Join Today! Become A Baseball America Insider
Use the options to filter your search.
One of the youngest players in the 2010 draft, Sanchez was the 34th overall pick and signed for a below-slot $775,000 bonus. He paid immediate dividends, as just months after the draft in instructional league, his velocity jumped from 93-94 mph to 97. An above-average athlete, the 6-foot-4 Sanchez has long limbs and a wiry, angular build that will accommodate additional strength gains. Toronto has been careful with his workload, and Sanchez was limited to 22 games and 86 innings in the 2013 regular season after missing more than a month with shoulder discomfort. He started six times in the Arizona Fall League and had the second-highest strikeout rate (24 percent) of any pitcher with more than 20 innings, showcasing his potential. Sanchez has standout stuff and is lauded as an intelligent student of the game with a quiet aggression on the mound. His heavy fastball can sit 93-98 mph with plus life. It explodes out of his hand with smooth and effortless arm action. He throws a four-seamer with above-average cutting action to his glove side and increased the use of a two-seamer to his arm side. Sanchez induces groundballs at a high rate, as his 2.34 groundout/airout ratio was the second-best mark of any high Class A Florida State League pitcher with 80 or more innings. His curveball has plus potential with tilt and depth. TrackMan data from the AFL indicated his breaker's spin rate is 21 percent higher than the major league average. Sanchez has a tendency to get on the side on the pitch, creating slider tilt and a large velocity discrepancy. His changeup is currently an average offering but has plus potential with late tumble and fade. Despite his easy arm action, Sanchez has posted below-average control numbers. His delivery underwent a transformation this season, as he had a tendency to miss up and arm side, getting under his pitches. The organization shortened his stride length in order to have him work over the ball more with greater downhill plane. This made his arm action more compact and consistent. If he can maintain his plane to the plate, Sanchez could increase his stride length. He cut his walk rate (11.1 percent) in 2013, but it was still 31 percent higher than the FSL average. He walked more hitters (14.3 percent) out of the stretch than he struck out (13.6 percent) in 2013. In his 20 healthy regular season starts, he averaged just more than four innings per outing. To reach his ceiling as a No. 2 starter, Sanchez will have to improve his control and increase his workload. But few pitchers in the minors can match his ceiling and pure talent. If he can't show the control to start, he has the stuff to become a high-leverage reliever. He likely will start 2014 at Double-A New Hampshire.
A premium athlete, Stroman became Duke's first-ever first-round pick in 2012, signing for $1.8 million. He tested positive for an amphetamine in August 2012, and his 50-game suspension stretched into the 2013 season. He fell one out short of qualifying for the ERA title in the Double-A Eastern League, which he would have led in strikeout percentage (28.1 percent) while finishing second in SO/BB ratio (4.80). With a strong, compact build and quick-twitch athleticism, Stroman maintains plus stuff. He brandishes a heavy fastball at 92-95 mph with above-average movement. He has an out-pitch in his plus upper-80s slider, a plus cutter that can touch the low 90s and an average changeup that flashes plus potential. He varies the shape of his offspeed offerings. Staying on top of the baseball has been key to getting better downhill plane, and so has softening his landing, which allows him to get over his front side better and limits him spinning off to the first-base side. He shuts down the opposition's running game and is an exceptional defender. Stroman likely will begin 2014 at Triple-A Buffalo but could reach Toronto during the season. Since 1960, just two righthanders 5-foot-9 or shorter (Tom Phoebus and Tom Gordon) have more than 30 career major league starts. If Stroman does not defy the odds and become at least a No. 3 starter, then he could be a high-end late-game reliever.
One of the youngest players in the 2012 draft, Davis was the first of five picks the Blue Jays made before the second round. His father Wayne, also an outfielder, played in the organization from 1985-88. Davis has the highest ceiling of any position player in the system, offering impact potential at a premium position. Davis has a lean, wiry build with good strength in his hands and forearms, quick-twitch athleticism and top-of-the-scale speed. He has plus range in center field and could become a plus defender. He has natural strength and leverage in his swing, producing plus raw power from the left side. He has above-average bat speed, and Davis could hit 15-20 home runs at his peak. His hit tool and overall game remain raw, however, and he has struggled to make consistent contact. His aggressive approach and limited breaking ball recognition led to strikeouts in nearly 30 percent of plate appearances at Rookie-level Bluefield. Davis, who has a below-average arm, will need to improve his outfield reads and game awareness, and learn to use his speed on the bases more efficiently, as he stole bases at a below-average rate of 62 percent. Davis is a high-ceiling talent who will take time to develop. He should get his first taste of full-season ball in 2014 at low Class A Lansing.
The grandson of Lou Klimchock, who played in the big leagues over parts of 12 seasons, Nay signed for $1 million in 2012 but broke his foot before playing that summer. He showed above-average hitting and power potential in 2013 and was MVP of the short-season Northwest League playoffs. With a large frame and strong build, Nay has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order hitter with power and on-base ability. In extended spring training, he raised his hitting load, got rid of his bat waggle and shortened his stride, shortening his swing path. Nay has bat speed and quick hands and makes hard contact to all fields. Scouts praise his contact ability, up-the-middle approach and ability to drive the ball to right field. He could be an above-average hitter to go with his 70-grade raw power. Nay, who has a plus arm, is a below-average runner with adequate range but good hands at third base. He led Rookie-level Appalachian League third basemen with 17 errors, and improving his lateral quickness and pre-pitch setup will be key for him to remain at the position. Nay's advanced approach should earn him a spot at low Class A Lansing for 2014. If he moves off third, he moves well enough to try right field.
With a track record of performance in international tournaments, Barreto was one of the most decorated Venezuelan players ever and one of the top international talents available in 2012. He signed for $1.45 million and made his stateside debut in 2013, earning a promotion to the Rookie-level Appalachian League for 15 games. Barreto has the tools to be an above-average hitter, with above-average bat speed, quick hands and a line-drive stroke. He is an aggressive, righthanded hitter with good pitch recognition and drives the ball to right field well. He has natural strength, a physical upper body and good natural leverage in his swing that could allow him to hit double-digit home runs and plenty of doubles. With athleticism, plus speed and a plus arm, Barreto is an up-the-middle player, though his long-term defensive destination is not determined. Currently a shortstop, he lacks elite defensive actions and footwork, but he will be given every opportunity to stay at short. Barreto has the potential to hit at the top of a lineup and become an impact regular. He likely will start 2014 in extended spring training, then return to the Appy League as an 18-year-old. He may wind up at second base or in center field if he moves out of the infield.
The Blue Jays had seven of the first 78 picks in the 2011 draft, and while Norris was the sixth selection, he got the largest signing bonus at $2 million, which also was the most for any prep lefthander that year. He has moved slowly due to mechanical alterations and missed much of June 2013 with forearm tightness, then was substantially better after his return as the changes took hold. Norris' strong second half at low Class A Lansing in 2013 is a testament to his plus athleticism. He made several alterations to his stride that made his arm slot more consistent and improved his direction to the plate, whereas in the past he threw severely across his body and had a very stiff front leg. The differences were dramatic to scouts and his stat line, as he doubled his SO/BB ratio (3.4) in the second half. His release point became more consistent and his 91-95 mph fastball with above-average movement got greater downhill plane. His changeup became a more consistent plus offering to complement his plus mid-80s slider. His curveball, which had a large velocity separation, added power, flashing above-average. He still throws across his body some, and his command will have to improve. Norris, who should open 2014 at high Class A Dunedin, needs to show he can go deeper into games with imroved strike-throwing ability to reach his No. 3 starter ceiling.
A heralded amateur who starred at international tournaments and showed mid-90s velocity as a 15-year-old, Osuna signed with the Blue Jays for $1.5 million in 2011. The nephew of former big league reliever Antonio Osuna, Roberto entered 2013 as the youngest player in the low Class A Midwest League and got off to a tremendous start, striking out 35 percent of hitters with a 7.8 SO/BB ratio, before missing a month with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He returned to make five starts but had Tommy John surgery in July. Osuna showed a 92-96 mph fastball featuring plus life from a quick, loose arm action with minimal effort. He has feel for a plus changeup. His slider, which has heavy two-plane break, has been inconsistent but shows plus potential. He has an advanced feel for pitching and showed the potential for plus control. With a large frame and burly build, Osuna's physique warrants monitoring, but he has responded well to instruction, shedding a significant amount of weight entering the 2013 season and getting significantly stronger in his lower half and core. In the wake of Tommy John surgery, Osuna's age buoys his prospect status. He could see some 2014 action, but it would be limited. Osuna, who profiles as a No. 3 starter, should be healthy for 2015, when he will be 20.
The Jays signed Tirado for $300,000 in 2011 as part of a deep international crop. He had the highest upside of any pitcher on a deep Rookie-level Bluefield pitching staff in 2013, and he helped pitch the club to the Appalachian League playoffs. The athletic Tirado is an unrefined pitcher whom scouts can dream on because he has some of the most electric stuff in the lower minors. He has a thin, wiry build, long limbs and a loose arm that is lightning quick, and the ball explodes out his hand. His fastball sat 92-96 mph with late life and touched 98, and he is working a sinker into game action. Tirado has two sliders, the harder of which (high 80s) could become a true swing-and-miss offering that is at least plus. He can get around on his sliders, causing them to flatten. His changeup is ahead of his breaking ball, which some believe has the higher long-term ceiling and plus potential. Both offspeed pitches improved substantially in 2013. Tirado has below-average command, with a tendency to overthrow, and has trouble staying on line to the plate, rushing his delivery and lacking balance at release. Tirado has No. 2 starter upside if he can maintain his electric stuff over extended innings and refine his delivery. He has a chance to earn a spot in the low Class A Lansing rotation in 2014.
The Jays had the second-largest expenditure ($7.57 million) during the 2011 international signing period, and Lugo was one of three seven-figure signings ($1.3 million). He led Rookie-level Bluefield in home runs (six), hitting .297/.317/.469 to earn a promotion to short-season Vancouver. An above-average athlete, Lugo is a natural, pure hitter with supreme hand-eye coordination, feel for the barrel and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He had the third-lowest strikeout rate of any Appalachian League teenager (13.9) in 2013, which leads scouts to project him to be an above-average hitter. Lugo has surprising power that could enable him to hit more than 20 home runs annually. His see-ball, hit-ball approach leaves him impatient, walking in 2.2 percent of plate appearances in 2013. Lugo excels at driving balls on the inner half but has struggled at times with pitches on the outer half. Defensively, he has good, dependable hands with smooth actions at shortstop. His arm is plus, but he's a fringy runner. While he has worked diligently to improve his lateral quickness and range, Lugo may fit better at third base long-term than at short. He will compete for a spot at low Class A Lansing but could return to Vancouver in 2014.
In the first draft for the current regime, Toronto got good value in the sixth round, signing Nolin for $175,000. He has lost bad weight, especially from his lower half and core, since signing and has moved quickly. After starting the 2013 season late with a groin injury, he made an unsuccessful spot start in the majors in May, returned to Double-A New Hampshire and earned a late promotion to Triple-A Buffalo. Nolin offers a true four-pitch mix with above-average command, and he's capable of locating to all quadrants of the zone. He pitches with average fastball velocity, although can he reach back for a 95 mph four-seamer. Nolin creates deception, hides the ball well and gets downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot, and he uses a two-seamer to get sink. His changeup with late tumble is a plus offering. He entered the system with a curveball, which is now an average offering, and picked up an average, mid-80s slider with sharp bite. With his high arm slot, Nolin's fastball can have below-average life and he likely will be an extreme flyball pitcher. Nolin is close to a finished product, and his above-average command could allow him to contribute in Toronto if called upon in 2014. He fits a No. 4 starter profile.
DeJong was the third righthander the Blue Jays selected in the 2012 draft. After pitching 12 innings in 2012, he had a standout season in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, finishing fifth in strikeout rate (28 percent) and second in strikeout-walk ratio (6.6). DeJong, who gets downhill plane from a high three-quarters slot, relies almost exclusively on a four-seam fastball. Though his fastball sat 88-92 mph last summer, evaluators project him to pitch at 90-94 or better because of his arm action and physical projection. He has a large frame with a lean, angular build that should allow him to carry significantly more weight. He has a plus curveball with 12-to-6 action, but can be inconsistent. He gained greater feel for his changeup last summer, and it flashes plus. He has a repeatable delivery that could give him plus command, and he finished with the Appy League's fourth-lowest walk rate (4 percent). The Blue Jays have worked with him to make his lower half more athletic, lengthen his stride and maintain better direction to the plate, although his stride length remains below-average. He will likely to be a fly-ball pitcher as his slot occasionally leaves his pitches flat. DeJong should make the Lansing rotation this season and projects as a No. 3 starter long-term.
Labourt, who signed for $350,000 as a 17-year-old in 2011, has improved as much as any pitcher in the system since he signed, giving him the chance to fulfill a rare profile, as there have just been four Dominican lefthanders 6-foot-4 or taller in major league history, and none with more than 20 major league starts. Labourt, who had a mid-80s fastball when he signed, has a quick arm and now sits 90-93 mph with his fastball, touching 95. He gets good extension out front, downhill plane and above-average sink, projecting to produce ground balls at an above-average rate. He has a large frame and strong build to handle innings, repeats his delivery well and projects to have above-average control. He has firmed up his body and improved his mechanics since signing. He has advanced feel for a changeup that he can throw to lefthanded hitters and projects as plus. His 82-85 mph slider is inconsistent, as he tends to get on the side of it and throw it too hard, but it shows plus potential. Labourt, who has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter, will likely pitch at Lansing in 2014.
Some scouts viewed Smoral as one of the top prep lefthanders heading into the 2012 draft, but then he registered only one regular season start his senior year because of a stress fracture in his right foot. Doctors posited that a seven-inch growth spurt between his sophomore and junior years contributed to the injury. Uncertainty about his health allowed the Jays to grab Smoral with the 50th overall pick and sign him for $2 million. He did not pitch in 2012 after signing, and was limited to 25 innings last year due to a cracked fingernail. Now 6-foot-8, Smoral uses his extra-large frame and long levers to generate a 91-96 mph fastball with above-average life. His slider has at least plus potential, and his developing changeup has average potential. Smoral has worked on accelerating his arm out of his glove, reducing the length of his arm stroke in the back and getting on top of the ball from a higher slot than in high school. He shed the weight he put on during his injury layoff. If he improves his control, he has front-half-of-the-rotation potential, but that's a rare profile, as only one 6-foot-8 or taller prep lefthander has started a major league game (Sean West, 22). So Smoral, who will likely begin 2014 with another short-season assignment, could profile as a dynamic late-game reliever.
Jimenez went in the ninth round of the 2008 draft due to concerns about his elbow, and injuries have delayed his development, including Tommy John surgery in 2012. When healthy, however, Jimenez profiles as an everyday catcher who excels in every aspect defensively. His accurate, plus arm shuts down running games. Of the 157 catchers who played at Triple-A in 2013, just six had a higher career caught stealing percentage than Jimenez's 43 percent. Not only does he nail baserunners at a high clip, Jimenez severly limits stolen base attempts, as runners have attempted steals at nearly half the league average rate with Jimenez catching. With quick feet and athleticism, he blocks well, and his strong, steady hands give him good receiving and framing skills. Jimenez has above-average bat speed, and he has lowered his hands and reduced his stride to make his line-drive swing more compact. He should be a fringe-average hitter, and despite above-average raw power, his swing is geared more for gap power and his home run ceiling is likely 8-12 a year with plenty of doubles. He is a below-average runner. Jimenez, who will likely open the season in Triple-A, could make his major league debut in 2014.
Scouts keyed in on Hollon after he touched 95 mph as an underclassman, and the Jays grabbed him in the second round last June. His bonus ($467,280) was reduced to 40 percent of slot value after a post-draft physical raised questions about a ligament in his right elbow, but he showed he was healthy during a brief summer debut. A plus athlete, Hollon has broad shoulders, a strong build and powerful lower half that produces a power arsenal. With a loose, quick arm, he throws a 90-94 mph fastball that touches 95 with life and sink and should produce groundballs at an above-average clip. His 82-85 mph slider is a plus pitch with late tilt. His curveball and changeup could be above-average offerings but need development. Hollon has worked on maintaining direction to the plate, keeping his front shoulder closed and limiting his spinoffs to the first-base side. He projects to have average or better control and a delivery that will hold up in the rotation. With athleticism, a deep repertoire and strike-throwing ability, Hollon profiles as at least a No. 3 starter and will likely begin 2014 in Bluefield.
Robson, the top Canadian in the 2011 draft, had a forgettable debut in 2012, pitching in the mid- to high 80s with a slow, deliberate delivery. But he improved as much as any pitcher in the organization last season and profiles as a No. 4 starter with a chance to develop into a No. 3. Robson began to work more on line to the plate, maintained better balance throughout his delivery and sped up his arm significantly, now working with 91-95 mph fastball featuring plus life and downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot. His fastball was somewhat straight in high school, but he has added a two-seamer with plus sink and produced a 3.5 groundout/airout ratio in 2013 that was nearly twice league average across two levels. His changeup projects to be a plus offering. His curveball plays as solid-average with the potential to be better, but he has trouble commanding it. He has a repeatable delivery and the potential for at least average control. Robson will likely begin 2014 in Lansing and profiles as a durable, innings-eating starter as long as his offspeed stuff continues to progress.
The Ontario native wasn't yet 17 years and six months old when the Jays drafted him in 2010, and was likely the youngest player selected in the draft. A plus athlete, he has started to turn his tools into baseball skills. His carrying tool is his potentially-plus center-field defense, and he won the minor league Gold Glove Award for center fielders last season. He's an above-average runner with gliding strides who ranges well into the gaps and has good instincts, and his arm has improved to a plus after grading as below-average as an amateur. Pompey has an athletic, sleek and defined physique and is growing into his natural strength, and his speed could allow him to steal 25-30 bases a year. While the switch-hitter continues to improve his bat, he'll probably be no better than an average hitter, though his strike zone knowledge and discipline could boost his on-base skills, as he walked in 12 percent of his plate appearances. He has gap power and could hit 30 or more doubles annually, but his swing path will likely produce below-average home run power. Pompey, who will likely begin 2014 at Dunedin, has the athleticism, makeup and tools to be an everyday big leaguer at a premium position.
Although he was selected in the 30th round, Tellez signed for an $850,000 bonus in last year's draft, commensurate to late second-round money and the highest bonus in the Jays draft. With some of the best lefthanded power in last year's draft class, Tellez has the potential to become an impact middle-of-the order hitter. He has an extra-large frame, broad shoulders and a powerful lower half. With natural loft in his swing, Tellez has plus-plus raw power, can drive the ball out to all fields and displays stunning power to his pull side. His quick hands, above-average bat speed and strong hand-eye coordination give him a chance to reach that power in games with a potentially above-average hit tool. He excels at driving balls to the opposite field and has a patient approach that should give him above-average walk rates. Tellez, a well-below average runner with an average arm, could become an average defensive first baseman with adequate range. He has worked hard to get in good shape but will always have to focus on conditioning. Tellez is a bat-first player who will have to hit to provide value and he will likely begin doing that in 2014 at Rookie-level Bluefield.
Burns had to sit out his draft-eligible season after transferring to Arizona from Kentucky, but the Jays grabbed him in the 11th round in 2011. Burns had a breakout campaign across two levels in 2013. A college shortstop with an above-average arm, Burns is an above-average defender with first-step quickness, soft hands and agility. He should be an average hitter and excels at driving middle-away fastballs and stays on breaking balls well. He has bat-to-ball skills and a good idea of the strike zone. With present gap power, he has the strength for at least average power. Despite average speed, Burns is an aggressive, instinctive baserunner who stole 33 bases last year, though he will have to be more efficient, as his success rate was 70 percent in 2013. Opinions of Burns' major league role differ as much as any player in the organization. Supporters believe he can be a regular at third base with above-average defense, 15-20-home run potential and a broad skill set bolstered by plus instincts. His more realistic role is a utility player with the athleticism and versatility to play third, second and the outfield in the mold of Mark DeRosa. Burns will likely begin the season at Double-A, and his versatility could help him reach Toronto this year.
A $1,000 senior sign in 2011, Pillar has already exceeded expectations and made his major league debut in 2013. Pillar fits a tough profile as a righthanded-hitting outfielder without a plus tool or loud secondary skills, but his overall hitting skills and versatility give him a fourth outfielder profile, and his plus instincts and makeup could help him outstrip even those expectations. Pillar has one of the most direct, compact swings in the minors, and he makes consistent hard contact and hits to all fields. He has the strength for pull-side home runs and could hit 10-12 annually with 30-35 doubles. With average speed and an above-average arm, he can play all three outfield spots. He likely won't be a plus defensive center fielder, but he has first-step quickness and covers enough ground to play there for some clubs. His career walk rate (6 percent) is below-average, and he has struggled against breaking stuff at the higher levels, with a much higher strikeout rate at Triple-A (18 percent) and in the majors (26 percent), so that could limit his utility. In a small sample at the major league level, Pillar often chased out of the zone. Pillar is close to a finished product and could exhaust his prospect eligibility.
Stilson led NCAA Division I with a 0.80 ERA while striking out 13 hitters per nine as a sophomore reliever in 2010, then moved to the rotation for his draft-eligible season. Doctors diagnosed a torn labrum in his shoulder in the spring before the draft, though subsequent exams revealed surgery could be avoided through rest and rehab. The Jays grabbed Stilson in the third round in 2011 and signed him for a $500,000 bonus. He pitched in the rotation his during his pro debut, but his high-effort, energy-packed delivery and command that is average at best--to say nothing of his shoulder--led most evaluators to project him as a reliever. Stilson moved to relieving full time in 2013 after he started the season on the disabled list with a rib cage injury. His stuff plays up in short stints and allows him to maintain his velocity. His 93-97 mph fastball explodes out of his hand and gets downhill plane. He has multiple offspeed weapons, with a changeup and sharp-breaking slider that are both plus offerings. With more control than command, an aggressive mentality and plus raw stuff, Stilson projects to be at least a high-end set-up man, and he will likely get his first opportunity to contribute in Toronto's bullpen in 2014.
Wilson has developed at a slow pace but began to turn his tools into baseball skills in his fifth full pro season. He had a strong Arizona Fall League after a regular season shortened by a stress fracture and was added to the 40-man roster. Wilson is an electric athlete who is a plus center-field defender. A plus-plus runner, Wilson has a quick first step, gap-closing speed and plus range. While his arm was below-average as an amateur, it is now plus. Wilson, who switch-hit earlier in his career, is now hitting only righthanded, his natural side, and his bat has improved enough that he could be a fringe-average hitter with continued development. He has natural bat speed, and altering his hitting load and shortening his stride have helped him make more contact. Despite a high career walk rate, he has a naturally aggressive approach, has been prone to expanding the strike zone and has struggled with breaking stuff, though his pitch recognition has improved. Wilson has an athletic frame and is growing into strength that could allow him to hit 8-10 home runs a year. He has the glove to be a defense-first outfield reserve and could be an everyday center fielder if his bat continues to improve.
Nessy spent three years in short-season ball and had a lost year in his full-season debut because of a hamstring injury and concussion in April. Still, he has the ceiling of an offense-first everyday catcher. With a large frame and strong build, Nessy has plus raw power and can hit home runs to the opposite field. He has above-average bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat. His power is ahed of his hit tool, and he has struck out in 25 percent of his career plate appearances. His swing can get long as he searches for pull-side power, and he has inconsistent swing mechanics. He has an aggressive approach and walked at a below-average rate (5.4 percent). With a plus arm, solid receiving skills and strong leadership ability, Nessy has the tools to be at least an average defender. After rating as the best defensive catcher in the Appalachian League in 2012, his defense regressed in 2013, which can mainly be attributed to his concussion. Nessy should open 2014 at high Class A Dunedin, and a healthy 2014 could significantly bolster his value.
Urena signed out of the Dominican for $725,000 in 2012, had a strong showing in the Dominican Summer League and made a brief debut stateside in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last year. With quick-twitch athleticism, smooth actions, above-average range and soft hands, Urena coule be an above-average defensive shortstop. He has above-average arm strength, a quick release and can throw from any angle. Naturally quicker than fast, he has average straight-line speed and could steal 10 or more bases annually. He has a long, lean and athletic physique with strong legs and a tapered waist. While Urena's glove is his carrying tool, he has the chance to contribute offensively. He has an unusual set-up, as his hands load very low (about halfway between his shoulders and waist), but he has natural feel for the barrel. He has a good feel for the strike zone. Urena has a tendency to open his hips early, which leaves him susceptible to offspeed stuff away. He has below-average raw power but can drive the ball to the gaps, especially to left-center. Urena will likely open 2014 in extended spring training before reporting to a Rookie-level club.
Dean signed for a well over-slot $737,500 bonus in 2011, the equivalent of supplemental first-round money. He had a lackluster professional debut at Rookie-level Bluefield in 2012, striking out in one-third of his plate appearances while struggling defensively at third base. He made significant offensive alterations, moved to first base and had a strong bounceback season in a repeat of Bluefield, and he led the Appalachian League in batting. Dean previously committed to swinging early, making him susceptible to breaking stuff. He widened his hitting base and stopped striding, which quieted his head, helped him lay off breaking pitches and drive the ball to all fields. He showed his commitment to improving by keeping a journal tracking every pitch he saw on the season. He has plus raw power to all fields and an athletic, strong build, and he could have plus power production if he makes more contact. His swing still has some length, however, and his batting average was propped up by an unsustainable average on balls in play (.436), so he projects as an average hitter. A good athlete with fluid actions, average speed and a plus arm, Dean could be an above-average defender with plus range at first. He'll make his full-season debut at low Class A Lansing.
Castro's stateside debut was delayed by visa issues, but he dominated the Dominican Summer League. He struck out more than one-third of the hitters he faced, and had he qualified his ERA (1.36) would have been fourth-best in the league. The 6-foot-5 Castro is a physical specimen with one of the most projectable bodies in the minors, and has the potential to become a front-half-of-the-rotation starter. He has a lean, wiry build, a tapered waist and long limbs. He threw 91-92 mph before signing, and last year sat 93-96 and touched 99. He throws from a low three-quarters arm slot and gets above-average sink. His long stride and long arms give him good extension, and the ball explodes out of his hand. His velocity, sink, angle and release distance should make him tough on righthanded hitters. His arm slot allows him to turn over a changeup with above-average potential, and he has a developing slider with sweepy action and pronounced lateral tilt. Increased weight and strength have helped his body control and strike-throwing ability and will continue to be a priority for his development for the lithe Castro. Castro will probably return to Rookie-level Bluefield to open the season.
Smith, whose father of the same name had an eight-year big league career, faces a tough profile as a corner outfielder without plus power, but his natural feel to hit, potentially above-average hit tool and plate discipline could give him high walk rates that overcome his lack of over-the-fence power. The lefthanded hitter has supreme hand-eye coordination and the most consistent swing in the organization. His compact swing produces hard contact and line drives to all fields. He commands the strike zone and has advanced pitch recognition. Although he has a strong, compact build, Smith's line-drive oriented swing path limits his power potential, which likely tops out around 10-12 home runs a year, but he projects to hit 30 or more doubles. His average speed and instincts could allow him to play center in a pinch, but he really fits better in a corner. His arm, which was below-average as an amateur, has improved to average and will work best in left at the highest levels. His speed should enable double-digit steals annually, and he stole bases efficiently (83 percent success rate) in 2013. Smith, who will likely start 2014 at high Class A Dunedin, will have to hit at every level but could become an everyday regular.
Scouts viewed Brentz as a potential top-five-rounds pick as an outfielder heading into the 2013 season, but his path to the draft changed when he touched 96 mph off the mound in the fall. His lack of experience on the mound and Missouri commitment made him a wild card, and the Jays took him in the 11th round. Brentz received a $700,000 signing bonus that was commensurate with third-round money. He has the upside to pitch in the front half of a major league rotation, but his inexperience will put him on a slow developmental track. He has an athletic, muscular and projectable build, with a loose, quick arm. The ball explodes out of his hand and he has a 90-95 mph fastball that can touch 97 with average movement. He has surprising feel for a changeup, a testament to his athleticism, and it's his best secondary offering. He needs to add power to his curveball, which flashes average, because it can get loopy. The priority for his development is learning to repeat his delivery so he can throw strikes consistently, which will include a smaller leg kick, not collapsing his back leg and getting on top of his fastball. Brentz will likely open 2014 in extended spring training before getting a short-season assignment.
Goins made steady progress through the system and made his major league debut in 2013. A minor league shortstop, he profiles as a utility player at the major league level but could be pressed into duty as a defense-first second baseman. He has athletic, polished defensive actions, defensive instincts and steady hands, and his best tool is his accurate, average arm. He played above-average defense in his major league stint. Goins profiles as a bottom-of-the-order hitter with well below-average power and a below-average hit tool. With a long stride and length to his swing, he is susceptible to breaking stuff and posted a 14-1 strikeout-walk ratio in a small major league sample, though he has posted acceptable strikeout rates for his career (17 percent). He swung at pitches out of the zone and struggled with pitches on the outer third of the plate. Goins is also a below-average runner and has been a run-erasing basestealer, with a 51 percent career success rate stealing bases. His reliable defense should allow Goins to see additional time with Toronto in 2014.
A year after signing Franklin Barreto, the Jays continued to extract top-flight middle infield talent from Venezuela by signing Gudino for $1.29 million. A well-rounded player with a broad skill set, Gudino has the potential to be an everyday shortstop who excels on both sides of the ball. He is a polished, smooth defender with fluid actions, soft hands and a good internal clock. He has significant physical projection remaining as he fills out his frame and should have an above-average arm. He has put on 15 pounds since signing, and additional strength should make him an average runner and enhance his lateral quickness. With strong hand-eye coordination and a feel for the barrel, Gudino has the potential to be an average hitter. He has a good swing path, stays inside the ball well and hit consistently at international amateur tournaments, and he has narrowed his stance and reduced his stride as a pro. His offensive potential reminds some evaluators of Wilmer Flores, though Gudino is more athletic. Power is likely his fifth tool, but Gudino can drive the ball to the gaps. His tools play up because of his game awareness, intelligence and leadership qualities. Gudino will likely make his domestic debut in 2014.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up