Several college age players have been assigned to the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Blue Jays whose roster will grow as more high school and college players sign in the coming weeks. We’re still waiting for Phil Bickford and Clinton Hollon (Rounds 1 & 2) as well as Jake Brentz (Round 11) who will most likely sign right at the deadline on July 12 (if they sign). Additionally, there are several Jays draftees who are still playing (or just finished playing) in the College World Series which wraps up Wednesday at the latest. There are several players repeating the level in the GCL* while another big group of players are coming to Florida from the Jays’ complex in the Dominican Republic.
Zak Adams (L) Age 21
Ryan Borucki (L) Age 19 (DL)
Oscar Cabrera (L) Age 19, Domican Republic
Jimmy Cordero (R) Age 21, Dominican Republic
Francisco Diaz (R) Age 20, Dominican Republic
Myles Duvall (R) Age 24
Jose Fernandez (L) Age 20, Dominican Republic
Tyler Gonzales (R) Age 20
Corey Gorman (L) Age 22
Phillip Kish (R) Age 23
Joe Lovecchio (R) Age 22
Patrick Murphy (R) Age 18 (DL)
Garrett Pickens (R) Age 23
Matthew Smoral (L) Age 19
Alejandro Solarte (L) Age 18, Venezuela
Jesus Tinoco (R) Age 18, Venezuela
Kamakani Usui (R) Age 23
2B Daniel Arcila (L/R) Age 22, Venezuela
SS Franklin Barreto (R/R) Age 17, Venezuela
1B L.B. Dantzler (L/R) Age 22
DH Daniel Devonshire (L/R) Age 21
2B Will Dupont (L/R) Age 19
SS Edwin Fuentes (R/R) Age 18, Colombia
3B Koby Kraemer (R/R) Age 23
SS Trey Pascazi (S/R) Age 19
SS Rolando Segovia (S/R) Age 19, Venezuela
SS Christian Vasquez (S/R) Age 23
Anthony Alford (R/R) Age 18
Josh Almonte (R/R) Age 19
Thomas Collins III (R/R) Age 24
Andres De Aza (R/R) Age 18, Dominican Republic
Nathan DeSouza (L/R) Age 18, Canada
Sean Hurley (R/R) Age 21
In terms of who we should be keeping an eye on with this team, there are several prominent names. On the pitching side, Matthew Smoral is probably the biggest name on the GCL Blue Jays. At 6’8″ this big lefty was a first round pick from 2012 who didn’t pitch last year due to injury (foot). Tyler Gonzales is another 2012 first-rounder who didn’t have a lot of success in the GCL last year so he’s back to return at 20 years of age.
Of the former Dominican Summer League (DSL) pitchers, one that could be interesting is Francisco Diaz, who is a 6’5″ righty that has gotten off to a good start so far. Oscar Cabrera had very good numbers in the DSL last year while 6’3″ lefty Jose Fernandez was absolutely dominant in the Caribbean, striking out 34 in 29 2/3 innings in the DSL last year while walking only 2! Alejandro Solarte is a 6’4″ righty with a nice track record in the Dominican so the GCL will be a good test for him.
Corey Gorman, Phillip Kish, Joe Lovecchio and Kamakani Usui are all undrafted free agents while Garrett Pickens is a college draftee from this year.
As far as the catchers go, one in particular is very interesting. Gabriel Cenas has been in the Jays system since signing as a high-profile free agent in the summer of 2010. He played 2011 at 3rd base and split 2012 between third and first. Now being listed as a catcher, he’s only played at 1st base so far. Cenas hasn’t done much with the bat so far in his career but he’s still young. Dan Jansen is a big high-school draftee from this season who signed quickly and gets an opportunity to play right away. Baseball America writer Jim Callis calls him a sleeper with “arm strength and power potential.” Andres Sotillo is a Venezuelan who had very good numbers in the DSL last year and could another guy to watch, especially if catchers in Bluefield struggle. Sotillo would be the guy that the Jays move up if he’s off to a great first month.
After hitting 25 extra-base hits (including 10 HRs) in Bluefield in 2011, Daniel Arcila regressed in Vancouver in 2012. His time may have passed – he’s turning 23 soon and hasn’t been able to get to a full-season A-ball league yet.
The most exciting name amongst the infielders has to be Franklin Barreto. Still only 17, Barreto was considered to be one of the best young prospects in the international free agent pool last year and the Jays must have a lot of faith in him because they’re letting him play in the GCL right away without spending a year in the DSL. Kyle Matte over at Jays Journal ranked him as the Jays #13 prospect and thought he could start in Bluefield, but I guess the Jays split the difference, sending him to Dunedin in the GCL. Here’s Kiley McDaniel’s (of Fangraphs) scouting report on him from the Fall Instructional League.
Edwin Fuentes had some solid numbers in the DSL last year as did Rolando Segovia. Christian Vasquez was a draftee from this year and Koby Kraemer was an undrafted free agent.
Amongst the outfielders, Anthony Alford is obviously the biggest name. Alford will play (and maybe move up levels quickly) before he reports for football at his Mississippi college in late-July or August. Nathan De Souza was drafted out of his Milton, Ontario high school last year and didn’t have much opportunity to play (only 29 at bats) but he did hit a triple and a home run. Finally, another sleeper (in my mind) is Andres De Aza. Although he hasn’t hit for much of an average in the DSL, De Aza has shown some pop in the bat which we hope can develop into something more.
Who are you excited about on the GCL Blue Jays roster?
* Along with the Arizona Rookie League, the GCL is the lowest level of Rookie Ball in the US.