Just a slight name change to what has become (more or less) a weekly feature. There is a lot of great Blue Jays/MiLB content out there, and this has become a clearinghouse for it.
For starters, Niall at Cs+ Baseball has another great profile out, this time on slugging 1st Baseman Jake Brodt. Brodt, who draws a smiley face in the batter’s box before each AB, was the Blue Jays 9th round pick out of Santa Clara last June, and while he may not have quite tapped into his power in his first pro season with Vancouver last year, he showed some promise with 15 Doubles in only 149 ABs, and displayed good defensive skills.
So, you think your Dad was tough? Did he have you hit against guys throwing 90-91 mph when you were 11 years old? Vladimir Guerrero Sr did, and I guess it’s hard to argue with the results. Baseball America talked to former Blue Jays director of international ops Ismael Cruz about how he steered the scouting and ultimately successful signing of the prodigy.
In a conversation with Lansing hitting coach Matt Young, I had to admit that I was somewhat on the fence about Samad Taylor, after Taylor’s 2018 season fell a little short of expectations. Young quickly countered, “I’m not on the fence about him,” and then spoke at length about Taylor’s defensive skills (“in my opinion, he was robbed of a (minor league) Gold Glove,” and his offensive potential. David Lauria of Fangraphs took a long look at Taylor in a recent profile.
And speaking of Fangraphs, they came out with their Top Blue Jays prospect list last week. The list had a few surprises, including Jordan Groshans at 5, Adam Kloffenstein at 8, and Trent Thornton checking in at number 10. Thornton’s inclusion makes sense once you take a look at The Board, Fangraphs’ compilation of pitching prospects’ scouting grades and spin rates. And while we’re on the topic, I do get people asking from time to time where I get my minor league advanced stats from. MiLB’s individual player pages allow you to get splits for each player, while Fangraphs sortable MiLB leader boards give you a treasure trove of basic and advanced stats.
And going back to prospects who I’m on the fence about, Jeff Q at Jays from the Couch (I have to flip back and forth too many times between tabs to get the spelling of your name right, Jeff) has an in-depth piece on Chavez Young, who some are heralding as an everyday MLBer. Look, I’m not a scout, and am not the possessor of a crystal ball. But having talked to a number of people around baseball who know far more about the process of player evaluation and development, while I’m impressed with Young’s tools, I’m not ready to move him to the top tier of prospects. He put together a nice season for Lansing, but I was surprised that he wasn’t in line for a promotion after the halfway point of the season. There are many, many factors that go into a prospect being moved to the next level, including his maturity, work ethic, and the players ahead of him in the system (there’s not much point in moving a guy up if there’s not a lot of playing time available for him). Scouts have indicated that while his speed and defence rate as plus, Young’s hit tool is still in development. It’s not that I don’t like what I see from Young (who I first saw in the NWL playoffs in 2017) in….it’s just that I need to see it at a higher level. Jeff’s piece is entirely worth reading, just the same.
I’m not yet a veteran of spring training. We’ve made a couple of trips to spring training, including one to the Tampa/St Pete area, and are planning on returning next month. Callum Hughson of Mop Up Duty is a veteran, and shared his thoughts of things to see and do in Dunedin. For those thinking of slipping over to the Bobby Mattick complex to watch workouts and the opening of minor league spring training, because of the upcoming (in about a week) construction upgrades taking place at the Mattick, the facility will be closed to the public this year.