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As we get ready for another season I thought I would spotlight a few players for whom 2014 will be a make or break year.  This category fits players whose prospect staus is on the bubble or almost gone.  The top prospects are generally not in the make or break category, they are on a path to the majors, they will get a second chance if they have a bad year.  Newly drafted players would not be make or break, they still have time to fix any problems or recover from a bad season or bad half-season.  Make or break are players who have been in the system for several years and have hit some bumps in the road, and those bumps could knock them out of baseball if the player cannot overcome them.


Anthony Gose - this is the year when Gose has to show whether he can hit at a level that would make him a full time major leaguer. 

Deck McGuire - McGuire has been written out of most top prospect lists.  McGuire showed a  glimmer of hope at the end of the 2013 season, he needs to carry that through to 2014 and to AAA.

Jacob Anderson - Anderson is now 21 and needs to show his high draft pick skills

Michael Crouse/ Marcus Knecht - the two Canadians stalled out a bit in Dunedin last season.  Crouse has been injury prone but both need to improve their hitting in 2014

KC Hobson - is he a prospect or isn't he?  Hobson plays first base, a tough spot to claim a major league job

Chris Hawkins - Hawkins looked to be a prospect after 2012 but his stats fell off a cliff last year.  The Jays have been trying to change his swing but at this point the changes look to have hindered rather than helped

Santiago Nessy - Nessy is a prospect because catchers who can hit a bit are rare.  But Nessy didn't hit enough last season and in 2014, and likely back in Lansing, he needs to start putting it together

Kyle Drabek - it is tough to come back from two Tommy John surgeries.  Drabek has never shown that he has the command to pitch in the major leagues.  Can he find it this season?

Kellen Sweeney - Sweeney was a second round choice but has never hit.  If he doesn't hit this season his career could be over

Dickie Thon - Thon was drafted back in 2010, the same year as Hawkins and Knecht.  Thon has shown some flashes of ability but he has had a tough time staying healthy.  This will be a big year for him his fifth as a professional, to show he can progress.


Any more?


Minor League Players - Make or Break | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
ayjackson - Thursday, March 20 2014 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#283511) #
Matt Smoral has to at least get a bunch of innings under his belt.
jgadfly - Thursday, March 20 2014 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#283512) #
Michael McDade still remains intriguing ... a Ryan Howardesque potential not yet realized who is still 2 months shy of 25 ... why don't they sit him down with Bautista, Encarnacion or Cano's batting instructor and see if there's a sudden illumination ?
Gerry, is Mike Barnett still with the Jays and have there been any philosophical changes in approach in the minor league batting system ? There still seems to be certain degrees of anarchy(?) or stubborn obstinence/reluctance(?) to work pitchers a la Yankees-Red Sox by avoiding first pitch swinging.
Chuck - Thursday, March 20 2014 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#283518) #
a Ryan Howardesque potential not yet realized

Don't quite see that. In his final two minor league seasons, Howard hit 62 HR in 695 AB. McDade has hit 27 HR in 877 AB in his last two minor league seasons.

McDade's girth give the impression of a power hitter. The numbers say otherwise.

katman - Thursday, March 20 2014 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#283537) #
I'll stretch the parameters a bit. Are these guys prospects? These are, given recent minor league play:

Ryan Goins. If Seitzer is wrong in his assessment and Goins tanks as a hitter, the entire team could have a serious problem. I do consider Goins a prospect, still, and even so-so offensive competence creates a useful player.

Jeremy Jeffress.
Needs to show some signs of controlling his fastball. Has shown few enough that he's going to be a waiver claim, but the requirement doesn't change somewhere else.

Sean Nolin. Always great to have a lefty prospect, but he got killed in 2013 up here and didn't look great in AAA or spring. We hope he needs more development time, but he could also stall out and keep walking tons of guys. We already have a lefty for that.

These guys are more journeymen, but their grip on the majors isn't as strong as anyone would like, and they're important to our system:

Steve Delabar.
Spent minors time in 2012. Is the real SD the 1st half all-star? Or the 2nd half guy and the guy in Seattle? It was still a great deal either way, but his position is more precarious than most people acknowledge. Pulling for him, but glad we have McGowan and Santos on tap.

Esmil Rogers. Last minors stint was 2011, but he's not a starter yet and uneven as a reliever. Bad combo. Fastball command and more weapons needed. He got to practice the changeup in the off-season, but hasn't been able to carry it into spring. Today's outing helped, because his breaking ball was really on and the fastball command was there. That won't always be true, and when it isn't, what does he have? If he doesn't move forward this year, there are enough possibilities behind him that he has a problem here. He does have the stuff to become something significant - but this is the year for him to either show that the Gomes deal wasn't highway robbery, or find himself with dwindling chances left at the MLB level.
gnor - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#283629) #
They have Steve Springer the Quality at Bat guy as a scout and roving hitting instructor. His thing is stats don't mean anything if you don't help your team win. Kevin Seitzer seems to take the same approach.
gnor - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#283630) #
I thought Kyle Drabek's rehab went well last year, and with 35 strikeouts and only 5 walks, I though his command problems may be behind him. He seems to have lost it this Spring, though.
bpoz - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#283631) #
The minor league players have played for a few days, anyone doing anything special. Any Reports?
Lylemcr - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#283632) #

Because of a short stint up here, we are ready to give up on Nolin?  Really?


ogator - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#283633) #
bpoz, try
bpoz - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#283634) #
Thanks ogator.
katman - Thursday, March 27 2014 @ 07:05 PM EDT (#283832) #
Not just the one MLB start - look what happened to Nolin in AAA in 2013. Like I said, could just be an adjustment period and he recovers from the stall. Some don't, though.
Hodgie - Thursday, March 27 2014 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#283833) #
Exactly how foreboding are those 17IP in AAA supposed to be?
ogator - Saturday, March 29 2014 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#283887) #
For those interested in what is happening with minor league players, the Buffalo Bisons website has a summary of the Spring training results (you have to look under "Schedule"--"Spring Training". There is no boxscore but they present a two paragraph discussion of the game, including who pitched with what results and which hitters were successful. I find it very interesting reading.
Minor League Players - Make or Break | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.