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Canadians Prospecting

An interesting tidbit came down the wire Wednesday. I initially glossed over it, since, in the short term, I didn’t believe it had any bearing on the Vancouver Canadians this season. Digging a bit deeper though, there was a second move in the Blue Jays system on the day which may very well affect Vancouver’s run in.

Clinton Hollon, the Jays second rounder this year, was promoted from the GCL Jays to Bluefield. Hollon signed at the very minimum fourty percent of his slot value, due to arm issues he suffered in the spring. Despite the troubles, he made his pro debut in late July, and, with is advanced feel for pitching, has dominated over-matched hitters in Florida. The 6’1″ 191 pound right-hander will never get over perceived size issues, but according to the scouting reports, he has an electric fastball and some decent secondary offerings. In his twelve innings pitched he’s given up zero earned runs on two hits and three walks for a very tidy 0.417 WHIP.

Given the arm problems, Hollon will be on a strict innings limit, meaning any role will be tightly managed. Many of the pitchers in Bluefield are still piggy-backing with some of the starters stretching out a bit. Hollon may very well slot in as the ‘reliever’ of one of those duos.

At only eighteen, the Kentucky native won’t see the bright lights of Vancouver until next season at the very earliest. Hence my initial glossing of the news. Is great to see a 2013 draftee having early success, I’ll definitely keep my eyes on him in Bluefield, but believe Vancouver has already benefited from the B-Jays pitching staff with the recent additions of Tom Robson and Shane Dawson.

Someone else traveled with Clinton though, and that promotion should definitely affect the C’s.

As per the below tweet:

Franklin Barreto was on the same flight. As per this piece, and other scouting reports I have read, Barreto, one of the top international prospects signed by any team in 2012, will be given more time to stick at shortstop then current Bluefield Blue Jay

Dawel Lugo in Florida (image courtesy of Flickr)

Dawel Lugo in Florida (image courtesy of Flickr)

Dawel Lugo. Barreto has impressed so far this year, putting up an OPS of .897 over 197 plate appearances in the complex league. A lot of reports have his long term future away from short, but I am going to assume he mans the position in Virginia.

That’s not to say Lugo is being passed, it’s just that he may be asked to switch positions. Or, he may very well be the one that ends up in Vancouver. With Dickie Thon Jr still injured, a spot has been freed. That being said, Lugo is only eighteen and is walking a meager 2.5% of the time. That suggests he may need a bit more time in Bluefield to work on his pitch recognition.

What are some other scenarios then?

As per my post three weeks ago, Mitch Nay is most definitely a candidate to arrive at the Nat. Despite a down week , Nay has been one of the most consistent B-Jays so far. A supplemental round draft pick in 2012, this is the third basemen’s first professional season due to an injury in his senior year of high school. Drafted as a power prospect, that aspect of his game hasn’t fully developed yet, although there has been some encouraging signs. What is very positive, is the walk percentage which is over ten and a strikeout rate of 12.7% making for a very healthy 0.84 BB/K ratio.

If the Jays organization want to get Nay some more at bats in Bluefield considering his relative inexperience in pro ball, my third (and least likely) option to get the call to Vancouver would be Matt Dean.

A thirteenth rounder in 2011, Dean was signed to an over-slot bonus of $737,500. Converted to third from shortstop in his first year of pro ball, the Texan was then shifted to first his year solely to make room for Nay. From what I’ve read, Dean was not bad at third, with a plus arm. His real problem has been the all important ‘hit tool’. Another power prospect, the 6’3″ 190 pounder hasn’t converted the potential to reality. Unlike Nay though, his long swing still makes him susceptible to the strikeout. He’s improved those numbers, as well as many others (see table below) but is still whiffing at an unhealthy 24.4%:

2012 19 Bluefield 49 182 167 22 37 8 4 2 24 3 2 12 60 .222 .282 .353 .635
2013 20 Bluefield 49 180 161 28 51 12 2 3 22 5 2 13 44 .317 .371 .472 .843
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

Dean has been especially hot of late, with a .382/.417/.605 slash line over the past month. The Blue Jays may decide that the hot streak, combined with the extra year of pro experience makes Matt the promotion choice.

Authors Note: When I got up this morning to edit this piece, I ran across the below tweet:

Antun’s twitter bio has him as a MLBPA certified agent, so am guessing he is Lugo’s and would be the first to know of any promotions.

That makes my speculating above a bit moot. Vancouver Canadians fans have reason to be excited though. Lugo received the biggest bonus of the famed Jays 2011 international signing class (which also included former C Roberto Osuna and future C Alberto Tirado).

A free swinger (as referenced by the 2.5% walk rate) Lugo is a plus hitter with decent power potential. At only eighteen Dawel is a genuine prospect. The first outfield player that can legitimately be termed one to wear a C’s uniform this year. Now, the only question will be what position he plays.

Will try and get some answers for that this afternoon.

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