The Blue Jays have released their 2015 Florida Instructional League roster and there are some very interesting surprises there in addition to players who were thought to be slam dunks.
First of all, let’s address what the Florida Instructional League is. Every big league organization puts together a group for further instruction in the fall that takes place in Florida. But you figured that out right? Generally, teams will include their top prospects, particularly those at the lowest levels of the minor leagues, or those who are still fairly new to the pro ranks. In addition, teams like to bring in players who may be making a position change to give them more reps or players who are learning to switch hit or learn a new pitch.
Generally, it’s a good idea to look at this list to see who the Blue Jays have a lot of faith in or hope for in the future. This is why you’ll see some names that aren’t exactly too familiar, but it could mean that the club sees something in them that we haven’t yet. There are a couple of notable omissions that I’ll touch on a little bit later. Another thing to keep in mind is that foreign players need visas to come to the US. If the Blue Jays have someone listed on the Florida Instructional League roster, it means that the team has done the paper work for the player already and is probably planning to bring him to Florida to play in 2016.
The list features the player’s name, position, age and 2015 club.
Wilfri Aleton – LHP – 19 – DSL
Lupe Chavez – RHP – 17 – DSL/GCL
Denis Diaz – RHP – 20 – GCL/Dunedin
Yennsy Diaz – RHP – 18 – DSL/GCL
Jose Espada – RHP – 18 – GCL
Joel Espinal – RHP – 19 – DSL
Conner Greene – RHP – 20 – Lansing/Dunedin/NH
Osman Gutierrez – RHP – 20 – GCL
Jonathan Harris – RHP – 21 – Vancouver
Juliandry Higuera – LHP – 20 – Bluefield
Kelyn Jose – LHP – 20 – GCL
Justin Maese – RHP – 18 – GCL
Tim Mayza – LHP – 23 – Lansing
Juan Meza – RHP – 17 – DSL/GCL
Jose Nova – LHP – 20 – DSL/GCL
Juan Nunez – RHP – 19 – DSL/GCL
Angel Perdomo – LHP – 21 – Bluefield/Vancouver
Gustavo Pierre – RHP – 23 – GCL
Sean Reid-Foley – RHP – 20 – Lansing/Dunedin
Francisco Rios – RHP – 20 – Vancouver
Tom Robson – RHP – 22 – Lansing
Dalton Rodriguez – RHP – 19 – Bluefield
Hansel Rodriguez – RHP – 18 – GCL
Chris Rowley – RHP – 25 – Military
Luis Sanchez – RHP – 21 – GCL/Bluefield
Tayler Saucedo – LHP – 22 – Bluefield/Vancouver
Evan Smith – LHP – 20 – Vancouver
Daniel Young – LHP – 21 – Vancouver
Justin Atkinson – UTL – 22 – Vancouver/Lansing
Deiferson Barreto – 2B – 20 – Bluefield
J.C. Cardenas – SS – 20 – Vancouver
Vladimir Guerrero – 3B – 16 – FA
Yeltsin Gudino – SS – 18 – Bluefield
Bryan Lizardo – 3B – 18 – GCL
Ryan McBroom – 1B – 23 – Lansing
Jesus Severino – SS – 18 – DSL/GCL
Richard Urena – SS – 19 – Lansing/Dunedin
Kevin Vicuna – SS – 17 – DSL
Christian Williams – 1B/3B – 20 – Bluefield
Carl Wise – 3B – 21 – Bluefield/Vancouver
Anthony Alford – 21 – Lansing/Dunedin
Josh Almonte – 21 – Lansing
D.J. Davis – 21 – Lansing
Antony Fuentes – 20 – DSLAndrew Guillotte – 22 – Bluefield/Vancouver
Kalik May – 22 – GCL
D.J. McKnight – 21 – Bluefield
Norberto Obeso – 20 – DSL
Edward Olivares – 19 – GCL
Reggie Pruitt – 18 – GCL
Freddy Rodriguez – 18 – Bluefield
So that’s the big list of players. Omissions include Rowdy Tellez (going to the Arizona Fall League) and Lane Thomas (injured). But otherwise, this list is pretty comprehensive of the Jays’ young, talented players.
I’d be very interested to see if Chris Rowley actually participates. He’ll have to get leave from the military (if he hasn’t finished his requirements to the US government yet) in order to play. If you remember, Rowley was incredible in 2013 coming out of West Point and dominating in the GCL. He probably has a couple of years left in his military commitments and is already 25, by far the oldest member of this group.
Another “oldie” is 23-year-old Gustavo Pierre. You’ll recall Pierre as a shortstop, then third baseman who was traded away and has now been reacquired by the Blue Jays in order to turn him into a pitcher. You’ll notice that former position player and now pitcher Carlos Ramirez is not on the list of players in the Instructional League. This could very well mean that his transition into being a pitcher is now considered complete and that he’ll be evaluated compared to other pitchers in the system in the coming season.
2015 draftees include first round pick Jon Harris, as well as third rounder Justin Maese, fourth rounder Carl Wise, fifth rounder Jose Espada as well as Daniel Young, Owen Spiwak, Christian Williams, Reggie Pruitt, Kalik May, Andrew Guillotte, J.C. Cardenas and Ryan Hissey.
The biggest name here is Vladimir Guerrero and of course, the Blue Jays are referring to “Jr.,” the 16-year-old power-hitting son of the former Expos (and other teams’) great. Vlad Jr. was scouted heavily and the Blue Jays came to an agreement with Guerrero for $3.9 million. By bringing him to the US so early, Guerrero could be slated for a Gulf Coast League assignment at the tender age of 17.
Coming from the Dominican Summer League are several players who all had good years in the DR and should make the jump to the US leagues. Position players like Norberto Obeso and Kevin Vicuna are among the group while pitchers Wilfri Aleton and Joel Espinal are the two who only pitched in the Dominican and are coming to Florida.
Another name to keep an eye on: Kelyn Jose. The 20-year-old fireballer was in the GCL last season but reports are out there that he’s throwing a 100mph fastball (without much control) so it will be interesting to see how he develops.
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