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 2014
In Blue Jays Latin American Presence: 2014 Pt1, I reviewed the signings of Hansel Rodriguez, Edward Olivares, Francisco Rodriguez and Norberto Obeso. In this article, Pt2, I will be reviewing the International Free Agent signings made between January 2015 and July 1st 2015 to conclude the 2014 signing period.
Class of 2014 Pt2
RHP Yennsy Diaz (Dominican Republic)
Diaz status as a prospect took a huge jump in 2015, as he posted a 3-3 record with 1.93ERA with the DSL Blue Jays before heading to the GCL for 5 appearances. During his time in the GCL Yannsy went 1-1 with 4.74ERA with 19K’s in 19.0IP. Yennsy throws a high 90’s fastball, curve and change which show average potential at 19-yrs-old.
RHP Jose Agrinzones (Venezuela)
The 6’3″ 175lb Jose made his professional debut on June 3rd, allowing 2ER on 3 hits, 2BB and strike out in 0.2IP. He was used sparingly in 2015 with 3 appearances in June, 3 more in July, and his final start coming on August 7th with one shutout inning. Jose allowed 4 runs in two June innings, but didn’t allow any runs in 4.1IP July and August appearances. A return to the DSL in 2016 seems likely for the 18-yr-old pitcher.
RHP Joel Espinal (Dominican Republic)
The 6’2″ 185lb Dominican had a successful first year as a member of the DSL Blue Jays. In 19 games he made 4 starts, pitched 53.2 innings while walking 19 and striking out 46 as an 18-yr-old. Joel also converted 2 saves to go along with a 1-2 record and 2.18ERA.
RHP Alvaro Galindo (Colombia)
The 18-yr-old Alvaro had a very successful professional debut with 2-0 1.82ERA with 3 saves in 4 chances as a 17-yr-old. The 6’2″ Colombian pitched 34.2 innings striking out 31 while holding opponents to a .206 batting average.
RHP Tommy Henriquez (Dominican Republic)
Tommy is a 6’0″ 173lb RHP that went 1-1 with a 4.30ERA while showing good command with 9/25 BB/K. Tommy allowed 3HR and opponents hit .304 off him.
RHP Juan Meza ( Venezuela)
More was expected from Meza in his first professional season, signing for $1.6M. Aggressively assigned to Bluefield making his debut on June 26th. He allowed 6 runs over his next two appearances on July 2nd and 8th. Meza got demoted to the DSL after walking 4 batters in 2 innings on July 14th. Considered a strike thrower, Meza struggle to control the strike zone with 22/29 BB/K in 30.2IP. At 18-yrs-old, Meza will like return to the DSL in 2016 to work on repeating his release point. Meza has a strong lower half, throws a low 90’s FB, low-80’s change and curve.
RHP Wilton Mueses (Dominican Republic)
Signed on June 11, 2015, Mueses made his professional debut on July 29th for the DSL Blue Jays pitching one inning, walking one, striking out 2 and no-hitting the DSL Reds. Control appears to be an issue for the 20-yr-old, as he walked 11 batters in 6IP, but also struck out a batter an inning.
LHP Elio Silva (Venezuela)
No signing date that I can find but Elio made his debut on June 1st making him a 2014 signing. The 20-yr-old Silva made 5 appearances in June, going 1-1 with a 1.62ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 16.2IP. He struck out 16 batters and walked 4 while allowing 12 hits. The 5’11 160lb lefty didn’t make another appearance after June 24th.
RHP Ruben Ventura (Dominican Republic)
Like Elio, Ruben has no signing date that I could find but made his pro debut on June 4th making him a 2014 signing. He made 4 appearances in June, none in July, and 3 in August. In his 7 relief appearance Ventura went 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Ruben converted one save, struck out 24 and walked 6 while registering one HB and holding opponents to just .137BA. His success may be attributed to his age, 21-yrs-old, and the league DSL.
C Andres Guerra (Venezuela)
Hey look a position player, Guerra is a 5’11 175lb 18-yr-old who played 23 games in the DSL. Andres struggled, hitting .146 with 2 doubles, 10BB, and 12Ks. He only starter 7 games, being used as a late inning replacement. A return to the DSL should be expected.
1B/C Yorman Rodriguez (Venezuela)
Not the same Yorman Rodriguez as the one in the Cincinnati Reds organization, Toronto’s Yorman dominated the DSL in 2015. Rodriguez had 95 TB with 9 doubles, 5 triples, 2 HR, 20 walks in 61 games, which he split between 1st and C. He struck out 17 times and stole 12 bases. Yorman’s dominate play could explain why Andres lack of playing time. The 18-yr-old should get a shot at the GCL in 2016.
SS Anderson Green (Dominican Republic)
Believe me, Anderson Green is from Dominican Republic….I double checked. Big for a middle infielder, Anderson stands 6’1″ 170lbs and just turned 19 on January 2nd. He only played 8 games, 4 in July and 4 in August. Green hit .333 with 3RBI, a walk and 3K’s in limited playing time. He’s in line for more playing time in 2016 as other, profiled later in this article should advance to Bluefield and/or the GCL.
3B/2B Sterling Guzman (Dominican Republic)
Listed as a SS, Guzman played 55 games at 3rd and 9 games at 2nd. At 5’11 and limited power potential, Guzman will end up at the keystone, rather than sticking at the hot corner. He hit 8 doubles, 7 triples and 2HR in 65 games. He also walked 37 times and struck out 46 times with 9 SB and did a great job putting the ball in the air (2.87 GO/AO). He just turned 18 in February, so it’s possible that he returns for another season in the DSL but with these stats, I won’t rule out starting the year in the GCL.
INF Jesus Navarro (Dominican Republic)
Ben Badler describes Navarro as having ‘high baseball IQ’ a ‘line-drive stroke’ and would ‘benefit from additional strength’. Navarro played all over the infield with 8 games at 3rd, 16 games at SS and 47 games at 2nd. In 67, Jesus hit .250 with 5 doubles, 2 triples while demonstrating a good eye at the plate with 33/40 BB/K. Another grinding type INF, Jesus turned 18 in January and stands 5’11. A return to the DSL is likely.
SS Kevin Vicuna (Venezuela)
Much like Yeltsin Gudino, Vicuna’s glove is well ahead of his bat. Kevin is 6’0″ and weighs more than his listed 140lb. He played 50 games at SS and hit a decent .268 with 3 doubles and 3 triples while walking 17 times and striking 29 times. Kevin was said to have average speed which allowed him to steal 10 bases. Toronto may choose to be patient with Kevin, rather than rushing him like they’ve done with Gudino; therefore, a return to the DSL in ’16 can be expected.
OF Victor Figuereo (Dominican Republic)
Victor appeared in 19 games, 17 in CF. He struggled to make contact, striking out 24 times in 48AB while batting .146. He did hit 2 HR and stole 3 bases. Turning 19-yrs-old in May Figuereo should return to the DSL.
To say it’s too early to call the class of 2014 a success or failure is like saying Donald Trump is a little d-bag. That is, both statement are of the understatement variety. Some arm have already impressed scouts as being potential power pitchers, while some infielders have posted some good numbers in the DSL. This means nothing if they fail to carry this success to the next level…..another understatement.
*FEATURED IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Trevor Pritchard UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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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.