The Blue Jays cuts are coming hard and fast as four more players were sent back to the minor league camp after Sunday’s game.
According to Scott MacArthur, the Blue Jays are sending catcher A.J. Jimenez, outfielder Kenny Wilson, righty Deck McGuire and lefty Rob Rasmussen back to the minor league camp. Again, none of these players were expected to make the major league squad but all four are on the 40-man roster.
Jimenez, dubbed the “catcher of the future,” is a very good defensive backstop but the jury is still out as to whether he’s going to be able to hit enough at the major league level. He has only had a smattering of at bats in Triple-A and, though he was solid in Double-A New Hampshire last year and could probably handle a step up, is probably going to start the season back with the Fisher Cats. The 23-year-old Puerto Rican has had a rough go over the past two years, having undergone Tommy John surgery for his right (throwing) elbow in 2012 and suffered through some complications at the end of last season. He missed a September call up and an assignment to the Arizona Fall League as a result. In 2014, Jimenez is looking healthy and will try to get on track and show some more power and patience at the plate.
24-year-old center fielder Kenny Wilson is also expected to require more seasoning in the minor leagues before he’s ready for the bigs. He’s only really made some strides with the bat over the past two seasons in Class-A and Double-A baseball despite having been drafted as a second rounder in 2008. Wilson showed some good skills with the bat this year in spring training, hitting .333 with two walks and a triple in 14 plate appearances. With a lot of outfield depth in the high minors, Wilson is likely going back to Double-A to start the season.
Right-handed pitcher Deck McGuire was the Jays’ first draft pick in 2010, the year in which they also drafted Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard and Justin Nicolino. The 6-foot-6, 24-year-old had a great first pro season but blew up in Double-A in 2012 before righting the ship somewhat last year. McGuire tends to lose focus and leave pitches up which is something that he’s going to be able to continue working on the minors. I’m not entirely sure where he’ll begin the year. He could start in Buffalo but could also start down in New Hampshire.
Finally, 24-year-old Rob Rasmussen (who will be 25 on April 2) was also optioned to the minor league camp. He’s been an excellent pitcher at every level along the way in the minor leagues up to Double-A and he’s looking to prove that his own height doesn’t measure heart. At 5-foot-9, Rasmussen is about as small as Marcus Stroman but is still able to get solid velocity on the ball from the left-hand side. He could also start either in Buffalo or New Hampshire.
Don’t forget about The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, available March 31 as an ebook at Smashwords.com, Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo and other fine retailers for $7.99. Pre-order information coming soon!