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More C’s Prospecting

This post is more of an extended postscript to my previous piece that looked at Marc Hulet’s Blue Jays top 15 prospect article.  He had to add a few more names to the list as a couple were, unfortunately, subtracted when Alex Anthopolous pulled the trigger on a twelve player swap with the Miami Marlins.  I have to admit, I’m still not sure how I feel about the trade, which, as a Blue Jays/Vancouver Canadians writer, is not ideal.

Nevertheless, Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino move over to the Marlins top fifteen (will be interesting to see exactly where, when it comes out) and Adeiny Hechavarria will probably wear Marlins burnt orange, or whatever that colour is, in 2013.  Replacing these three are John Stilson, Kevin Pillar, and Christian Lopes.

Before I get to the Canadians connection, just a quick note on Pillar.  A 32nd round pick in 2011 out of California State University, you would have expected Pillar to be a part of the 2011 Northwest Championship roster.  However, despite tearing up the Appy League with a .911 OPS, he stayed in Bluefield for the entire season before opening 2012 in Lansing.  He finished this past year in Dunedin where his numbers look very similar to his Lansing figures aside from drops in home runs, walks, and strike outs.  Every report you read on this guy claims that he has no plus tools, but overall makeup screams baseball player.  He’ll begin 2013 in New Hampshire.  With Marisnick out of the picture, should be interesting to see how far Pillar can progress next year.

(editors note: Big mistake in above paragraph.  Kevin Pillar WAS a part of the 2011 Northwest League Champs, he just didn’t play any regular season games with the C’s which is why neither Baseball Reference or Fangraphs notes his accomplishments with the Cs.  He debuted in game 2 of the semis vs. Eugene and manned center field for the rest of the playoffs hitting just under .400 for the playoffs)

The Vancouver connection I referred to above is, of course, Christian Lopes.  Lopes was called up to the C’s late in 2012 along with Santiago Nessy and Daniel Norris.  Reading Hulet’s write up confirms what most scouts seem to think of Lopes.  The boy can hit,

Looking sharp, Lopes in his C’s duds

and will be serviceable at second base.  His numbers in the Northwest League were ok, but he was young (at 19) for the league, and ten games is a pretty small sample size.  Unfortunately, by the sounds of it, those ten games are all that Vancouver fans will get to see of Lopes as Lansing seems to be his next station stop.

Will be a fun off-season attempting to predict where all these players end up and how far they advance in 2013.

One final note on Hulet’s piece.  A commenter asked him what he thought of Taylor Cole.  I added to this question by throwing in Javier Avendano‘s name.  Both were ranked as potential fifth starters/middle relievers as neither project a ton of  upside.  Cole, especially, relies on pinpoint control to be successful.  Once they move up a couple of levels, both will need to see their stuff improve in line with their control or the better hitters will make them pay for any mistake.  I’ll try and predict both futures when I look at the Canadians starting pitchers in my positional reviews.

Yup, this kid is pretty tall

A final piece of prospecting comes from fangraphs ‘reports from instructs’ series‘.  The linked post deals with two highly regarded pitchers, Roberto Osuna, who has been talked about a lot on this site, and Matt Smoral.  Smoral was originally ranked 14th by Hulet, moving to 11th after the trade.  The instructs piece confirms why people are excited about the young left-hander despite the fact he has yet to throw a pitch in professional baseball.  Smoral throws a low 90s fastball with a potential plus slider.  At 6’8″ 220 pounds, that fastball has a ton of projectability.  Developing a change up will be the Jays top priority with Smoral next year, meaning he may very well start the season in Bluefield.  However, it is no stretch to say that he should see time in Vancouver before the end of the year.

In between now and then, we can all dream of the next Randy Johnson suiting up for the Jays, complete with upper 90s heater, wipe-out slider, and fantastic mullet.

 

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