Jays From the Couch review the Blue Jays’ minor league infielders who are eligible for this year’s Rule 5 Draft
Baseball’s winter meetings will take place from December 9th to the 13th. The Rule 5 Draft will take place on the last day of the winter meetings. There are several Blue Jays minor league infielders eligible for the draft if not added to the 40-man roster by November 20th.
I don’t see any of the eligible infielders being added to the 40-man roster and I think you’ll agree with this assessment, so this should straightforward.
INF Gunnar Heidt
A valuable organizational prospect, Gunnar spent 2018 with the Double-A Fisher Cats and Triple-A Bisons. Heidt plays all over the field spending time at 1B (44GP), SS (21GP), 2B (23GP), 3B (11GP), and OF (3GP). He batted .239 with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 6 HR, and 34 RBI across two levels (103GP).
INF Nash Knight
The 26-yr-old, like Gunnar, is a valuable organizational prospect. A switch-hitter who isn’t shy about taking a walk (.335 OBP in Dunedin). Nash played every single position on the field in a single game, including pitching. He played 4 games in the OF, 23 games at 1st, 2 games at 2B, 1 at SS and C, and 59 games at 3B. In 110 games between New Hampshire and Dunedin, Knight batted .239 with 14 doubles, a triple, 4 HR, and 45 RBI.
INF Luis Silva
DID NOT PLAY in 2018. The 23-yr-old was placed on the DL on June 8th and re-activated on September 25th.
INF Yeltsin Gudino
Signed as an IFA in 2013, the 21-yr-old spent the last two season bouncing between Advanced-A and A-Ball (Lansing). An excellent defender with good bat to ball skills (32K in 91 GP), Gudino lacks any kind of power (3HR over 356 games). Unless Gudino starts hitting for a better average (.321 BA in Lansing and .238 BA in Dunedin) he will continue to be viewed as just a glove. He spent more time playing 3B (46GP) than any other position, 32GP at 2B, 14GP at SS, and 3 games at 1B. Gudino combined to bat .276 with 9 doubles, 40 RBI, 32 walks, 32 strikeouts, and 7-for-7 in steals.
INF Kevin Vicuna
A 2014 IFA, the 20-yr-old was putting together a very good season with the Lansing Lugnuts until his season ended on July 26th. Vicuna batted .330 in April (20GP), .274 in May (27GP), .258 in June (22GP), and just .187 in July (20GP). He primarily played SS (68GP) but spent time at 2B (12GP), and 3B (2GP). In 89 games, Vicuna batted .266 with 16 doubles, 6 triples, 2 HR, and 37 RBI.
The 24-yr-old was drafted in the 16th round of the 2015 Draft. It looked like Williams was primed for a breakout season in his 2nd go-round in Lansing before his year ended in May. Williams batted .285 with 10 doubles, 4 homers, and 18 RBI in 32 games. He played 17 games at 1B and one game at 3B.
INF Bryan Lizardo
This 21-yr-old was signed in 2013, spending the last three seasons trying to conquer the Short-Season A-Ball. Lizardo played 37 games with the C’s (.268 with 7 doubles, a triple, and 4 HR) before making his Lansing debut in August. In 18 games with the Bolts, Lizardo batted .266 with three doubles and drove in 6 runs. He played 37 games at 3B and 10 games at 1B.
INF Jesus Navarro
The 20-yr-old San Pedro de Macoris native surprised in 2018 batting .288 in 54 games with Lansing Lugnuts after batting just .203 in 52 games in Bluefield in 2017. Navarro was promoted from Vancouver to Lansing on June 26th splitting much of his time between 3B (26GP) and SS (22GP). Navarro has yet to develop much power in his swinging, hitting his first professional home run on July 3rd after 190 games. He didn’t hit another HR in his final 48 games.
INF Jesus Severino
The 21-yr-old from the Dominican Republic spend the year with the Vancouver Canadians batting .270 with 15 doubles, 2 HR, and 19 RBI in 42 games. Severino played 29 games at SS, 4 games at 1B, and 12 at 3B.
INF Sterling Guzman
A nasty collision knocked Guzman out for the final month of the 2017 season, so I’m going to give the 20-yr-old Santo Domingo native a mulligan for the 2018 season. Guzman is a grinder who put up some nice numbers in 2015 with the DSL Blue Jays (.285 with 8 doubles, 7 triples, and 2 HR) and I can remember failing in my attempts to temper expectations. In 49 games with the C’s, Guzman batted .225 with 8 doubles, and 2 home runs while driving in 10 and stealing 6 bases. He 22 games at 1B, 6 games at 2B, and 13 games at 3B.
As for the 40-man roster, the Toronto Blue Jays have a good assortment of infielders but it’s a little crowded at the moment. Aledmys Diaz, Brandon Drury, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Justin Smoak, Rowdy Tellez, Devon Travis, Richard Urena, and even Troy Tulowitzki are currently on the 40-man roster. While trades are rumored to help open up a couple roster spots, they won’t be used on any of the players listed above.
It is important to note, many of the prospects listed above are still very young and raw which make them unattractive to teams during the Rule 5 Draft. This is not an indication of their ability to develop into future major league ball players. Even Gudino, just 21-yr-olds, with some added strength could turn some heads if given a chance to play every day. Playing every day may end up being the biggest problem with some of these prospects. Prospects such as Samad Taylor, Otto Lopez, and Jordan Groshans to name a few as likely to move more quickly through the system.
Featured Pic credit: JFtC Ryan Mueller
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.