Saturday, September 19, 2015

Blue Jays Instructional League Roster and Notes

Chris Rowley
Sportsnet.ca Photo
  
   After a bit of a delay, the Blue Jays have released their Florida Instructional League Roster.

 The FIL began in 1958.  Its purpose is to give the top young prospects in MLB organizations coaching from the top instructors in the system.  Sometimes, players are sent to learn a new position, or to make up for playing time lost to injury.  Players practice in the morning, and play games against other FIL teams in the afternoon. There are no standings kept, and presumably whatever statistics compiled are not released by the teams.

   The delay in releasing the Blue Jays roster may have something to do with the number of Caribbean players on it - there may have been some visa problems, and the club may have wanted to wait until the roster was finalized before releasing it.
   Since there is no media coverage of the games, the best way to follow people who are watching the games on Twitter.
 
   The two most interesting developments on this roster are the inclusion of pitcher Chris Rowley, and IFA Vladimir Guerrero.  Rowley used six weeks of leave to dominate younger hitters in the GCL in 2013 after graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point.  He had to leave before the end of the season to fulfill his five-year commitment to his country, but there was thought at the time that he might be able to receive an exemption this summer.  I'm still trying to track down confirmation of whether or not Rowley was successful in doing so, but his presence on the roster suggests he was.
   Guerrero is the most hyped International Free Agent in Blue Jays history with the possible exception of Frannklin Barreto in 2012.  Scouts are united in their love of his potential impact bat, but there have been suggestions that he lacks the speed and arm to play a corner outfield position.  Listing him at 3rd Base makes one wonder if the Blue Jays have decided on trying to switch him to a corner infield spot.
    Another interesting name on the roster is P Gustavo Pierre, who was a highly touted IFA himself in 2008.  Signed as a Short Stop, he was moved to 3rd, but had largely underachieved before he was dealt for John Mayberry Jr last September.  The Blue Jays re-acquired Pierre this August, and have converted him to a pitcher.
   Norberto Obeso was one of the top hitters in the Dominican Summer League, and it will be interesting to see how he fares against higher competition.
   With the Blue Jays system having had over a dozen of its top prospects traded in the last 10 months, there has been a change in the rankings.  Players like Anthony Alford, Richard Urena, Conner Greene,  and Sean Reid-Foley are now the new wave of Top 10 prospects who will be attending Instructs.
 
   With cheaper fares and slightly cooler weather, it's a good time to travel to Florida, and despite the emptying of the Blue Jays farm system, this roster shows that there's still plenty of talent in the organization.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS
No.
PITCHERS
POS
B/T
HT
WT
2015 Team/Notes
37
Aleton, Wilfri
LHP
L/L
6’3
165
DSL
-signed November/12
-3 yr DSL guy; pitched well in their starting rotation this year
39
Chavez, Guadalupe
RHP
R/R
6’2
150
DSL/GCL
-July/14 signing from Mexico
-pitched in the GCL at 17 this year
38
Diaz, Denis
RHP
R/R
6’3
205
GCL/Dunedin
-Jan/13 signing from Honduras
-decent GCL numbers this year; started 8 games
13
Diaz, Yennsy
RHP
R/R
6’0
161
DSL/GCL
-averaged a K/inning at both stops this year.
59
Espada, Jose
RHP
R/R
6’1
170
GCL
-6th round pick last June
-solid debut season
85
Espinal, Joel
RHP
R/R
6’3
200
DSL
-pitched out of the pen this season; good command
50
Greene, Conner
RHP
R/R
6’3
165
Lansing/Dunedin/New Hamp.
-rocketed up the system this year
-added velo to both his curve and fastball
-one of the system’s rising stars
30
Gutierrez, Osman
RHP
R/R
6’4
185
GCL
-part of the dream IFA class of 2012; from Nicaragua
-finished very strong (192 Opp BA, 22Ks/21 inn in August)
23
Harris, Jon
RHP
R/R
6’4
175
Vancouver
-1st round pick from June had moments of promise but struggled in his pro debut season
22
Higuera, Juliandry
LHP
L/L
6’1
180
Bluefield
-IFA Sept/12 from Venezuela
-skipped the GCL to pitch in the Appy League this year
83
Kelyn, Jose
LHP
L/L
6’4
193
GCL
-IFA July/13
-topped 100 with his FB this year, but has command issues
43
Maese, Justin
RHP
R/R
6’3
190
GCL
-3rd round pick last June
-sits 91-93 with FB, with great command and feel.  Developing promising slider and change.
71
Mayza, Tim
LHP
L/L
6’3
205
Lansing
-2013 12th rounder
-averaged over a K/inning out of Lansing’s bullpen
11
Meza, Juan
RHP
R/R
6’2
177
DSL/GCL
-10th rated IFA last year
-struggled with command and was hit fairly hard in his debut season.
35
Nova, Jose
LHP
L/L
6’1
167
DSL/GCL
-July/13 IFA
-K’d 7 batters in a game twice this year.
43
Nunez, Juan
RHP
R/R
6’2
185
DSL/GCL
-July/13 IFA
-pitched well out of the GCL Jays’ bullpen in August.
80
Perdomo, Angel
LHP
L/L
6’6
198
Bluefield/Vancouver
-Nov/11 IFA
-has been brought along slowly, but broke out this year; 31Ks in 21 IP with Vancouver.
-on the cusp of being a Top 10 prospect
60
Pierre, Gustavo
RHP
R/R
6’2
183
GCL
-originally signed as an IFA in 2008; traded to Phillies Sept/14, reacquired and converted from If to P last month.
64
Reid-Foley, Sean
RHP
R/R
6’3
216
Lansing/Dunedin
-2nd round pick in 2014
-started at Lansing, promoted to Dunedin in July.
-125 Ks in 96 innings
26
Rios, Francisco
RHP
R/R
6’1
180
Vancouver
-2012 IFA from Mexico
-has moved quickly; pitched in the NWL at 20.
77
Robson, Tom
RHP
R/R
6’4
210
Lansing
-2011 4th rounder from Ladner, BC
-Tommy John surgery May/14; returned to action in July
-has regained former velocity; 35 Ks in 36 IP this year.
84
Rodriguez, Dalton
RHP
R/R
6’1
180
Bluefield
-Aug/12 signing from Mexico
-pitch-to-contact guy
49
Rodriguez, Hansel
RHP
R/R
6’2
170
GCL
-201-3 IFA
-pitched in the GCL at 18
36
Rowley, Chris
RHP
S/R
6’2
200
Military
-2013 non-drafted FA
-dominated the GCL as a 23 yr old in 2013; West Point Grad - may have been successful in being released from his commitment.
35
Sanchez, Luis
RHP
R/R
6’4
200
GCL/Bluefield
-2013 IFA
34
Saucedo, Tayler
LHP
L/L
6’5
185
Bluefield/Vancouver
-21st rounder last June
-pitched well at two levels; 31K in 35.2 IP at Vancouver.
63
Smith, Evan
LHP
R/L
6’6
205
Vancouver
-2013 4th rounder
-one level at a time guy so far
-gave up some contact (63 H in 49 IP) this year
-yet another of those long, lean, athletic lefties the organization covets.
25
Young, Daniel
LHP
L/L
6’3
200
Vancouver
-8th rounder last June
-Opp BA of .394 (.435 vs RH) this year
No.
CATCHERS
POS
B/T
HT
WT
2015 Team
19
Kelly, Juan
C
S/R
5’10
205
Vancouver/Lansing
-IFA Jan/12
-has a bat that will play, but there are questions about his ultimate position.
16
Jansen, Dan
C
R/R
6’2
230
Lansing
-16th rounder 2013
-missed huge chunks of last two seasons with injuries; needs to play
-good pitch framer and blocker of balls in the dirt already
-org thought enough of him to have him catch Stroman’s Lansing start
33
Hissey, Ryan
C
L/R
6’0
200
GCL/Vancouver
-14th round pick in June
-hit well at two levels; usually hit 3rd or clean up for Vancouver
15
Spiwak, Owen
C
L/R
6’2
195
GCL
-GTA product; 10th round pick last June
-decent numbers in his first pro season
21
Morgan, Matthew
C
R/R
6’2
195
Bluefield
-2014 4th rd pick has yet to find himself at the plate (.139/.218/.441 in two pro seasons, almost a 50% K rate)
-lauded for his tools, but has had a rough go of things so far
20
Hernandez, Javier
C
R/R
6’1
180
GCL
-already earning rave reviews for his D; hit tool is a work in progress
No.
INFIELDERS
POS
B/T
HT
WT
2015 Team
8
Urena, Richard
SS
L/R
6’0
185
Lansing/Dunedin
-July/12 IFA
-best IF prospect in the organization
-showed surprising pop (16 HR) this year, but needs to improve BB/K’s - 16:110
-needs to hit LHP better
-MLB-ready with the glove.
44
McBroom, Ryan
1B
R/L
6’3
235
Lansing
-2014 15th rounder
-Midwest League MVP
-part of a logjam of IB/DHs in the organization.  
50
Atkinson, Justin
UTL
R/R
6’1
211
Vancouver/Lansing
-26th rd pick, 2011
-played 1B/C/3B this year
2
Wise, Carl
3B
R/R
6’2
210
Bluefield/Vancouver
-4th rounder from June hit .235/.273/.310 between two levels
7
Cardenas, JC
SS
S/R
6’1
190
Vancouver
-6th round pick struggled at the plate (.179/.316/.257) in his pro debut
18
Williams, Christian
1B/3B
L/R
6’3
210
Bluefield
- 16th rounder hit .220/.285/.318
51
Gudino, Yeltsin
SS
R/R
6’0
150
Bluefield
-prized 2013 IFA from Venezuela is a defensive wizard, but the the hit tool is yet to show up in two pro seasons
6
Barreto, Deiferson
2B
R/R
5’10
165
Bluefield
-2011 IFA from Venezuela is no relation to Frankie
-.296/.360/.386 over 4 pro seasons
46
Severino, Jesus
SS
L/R
6’1
175
DSL/GCL
-2013 IFA
-described as having soft hands and a plus arm, despite below average speed
-struggled at the plate with GCL Jays
6
Lizardo, Bryan
3B
S/R
6’1
185
GCL
-2013 IFA
-has drawn good reviews for his bat in the past, but hit .193/.255/.250 in his first year of stateside ball in 2015.
53
Vicuna, Kevin
SS
L/R
5’11
140
DSL
-2014 IFA; 30th ranked Int. prospect
-slick-fielder, hit well in DSL despite his glove being ahead of his bat at this point
27
Guerrero, Vladimir
3B
R/R
6’1
200
Signed for 2016
-#1-ranked Int IFA in 2015.
-interesting to see him listed at 3rd; scouts have expressed concerns about his speed/range - are the Jays trying to convert him to a corner IF?
-his bat will play
No.
OUTFIELDERS
POS
B/T
HT
WT
2015 Team
9
Alford, Anthony
OF
R/R
6’1
215
Lansing/Dunedin
-2012 3rd pick
-gave up college football last fall, and has had a dizzying past calendar yr: 2014 Instructs, Aussie League, MLB spring training, Lansing, MWL All Star Game, Dunedin.
-Top 100 prospect
17
Almonte, Joshua
OF
R/R
6’3
195
Lansing
-2012 22nd round pick
-struggled in first half of his first shot at full season ball; missed time with injury; hit .316/.360/.532 in August
23
Davis, DJ
OF
L/R
6’1
185
Lansing
-2012 1st rounder
-repeated Lansing, and showed improved pitch recognition, and some of his base-stealing speed began to shine through
4
Fuentes, Antony
OF
R/R
5’11
160
DSL
-2013 Int FA
-294/.343/.396 line this year.
1
Guillotte, Andrew
OF
R/R
5’8
170
Bluefield/Vancouver
-32nd round pick in June
-hit mostly leadoff for Vancouver; 17-21 SB
69
May, Kalik
OF
S/R
6’2
205
GCL
-33rd round pick last June
-hit .261/.376/.406
-a bit old (22) for the GCL
84
McKnight, DJ
OF
L/R
5’11
190
Bluefield
-12th round pick last June
-hit 3/4/5 in Bluefield’s order
60
Obeso, Norberto
OF
L/R
6’0
172
DSL
-2014 IFA (Mexico)
-4th in DSL in batting average, 1st in hits, 2nd in BB, .897 OPS
3
Olivares, Edward
OF
R/R
6’2
170
GCL
-2013 IFA (Venezuela)
-struggled at the plate in his first year of stateside play
4
Pruitt, Reggie
OF
R/R
6’0
173
GCL
-surprise signing after being picked in 24th rd in June
-after a good start (.288 July), tailed off in August (.161)
-15-17 SB
5
Rodriguez, Freddy
OF
L/R
6’1
180
Bluefield
-ranked the 18th IFA in 2013
-lauded for his approach at the plate, but has struggled in two pro seasons

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