All the best to you, yours, and your favourite prospects this festive season.
Here are some gift ideas for several Blue Jays minor leaguers. Some may be hard to fit under the tree.
For Vladimir Guerrero Jr, what do you get the top prospect who has everything?
Maybe broad and strong enough shoulders to carry the expectations of a city whose team hasn’t won a World Series since Marcus Stroman was going through the terrible twos?
We’ve seen video of Vlad’s off season workouts. One involved a bag of chips, while another saw him flipping a monster tire down a grassy stretch. Let’s hope he’s doing more of the latter than the former.
What would we like to see under the tree for Sean Reid-Foley? How about command of the strike zone? This guy’s stuff is good enough, and the differential between his fastball and off-speed stuff keeps hitters off balance, so the only thing that will keep him from being a back-and-forth-to-Buffalo guy and a solid mid-rotation starter will be his ability to consistently hit his spots.
For Nate Pearson, a full season of good health, which will put him on the cusp of a big league job. The same with Anthony Alford, who just needs a prolonged stretch of uninterrupted play. On a similar note, continued good health for Florida State League PiOY Patrick Murphy, who is poised to become a breakout pitching prospect.
For Dalton Pompey, one last chance.
When Bo Bichette dives in under the tree, we hope he has some patience gift-wrapped for him. His numbers, while respectable this year, were a far cry from 2017, when he led the minors in hitting, were not the same level in 2018. His expanded strike zone was partly to blame for that. In the Eastern League playoffs, when he laid off pitches he couldn’t barrel, he made a lot of loud contact.
Max Pentecost, unfortunately, is a guy we don’t talk about anymore. If Kris Kringle could find Pentecost’s swing from August, when he posted a 1.031 OPS and earned Eastern League Player of the Month honours, he could work his way back into the conversation.
For Chavez Young, some acclaim. He was the only player in all of minor league ball with 50 extra-base hits and 40 stolen bases, yet was nowhere to be found on top prospect lists.
If Santa could wrap up 3-4 mph of added velo to Zach Logue‘s FB, that would be great. The guy knows how to pitch as well as anyone in the organization. The former high school hockey player would be a fan favourite in Toronto.
For Eric Pardinho, some added maturity. Admittedly, he came a long way in that department, but with added physical and emotional development, he could be dominant in Low A when he gets there.
Alejandro Kirk bashed Appy League pitching last year. We hope Santa puts a mitt under his tree for whatever position he’s eventually going to assume, because that bat will play.
For the fans of the Dunedin Blue Jays, a transit pass. With the team about to be forced out of their home park while it undergoes a makeover at the conclusion of spring training, one of the worst-drawing teams in the Florida State League will become even more anonymous.
The fans of the Vancouver Canadians deserve another championship team, or one that is in contention for a playoff spot. Their support of the C’s has been nothing short of outstanding.
For Lansing broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, an invitation to spring training like Ben Wagner and Rob Fai received last year. Wagner, of course, used that audition as a springboard to landing Jerry Howarth’s job after Mr There-She-Goes retired.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. If any of you have a prospect gift recommendation of your own, please tweet them to me (@FutureBlueJays), and I’ll update this post with the best of them.