Jays Sending Two Prospects to Australia

For the first time in three seasons, the Blue Jays will be sending prospects to their former Australian Baseball League affiliate, the Canberra Cavalry.

2B Samad Taylor and OF Chavez Young, members of Dunedin’s 2019 Florida State League co-champs, will take to the field for Canberra this winter, making up for missed ABs in 2020.

According to the Melbourne Herald Sun, the ABL faces considerable hurdles before play can begin. Formerly subsidized in part by MLB, the ABL has gone it alone in recent years, but finding revenue sources has been a challenge. The league had plans for international play this season, but has had to scale things back in light of the pandemic. Mandatory quarantine rules will cost teams about $3000 per import player, and international flights have increased tremendously in price due to reductions in flights and seating capacity.

The switch-hitting Young had a breakout 2018. The Bahamian was the only player in MiLB to record a season of 50+ extra base hits and over 40 stolen bases. That speed/power combo was not on display to that extent in the first half of 2019 at High A, but the 2016 39th round choice made some mid-season adjustments in his approach, and had a strong second half. Young can play all three OF positions. Young is Rule 5 eligible this fall, but is not expected to be drafted if he’s left off the 40-man next month. With his speed and versatility, Young profiles as a useful MLB bench player.

Taylor was much heralded when he came to Toronto along with Thomas Pannone in the Joe Smith deadline deal with Cleveland in 2017. He struggled at Dunedin in 2019, slashing .216/.325/.364, with a 28% strikeout rate. Taylor has the ability to get on base (13% BB rate), and can steal one as well – Taylor had 44 swipes for Lansing in 2018. Taylor has good hands and farm director Gil Kim has called his bat speed among the fastest in the system, but for the compact-built Taylor, that will hopefully translate into gap power.

For now, at least a four-team, 23-game schedule (Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, and Sydney) appears set to get underway on December 19th. In the past, the ABL streamed their games on the league’s website, but there is no news in that regard just yet. We’ll dust off the cobwebs from some of our ABL contacts and see what other news we can glean in the coming weeks.

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