Friday, August 10, 2012

Medic! Youth, Energy, & Potential Will Have to Carry the Blue Jays

WARNING: This is an opinion piece created by an observant fan

The heart of the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays has been grit, tenacity and bringing a youthful energy to the diamond every game. This philosophy is being accentuated with the arrival of farm system DL assistance, in the form of: top prospects, pitching help, and support from important bench players. It is safe to say that the disaster of the 2012 season, is working positively toward 2013; and the Blue Jays fanbase should be excited to watch these kids grow up together.

                                                                                    Anthony Gose:
As crazy as it sounds, Gose now appears and holds himself among the great crop of new Blue Jays as the experienced rookie. Gose has learned A LOT in his first three weeks of major league experience. Gose is an obvious example of a defensive stud that just needs to take his licks at the plate and make the appropriate adjustments; all expected of a 21-year old professional athlete. With GM Alex Anthopoulos commenting on how impressed he has been with the quality of Gose’s at-bats and his determination to get better; I have to agree to a certain extent. The speed of Anthony is without question, and with a steady upgrade of his bunt ability Gose will carve a niche for himself until his swing is ready to contend with big-league pitching more consistenly. At a very young 21 years, Gose finds himself with a swing percentage of pitches outside the zone of 32%, just three points above the league average – this is encouraging considering his widely held weakness is a high K-rate. I believe in the potential of his athleticism, patience, determination, and the progress Gose will make under the Blue Jays developmental program.

Moises Sierra:
The most obvious point to be made about Sierra is his schoolyard mentality, one that is going to earn him a few choice words from every manager and coach that he plays under at the major league level. Players that bring grit, swagger, and aggressiveness to the diamond everyday should never have to apologize. Without any doubt, players like Lawrie or Sierra will have to temper that aggression into beneficial team production. Sierra is far from the prototypical stellar OF prospect, yet he possesses raw power, a monstrous throwing arm from RF, and a knack for making things happen on the basepaths. Moises has hit the ball fairly well thus far with the Blue Jays but it will be his baseball knowledge and critical decision-making that will decide his fate. Being the obvious odd man out in the Blue Jays OF, Sierra is doing a service for the Blue Jays displaying his skills to the viewing pleasure of the rest of the MLB.

Adeiny Hechavarria:
At the ripe age of 23, Adeiny has been heralded by many baseball minds as the next elite Blue Jays middle infielder and his fantastic ability to make great plays in the field is evidence of that. A young Cuban prospect, Hech has nothing left to prove with his slick fielding glove, soft hands and strong accurate throwing arm. He has found no problems anchoring the infield defence from his shortstop position at any level of competition. Outside of his inflated 2012 numbers in AAA, Hech has showed a dramatic ability to adapt, be patient, and make good plate appearances each time out. With the bat speed and maturity that Hech has shown in a handful of major league games on top of his stellar rise through the minors, the Blue Jays have a valuable SS and every other MLB team knows it as well.

Yan Gomes:
In my opinion Yan Gomes deserves a lot of kudos for the roller coaster ride of position and affiliation changes he has endured. Gomes has been called upon to play first base, third base, catch, and even play some left field. For a team decimated by unlucky injuries, the Blue Jays have needed players with the versatility and laissez-faire attitude of Yan Gomes. The defence of Gomes behind the dish was less than great for a player with a primary position of catcher, but I think Yan has proven to be a satisfactory first base glove. I believe that the versatility, power, and age of Gomes give him a moderate value especially for NL teams looking for those kinds of bench players. The best way for Gomes to prove his worth, while with the Blue Jays, is to do a better job driving the ball when he does get a pitch to hit; he has struggled chasing pitches recently.

                                                                                    David Cooper:
Cooper is the “Rudy” of the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays. There are easy reasons to like and dislike David Cooper as the replacement 1B or DH for the Toronto Blue Jays while Adam Lind continues to have back issues (as a result of poor physical conditioning). Cooper has a particular set of honed skills as a result of being the steadfast 1B in AAA Las Vegas for the past 3 seasons. The plus ability for David Cooper is his short and clean swing that is packaged with a very good batting eye. Cooper does not chase many bad pitches and has driven the ball with authority when gets the barrel of the bat out on the ball. I believe that Cooper needs to improve his running ability and his lower back flexibility if he is ever going to be considered a major league defender. The value of players like Cooper is that he can make the most of his at-bats with the Blue Jays and help become a valuable trade piece because he has MLB experience and moderate results. The value of David Cooper may be measured most appropriately when and if he becomes a trade piece for the type of core player Anthopoulos is looking to add. 

Please feel free to comment below and as always your various opinions are welcome.

Follow me on Twitter: @ntopolie13 

-Nick Topolie

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