Saturday, April 13, 2013

Slim Pickings in System for Reyes' Replacement

 To be honest, I had gone to bed early, skipping the end of the Jays-Royals game for a few extra hours of sleep, when I checked my Twitter feed one last time before turning out the light.....
  I didn't know that many psuedo medical professionals stayed up to watch and tweet the Jays games. My feed had exploded with reactions (many of them unprintable) to an apparent injury to SS Jose Reyes. A number of instant diagnoses were offered.
  By now, we've all seen countless replays of  Reyes' awkward slide into 2nd.  And while many members of Blue Jays Nation are gnashing their teeth and offering their prognoses on Twitter, the injury does underscore the lack of major-league ready (or close to it) talent in the higher levels of the Minors.
    Adeny Hechevarria, of course, would've been the heir-apparent a year ago, but after a brief apprenticeship with the parent club was shipped off in the blockbuster Miami deal.  That leaves Buffalo shortstop Ryan Goins and New Hampshire's Kevin Nolan as the top prospect candidates.   Goins, at 25, has likely reached his ceiling, and profiles more as a utility player if he reaches the bigs.  Richard Griffin of the Star doesn't believe that Goins can be trusted with the everyday defensive duties of shortstop after watching him play this spring.  Nolan, a hometown Nashua boy, has hit reasonably well at every minor league stop, but he, too, is 25, and has likely crossed the line from prospect to suspect.
   At the lower levels of the system, of course, it's too soon to get a read on most of the Jays' shortstop prospects.  One who is intriguing, and has already cracked many top 20 Jays Prospects lists is Venezuelan Franklin Barreto, who was regarded as the best available international free agent last summer (signed for $1.45 million), but is only 17, and likely destined for the Coast League and perhaps Bluefield of the rookie-level Appalachian league this summer, and is still a number of years away.  Nonetheless, Barreto has drawn rave reviews already, and is a prospect to watch.
   As is the case with most sprains, the swelling in Reyes' ankle likely made a diagnosis based on an MRI after the game difficult.  A more likely scenario is that it will take another week to ten days before the extent of the inury (and how long Reyes will be out) can be determined.  As a probable stop gap measure, the Jays called up veteran Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki from Buffalo after the injury.  Kawasaki has won several Gold Gloves in Japan, and hit .192 with Seattle last year.
   Once the length of Reyes' absence can be determined, the Jays may part with a surplus minor league outfielder (Moises Sierra, Kevin Pillar, Kenny Wilson) to obtain a stopgap shortstop with a better bat.

Post a Comment