Continuing our prediction of opening day rosters throughout the Blue Jays’ system with A+ Dunedin
Dunedin is our next stop. A select few of the higher regarded prospects (typically those drafted out of college) begin their pro careers here however most have a few professional seasons under their belts before they arrive. The Dunedin Blue Jays play in the Florida State League (FSL). There are three single A levels and the FSL is part of the top tier known as advanced A (A+).
General notes: Bullpen picture continues to be jam-packed; Hot competition for the rotation as well; Some outfielders needed to pushed back to Lansing; I have 7 of the Jays’ top 30 prospects (according to mlb.com) pencilled in for Dunedin, the highest being #8 Jon Harris.
Predicted opening day roster hitters:
C: Danny Jansen — Danny was in Dunedin last year but had a .585 OPS. He did have a nice rebound in the Arizona Fall League with a .704 OPS. Has dealt with injuries
2B: John La Prise — Reached Dunedin for a brief stint last year in what was essentially his first professional season (.654 OPS)
3B: Matt Dean — Spent most of his time at double AA in 2016 but has been passed on the first base and third base depth charts by several players. His .601 OPS last year, for an offensively minded player, isn’t going to cut it. A demotion back to Dunedin seems possible although it depends on the Jays’ plans regarding Max Pentecost
SS: Lourdes Gurriel Jr — No real prediction skills needed here. The Jays have been public with their intentions to start Lourdes off at Dunedin. I doubt he’ll stay there long. With Urena entrenched at AA and the club wanting to ease him into the continental game, Dunedin is the best option for him to get his reps in at shortstop.
LF: Jonathan Davis — His .252 .376 .441 slash line at A+ last year proves he’s ready to move up but the Fisher Cats’ outfield picture is packed. He’ll have to bide his time for now.
CF D.J Davis — Was with Dunedin all of 2016 but faltered with a .558 OPS. He’ll benefit from another year at the level as he did in Lansing from 2014 to 2015.
RF Derrick Loveless — Another victim of AA’s outfield crunch. He might have to return to Dunedin after spending much of 2016 in New Hampshire. He didn’t make an error last season.
DH Mitch Nay — Injured nearly all of 2016. Should return to where he left off in 2015 at Dunedin
INF Aaron Attaway — The 25 year posted a .582 OPS between A+/A. Can backup 2B, 3B and SS. (UPDATE: Released. Ryan Metzler might slot in here or perhaps an MiLB signing)
OF David Harris — The 25 year old hasn’t been able to achieve much in two cracks at Dunedin. He may be running out of chances but for now he can backup the outfield positions.
2B Gunnar Heidt —.748 OPS with Dunedin in 2016. Plays 2B, SS and 3B quite well. Could challenge La Prise or Dean for a more regular role. Could also slip into SS after Gurriel moves on.
SP Ryan Borucki — There are some who believe Borucki could begin the season at AA but after his disastrous 6 start stint with Dunedin last year, the Jays should take a slower approach.
SP Jon Harris — 2.71 ERA between A+ and A last season. If he adds some bulk to his thin frame and a corresponding velocity uptick, he could be the Blue Jays best starting prospect.
SP Francisco Rios — Broke out with a 2.91 ERA between A+ and A in 2016. He’s dabbled in relieving occasionally over the years as well.
SP Angel Perdomo — Spent 2016 in Lansing posting a 3.17 ERA. His superb peripherals indicate he could advance quickly (11.1 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9)
SP Chris Rowley — In his first year back from military duty, Rowley picked up where he left off with a 3.49 ERA in Dunedin. The 26 year old can fill a swingman role.
RP Kender Villegas — An offseason minor league signing. At 24, he’ll be repeating A+
RP Jose Fernandez — Needs to stick around in Dunedin to work on his unsightly 7 BB/9.
RP Conor Fisk — The swingman posted a 3.25 ERA with Dunedin in 2016. Could move up to AA quickly.
RP Dusty Isaacs — With an excellent strikeout to walk ratio and a 1.14 ERA with Dunedin in 2016, he’s a name to watch. No room for him in AA right now.
RP Carlos Ramirez — The converted position player impressed with a 2.20 ERA and 9 K/9.
RP Alonzo Gonzalez — The 6’5″ Alonzo spent time at AA last year but there aren’t any open spaces for him to return at this time.
RP Adonys Cardona — Just 23, but it’s already been a long road for the once highly touted Cardona. Big fastball, little control. Repeat A+.
Hypothetical DL: RP Brad Allen — Swingman. At nearly 28 and coming off a 5.50 ERA year with Dunedin, the Jays might not even keep him in the organization anyway.
A level roster predictions soon!