InsideTheDome Top 50 Prospects: #20-11

We are nearing the end of our week long coverage of the Top 50 Blue Jays Prospects. Today we announce prospects No. 20-11. This list is filled with five pitchers and five hitters, but with loads of talent and potential. Make sure to check back tomorrow when we release the Top 10 Prospects and then again on Saturday when we cover the prospects that just missed out on the list. Have a question or disagree with a players ranking? Well you have your chance to be heard as ITD will answer your emails.

20. Francisco Rosario- RHP
2004 Ranking: 6th

The right-hander is a highly touted pitcher in the Blue Jays organization, but has yet to be able to live on the hype. The 25-year-old strikeouts have dropped like a waterfall since he underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2003. Scouts tell us that he has not regained his velocity, and some believe he never will if he continues to pitch as a starter. One scout told InsideTheDome Rosario can be a hard thrower as a reliever, but not as a starter. The Blue Jays converted Rosario to a reliever this past season, but right-hander is currently pitching as a starter (and performing well) in winter ball.

19. John-Ford Griffin- OF/DH
2004 Ranking: 19th

Griffin had a career year this past season and was among the International League leader in home runs and runs batted in. Griffin also made the International League All-Star Game this past season, and in the end he received a well-deserved reward with a promotion to the big leagues. Griffin is 26-years-old and has proven he can hit the Triple-A pitching. The next step is proving he can hang around in the majors. If he were three years younger, he would be a top five prospect. However, his age is against him and the fact that Toronto is looking to acquire outfield help for 2006 tells us they don't view him as a full-time major league player.

18. Robinson Diaz- C
2004 Ranking: 22nd

The 22-year-old catcher was well on his way from taking a free-fall in these rankings but his second half of the season saved him and put him back on the map. Diaz hit well above .300 in July and also in August and was an extremely clutch player in 2005 as we will discuss in detail during his Individual Scouting Report segment. The Jays will have a problem many teams would like to have. Diaz is ready for the Double-A level and should begin 06 with New Hampshire.

17. Chi-Hung Cheng- LHP
2004 Ranking: 42nd

Cheng is one of the brightest left-hand arms in the system, and the system is filled with several top southpaws. The 20-year-old simply dominated the Midwest League in 2005, but was not able to receive a promotion due to the fact that he struggled with his command. Cheng was working out of the starting rotation this past season to work on all his pitches, but scouts believe he will eventually settle in the bullpen, but must gain control of his pitches to be an effective reliever.

16. Jesse Litsch- RHP
2004 Ranking: Not in Organization

Litsch was rated as the No. 6 prospect in the Appalachian League this past season by Baseball America and is quickly rising in the ranks of the Blue Jays organization. Originally drafted in the 24th round of the 2004 draft, he went to junior college and was signed a week before the 2005 draft as a draft and follow player. Litsch is just 20-years-old and just beginning to get into his form. The right-hander features a low-90s fastball and a slider that reaches the high-80s and is his best pitch. Litsch recorded over a strikeout-per-inning pitch and posted a batting average against mark of .212.

15. Ricky Romero- LHP
2004 Ranking: Not in organization

Romero did not have an outstanding debut in professional baseball, but keep in mind he was pitching at the High Class-A level. The left-hander is the closest player to the Major Leagues from the Blue Jays 2005 draft class and was the first pitcher selected in the draft. He has an above average fastball and an outstanding breaking ball in his repertoire. The Blue Jays are extremely high on this left-hander, and it says something about him when the organization starting him out in the Florida State League, when their previous two first round left-handers, Zach Jackson, and David Purcey, began their careers in the NY-Penn League.

14. Kyle Yates- RHP
2004 Ranking: Not ranked

Yates had perhaps the best second half of any player in the Blue Jays system, and that production came after he received a promotion from the Lansing Lugnuts to the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. Yates made fourteen starts with Dunedin and pitched to a 7-3 record with an ERA of just 1.91. In seventy-five innings of work, Yates recorded sixty-seven strikeouts, and allowed two runs or less in twelve of his fourteen starts. The right-hander was pitching as a starter for the first time since being drafted from the University of Texas as a reliever. The 22-year-old throws a fastball in the 88-91 MPH range and has an effective changeup. His best pitch, and his strikeout pitch is a curveball, and one talent evaluator who saw Yates on two occasions this season believes his curveball is on its way to being a major league pitch.

13. Ryan Patterson- OF
2004 Ranking: Not in organizaion

The rookie had the best season out of any of the 2005 draft selections and even out hit, Brian Pettway, the outfielder the Blue Jays selected one round earlier. The biggest question regarding Patterson coming out of college was whether or not he would hit for power with the aluminum bat, and that question was answered right away. The outfielder hit two home runs in his first ten games and six more over his next thirty games. He finished the season with thirteen home runs and a .339 batting average.

12. Curtis Thigpen- C
2004 Ranking: 13th

Thigpen rose in the eyes of the Blue Jays this past season and the organization showed that when they promoted him from Lansing to New Hampshire. The young catcher not only shipped the Florida State League, but surpassed Robinzon Diaz (the catcher at Dunedin) on the depth chart. Some believe Thigpen will be moved out of the catchers' position to keep his bat fresh, however, Thigpen believes and would like to stay behind the plate.

11. Chip Cannon- 1B
2004 Ranking: Not ranked

Cannon ranks as the top power hitter in the Blue Jays organization and his 2005 season not only put him in ITD's rankings but in the rankings of many scouts. Cannon made the jump from Low Class-A to Double-A in one season and proved he can hit for power. The concern talent evaluators have is that Cannon is prone to the strikeout. Although Cannon is a power hitter we would like to see him improve his plate discipline in the minor leagues.

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