In this last edition of Lesser Known Blue Jays Prospects, where I focus on notable names outside of MLB.com’s Top 30 Prospects for the Jays, I’ll be talking about some prospects on Bluefield, the GCL team, and the DSL team.
Of course, the big name right now on Bluefield is Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. The club also has prospects such as Yennsy Diaz, Jose Espada, and Reggie Pruitt on the roster. But there’s a couple others that I think Blue Jays fans should keep their eyes on:
Connor Eller: A right-handed pitcher drafted in the 22nd round in this year’s draft, Eller has put up some pretty good numbers for Bluefield so far this season. In 33.2 innings, he’s posted an ERA of 2.41, struck out 32 batters, recorded 6 saves in 7 opportunities, held opposing batters to a .178 average, and has a WHIP of 0.89. Much like Jones, I’d expect to see him with Lansing next season.
Bradley Jones: Primarily a first baseman who has seen some time at third base this season, Jones was drafted in the 18th round of this year’s draft, and has had a great rookie season for Bluefield by posting a .278/.326/.552 slash line with 14 doubles, 15 homers, and 49 RBIs. Like most sluggers, he strikes out a lot (68 whiffs in 57 games), but he also has some speed on the basepaths by swiping 16 bases in 20 attempts. He’s only 21, and I would expect to see him with Lansing in 2017.
Moving onto the GCL Blue Jays:
Wilfri Aleton: Aleton is a 20 year-old left-handed pitcher who made his GCL debut this year after spending three years with the DSL club. In his first season with the GCL Jays, he’s posted some good numbers with a 1.89 ERA in 47.2 innings, striking out 45 batters, walking only 8, holding batters to a .221 average while posting a WHIP of 0.97. Next season, I would expect him to see time with either Bluefield or Vancouver.
David Jacob: A first baseman drafted in the 32nd round of this year’s draft, Jacob has hit for power and average with the GCL Jays in his first pro year, hitting .308/.397/.481 across the board with 9 doubles, 6 homers, and 28 RBIs. He’s 21 years old, but with Brad Jones around I wouldn’t be surprised if he spends another season in short-season ball and spends next season with either Vancouver or Bluefield.
Alvaro Galindo: I used to refer to Francisco Rios as the “best Jays pitching prospect nobody talks about,” and I’m putting that label on Galindo now. An 18 years old right-hander who has dominated the DSL for the last two seasons (ERA of 1.15 in 78 innings, 77 strikeouts in that span, WHIP of 1.05). He was promoted to the GCL in the middle of this season, and while his ERA is a little skewed at the moment (6.23 in 21.2 innings, but he allowed 7 runs in a 4.1 inning outing recently) he’s still showing some good promise for a prospect his age. Next season, I’d expect him to most likely spend time with the GCL Blue Jays again before possibly seeing time with Bluefield or Vancouver.
Dany Jimenez: At 22 years of age, right-handed pitcher Jimenez might be a little on the older side for the GCL, but I decided to put him on this list anyways. He threw 8 shutout innings with the DSL Blue Jays this year before gaining a promotion to the GCL Blue Jays where he’s posted an ERA of 3.29 in 38.1 innings, while striking out 40 batters, and posting a WHIP of 1.12. I’d expect him to start next season with Vancouver or Bluefield.
Norberto Obeso: A 21 year-old outfielder, Obeso has been an on-base machine for the GCL Blue Jays this year, posting a slash line of .318/.444/.411 this season through 43 games. He’s hit 11 doubles and 1 homer with 18 RBIs, but has recorded 29 walks and a mere 14 strikeouts. Last season with the DSL Blue Jays, he posted a slash line of .351/.470/.427, putting his career OBP through his first 114 professional games at a staggering .460 (overall career slash line of .339/.460/.421). It’s apparent that he has great plate discipline based on those numbers, and I’d expect him to either open the 2017 with Bluefield or Vancouver.
Orlando Pascual: A 20 year-old right-handed pitcher who posted some gaudy career numbers at the DSL level (1.11 ERA in 24.1 innings, with a WHIP of 0.99), he gained a promotion to the GCL Blue Jays midway through this season where he’s posted an ERA of 3.08 in 26.1 innings while whiffing 19 batters and posting a WHIP of 1.14. I’d expect him to see time with Bluefield or Vancouver in 2017.
Randy Pondler: A 19 year-old left-handed pitcher from Nicaragua, Pondler has posted solid numbers in his first pro season. He started out with the DSL Blue Jays where he posted an ERA of 2.08 in 13 innings with a WHIP of 1.08 before being promoted to the GCL. In 30.2 innings with the GCL Blue Jays, he’s posted an ERA of 3.52 and a WHIP of 1.66. I’d expect him to start next season with the GCL Blue Jays.
Finally, onto the DSL Blue Jays:
Adam Cuevas: A 20 year-old right-handed pitcher, Cuevas has posted a 0.55 ERA in 49 innings in his first professional season. He’s whiffed 45 batters in the process, held opposing batters to a .158 batting average, and posted a WHIP of 0.78. I’d expect him to start next season with the GCL Blue Jays before earning a late season promotion to Bluefield or Vancouver.
Yhordegny Kelly: A 19 year-old who has seen the vast majority of his time at designated hitter this season with a few cameo appearances in the outfield, Kelly has posted a .283/.424/.395 slash line in his first professional season. He’s hit for some power with 11 doubles, 4 homers, and 29 RBIs in 60 games, and clearly can draw walks with an OBP that high (38 walks so far), but he strikes out a lot too (62 whiffs in 60 games). I’d expect him to start next season with the DSL Blue Jays before seeing some time with the GCL Blue Jays.
And there you have it. There’s my take on some unheralded Blue Jays prospects that are still worth keeping tabs on, even if MLB.com ranks them outside of the Blue Jays’ top 30 prospects. Overall, I’d have to say that Lansing Lugnuts’ right-handed pitcher Jordan Romano is the Blue Jays’ top prospect not ranked in the club’s top 30 prospects.