Scouting Blue Jays Prospect #11: Jean Machi

Scouting Blue Jays Prospect #11: Jean Machi

The Toronto Blue Jays signed Machi as a free agent over the winter after Machi failed to reach an agreement with his former organization, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jean Machi
Position: Pitcher
DOB: February 1, 1982
Height: 6'0
Weight: 170
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Jean Machi was originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2000, but was kept at home, pitching in the Venezuelan Summer League before the club decided to bring him over to the States. In 2000 he went 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA in 24 innings with La Victoria. In 2001, pitching for Mariara, he went 8-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 56 2/3 innings. It was then when many took notice of the right-hander.

However, the Phillies thought he was still not ready for a move north and kept him in Venezuela to begin the 2002 season. Machi quickly proved he was ready, as he didn't allow a run over 11 2/3 innings. The Phillies didn't wait any longer and promoted him to the Gulf Coast League. He finished the year going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings with the GCL Phillies.

In 2003 the Phillies decided to convert Machi to a starter, however, that showed mixed results. The Phillies then sent Machi back to Venezuela in 2004 to work as a starter. That winter he was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the Rule 5 draft.

The Devil Rays let Machi pitch as a starter in the California League to begin the season, but after 14 starts he was moved to the bullpen and served as the clubs closer.

Tampa kept Machi in the bullpen this past season and he notched 16 saves, while going 6-1 with a 2.64 ERA.

LaCava, the Blue Jays Director of Player Personnel, raved about the signing.

"We view Machi as a prospect," LaCava said as he explained the process of how the Jays signed him. "Mike Mangan was the lead scout on this one, but Machi was also seen by Mike Berger."

LaCava said that both scouts had Machi's fastball clocked as high as 95 MPH, and that he also showed a plus splitter.

LaCava noted that Machi will likely be in the bullpen for Triple-A Syracuse to begin the season.

"Hopefully he will contribute soon."

Repertoire: Fastball, splitter, slider

Fastball: Machi has a power fastball which tops out at 95 MPH but averages out between 92-93 MPH. The right-hander can locate his fastball well and has a sinking late movement to it. It's considered the No. 1 pitch for Machi in his repertoire.

Secondary Pitches: The right-hander also features an above average splitter and a decent slider. His splitter is his strikeout pitch and is an effective pitch when Machi gets ahead in the count.

Projection: Machi is clearly a reliever and has been labeled by a few scouts as a pitcher who fits the profile of an effective major league closer. Machi still has a long way before he establishes himself as a closer, and he will work closely with the Blue Jays coaches in spring training to sharpen up his mechanics.

2007 Outlook: Machi will begin the 2007 season with the Syracuse Chiefs.

ETA Late 2007-2008: It's not out of the question that Machi will reach the big leagues this coming season, but in all likelihood expect him to pitch at Triple-A for the entire season. He could receive a September callup.

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