Jon Jay was the Cardinals second round pick (74th overall) of the June 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Miami. He was signed for $480,000 and assigned to Low Class A affiliate, the Swing of the Quad Cities (I think that is just the coolest team name). As he did throughout his college career, Jay raked from the beginning. He hit .342 with an OBP of .416 and SLG .462. He had an BB to K ratio of 28 to 27. He stole 9 bases in 13 attempts, scored 42 runs, and drove in 45 in only 60 games. Jay was rated as the fifth best prospect by Baseball America who had this to say, “Jay has an unorthodox approach but consistently shows the ability to hit pitches in all parts of the zone. His game is built around hitting line drives and making the most of his solid-average speed. While he doesn’t have a standout tool, he is pretty solid across the board. He’s a capable center fielder with an accurate arm. Some Cardinals scouts believe he will one day win a major league batting title.” The biggest knock against him is some scouts believe that he doesn’t hit for much power so he profiles as a center fielder and must stay there to be a regular. The only drawback to this is Colby Rasmus, the Cardinals number 1 prospect, also profiles as a center fielder, so Jay played left field for the Swing. John Sickels rated him as the third best prospect in the system stating that he believes he is underrated. Jay’s projected VORP was higher than any left fielder without major league experience. PECOTA thinks he could nearly hit .300 in the majors next year.
During his senior season at the U, he hit .361 with an OBP of .490. He also stole 31-38 bases as the lead off man for the team that finished 8th in the country. He was named First Team All-ACC and was a Second Team All-American according to Baseball America. Jay spent the 2005 summer on the USA National Team with Chris Perez, a first round pick of the Cardinals in the same draft. He hit .262 (16-61) and led the team with 15 runs scored and 7 stolen bases as the team’s leadoff hitter. Named First Team All-ACC selection as a sophomore and also a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-America after leading the team in hitting (.408) and on-base percentage (.490). The .408 average was the seventh-best single-season batting average in school history while also having two seventeen game hitting streaks. That year is was one of only nine players in UM history to hit above .400 with more than 200 at bats. Jay earned freshman All-American honors from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball after hitting .368 with six home runs and 56 RBIs in 2004. That year he was named to the College World Series and Coral Gables Regional All-Tournament team. He hit a two-out, walk-off grand slam to beat Long Beach State on May 28 that has been called one of the greatest games in Miami baseball history.
He is considered not to have as much upside as Rasmus, but may beat him to the majors due to his mature approach and experience in big games playing big time talent. It is very possible that he will start the season at Springfield, playing along side Rasmus.
Congratulations to Albert Pujols who is now a U.S. citizen.
A-Rod has the option of voiding the remaining three years of his record breaking $252 million contract after the 2007 season. As absurd as it sounds, he will probably do this and make even more $$$. Proof occurred this offseason, Boris used this tactic with J. D. Drew, who forfeited a three-year, $33 million guarantee with the Dodgers to negotiate a five-year, $70 million deal with the Red Sox. Ken Rosenthal predicts who might be logical fits for A-Rod.
Five days before spring training and Mark Redman, Steve Trachsel, and Steve Finley are all still available. I would think prices would be dropping and I don’t see how it would help to bring in any of the three, none of who are difference makers, but might be good for competition in spring training.