The 2012 minor league season might have come to an end, but there’s more baseball to be played for a group of Blue Jays prospects, as the 20th annual Arizona Fall League kic
ks off tonight. A total of eight players make up the Blue Jays’ contingent and three of them, outfielder Jake Marisnick, infielder Ryan Goins and pitcher Ryan Tepera, recently caught up with JaysProspects to talk about the exciting opportunity to play against the top prospects in baseball right now.
Marisnick opened this past season with Advanced-A Dunedin following a successful 2011 campaign with Class-A Lansing. After managing an .800 OPS and 31 extra-base hits in 65 games with the D-Jays, the 21-year-old was promoted to Double-A New Hampshire, where he was forced to make adjustments to the improved pitching but started to hold his own later in the season, as the youngest player on the team.
After spending the entire 2012 season on the East Coast, Marisnick, a California native, is looking forward to flying west for a change and being closer to his family.
“I’m actually really excited about it,” said Marisnick of the Fall League opportunity. “Just to be close to home so my family will be able to get out and see me play. They haven’t seen me play all year.
“Just to play against that competition, it’s awesome. It’ll give me a chance to test myself, kind of further build on this year and work on some different things out there with a lot of different guys. I’m looking forward to it.”
For 24-year-old Goins, New Hampshire’s everyday shortstop this past season, he’s looking forward to playing, both offensively and defensively, against the best competition in the minor leagues.
“When I found out I was excited. I mean a lot of good players are going out there, a lot of good players from our organization,” he said. “I’m just excited to get out there, just compete against other best minor leaguers in the game right now. Hopefully I can go out there and show myself.”
Tepera, 24, will be pitching with some familiar faces, as the Blue Jays’ other three pitching prospects in this year’s Fall League, Deck McGuire, Sam Dyson and John Stilson, played for the Fisher Cats this past season. Tepera has a good slider when he’s on, and he’s looking forward to continuing his season in Arizona and working on his game.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” he said. “Just the opportunity to go out there and play some more baseball and get better, especially in front of all the other teams and playing with the best, so yeah I’m definitely excited.
The best players go there, all the prospects, so it’s going to be top-of-the-line competition.”
Catcher Sean Ochinko and outfielder Kevin Pillar round out the Jays’ contingent in this year’s edition of the Fall League. After playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the past, Toronto’s prospects join players from four National League clubs, Arizona, Chicago, Colorado and Washington, to make up the Salt River Rafters roster.
The Rafters kick off their season tonight at 6:35 p.m. MST against the Mesa Solar Sox, who feature promising young bats Javier Baez, Nick Castellanos and Yasiel Puig, among others.