Concluding our predictions of opening day rosters throughout the Blue Jays’ system with rookie league Bluefield
Bluefield also begins its season after the MLB draft and so a good chunk of its roster will be those recently selected. With this in mind, I can hardly call this a roster prediction. This one will be more a list of possibilities.
Bluefield plays in the Appalachian League—one of two leagues at the rookie level. This is the lowest of MLB affiliated leagues to charge admission and sell concessions. Like Vancouver, Bluefield has a 35 man active roster limit.
Below Bluefield are the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. The GCL and DSL are purely developmental leagues.
General notes: Larger roster size again makes things somewhat easier fitting everyone in but still, there doesn’t seem to me to be much room for new draftees on this team; the entire Jays system, Bluefield and above, is packed to the brim, there will probably be some cuts made over the season to make room for the more advanced 2017 draftees
Possible opening day roster hitters:
C: Ridge Smith —Drafted in 2016 and spent the season with Bluefield. Over 30 games posted a .774 OPS
1B: Yorman Rodriguez — .817 OPS between DSL and GCL. Plays catcher as well but likely ends up as a 1B/DH
2B: Javier Monzon —Monzon impressed with a .837 OPS between GCL and Bluefield. Should be slotted in at a higher level but the middle infield spots immediately above are clogged. Deiferson Barreto, Yeltsin Gudino and J.C Cardenas will have Monzon nipping at their heels.
3B: Sterling Guzman — Just 19 but entering his 3rd year with the Blue Jays organization. Plays some 2B as well. Bluefield will be a test as he hit just .660 with GCL last year.
SS: Bo Bichette — Tore up the GCL in jst 22 games last year. Only 19 so I’m starting him off slowly in Bluefield but he might not be there for long
LF: Norberto Obeso — Had a .849 OPS with GCL last season and has walked 87 times compared to just 34 Ks over his first two pro seasons. Could rise quickly.
CF Reggie Pruitt — .582 OPS for Bluefield last year but a .316 OBP and 16/18 SB. Has several outfielders above him on the depth chart
RF Nick Sinay — Showed very little power but an excellent .418 OBP over his two pro seasons. Is ready for advancement but faces the same issues as Pruitt
DH Levi Scott — Played 1B with Bluefield in 2016 and had a .724 OPS (Update: Could move up due to Atkinson—Jacob/Jones chain reaction. Kelly could fill Scott’s place)
C Ryan Gold — .280 .359 .402 with GCL as an 18 year old in 2016
C Matt Morgan —.179 .313 .286 with Bluefield last year. This will be his 3rd season in Bluefield
INF Kevin Vicuna — .258 .343 .298 with GCL in 2016. Should get enough playing time as he can play three positions
SS Jesus Severino — .213 .320 .278 with Bluefield last year. Vicuna or Severino could slide into Monzon or Bichette’s positions if/when the latter two are promoted. (Update: Could move up a level due to Attaway-Metzler—Knight chain reaction. Jose Theran could take Severino’s place here.
OF Chavez Young —.784 OPS with GCL last year. 19 years old (UPDATE: With release of Jacob Anderson, Young could move up to A- and be replaced here by Antony Fuentes, Yhordegny Kelly, Freddy Rodriguez or a fresh draftee)
OF Kalik May — .691 OPS between GCL and Bluefield. 24 years old (UPDATE: Released. Could be replaced by fresh draftee, Antony Fuentes, Freddy Rodriguez or Yhordegny Kelly)
SP Wilfri Aleton — Just 21 but this will be his 5th year in the Jays’ organization. 2.92 ERA with GCL in 2016. Has been a reliever a times in the past.
SP Yennsy Diaz — 5.79 ERA with Bluefield last year. A bit of wildcard. High ceiling
SP Jose Espada — 4.92 ERA with Bluefield in 2016. Much better in 2015. Still raw
SP Osman Gutierrez — 3.88 ERA with Bluefield last year. Entering 6th pro season as a 22 year old
SP Dany Jimenez — 2.72 ERA between GCL and DSL and between the rotation and pen
SP Juliandry Higuera — 4.24 ERA between Bluefield, Vancouver and Dunedin
RP Christian Cox — 25, 4.12 ERA with Bluefield last year (UPDATE: Released. Could make room for Dalton Rodriguez or William Ouellette, Randy Pondler types)
RP Jared Carkuff — 23, 1.42 ERA with GCL. 35 K in 25.1 IP
RP Brayden Bouchey — 2.37 ERA with Bluefield. 32 K in 21 IP
RP Grayson Huffman — 6.35 ERA with Vancouver in 2016
RP Gabe Noyalis — 25, 7.42 ERA with Vancouver
RP Angel Alicea —2.76 ERA with Bluefield. 12.4 K/9
RP Jairo Rosario — 23, 3.86 ERA in 9.1 IP with GCL
RP Chris Hall — 24, 2.40 ERA with Bluefield
RP Jose Nova — 4.98 ERA between GCL and Bluefield. Swingman
RP Stuart Holmes — 5.90 ERA between A- and Rk. 1.93 ERA in 14 IP with Bluefield
RP Kelyn Jose — 4.08 ERA with Bluefield
RP Kyle Weatherly — 4.06 ERA with Bluefield. Rotation and pen
RP Luke Gillingham — 2.79 ERA in 9.2 IP with Bluefield
NB: C Cam O’Brien is suspended for 50 games of the upcoming season and so doesn’t appear on these lists. OF Alex Azor has been on military leave since 2012. He may not be this year but I have no definitive information
Hypothetical DL: SP Dalton Rodriguez, 6.18 ERA with Vancouver. Will likely be bumped down to Bluefield.