A few news items have come up in the last few days and I’ll put them all into this post for your reading enjoyment.
First, some prospect news. MLB.com has been working on a position-by-position Top 10 list and the Blue Jays have already ranked with Daniel Norris coming in as the #3 left-handed pitcher and Max Pentecost as the #10 catcher.
“Often overlooked because of his size, Travis simply finds a way to put the bat on the ball. He has a quick, compact swing and controls the barrel of the bat well. He’s shown surprising power as a professional and could be good for double-digit home runs every year. Travis is a solid defender at second base, capable of making all the plays required. He earns praise for his instincts and heady play, which allow his tools to play up.”
“Pompey combines elite athleticism with a good feel for hitting on both sides of the plate. He has a mature approach and is adapt [sic] at working walks. While his approach lends itself more to high contact rates than power, his bat speed enables him to drive balls. He has above-average speed and puts it to good use both on the basepaths and in center field, where he covers a lot of ground.”
In other prospect news, Keith Law at ESPN.com, placed three Blue Jays on his top 100 list: Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey and Aaron Sanchez. Norris ranks 18th, Pompey 42nd and Sanchez 51st. This content is paywalled but if you want to get a little bit more info without subscribing, Bluebird Banter has a nice rundown.
Finally, the Blue Jays released their list of non-roster invitees to big league spring training and it includes a lot of interesting prospects.
Among the most intriguing prospects who will get a chance to show their stuff at big league camp is 20-year-old Dominican righty Miguel Castro. He’s been making some waves recently thanks to getting some air time from the GM Alex Anthopoulos on Prime Time Sports. Anthopoulos intimated that Castro could have a shot at a bullpen spot in the major leagues. If you want to see the type of things that would lean towards seeing Castro as a bullpen arm immediately, head to my scouting report of Castro from when I saw him pitch in Lansing last year. Oh, and I did tab Castro as being a potential fast mover in the minor leagues for the Jays when I visited the Cardy Show back in November.
Roberto Osuna will also get a shot in big league spring training while Gregory Infante (who hit 100 mph on the radar this past season with New Hampshire and Buffalo) will also get a shot. I saw Infante in Buffalo and I like what he could bring to the club and, while he’s not on the 40-man, with an effective spring, he could leap frog some other guys. As far as Osuna goes, I think the Blue Jays major league staff want a look see and I don’t think he’ll be around big camp too long. Coming off Tommy John surgery, he’ll need to get his feet back under him (and innings under his belt) in minor league camp before he starts the year.
Behind the plate, Derrick Chung, Jack Murphy and Sean Ochinko get invites. It’s good to see Ochinko in big league camp after a rough year that included serving a suspension and a hospitalization. Catchers are always needed and these guys will be fighting for spots at the highest levels of the minor leagues.
Mitch Nay is a bit of a surprise. He hasn’t played much above High-A and will likely get a few cracks late in games before heading back to the minor league complex. Devon Travis is a completely expected invitation. With a (really) good showing, he could make the team although I think the Blue Jays do want to see him spend some time in Buffalo.
Another big surprise is Anthony Alford. Again, I think it’s to get some major league staff eyes on him now that he’s made the choice to play baseball exclusively (and give up his college football career). He’s just finished up in the Australian Baseball League where he had flashes of his potential but he’s still very raw. I see Alford in Lansing this year, maybe Dunedin.
Dwight Smith, Jr. is another player who is somewhat of a surprise to get a big league spring training invite. Smith had a great year last year and could very well be your starting left fielder in New Hampshire. He’s really blossomed over the last couple of seasons and this could very well be a reward for his good play.
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