Following our post on the Dunedin Blue Jays’ pitchers is, of course, the post on the Dunedin Blue Jays’ hitters.
Like the hitters for Lansing, I think I have a clearer idea of who the hitters for the Dunedin Blue Jays are likely to be. When I say that, I mean only that my spreadsheet is a little less crowded although there are always surprises.
Riley Adams, 22, jumped over Lansing to play in the Florida State League in 2018 and hit .246/.352/.361, somewhat of a disappointment. I think that with some other catchers a level up, he’ll get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate for the Dunedin Blue Jays although I wouldn’t necessarily write off a promotion to New Hampshire.
Andres Sotillo, 24, spent the bulk of his time in Lansing last year and had some pretty strong numbers for a backup catcher with a .261/.324/.358 slash line. I think he’ll be in Dunedin, where he got 14 at bats in 2018.
Javier Hernandez is only 22 but didn’t get into a lot of action in 2018, playing just 14 games with Lansing. He could get some more action with Lansing but he could also spend the season in Dunedin as a backup.
The injury bug bit Christian Williams again in 2018 and it was especially disheartening considering that he was off to his best start with an .804 OPS through 32 games. After starting two consecutive seasons in Lansing, I think he’ll get 2019 underway with the D-Jays.
Samad Taylor will likely be the youngest player on the Dunedin infield at just 20 years old when the season gets underway. While he struggled at times in Lansing, last year, he got a full season at the level under his belt and showed some improvement as the season went on. He’s a speedster with pop and reminds me of D.J. Davis but with better plate discipline.
Cullen Large lost a huge part of his season in 2018 but was destroying the Midwest League with a .979 OPS in 27 games with Lansing. I think he moves up (which he would have done had he continued to hit at that pace before his injury) to Dunedin and will likely play mostly at third.
Logan Warmoth, the former first-round pick, will probably start back in Dunedin after a rough season that was marred by injury. He hit for just a .641 OPS in 75 games and he’ll need to improve that before he sees Double-A, particularly with Bo Bichette and Kevin Smith ahead of him on the depth chart.
Kacy Clemens had a seriously bifurcated season. The 24 year old crushed Midwest League pitching in 27 games, hitting /.301/.454/.624 with seven home runs before he was moved up to Dunedin where he hit .212/.293/.307 with only five home runs in more than three times as many at bats. He’ll be back in Dunedin to see if he can figure some things out.
On the Bubble
Kevin Vicuna, 21, had a strong season in Lansing but lost time to injury, playing in 89 games with a .266/.307/.358 slash line. He needs to keep getting stronger but could move up to Dunedin if he’s not staying in Lansing.
Yeltsin Gudino was up and down between Lansing and Dunedin last year, putting up much better numbers at the lower level. He needs to be a little more consistent at the plate while continuing to play strong defense at multiple positions to earn a utility infield spot in Dunedin.
Brock Lundquist had an excellent season in his first in full-season ball. Starting in Lansing, he had an .817 OPS with 13 home runs in 70 games before moving up to Dunedin where he tore through the league, hitting .337/.401/.483 but seeing a loss of power with only five home runs in 49 games. I think he starts back in Dunedin to see if he can do what he did at the end of last year to earn his way up to New Hampshire.
Ryan Noda, who will be 23 before the minor league season starts, led the minor leagues in walks last year and had a .256/.421/.484 slash line, hitting 24 doubles, four triples and 20 home runs. While some call him a “three-true-outcome” player, he doesn’t strike out enough and hits too many singles and doubles for that label to be really accurate. Look for him to play outfield and maybe some first base for Dunedin.
Chavez Young, 21, had a breakout season in Lansing last year and deserves to come up to Dunedin to play against better competition. Young has so many tools with outstanding defense in center field, a strong arm, excellent speed and some extra-base pop in his bat and I’m looking forward to seeing him anchor the outfield in Dunedin.
Who isn’t looking forward to getting a look at Canadian outfielder Demi Orimoloye in a Blue Jays uniform? The 22 year old was acquired for Curtis Granderson after the minor league season was just about over so he didn’t play for the Blue Jays last year. He did split his season between Class-A Wisconsin and Advanced-A Carolina and he’s still a work in progress as he needs to cut down some of his strikeouts (128 in 525 plate appearances) and making better contact.
On the Bubble
It may be a bit of a reach but I think Cal Stevenson, 22, may jump all the way from Bluefield to Dunedin. With a stellar debut and having had some good experience at a high-level Division I college, if anyone can make the leap, it’s Stevenson who’s a good-defense, excellent-plate-discipline type of player, having had a .494 OBP with Bluefield, striking out more than twice as many times as he struck out.
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