Prospect Status: Up
Norris has done everything right so far.
Lugo got off to a slow start but that is understandable given that he is a 19 year old Dominican kid playing in the cold for the first time. Lugo is hitting .333 in May with a 760 OPS. Lugo is a free swinger but he has time to learn some plate discipline. Lugo plays a premium position, production from your shortstop is a plus.
Smith had one of the hottest starts of any player and he has kept it going. Smith is a good contact hitter, his K rate is just over 10% and he has walked more than he has struck out. Smith just needs to develop more pop to be a corner outfielder in the majors.
Pompey has jumped up the prospect lists this season and that is a good thing because Pompey is Canadian and he is a position prospect. The Jays record in developing position prospects has not been great recently. Pompey has a 900 OPS in 150 at-bats and is doing well for a 21 year old.
Prospect Status: Down
Sanchez pitched well in the fall league and well again in spring training. His April was decent, a 2.10 ERA but he walked 4.5 per 9 innings. His command has gone in May and he is walking more than a hitter per inning. Sanchez obviously needs changes to his delivery to get the ball over the plate with some consistency. But this is not what you hope to see from a #1 or #2 prospect.
Davis is another 19 year old in the Midwest league so immediate production is not a necessity. Davis is only hitting in the 220's and he is striking out almost 40% of the time. His strike out rate has not changed much from April to May although his walk rate has improved. Does that imply a better read on pitches? June will be a telling month but he has a long way to go to get that strike out rate into decent territory. On the positive side Davis does flash some nice power.
Andy Burns started cold and has stayed cold. Burns hit 200 in April and is hitting 212 in May. Burns start is very disappointingly given his good finish the last years AA season. Burns is 23 years old so there is still time.
Robson pitched poorly and then developed an arm injury. Charlie Caskey out of Vancouver suggests it might lead to Tommy John.
Tommy John surgery was not a surprise but it is a setback.
Labourt did not pitch well in Lansing and was sent back down to extended. Twenty walks in fourteen innings is not a good sign.
Wilson hit under 200 for New Hampshire, under 200 for New Britain, was waived twice and now has been promoted to Buffalo.
Gabryszwski is pitching OK with a 4.11 ERA and generally decent numbers. But Gabby's K rate is just over .5 an inning or 4.5 per nine innings. It is hard to keep your prospect status with that K rate.
Cardona has his ups and downs in Lansing but then fractured his elbow. He is done for 2014.
Prospect Status: Unchanged, in the middle, somewhere
Sean Nolin, Deck McGuire
Nolin pitched very well in four April starts, not so good in three May starts and now he is on the DL. Were his May starts impacted by his injury? We don't know. McGuire's ERA was better in AA this year thanks to fewer walks and home runs and likely luck. But his K rate in AA per 9 was 7. Could he be another Chad Jenkins? Maybe, but that is still a marginal big leaguer.
Stroman has pitched well in AAA and has had mixed results in the major leagues. This is all development and nothing to get too worked up about yet.
Mitch Nay, Matt Dean, Santiago Nessy
Nay hit 290 in April but is only hitting in the 230's in May. Plus he hasn't shown much power. He does have good control of the strike zone but he is obviously still adjusting to A ball. Dean is hitting better than Nay, over 300, but he doesn't control the strike zone. Dean strikes out almost 30% of the time and his K/BB ratio is over 4:1. Nessy has hit better in May but he is repeating the level and better is good but expected.
Alberto Tirado, Chase De Jong
We may have been spoiled with Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard in Lansing in 2012. They had ERA's around 2, opponents BA just over 200, more than a K per inning and at least a 2:1 K/BB ratio. Tirado has an ERA over 5, opponents BA .259; a K per inning but 32 walks in 34 innings. De Jong was an ERA just under 4; opponent BA .258, K rate 6.7 and a good 3:1 ratio. Both are young guys with plenty of time to develop but neither of them have shown consistent excellence at A ball.
Stilson had an ERA over 9 in April and had pitched over 14 shutout innings in May until he allowed two runs on Wednesday. He is still looking for consistency, if he can repeat his May numbers in June we will be ready for a call-up.
Kevin Pillar, AJ Jimenez, Ryan Goins
I grouped these three hitters together because they each had a question about their ability to hit as major leaguers and I don't think any of them have answered the question. Pillar has perhaps shown the most promise as a platoon hitter against left handed pitchers. But the issue that was raised in 2013 was that Pillar was a free swinger who would often get himself out by swinging at pitches out of the zone. He was that same Pillar when first called up this year, he has looked better recently but he is still in the small sample size club. Jimenez was setback by an injured hamstring and as a reult he has only had 100 AB's this season. Goins, we know the story.
Roberto Osuna, Franklin Barreto, Richard Urena, Matt Smoral, Rowdy Tellez
All are in extended and we won't know their progress until the second half.
Non top 30 prospects of note
Twelve Buffalo pitchers have pitched more than 10 innings and five of them have a K9 rate greater than 9. Marcus Stroman and Rob Rasmussen are two of the five and have earned a look at the major league level. Bobby Korecky and Austin Bibens-Dirkx are veterans whose K9 is right on the 9 number. Ryan Tepera leads the team with a K9 of 12.2 His K9 in May is 16.7. He has walked 13, too many, but ten of those were in April and only three in May. I have been watching Tepera for a while and it looks like he is getting close to being major league ready.
Michael Crouse is very athletic but often injured. He started 2014 well before going on the DL (he returned yesterday). Crouse's OPS is 818 which is good for the Eastern League. We need a bigger sample but Crouse is still just 23 years old. Hopefully he gets back to form soon and can build on his good start.
Matt Boyd burst out of the gates with an ERA under one in Dunedin but his rise hit a bump in AA. It's still early but his status as a prospect is still unclear as of this point.
Chung got off to a slow start, his OPS in April was 669 but in May his OPS is over 1000. I assume the Jays will give him a look in AA for the second half.
Cole has upped his K rate this season to over 11 per 9. If he can keep it going he might get a look at AA, the real proving ground for prospects.
Sikula eanred a promotion to AA based on a WHIP of .6 and a K9 of 14. The Dunedin broadcasters talking on Jesse Goldberg-Strassler's Around The Nest podcast describe Sikula as a casey Janssen type, many pitches, good command. We will see how he pitches in AA.
It has not been a great start to the year for the Jays prospects. There are more prospects hitting road-bumps than there are guys humping up the prospect lists. Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey have been the brightest lights. However Aaron Sanchez, Andy Burns, DJ Davis and Tom Robson have disappointed. Will the warmer weather bring better results? We hope so.