing a veteran and true professional Curtis Granderson and trading for Randal Grichuk. The addition of these outfielders created a logjam in the upper minors, pushing Ezequiel Carrera out of town and will prevent movement of several minor leaguers pegged for a promotion in 2018.
Gone are Darrell Ceciliani (unsigned), Michael Saunders (Kansas City Royals), and Derrick Loveless (unsigned). The two outfielder prospects used in trades: J.B. Woodman (St. Louis Cardinals) and Edward Olivares (San Diego Padres).
Before I get started, the glut of outfielders in the systems and a limited number of positions they can fill has created a few ‘tweener’ outfielders. A tweener outfielder can fill two categories:
- Organizational prospect
- Future 4th outfielder candidate
Most affiliates will have five outfield candidates.
Dalton Pompey (25)
The oft-injured, once promising outfielder, is down to his last minor league option. Pompey struggled with baseball activities in 2017 because of a concussion he suffered during last season’s World Baseball Classic. After playing just 13 games between Buffalo and Dunedin, the Mississauga native should see regular at-bats in Buffalo…..if healthy.
Teoscar Hernandez (25)
Teo produced one helluva September. He mashed a bunch of home runs and provided a lot of strikeouts. The former Astros prospect has looked good in a 143 AAA games played and should be the first outfielder called up when the need arises. Hernandez has power, speed, and can play all three outfield positions; unfortunately, there is still a lot of swing and miss in his game.
Anthony Alford (23)
A broken goddam hamate bone completely f’d Alford’s season. What could Alford have accomplished in 2017? How much did that piece of s#$t bone cost Alford in developmental time?
A symptom of a broken hamate bone is decreased power, so don’t be surprised if Alford gets off to a slow start in the HR department. We can expect a good average, 20-ish SB, and close to a .400 OBP.
Roemon Fields (27)
Poor Fields. The speedster has stolen 188 bases over his 442 career games but appears to be labeled as an organizational filler and is now buried behind younger outfielders with better scouting reports. Fields will serve as the Bisons’ 4th/5th outfielder, defensive replacement, and pinch runner.
Dwight Smith Jr. (25)
A longtime favorite of mine. DSJ has no plus tools, with average grades across the board. Smith Jr. produces quality at-bats with a decent OBP (.350), batting average (.273 BA), and extra-base hits (21 doubles). Smith can play both corner outfield positions but fits best in left.
Ian Parmley (28)
Parmely is a very useful minor league outfield. Ian Parmley has put together back-to-back productive seasons. Not sure where he fits into the Blue Jays plans.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Harold Ramirez (23)
You would think setting career highs in 2B, HR, and RBI would equal a promotion, right? Wrong.
Ramirez’ 2017 season was uninspiring. He is still young and has the tools to hit for average and power.
Jonathan Davis (J.D. Davis) (25)
Davis will be returning to NH in 2018. He doesn’t hit for average and has a bit of swing and miss in his game but makes up for it with a lot of hard contact (20 doubles and 10 HR) and on-base (.361 OBP). Davis is a good base runner and will steal another 20 bases in 2018.
Andrew Guillotte (24)
The versatile Guillotte has mostly played CF (120 GP) since being drafted in 2015; however, he has seen time at both corner outfield positions (139 GP), 2nd (23 GP), SS (12 GP), and 3rd (5 GP). Guillotte will use this versatility to get into the lineup.
Connor Panas (25)
Panas finished 2017 with a flurry, posting some of the best numbers in the minors over the final two months. Panas hits for power and can play the corner OF (107 in LF and 85 in RF) and 1st (27 GP). In my opinion, Panas’ best chance at regular at-bats in NH is at 1st. The other question that Panas carries with him into 2018 is whether 2017 was a fluke/hot streak or the new norm for the Toronto native.
D.J. Davis (23)
It’s possible that Davis will be asked to return to Dunedin but should get a chance at Double-A with two seasons of Advance-A under his belt. Davis has always been praised for his raw tools; unfortunately, his development is taking longer than expected. He’s improved as a base stealer but strikes out too much and has seen his ISO fall below .100 since joining the D-Jays in 2016.
Jake Thomas (24)
The former 27th round pick is an OBP machine. He doesn’t hit for much power and plays a tidy outfield, mostly in left. I love what Jake Thomas brings to the table and would play him every day as my #2 hitter; unfortunately, Thomas will likely fill in where ever he is needed.
Dunedin Blue Jays
Joshua Palacios (22)
A pure hitter, Palacios plays the role of leadoff/#2 hitter. He shows excellent gap power (18 doubles and 3 triples) but not much in the HR variety (2 HR). Palacios can play all three outfield positions (LF-12 RF-32 CF-43) but should occupy CF in Dunedin.
Eduard Pinto (23)
A lot like Palacios, Pinto has the potential to hit over .300 with a bunch of doubles. He doesn’t strike out or walk much because he does a very good job of putting the ball in play. He will split his playing time between left and right.
Rodrigo Orozco (22)
Another outfielder with extra-base power, a high batting average, and decent OBP. Orozco quietly put together a productive season in Lansing. The native of Panama will split his playing time between left and right.
Josh Almonte (24)
Gifted with all the tools to be a very good outfielder, Almonte spends too much time on the sidelines/DL. Almonte struggles with pitch recognition resulting in too many strikeouts. If healthy, I expect to see Almonte playing every day with his plus arm in right field.
Nick Sinay (24)
Missing over a month in 2017, Sinay could find himself starting the season in Lansing. With many candidates for Lansing’s outfield expected to begin 2018 in Extended Spring Training, Sinay would benefit from regular playing with the Lugnuts. Regardless of where he plays, Sinay will steal another 20 bases and play LF in ’18.
Brock Lundquist (22)
Brock is more than just a mustache. Lundquist has above-average power potential; unfortunately, a long swing with some holes prevents him from bringing it into games. The right-fielder is one to keep an eye on in 2018.
Chavez Young (20)
The native of Freeport, Bahamas was drafted in the 39th round, looking more and more like a steal. Young has produced two productive seasons with the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield Blue Jays. So far it appears he has the tools to be something special. With just 5 games in Vancouver, Young is expected to challenge for regular playing time in Lansing.
Reggie Pruitt (20)
Pruitt was a very very raw 2015 Draft pick. He has the speed to impact games in the bases and in centerfield. Pruitt is slowly progressing through the system, spending full seasons in the GCL, Appy, and NWL. Pruitt will never hit for power but is starting to display extra-base potential. Reggie may need more time in the NWL but should start the year in Lansing.
Norberto Obeso (22)
After hitting over .300 in 2016 and 2015, Obeso managed to hit just .252 with the Canadians. Obeso produces excellent at-bats, often striking out less than he walks (.364 OBP). At this stage in his development, Obeso reminds me a lot of Jake Thomas. He will likely man left for the Lugnuts.
Ryan Noda (21)
Rumor has it that Noda will continue getting at-bats in RF after playing most of the year at 1st. Noda had an insane rookie season with Bluefield (1.082 OPS and .507 OBP). It’s possible that he will split 1st with Kody Clemens and RF with Brock Lundquist.
Brandon Polizzi (21)
A 2017 late round pick struggled in Vancouver. Likely heading to extended spring training but could get some at-bats in A-ball before short-season gets underway.
Mc Gregory Contreras (19)
Lots of potential and with a strong camp could challenge for a spot in Lansing. My guess is that he will occupy one of the Canadians corner outfielders. He struck out too much in Bluefield and needs to get that under control before graduating to full-season A-ball.
Dominic Abbadessa (20)
Spent 2017 in the GCL. He put up some good numbers but bypassing Bluefield and Vancouver is unlikely. I don’t know much about Dominic but his numbers describe a hitter that can put the ball in play and has the potential to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples with his legs (now that his ankle is fully healed). Abbadessa should be the C’s regular CF in 2018.
Antony Fuentes (22)
Fuentes is entering his 5th season in the Blue Jays minor league system. He put up some good numbers as a member of the Bluefield Blue Jays, splitting his time between left and right. Do the Jays challenge the 22-yr-old with an aggressive A-Ball assignment or continue to let the young man experience Vancouver in 2018?
Freddy Rodriguez (21)
I can remember reading a scouting report back in 2013 which gave Rodriguez rave reviews for his power potential. That power has yet to show itself in the boxscores. Rodriguez missed the last month of 2016 and didn’t play his first game until July 19th, 2017. Once he got into game action, Freddy managed to hit 3 HR in 28 games while batting .308. I can see Rodriguez playing in Lansing and having the same success as Edward Olivares enjoyed….minus the speed element.
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