We move on to the hitters that I’m projecting to be on the Dunedin Blue Jays to start the season.
In this group, I see Pentecost getting about half the reps behind the plate (if healthy) while the other two split duties the rest of the time. However, if Pentecost is still unable to catch, I can see Danny Jansen starting the season in Dunedin. Both Reeves and Saez are known for their defense and both struggled with the bat in Dunedin last year and I can see them both returning.
There’s no way that the 2015 Midwest League MVP is not moving up a level so McBroom is almost a sure thing. There’s a chance that Matt Dean returns to Dunedin to start the year, particularly since I think Rowdy Tellez will be in Double-A New Hampshire. With Dantzler a lefty and McBroom a righty, they complement each other well.
Thon will get a chance to improve over his poor performance in Dunedin last year. He started out gangbusters with Lansing last year but cooled off quickly when he was promoted to Dunedin.
Nay had a subpar year with the Dunedin Blue Jays last year and his dropping power numbers are likely a concern for the club. Nay could very well start the season in Dunedin in order to prove that he’s ready for Double-A and, if he does, a promotion could come within a month or two.
Urena is another player who struggled when promoted last year. While he was an offensive force in Lansing, in Dunedin Urena lost a lot of power and didn’t hit for a high enough average to compensate for his extremely low walk rate. He’ll start the season back in Advanced-A after impressing in a couple of major league spring training opportunities.
Of this trio, I see Leblebijian breaking out a bit in 2016. He had a terrific time in Australia and while that doesn’t necessarily translate into success in affiliated ball, he was excellent in Lansing and not very good in Dunedin (like several other players). Fermin has bounced between Dunedin and New Hampshire a lot while Atkinson probably deserves a shot at Advanced-A after struggling in Lansing and then finding success in Vancouver after a demotion.
I would almost bet that the first four players on this list are going to start in Dunedin. Aside from D.J. Davis, the rest have already played in Dunedin. Loveless had a decent enough season but it might be enough to break through to Double-A at the beginning of the year. J.D. (a.k.a. Jonathan Davis) crushed in Lansing but injuries kept him to playing just 47 games in Dunedin with mediocre results. Harris was another split personality, hitting very well in Lansing but hitting only .211 in Dunedin and like Leblebijian, had a fantastic winter in Australia, leading the league in hitting. After repeating Lansing, D.J. will get a shot in Dunedin and we all hope that he continues to build on the hard work he put in over the past couple of years. Parmley will likely be an extra outfielder in Dunedin and fourth/fifth outfielders can generally come from anywhere in the organization making a prediction beyond Parmley difficult to make.
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