September 30, 2012
Continuing on with coverage on Baseball America’s League Top 20 series, here’s the latest on the Gulf Coast League. There’s a live chat after every installment only for subscribers, and here are the Blue Jays prospect nuggets from BA’s great Gulf Coast League chat hosted by BA scouting and player development writer, Bed Badler.
PT (IBC): Why did the Jays shut down Adonys Cardona? Also how is Wuilmer Becerra doing? I heard he got hit in the face with a pitch.
Ben Badler: He had some arm soreness, so the Blue Jays decided to limit his workload. He’ll get it up to 96, but the breaking ball has been an issue since before he signed, so I don’t feel comfortable projecting anything beyond a reliever, and even that involves a great deal of projection. Becerra did get hit in the face with a pitch, broke his jaw and and had surgery. Scary stuff, but thankfully it sounds like he’s recovering and they’re planning to ease him back into things at instructional league.
Allan (Wisconsin): Ben, so we can expect Correa, Buxton, Ruiz, DJ Davis to be playing the full year in the Midwest league in 2013?
Ben Badler: The Twins tend to be conservative, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they held Buxton back in extended spring for a month or so, but he and Correa are advanced enough to open the year in the Midwest League. My bet is Davis starts there too, but his bat’s not nearly as polished as Buxton’s or Correa’s.
gerry (Toronto): Yeyfry Del Rosario of the Jays had a better K rate than Tirado with a comparable WHIP and BB:K rate. was he close to the list? What separates him from Tirado?
Ben Badler: I like Del Rosario, but Tirado’s stuff is better. Del Rosario is an outstanding strike thrower for his age, but he’s pitching around 88-90, touching 92 with some feel for a changeup and a curveball that’s his third-best pitch right now. He’s extremely polished for his age and does a lot of little things well like holding runners and feeling his position, but Tirado’s stuff is just a better bet to play at higher levels.
Feng (New York): Were there any considerations for blue jays pitchers from this year’s draft like Chase De Jong or Tyler Gonzalez?
Ben Badler: Their Dominican pitchers drew more chatter than their draft picks. I talked about Tirado and Del Rosario earlier, but Jairo Labourt is definitely a guy to watch, and I’d probably sandwich him in between Tirado and Del Rosario grading them out as prospects. He’s 88-92, touching 94 from the left side and a good curveball. The changeup is still raw and he needs to learn to repeat his delivery, but he’s got two good weapons with his fastball and his breaking ball.
Justin (Toronto): Thoughts on Dawel Lugo and Gabriel Cenas at the plate? Did anything stand out, good or bad?
Ben Badler: Lugo more than Cenas. The numbers don’t show it, but Lugo is a gifted hitter whose natural hand-eye coordination is as much of a gift as it is a curse because he ends up swinging the bat way too much at pitches he has no business trying to hit. That’s always been the book on him. If the Blue Jays can get him to stop chasing so many pitches, he could be a breakout guy, because he has the ability to barrel the ball up and do damage when he gets a good pitch to hit. His defense also got better reviews this year than last year. He still may end up moving to third base, but there’s a reasonable chance he stays at short.
PT (IBC): Any latin guys that didn’t have enough PA/IP to qualify catch your eye?
Ben Badler: Generally if the Latin American players were in the league, they got enough playing time to qualify because they were there from the start. One exception would be Wuilmer Becerra, whose season ended early because he got hit in the face with a fastball. He’s a toolsy kid who was generating some buzz during extended spring and early in the season before his injury.
Steve (Dunedin): Ben, to you and the scouts you’ve talked to, how has Jesus Gonzalez progressed this season?
Ben Badler: He’s come as advertised: Cannon arm, plus raw power and a whole bunch of problems making contact. He looks great in BP, but he has to learn to take that same swing with him to the games, especially when the pitches start to bend.