Will the Toronto Blue Jays feature a new face in Left Field in 2011, or will GM Alex Anthopoulos stick with the likes of Fred Lewis & DeWayne Wise? Either way it will be a tough decision to make come Opening Day.
Three players hoping to crack that Opening Day lineup include Chris Lubanski, Aaron Mathews & Eric Thames. Lubanski & Mathews have spent this season with Las Vegas, while Thames has been tearing up the AA Eastern League for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Chris Lubanski was originally drafted in the First Round (5th overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 2003. He played for the 2002 U.S.A Junior National Team & was a Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star this year. In 80 games with the 51's he's hit an impressive .314 with 22 Doubles, 6 Triples & 14 Home Runs.
Aaron Mathews was selected by the Jays in the 19th Round (567th overall) of the 2004 Entry Draft. He's spent the last 6 seasons in the Jays organization and could finally be ready for an everyday role. His power numbers aren't as imposing as Lubanski but he hits for a higher average. In 68 games he's batting .346 with 18 Doubles, 2 Triples & 8 Home Runs.
Eric Thames was taken in the 7th Round (219th overall) in 2008. Thames should probably be playing AAA but with Lubanski & Mathews in Las Vegas, he hung out in New Hampshire where he's managed to pile up numbers of .295 with 24 Doubles, 5 Triples & 22 Home Runs in 115 games.
With a long list of talent in Left, Anthopoulos will have a tough decision to make in the off season. Does he stick with Lewis & DeWise or give a youngster a shot at something he's probably dreamed of his entire life? Only time will tell!