After reviewing the left fielders in our last post, we switch around to the opposite side of the outfield, taking a close look at the right fielders to grace the hallowed turf of Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. Ideally your prototypical right fielder will be a middle of the order power bat while displaying the strongest arm in the outfield. So, no pressure then kids:
As per usual, the above information is taken from the good folks over at Baseball Reference. Matt Newman got his due over with the left fielders and Ian Parmley will make the grade in center, so, yet again, we have only two names to discuss.
Nick Baligod is an interesting case. Taken in the 40th round of the 2011 draft Baligod made his short season debut with the C’s and was perfectly average. Putting up a slash line of .248/.354/.336 for an un-right field like .690 OPS. After a successful post season where he smashed two home runs and hit .333 Nick may have expected a promotion in 2012. It was not to be.
Returning to the Northwest League as a twenty-four year old, Baligod was old for the level and needed a hot start to ensure a mid-season promotion to at least finish the year in Lansing. Although he did improve across the board, his OPS only climbed to .729. I didn’t see a 40 point increase meriting a promotion, but hey, that’s why I blog and don’t work in the front office.
Admittedly I didn’t much like what I saw when watching him live either. With an ISO under .100 and little to no speed or projectability (Baligod is 5’9″ 190) I didn’t see much of a future for him in the organization. However, in a bit of a surprise move (at the time at least, not in hindsight) Baligod was promoted to the Lugnuts at the end of July.
One of the great things about baseball are the curveballs it can throw you. Baligod threw one with his performance in the Midwest League, improving his numbers across the board. Actually, that’s not entirely true as his very good C’s walk rate of 13.9% dropped to 11.9% and his K rate did increase by 4% but in the context I’m going to say those are pretty insignificant moves. The same can be said for the slight increase in his OBP. What was most impressive though, and cannot be discounted was the 80 point increase in slugging percentage, taking his ISO to .145 despite his average creeping up to .291.
It’s tough to judge anything from minor league fielding statistics but going by the fact that Nick spent the bulk of his time with the Lugnuts in center and left, the organization isn’t overly high on his arm strength. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any true right field prospects behind him so there is a chance he shifts back for 2013. I included Nick on my 2012 Kevin Pillar Sleeper Prospect List over at Jays Journal where I predicted a Dunedin assignment in 2013. I stand behind that, but deep down I still think Baligod will struggle there, reverting back to org filler status.
Above, I mentioned that Baligod’s promotion may not have been a surprise in hindsight. It became clear, once the wave of Bluefield outfielders started arriving in Vancouver as to why they needed to make room.
Carlos Ramirez was the first of the Virginian Blue Jays to head west. I’ll be honest, I really have mixed feelings about Carlos. For the most part I am very down on him, but then every now and then he’d do something which would let you dream a bit. Let’s look at the negatives first:
1) He strikes out a ton. Aside from his ten game stint with Bluefield (his repeat year) at the beginning of 2012 he has struck out more than 25% of the time in his three pro seasons. Such high strike out rates over three years suggest his pitch recognition is not improving at all.
2) He has a hitch in his load which doesn’t allow him to use his lower half effectively, making him susceptible to anything away, especially breaking balls and significantly reduces any power he should generate with his long limbs.
3) His walk rate has decreased every season, culminating with a putrid 2.4% last year. To put that in real numbers, in 164 plate appearances with the Vancouver Canadians he walked four times. Calling that a lack of patience would be an understatement.
4) Defensively he would often make bad reads and his greatest strength, his arm, was often inaccurate
5) Carlos just does not get on base enough or hit for enough power to be genuinely considered a prospect
1) The arm strength is unreal. I was watching him throw long toss from the left field foul line and he threw the ball over the right center field fence. Maybe they can all do that, but wow, my jaw dropped.
2) At 6’3″ and 172 pounds his frame does project to add a bit more pop. If he could learn how to engage his trunk during his swing, we could be looking at legit home run power.
3) He’ll only be 22 at the start of the 2013 season.
I can’t find any details on Ramirez’ signing bonus which would help gauge how much the Jays are willing to push him but based on what I saw last year, and the numbers he put up, he is not ready for full season ball as of yet. At twenty-two he is still about par age for the Northwest League but if he doesn’t take a step forward in 2013 he’ll find himself moving the down the depth chart at a fairly rapid rate.
Well, the two corner outfield spots haven’t really provide much to be positive about. Of the four players reviewed, if you gave me a mean total of fifty mlb games combined between the group, I would buy the under. I just don’t see any of them progressing far enough to be impact bats in the upper minor leagues, let alone the bigs. That being said, Nick Baligod surprised during his stint at Lansing so things may change.
Most importantly, all four played a role in winning the Northwest League Championship for a second straight year. Two of them should be back, at least for the beginning of the season, in an effort to #threepeatin13