Last year, I picked out eight Blue Jays minor league players to keep an eye on, choosing one pitcher and one hitter from each of the four full-season minor league teams. This year, I’m going to break things up a bit, giving you one post for pitchers and one for hitters. These players are guys who are a little bit under the radar who you should probably look out for. You can find our post on the pitchers here.
Again, it’s tough to find someone on the Buffalo roster who’s under the radar. Most of these players are here because they’ve been successful at lower levels and have had some buzz about them. I’m going to go with Tim Lopes. Lopes is a very solid hitter who has always been under the radar. First he was Christian Lopes‘s younger brother, getting drafted two years after him. Second, he was the player to be named later in the deal that sent Pat Venditte to Seattle. Third, he’s a line-drive hitter who doesn’t put up flashy numbers but has hit consistently at every level along the way. His is the type of bat that avoids slumps and he could be the glue that keeps the Bisons’ lineup generating runs.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Pretty much everyone is under the radar on a team with Vladimir Guerrero and Bo Bichette on it. But I’m going with the hometown kid, Connor Panas. Panas made some adjustments to his mechanics last year and took off, hitting 14 home runs in the last two months of the season. As a left-handed hitter in New Hampshire where there’s a short porch in right field, I think Panas can really do some damage at home. Don’t discount Juan Kelly as another under-the-radar guy.
Dunedin Blue Jays
I’m going to be controversial in my selection for the under-the-radar player for the Dunedin Blue Jays. D.J. Davis is getting his third kick of the can at the level and the former first-round pick (who was selected before Marcus Stroman in the 2012 draft) has had so many struggles over the years, he’s been forgotten.
This is another team that has plenty of guys you haven’t heard of who, I think, could have breakout seasons. I’m going with Chavez Young over shortstop Kevin Smith. Young, a native Bahamian who finished his high school in the US and was drafted in the 39th round of the 2016 draft, has exploded through the minors in two years and has been able to handle whatever the opposition has thrown at him. I’m impressed with his speed and developing power at the plate and he’s showing that he’s not nearly as raw as many people might have thought.
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