Jays From the Couch review the 2016 Opening Day roster for the Florida State League’s Dunedin Blue Jays
The Dunedin Blue Jays will have three of the systems top ranked prospects in starting pitcher Conner Greene, center fielder Anthony Alford, and short stop Richard Urena. This team will have many of the talented prospects that won so many games in Lansing in 2015.
A lot of this teams success will depend on the ability of it’s rotation to stay healthy, as there is a history of Tommy John surgeries with this group.
LHP Ryan Borucki
Loaded with talent, but injures have derailed Borucki development. Ryan pitched just 5.2 innings in 2015. He will skip Lansing and head straight to the Florida State League. Don’t be surprised if he gets off to a slow start.
RHP Tom Robson
The 22-yr-old native of British Columbia made 11 starts in 2015 as he made his way back from Tommy John, which caused him to miss much of 2014. Robson has a live arm and should have better results in 2016.
RHP Conner Greene
One of the systems higher ranked pitchers, Greene turned 21 on April 4th. He started the year in Lansing and ended up in New Hampshire for 5 starts. A bit of a surprise to see Conner be back in Dunedin after posting a 2-3 record and 2.25ERA in 7 starts, but here he is. The Blue Jays new management team appear set on showing more patience with the development of their top prospects. With that said, Conner should see Double-A at some point in 2016.
RHP Justin Shafer
Shafer split his 2015 season between Lansing and Dunedin, struggling mightily in Dunedin and dominating in Lansing. He also split his time between the bullpen and the rotation, getting a chance to start after the trade exhausted the system of many of its LHP. Shafer had a good showing in the Arizona Fall League and hopes to carry that success into the 2016 season
RHP Luis Santos
The 25-yr-old Santos pitched his way to a 6-6 record with a 4.55ERA in 21 games (16 starts) for the 2015 D-Jays. He struggled at time, but managed to strike out 86 in 93IP and allowed 91 hits. Santos should see a full season in the rotation.
LHP Alonzo Gonzalez
A 18th round pick by Toronto in the 2012 draft, the 24-yr-old Alonzo got a chance to start last year after the trade deadline. He made 8 starts for the D-Jays and posted a 1-2 record with a 4.66ERA compared to a 1-3 record with a 4.00ERA in 14 appearances. As a starter, Gonzalez averaged 4.2IP/start, which may have had more to do with being stretched out than his performance. He may get a chance to enter the rotation if one of the aforementioned fragile starters go down.
RHP Adonys Cardona
The 22-yr-old Cardona has electric stuff, but his development has been beset with injuries. He appears healthy and ready to regain his Top Prospect status. Originally thought to be a starter, his future could be at the back end of the bullpen. Stay turned.
RHP Chris Rowley
Chris has fulfilled his commitment to his country and will now attempt to make up some time. Having only pitched 32.2 inning in the Gulf Coast League in 2013, it’ll be interesting to see how Rowley makes out in the FSL.
RHP Gustavo Pierre (7-day DL)
Position player turned pitcher, Gus enters his first full season as a pitcher.
LHP Tim Mayza
The 24-yr-old lefty pitched very well for the Lugnuts in ’15, but will need to decrease his walks (27BB in 55.2IP). His K-rate was higher than 9/IP and did great job keeping the ball on the ground with zero HR allowed and 1.72 GO/AO. This after not having an ERA below 6.75 in his previous two seasons. It’s the minors. Stats mean nothing.
LHP Jose Fernandez
Another solid Lugnut BP arm, Jose Fernandez has steadily risen through the system since 2012. Fernandez converted 12-of-13 saves for the Lugnuts and posted a 1-2 record with a 3.31ERA. Jose showed excellent control of his pitches with 16 walks and 41K’s in 51.2IP.
RHP Brad Allen
Allen got a few starts to start the season before heading to the pen. Allen will provide innings out of the pen with many of his appearances lasting more than one inning.
RHP Carlos Ramirez (7-day DL)
Former outfielder, Ramirez converted to reliever in 2014. Carlos split his time between Lansing and Dunedin in 2015, posting a 2-3 record with a 4.76ERA. He converted 8-of-9 saves in Lansing, while striking out 37 in 39.2IP. Ramirez is still working on limiting the free passes with 24 between two levels. He should help Gus in his quest to becoming a RP.
LHP Matt Dermody
The 25-yr-old Dermody returns Dunedin after posting a 4-1 record with a 4.21ERA in 35 appearances. A long man out the pen, Matt threw 77 innings, allowing 98 hits, only 13 walks, while striking out 62 batters.
The back catchers with be interesting prospect Danny Jansen and Canadian Mike Reeves, and Michael De La Cruz. Jansen should get most of the reps and will be the most fun to watch of the three. He has a good chance to hit a bunch of home run, but will need to make consistent contact and stay healthy. Reeves and De La Cruz backup catchers.
1B Ryan McBroom
McBroom had a monster season with the Lugnuts. I was surprised that he didn’t get moved up to Dunedin last year, because of his age and success at Lo-A. He turns 24 on April 9th and will get his first taste of Hi-A. McBroom has a tough hill to climb with Tellez and Dean ahead of him, but a strong start in the FSL will go a long way to establishing himself as a legit prospect.
3B Mitch Nay
Where is that bat we all expected to see when he was taken in the first round of the 2012 draft? Nay will return to the D-Jays after hitting .243 with only 5 HR in 109 games. Nay is entering his age 22 season and still has plenty of upside, but the clock is ticking.
SS Richard Urena
The talented Urena looked like a different player when he got promoted to Dunedin after mashing 15 HR in Lansing. In 30 games with the D-Jay Richard hit 1 long ball. The 20-yr-old’s aggressive approach at the plate will bite him in the rear this year. Whether he is able to adjust, will be something to keep an eye on as the season.
The 23-yr-old has stalled in A-Ball, playing the past 3 seasons with either the Lugnuts or D-Jays. He struggled in 34 games at Double-A, which could be the reasoning behind having him return in 2016. In 70 games with the D-Jays, Christian hit .293, 16 doubles, 2HR, 28 walks, and 43 K.
Emilio Guerrero, Jason Leblebijian, and Dickie Joe Thon will be the reserves for the D-Jays. Emilio will fill in at 3rd and could see time at short and in the outfield. Leblebijian had a great season in Lansing and with the Canberra Cavalry in the ABL, but struggled during his time in Dunedin. Thon struggled in Dunedin and will battle for AB’s in the infield and outfield.
LF D.J. Davis
21-yr-old Davis has a bounce back season in his second go-round with the Lugnuts. Now he’ll need to show that he can do it in the FSL. Davis has speed to spare, but has yet to realize that he could hit .300 as a slasher. He strikes out too much (119K) and doesn’t walk enough (39BB). He has a ton of skill and potential, but it doesn’t mean a lick if it doesn’t translate in game action.
LF J.D. Davis
Jonathan is an interesting prospect. Interesting because he can’t seem to stay on the field. His 60 games in 2015 was the most of his 3 year career. He appears to have extra base power with good speed. Will likely be the D-Jays 4th outfielder.
CF Anthony Alford
Alford is the Blue Jays most exciting prospect….IMO. He can hit, run, take a walk, and has just one full season of minor league baseball under his belt. I like that management held him back to repeat the year in Dunedin after hitting .302 in 57 games. Alford can force on working on his game rather than putting up numbers to get promoted to the next level. It’s too bad that D-Jays have zero games on MiLB.tv. We can expect Alford in NH after the June Draft.
I expected a breakout season by Loveless in 2015, instead he took a step backwards. Derrick hit .216 with 10 home runs in 118 games with the D-Jays. He also hit 16 doubles and 2 triples, while walking 58 times and striking out 110 times. Here’s hoping the 23-yr-old can bounce back in 2016.
The D-Jays open their season today at 6:30 against Clearwater Threshers Tom Eshelman. The D-Jays have yet to name their starter.
Visit Jays From the Couch every morning to see how the D-Jays fared in the previous game and to keep track of your Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects.
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