Jays From the Couch continue to review Blue Jays International Free-Agent signings during the Alex Anthopoulos years with a look at the class of 2013
The Blue Jays appeared to be eyeing the International Free-Agent market as a way to build up the farm system. In the past three IFA signing periods the Blue Jays battled the big boys, signing premium Latin American talent away from the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox of the baseball world. That was until the league had to go and screw it all up by introducing new IFA signing guidelines on how team hand out bonuses with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Each teams was given a $2.9 million cap to spend on IFA during the 2012-13 signing period. This didn’t stop the Blue Jays from signing several top international free-agents.
In the previous articles it was necessary to divide signings into three categories, seen below, but none of the signing were traded making the categories pointless.
1. Class of 20xx- these are IFA’s which are either still in developing or are on the Blue Jays 25-man roster
2. No Longer in MiLB- these are IFA’s that are no longer playing baseball in North America or at all
3. Trade Bait- these are IFA’s which have been traded
Class of 2013
SS Yeltsin Gudino (Venezuela)
Gudino was Toronto’s top IFA signing of 2013, hauling in 1.29M. Yeltsin is a slick fielding shortstop whose bat has yet to catch up to his glove. In two years and almost 100GP, Gudino has yet to produce a batting average greater than .200. He hit his only professional HR last year while fielding at .927%. Despite his struggles at the plate Gudino finished the year with the Bluefield Blue Jays.
Expect Gudino will return to Bluefield in 2016 as a 19-yr-old with a lot of potential.
RHP Starlyn Suriel (Dominican Republic)
Baseball considers Suriel short, standing 5’11”. What Starlyn has accomplished in 2 years since being signed is no small task. Signed as a 20-yr-old, Suriel pitched for the Vancouver Canadians and Lansing Lugnuts in 2014. Although he lacks top end stuff, Starlyn shows good command of the strike zone walking 2.5 BB/9 while striking out 5.6 per 9IP. Throws a low 90’s sinking FB, low 70’s curve and low 80’s slider that has potential to be a good pitch.
RHP Francisco Rios (Mexico)
Signed as an 18-yr-old, this 6’1″, 180lb starting pitcher made 12 starts for the short season Vancouver Canadians. He posted a 3-6 record and 4.27ERA. Rios strikes out about 7 batters per 9 innings, but walks are an issue. Rios will head to Lansing in 2016.
OF Freddy Rodriguez (Venezuela)
Freddy has yet to produce numbers indicative of his scouting reports. Freddy is said to have plus power, with a good feel for hitting. In 84 games between the GCL and Appy league, Freddy has hit 4 home runs, walked 24 times while striking out 70 times and hit.235 with .630 OPS. The RHB is just 19-yrs-old and should repeat 2016 with Bluefield.
1B Emmanuel Moreta (Dominican Republic)
The 6’3″ Emmanuel has yet to make his States debut spending his first two years with the DSL Blue Jays. The 21-yr-old shows extra base power with the ability to put the ball in play (.369 and .357 in ’14 and ’15). Moreta should start his year 21 season with the GCL Blue Jays.
LHP Kelyn Jose (Dominican Republic)
Big arm. Big left arm. Kelyn is a power pitcher and stands 6’4″. He throws in mid to high 90’s but has struggled to harness his control. In 15 appearnaces, Jose pitched 25.2 innings allowing 16 walks, striking out 26 and hitting 4 batters with the GCL Blue Jays. The 20-yr-old’s development will take some time but once he figures out how to consistently pound the zone look out.
LHP Jose Nova (Dominican Republic)
Nova made 9 DSL starts in 2015 before heading to the GCL for 3 more plus 2 RP appearances. In 58.2IP, Nova walked 13 and struck out 40 will generating groundballs at a 2.00 GO/AO rate. Jose won 4 and loss 5 with 2.45ERA in 2015. Look for the soon to be 21-yr-old to start the year in Bluefield.
RHP Juan Nunez (Dominican Republic)
The 6’2″ Nunez made his successful transition from the DSL to the GCL in 2015 finishing with a 4-1 record and 1.93 ERA. Nunez earned the win in his first GCL appearance which happened to be a 24 inning affair against the Tigers GCL team. His role is still undefined, but I’d expect him to return to the GCL as starter in 2016.
2nd Miguel Almonte (Dominican Republic)
Almonte struggled in 2015 with the GCL Blue Jays. In the 2014 with the DSL he showed good plate discipline with a solid 21/41 BB/K ratio and 11-out-of 15 stolen base success. He failed to hit over .130 in the GCL and will return there in 2016 figure things out.
3rd Bryan Lizardo (Dominican Republic)
Signed as a 16-year-old, Lizard spent his year 17 season with the GCL Blue Jays. Like Miguel Almonte, Lizardo struggled to hit. In 43 games, Bryan hit .193 with too many strike outs (12/53). A return to the GCL is expected.
SS Jesus Severino (Dominican Republic)
The 18-yr-old Severino also struggled with to find success in the GCL with a .198BA and 13/30 BB/K. Jesus will stick with Almonte and Lizardo in 2016.
RHP Jairo Rasario (Dominican Republic)
I struggle to see any value in 22-yr-olds that have failed to move beyond the DSL in 3 seasons. In 61 appearances over 3 years, Jairo is 4-8 with a 2.64ERA (1.63 in 2015), 60 walks and 96 strike outs over 112.1IP. Walks will kill ya every time. 2016 has to be the year Jairo makes it to the GCL right?
C Manuel Herazo (Colombia)
In 76 games since 2014, Herazo, has shown he can hit DSL pitching with a .270BA with showing he can walk (29BB), but also strike out (62K). The switch hitting 21-yr-old (March 17th) should head to GCL after 2 successful seasons in the DSL.
So far two pitchers, Suriel and Rios, as leading the class of ’13. As a whole this group has left a lot to be desired, but it is way way way too early to discount any of these signings.
*FEATURED IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Trevor Pritchard UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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