With Adeiny Hechavarria being signed to the largest contract every given out by the Toronto Blue Jays to an international player ($10 million over four years), the Jays finally have hope that their shortstop carousel may be slowing down.
Hechavarria figures to be both a stolen bases threat and a leadoff staple for the next decade; however, I can't find anything about the kid other than really basic scouting reports and the fact that he had a .262 average last year on the Cuban National Team.
The Cubans didn't want to release information about him in fear of his defection and teams didn't want to show interest in him by posting statistics. Really annoying, but I'm super glad he got signed.
Along with Travis Snider, Brett Wallace, Kyle Drabek, and others, he represents a large part of the team's future.
Here is how I project the Jays' 2013 batting order and pitching staff to shape up, if everything goes right and none of our prospects bust out, with how I project their stats will look to finish the year.
1. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS (.290, .375 OBP, 105 R, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 35 SB)
Only hope for being the future shortstop in the organization; otherwise they have Travis Pastornicky (who's bit of a long shot), but they may go out and get a defensive guy in free agency down the road if nobody develops, batting Moises Sierra leadoff.
2. Moises Sierra, CF (.280, .370 OBP, 100 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 30 SB)
I really like Sierra. Looking at his statistics and defensive reputation, he'd be a perfect fit batting second; if not, then, sure, just put Aaron Hill back in this spot. A great player to play center field as well, as Vernon Wells is turning into a bit of a liability in center.
3. Adam Lind, DH (.300, .370 OBP, 90 R, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 10 SB)
Brett Wallace is supposedly a perfect three-hole hitter (power, gets on base) and I think he can be, but right now I'm leaning toward Lind, who's currently putting up the numbers we hope Wallace can reach.
4. Travis Snider, LF (.275, .360 OBP, 90 R, 35 HR, 115 RBI, 5 SB)
I was one of the first on the Travis Snider bandwagon after he was ranked consistently as a top-eight prospect in baseball last year. I still think he can be amazing, but he's struggled against major-league pitching (although he's mashed at Triple-A) and I question a bit if he'll ever live up to his full potential. That said, I have confidence he can attain these statistics and be an ideal cleanup hitter.
5. Brett Wallace, 1B (.295, .370 OBP, 95 R, 30 HR, 110 RBI, 2 SB)
Wallace's max upside of a .400 OBP and 35 homers would certainly guarantee him the three-spot. While I think that's certainly possible, I think that these are numbers that are attainable and that a lot of people would be happy with. Good production out of the five-hole, which I view as the second-best power/OBP player.
6. Aaron Hill, 2B (.290, .360 OBP, 85 R, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 10 SB)
Some people have written about how the Jays should trade Hill at the 2010 deadline to replenish the farm system as Hill is currently entering his prime and the Jays shouldn't waste his best production. While this sort of makes sense, I think they should keep their two players (Lind the other) that are certain to give them production down the road.
7. Vernon Wells, RF (.270, .345 OBP, 65 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 10 SB)
What to say about Wells...While I think that he'll play really well this season (and he homered just as I started finishing up my thoughts about Hill), making his contract somewhat moveable, I don't think that the Jays will find a buyer for him and will end up moving him to right field, living with his declining statistics. His batting average could very well be .230 in 2013, as it's wavered by huge increments year-to-year.
8. Travis D'Arnaud, C (.275, .335 OBP, 70 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 2 SB)
All those years of hailing J.P. Arencibia as the Jays' future at catcher came to an end when the team acquired an even better prospect in Travis D'Arnaud. He's good at defense and has decent batting skills.
9. Brandon Inge, 3B (or any other defensive 3B) (.225, .305 OBP, 65 R, 15 HR, 50 RBI, 2 SB)
Really hard to project free-agent acquisitions down the road, but everything's pointing to the Jays opting to pick up a third basemen, as they don't have anyone in their organization, unless they decide to stick Brett Wallace there despite his defense. They have enough offense, so I'm saying they go for an all-defense type. Other options in the 2011 or 2012 class include Pedro Feliz, Eric Chavez, and others.
SP: Ricky Romero (17-6, 3.15 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
Hard to project an ace for the staff, but I'm going with Romero, who's pitching great right now and could easily make the jump to the elite.
SP: Kyle Drabek (15-9, 3.60 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
I'm not as high on Drabek as some analysts are, but I project him to be a solid No. 2 or 3 starter on the Jays down the road (which many analysts think as well).
SP: Shaun Marcum (14-8, 3.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
The Jays will need a 30-year-old veteran to lead their staff in 2013, and judging by how the Jays have given him this role in 2010, he should continue to do so as he truly enters the veteran part of his career.
SP: Chad Jenkins (11-8, 3.95 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Really, I don't know much about Jenkins, but I like his scouting reports and college background. He could easily become a solid contributor for the Blue Jays starting in 2012.
SP: Brett Cecil (12-10, 4.00 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
Cecil had encouraging starts in limited time last season and was called up when Brian Tallet went down recently. I see him as the breakout player of the Cecil/Mills/Ray trio.
CL: Zach Stewart (37/41 SV, 2.55 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Scouts would like to see Stewart as a starter, as they think he has enough endurance to go six or seven innings a game, but, really, he's been terrible as a starter in his career and pretty much lights-out as a closer. The Jays haven't had a good homegrown closer in a long time, and he could certainly fill this role; they just have to first admit that the bullpen is his place.
SU: Brandon Morrow (2.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
Like Stewart, people see Morrow as a starter, but I think that ultimately he ends up in a prominent bullpen role, taking the closer role if Stewart busts out or fails under pressure. Besides, the Jays have enough starting depth, and I don't see him turning into an elite option in the rotation. I'd be happy with his development overall if he turned into a lockdown setup man.
MRP:Tim Collins (3.10 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
Hard to really get a grasp on middle relief down the road, but Tim Collins is a really interesting and talented relief prospect. If Brandon Morrow is able to produce effectively from the rotation, Collins would likely occupy the setup role in years to come.
MRP: Josh Roenicke (3.60 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
The Blue Jays seem to have a knack of picking up unwanted relievers and turning them into productive bullpen pieces. Currently, the majority of their bullpen is just these kind of guys. I see the same happening with Roenicke.
MRP: Robert Ray (3.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Robert Ray certainly has the stuff and potential to be a good third or fourth starter, but I don't think that he quite makes the cut, but ends up being a solid middle reliever.
LRP: Marc Rzepczynski (3.75 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Rzepczynski played well at the major-league level last year, and he should shape up to be the team's sixth starter in 2013. He should get 18 starts in 2013 with injuries, etc.
LRP: Brad Mills (3.75 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Like Rzepczynski, his situation is a result of the pitching logjam. If the Jays were thinking of making a drastic decision, they could go with a six-man rotation or rotate Mills, Rzepczynski, and Cecil around in the fifth-spot and get them all 120 or so innings.
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