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It's that time of year again. The minor league crew voted on the top 30 prospects in the Blue Jay farm system after the 2006 season. We are pleased to share our choices, ten daily for the next three days. We begin with nos. 30-21.

The comments are prepared by individual members of the crew and indicated by their initials: G- Gerry , P- Pistol, JG- Jonny German, T- Thomas, R- Rob and MG- Mike Green. Jonny German was again instrumental in providing the statistical information that accompanies the comments.

30. Shane Benson, RHP
Born December 15, 1986. Signed as an amateur free agent in 2004.

Year Age Level G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2005 18 R+ 16 6 44 11.65 1.43 2.04 7.97 5.52
2006 19 A- 9 7 36 8.66 0.24 1.48 6.93 3.47

It’s ‘so far so good’ for the Blue Jays man from Down Under. 80 professional innings, all of them in short-season ball, are far too few to make any robust assessments, but Benson did everything the club could hope for this year. He reduced his hit rate and drastically cut down on the homers without giving up anything in the K/BB department, and did it while moving up to a league mostly filled with older players fresh out of college. The next step for Benson is full-season ball and handling more innings. (JG)

29. Kyle Ginley, RHP
Born September 1, 1986. Selected in the 17th round of the 2006 amateur draft.

Year Age Level G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2006 19 R+ 8 1 26 7.42 1.01 3.71 14.17 4.73
2006 19 A- 2 1 10 4.50 0.00 4.50 5.40 0.00

It’s not often that a pitcher will spend a majority of his time in relief in Pulaski and crack the top 30 list, especially with a 4.73 ERA. However, Kyle Ginley appears to be the exception.

Ginley was drafted in the 17th round out of St Petersburg JC. However, he was no ordinary long shot 17th rounder. Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds the previous year as a draft and follow Ginley and the Reds agreed to terms just prior to the draft. Or at least that’s what Ginley thought. Apparently the Reds didn’t meet the deadline for the paperwork to be filed and Ginley went back into the draft. Thought to be a 3rd-5th round talent the Jays signed Ginley to what he described as ‘4th round money’ following the signings of most of the other draft picks.

The 20 year old power pitcher racked up the Ks in Pulaski to the tune of 14.2 Ks/9 innings, averaging over 3 innings an appearance. Ginley was then promoted to Auburn at the end of the season, starting two games including a playoff game.

With good size (6-2, 225) and power stuff – his fastball reportedly has peaked at 96 - Ginley should get an opportunity to start in Lansing next season and is someone worth keeping an eye on. (P)

28. Billy Carnline, RHP
Born January 3, 1984. Selected in the 12th round of the 2005 amateur draft.

Year Age Level G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2005 21 NCAA 18 13 78 10.38 0.69 4.15 7.15 4.27
2005 21 A- 21 2 41 9.00 0.21 4.39 7.90 4.61
2006 22 A 15 10 66 5.94 0.94 1.62 8.91 2.70
2006 22 A+ 10 10 57 9.15 0.94 2.52 4.89 3.47

Many of you may have forgotten, but few Blue Jays minor leaguers got off to as fast of a start as Carnline. For the first six or eight weeks of the year it seemed like he was appearing in a Minor League Update every other day with a notable performance. The 2005 draft pick had fine peripherals with Lansing and earned himself a promotion after 66.2 innings with a WHIP of 0.84.

He didn’t fare so well in Dunedin, as his ERA jumped almost a run, his K:BB ratio fell to 2:1 and he went from a strikeout an inning to a strikeout every other inning. However, other positive signs remained. Carnline didn’t allow many unearned runs and he kept his home run rate about the same. In a mid-season interview pitching coach Dane Johnson spoke about Carnline’s problems, saying, “He came in last year and rushed his delivery and pitched up in the zone too much….. Tom Signore worked with him to get him to stay back and drive the ball down to the bottom of the zone.”

The part that stood out the most to me was Johnson’s comment that “We beat him up a little last season in the instructional league and he has worked his tail off to get to where he is…His slider has become sharper and tighter and he knows his change-up and he battles out there.” Johnson also described Shane Benson as a battler and spoke about Jesse Litsch’s mound presence, but he seemed to go out of his way to speak highly of Carnline’s character twice. That’s a positive sign and if Carnline’s as diligent as Johnson believes, there is little reason to doubt he’ll continue to improve in the future. (T)

27. Yohermyn Chavez, OF
Born January 26, 1989. Signed as an amateur free agent in 2005.

2006 17 R+ 105 9 0 0 9 23 1 2 .276 .371 .362

Are you feeling lucky? Then put your money on Yohermyn Chavez, who turns 18 in January. He's 6'3". There are different accounts of his weight, and given his age, that is liable to change quickly anyway. He has average speed and arm, and has reasonable control of the strike zone, especially given his age. To succeed, he will need to develop power while maintaining his control of the strike zone. Time is on his side.

He will likely play in short-season ball, in Auburn, again next year. The number to watch with him is his Isolated Power. This year it was .086. If he gets it to .140 or so next year, while maintaining average control of the strike zone, that will be a good sign. (MG)

26. Paul Phillips, RHP
Born January 26, 1984. Selected in the 9th round of the 2005 amateur draft.

Year Age Level G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2005 21 NCAA 15 12 77 11.03 0.60 1.70 7.80 4.23
2005 21 A- 26 0 39 7.09 0.46 2.97 9.38 2.29
2006 22 A 31 0 40 8.03 0.44 2.90 8.25 2.01
2006 22 A+ 15 0 20 11.75 0.43 3.04 9.14 6.97
2006 22 AA 3 0 2 7.71 0.00 11.57 19.28 7.71

Phillips had labrum surgery in 2004 and has now pitched two full seasons following the surgery. He relies primarily on a fastball/slider combination which was good for 63 Ks in 63 innings in 2006. Phillips also does a nice job keeping the ball in the park – only 3 HRs allowed all season.

In mid-season Phillips was called up from Lansing to Dunedin. His DIPS ratios all remained similar, but the FSL was able hit off him much better than the Midwest League. This led to an ugly ERA in Dunedin and Phillips went back down to Lansing in August to finish the year.

Phillips should get another shot in the Dunedin bullpen next year. We’ll see how he handles the competition the 2nd time around. (P)

25. Joey Metropoulos, 1B
Born October 7, 1983. Selected in the 9th round of the 2004 amateur draft.

2004 20 NCAA 203 16 0 9 31 41 5 3 .286 .424 .498
2004 20 A- 152 16 0 6 18 48 0 0 .257 .362 .480
2005 21 A- 178 21 2 6 15 44 0 0 .292 .342 .534
2006 22 A 396 27 1 11 61 91 7 4 .270 .378 .427

Metropoulos rebounded from a season shortened by a broken leg to lead qualifying Lansing Lugnuts in OBP and OPS. His walk rate was outstanding, but striking out in nearly a quarter of his at-bats doesn’t line up with his lackluster slugging percentage. His earlier stats and his build (6’1”, 230) suggest more power is possible, and his position demands it. If Big City can re-discover his power stroke without giving back too much of his patience, he'll be well on his way to the big city. (JG)

24. Tracy Thorpe, RHP
Born December 15, 1980. Selected in the 11th round of the 2000 amateur draft.

Year Age Level G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2004 23 A+ 39 0 59 5.91 0.75 4.55 8.03 3.64
2005 24 A+ 25 0 34 8.38 1.04 2.62 8.65 3.67
2005 24 AA 26 0 37 7.29 2.18 4.13 8.75 3.89
2006 25 AA 54 0 55 5.33 0.64 4.68 10.02 2.91

Tracy Thorpe is a big, 6'4", 255 pounds, hard-throwing relief pitcher who became the closer in New Hampshire in May of this year and went on to record 18 saves. Thorpe allowed only 33 hits in 55.2 innings, recorded 62 strikeouts in the same 55.2 innings, and opponents hit .169 off him. Thorpe did give up 29 walks, or 4.7 per 9 innings, a few too many. Thorpe brings the heat with a mid 90's fastball. Thorpe will turn 26 just before Christmas and will head to AAA in 2007 knowing that if he can cut down his walks, and hit his spots, he could earn a trip to the big leagues.  (G)

23. Po-Hsuan Keng, RHP
Born October 14, 1984. Signed as an amateur free agent in 2004.

Year Age Level G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2005 20 A 28 10 79 11.07 1.35 2.37 6.10 5.08
2006 21 A 32 0 69 7.88 0.51 2.32 7.75 2.33
2006 21 A+ 7 0 8 16.61 3.11 3.11 2.07 10.38

Keng didn’t show much in 2005, but he no doubt did a lot of adjusting to North America along with his countryman Chi-Hung Cheng. In 2006 he made gains in all areas, putting up solid rates and a very pretty ERA working out of the Lansing pen. Cheng made even bigger gains, and both will start 2007 at Dunedin with the goal of spending a good chunk of the season in New Hampshire. (JG)

22. Robinzon Diaz, C
Born September 19, 1983. Signed as an amateur free agent in 2000.

2004 20 A 407 20 2 2 27 31 10 4 .287 .341 .361
2005 21 A+ 388 17 6 1 15 28 5 2 .294 .325 .376
2006 22 A+ 418 21 1 3 20 37 8 1 .306 .341 .383

Calling Diaz a ".300 hitter" is sort of like that one ING Direct ad where you can "earn" $1326 in a year by setting aside $25 per week -- it's factually correct, but just barely so, and it's also quite misleading. You'd expect a ".300 hitter" to have more than 30 extra-base hits over a full season and to walk more than once per 20 AB. Diaz does none of these, and as a result, his MLE is pegged as merely better than John McDonald.

The Jays are keeping him behind the plate for the forseeable future and Diaz's defense, which is still in the development stage, will have to improve for him to be considered anything more than a #22 prospect in a weak system. Then again, he does have 23 stolen bases in 30 attempts over the last three years and can probably outrun either Bengie Molina or Jason Phillips while carrying the other on his shoulders. So maybe a fast-track, so to speak, is required here. (R)

21. Dustin Majewski, OF
Born August 16, 1981. Acquired in a December 2005 trade with the Oakland Athletics.

2004 22 A 464 23 2 12 48 105 20 6 .274 .339 .409
2005 23 A+ 533 43 3 20 60 130 13 7 .272 .348 .477
2006 24 A+ 221 16 2 7 49 39 3 3 .271 .398 .457
2006 24 AA 236 8 1 13 51 56 1 1 .233 .372 .441

Majewski came to the Jays in the Chad Gaudin trade with the A's. He repeated High A ball to start the year and then was called up to NH in June following a solid start in Dunedin. Like so many players Majewski struggled in his first exposure to AA, getting just 2 hits in his first 23 at bats. After that point he hit a solid .249/.389/.474. As the line indicates Majewski takes a fair amount of walks and has a fair amount of power. The problem is that Majewski doesn't make contact often enough - striking out in 24% of his AA at bats.

As a left handed hitter who has the ability to capably play all three outfield positions Majewski could turn into an ideal fourth outfielder. (P)

Tomorrow, we have #20 through #11.

2006 Post-season Top 30 Prospects- #30-#21 | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Paul D - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#155949) #
Since no one's commented yet, I wanted to say that I really really like this type of article on the box.  It's exciting to hear about all the potential future Jays.  Good work guys.

Does it seem like JP is starting to devote more resources to development?  It seems as though the last year we've heard about more money on International signings, draft and follows, and paying 4th round money to someone drafted in the 17th round.

braden - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#155953) #

Baseball America has named Travis Snider as the top prospect in the Appalachian League.  Chavez also ranked, coming in at #18.

For those with a BA subscription, there will be an Appalachian League chat today at 2pm.

Pistol - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#155954) #
It's tough to say.  The Jays didn't have a 2nd or 3rd round pick this year, and Magee was a senior pick (limiting his bonus) so that may have been the reason why there were other signings as they had more money left over than they would have in a normal draft year.
Mike Forbes - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#155961) #

Kyle Ginley is one of my personal favorite prospects in the system, a power pitcher with a beautiful K rate. I look forward to following his progress in Auburn/Lansing next year.

Pistol - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#155962) #
For what it's worth, each of the members of the ML crew put together a top 30 list on their own.  In all 49 players got at least one vote.
pavement44 - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#155963) #

Could you tell us who just missed the cut?  I really enjoy the farm system features!

Gerry - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#155965) #
Matt Eddy of BA answered questions for subscribers today, including four Blue Jay questions.  He likes Travis Snider, thinks he will do OK in the field but will take time to get to Toronto.  Yoheromin Chavez is a big guess at this point because he is so young.  Kyle Ginley should make the BJ top 30 and Chris Emanuele is an overachiever whose celing is as a fourth outfielder.
Gerry - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#155966) #

Could you tell us who just missed the cut? 

On Thursday we will review the rising and falling players who just missed the cut.

actionjackson - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#155968) #

Paul D, I think JP is just following his drafting strategy that he laid out at the start, which was to fill the system with college players in the hopes that they would arrive quickly, and then start to diversify where the talent comes from. You will probably never see him draft a high school pitcher in the first round though, but you never know.

As much as I'm happy that there will be higher payrolls in the years to come, I really hope there is just as much, if not more, of a commitment financially to scouting and development. It sounds like they're going to emphasize coaching at the 5 (instead of 6) levels of the farm system. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I heard there will be 4 coaches at each level next year instead of 3. If it helps with the development of the kids, I'm all for it. I'm not enough of a prospects expert to know what the difference between 6 and 5 farm teams will be. I'm pretty sure they will need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff quickly and that could lead to some regrettable decisions. Also, some guys might have their confidence destroyed by too rapid an ascent. They may go back to 6 teams in the future, or they may decide to continue with this sink or swim method of separating the pretenders from the contenders.

Thanks very much to the minor league crew and I'm sure I'm not alone in looking forward to the next 3 installments, including the honourable (or dishonourable) mentions on Thursday. Thanks also for all your hard work to keep us up to date throughout the season. It's fun to dream and look ahead, especially when things are going better (though not as well as we hoped) with the big club.

Jim - Monday, September 25 2006 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#155972) #
Does it seem like JP is starting to devote more resources to development?

From where I am sitting it looks like less then ever.
VBF - Tuesday, September 26 2006 @ 12:19 AM EDT (#155979) #

Having not seen Diaz in person but looking at his high AVG nd low SLG, I'm guessing he isn't close to being an average runner. Are his lack of EBH related to not making it to second (Molina syndrom), or does he just make weak contact consistently with significant luck?


Mike Green - Tuesday, September 26 2006 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#155995) #
Good question, VBF.  Here are Diaz' splits. As you can see, he's an extreme ground-ball hitter.  That, combined with the fact that he probably is not blessed with exceptional speed, would explain the dearth of extra-base hits.  It also explains the very ugly 20 GIDP in 420 at-bats.
2006 Post-season Top 30 Prospects- #30-#21 | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.