With the 2009 season underway, the Blue Jays have very little expectations but have gotten off to an excellent start, 3-1, with the youth leading the way we'll take a look at the top three Blue Jays Rookies.
Despite leading the American League in team ERA and having one of the better defenses in baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays could only muster 86 wins and a fourth-place finish in the AL East in 2008. This year, the team could consider relying heavily upon rookie talent, ala the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of last season. As the team looks to win their first pennant since 1993, here are three rookies who could wind up playing prominent roles along the way.
J.P. Arencibia is not very strong defensively. However, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound catcher does have a decent-sized bat. Arencibia hit a combined .298 with 27 home runs, 36 doubles, and 105 RBI in 126 games for two different minor league clubs, in 2008.
A 2007 draft pick alongside Mills and Brett Cecil, Arencibia could very well see some action at DH early and often in 2009. That said, Baseball America fully expects that this former Tennessee Volunteer is the team's catcher-in-waiting.
Selected 38th overall by the team in the 2007 draft, left-handed pitcher Brett Cecil drew rave reviews for his performance with the Jays during Grapefruit League action last season.
After watching his future ace toss two shutout innings against the Yankees in March 2008, Ricciardi told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he was impressed with the youngster's poise, and even compared him to the likes of New York's Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy.
Cecil has a phenomenal slider and a fastball said to be in the mid-90s, and he could well crack the rotation before the end of the season.
That brings us to Travis Snider, who is without a doubt the top prospect in the Blue Jays farm system and the guy most likely to crack the MLB roster full time in 2009.
An outfielder drafted out of high school in 2005, Snider saw action in 24 games with Toronto in 2008, hitting .301 with six doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI.
According to Baseball America, Snider is not only the team's best power-hitting prospect, but the best at hitting for average as well, making him a legitimate dual-threat at the plate.
As Whipps points out, he has been somewhat snakebit with injuries throughout his young career, but adds that Snider, when healthy, "is a force in the lineup."