Baseball sucks, I hate it, I’m never watching anoth…. Oh, the Blue Jays announced who they added to their fall league team!
While we all wish they were participating in the ongoing ALDS, if you are reading this you like to keep tabs with the Blue Jays. Here is some interesting news. On Wednesday, October 6th, it was announced who would be participating for the Jays Fall league team.
Gabriel Moreno (Catcher)
Leo Jiminez (Infielder)
Michael Dominguez (RHP)
Cre Finfrock (RHP)
Brody Rodning (LHP)
Graham Spraker (RHP)
Spencer Horwitz (INF)
Here is a player profile on each, starting with prospects that don’t rank on MLB’s Pipeline:
Drafted in 447th (15th round) in 2019, the right handed pitcher recently turned 21. Appearing in nine rookie league games in 2019, he posted a 1.13 ERA with a 10.88 K/9 in 24 innings pitched. The pandemic shut down his 2020 season, meaning he didn’t pitch in a professional game until this season. He had a shaky start for the Complex team where he posted a 5.00 ERA in 9 IP, but after a promotion to the Low A team, he turned it around.
In 29.2 IP for Dunedin, Dominguez had an ERA of 3.34 and a K/9 of 9.40 (down from 13.00 for the FCL team). His inclusion is likely to let him gain more experience against older players.
The 25-year-old pitcher only pitched 3.2 innings between Low A and High A this season. I’m excluding his ERA solely because it’s a very small sample size, but Finfrock’s inclusion is based solely on missing two entire seasons of game action.
The 25-year-old lefty was picked in the 13th round in 2017. He pitched 40.1 innings in New Hampshire posting a 5.58 ERA. My best guess of why the Jays included him is to see what they have in him.
The 26-year-old isn’t considered a prospect in my opinion; however that doesn’t mean this spot isn’t underserved. Drafted in the 31st round in 2017, Spraker has had some decent success since going pro. This season, he pitched 42.2 innings in relief for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats where he posted a solid 2.74 ERA. His FIP registered at 3.89, but even then, Speaker has put up some pretty decent numbers throughout his minor league tenure.
Graham has pitched 287.1 innings since debuting in 2017. His career ERA stands at 2.82 between Rookie League and Double A. Most importantly however is the fact that towards the end of the season, Graham pitched 2 innings in Triple A.
Relief pitchers take longer to develop, but the Jays may have one in Graham Spraker.
Spencer is an intriguing prospect. He was drafted in the 24th round of the 2019 draft, which is two rounds after Nick Fraze, a prospect I wrote about. Unlike Fraze, Spencer Horwitz is a position player.
Primarily playing first base, the 23-year-old left handed bat had an impressive slash line of .290/.401/.864 and added 10 homers in High A. While that is already pretty impressive, the fact that he walks (14.9%) more than he strikes outs (14.1%). Another interesting statistic I found while searching his Fangraph page is his batted ball percentage. In High A, he had a pull percentage of 39.4%. His opposite percentage was nearly equal at 38.2%.
This earned him a well deserved promotion to Double A at the end of the season, where in 16 plate appearances he posted a .375/.375/1.250 slash line. Incredibly small sample size, but Spencer Horwitz is one to keep an eye on and perhaps he’ll be the spotlight of a future article.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I am creating suspense for #1 prospect Gabriel Moreno. With that being said, I shouldn’t downplay the potential of Leo Jiminez. Unfortunately for us prospect watchers, his season was disrupted by injury.
Before hitting the IL, he was hitting .293/.435/.766. He had a short rehabbing stint in the Complex league where he raked for 20 plate appearances, owning a .600 OBP. It’s a pretty small sample size, but rather impressive.
He returned to Dunedin on August 31st and in 72 plate appearances, he had a batting average of .400. Usually I give you a slash line, but I have to separate this.
A .600 on base percentage is impressive, but in a stretch of only 20 plate appearances it’s unsustainable, right? Nope. In 74 plate appearances, Leo Jiminez posted a .708 on base percentage in 72 plate appearances. For context, he had only 35 at bats during this stretch. I’m sitting here writing this and quite frankly I don’t know what to write because this is utterly insane.
When healthy, watch out for Leo Jiminez.
You’re here. This is the main event. You wanted to know about the Jays highest rated prospect.
Everyone remembers the tear that Gabriel was onat the start of his Double A season. In the hardest league to transition into, he posted a .373/.441/1.092 slash line in 145 plate appearances. Furthermore, he threw out 14 runners in 32 attempts for a success rate of 43.75%. With a wRC+ of 192 in Double A, things were looking up and he was on the brink of breaking into Buffalo’s team.
Then he got hit in the hand and needed thumb surgery and missed significant time. Upon returning he only had 14 plate appearances between the Rookie League and Triple A, so his involvement in the Fall League isn’t surprising.
Future Blue Jays (@FutureBlueJays, give him a follow) released an article detailing who’ll be involved in the Florida Instructs league. Please read the article here…
Here are the interesting prospects included on the roster…
The season may be over, but baseball operations for the Blue Jays will continue. Once the Fall League and World Series end, baseball transitions to the free agency period. Buckle up.
As always, follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. I have my wrap up in the works, but have many other ideas in the works.