Big league readiness not always clear-cut

Maybe Yan Gomes will be the next one, joining the list of players who have gone from Las Vegas to Toronto to stay far beyond the next homestand.

Predicting whether Gomes will last is nearly impossible, as is projecting who will be the next player to make the move and stick with the parent Blue Jays.

Many factors go into promoting players from the Triple-A 51s – injuries, player readiness, difficult-to-identify intangibles.

“I can tell you what Yan Gomes can do at this level,” 51s manager Marty Brown said before Las Vegas’ 8-1 loss to the Memphis Redbirds on Thursday at Cashman Field. “I don’t know how he’s going to do at the next level.”

Outfielder Travis Snider would appear to be near the top of the list for the next permanent promotion.

He was the Blue Jays’ first-round draft pick in 2006, and the 24-year-old is batting .333 with five home runs and 27 RBIs despite missing a week this season with an injured right wrist.

Toronto media has speculated the Blue Jays are more interested in trading Snider than recalling him. But Brown said the organization still is high on Snider. Brown said the only part missing with Snider has been “consistency. The power numbers are there.”

Snider is one of a handful of young players who could make their ways to the majors and stay.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud, 23, is hitting .277 with four homers and 15 RBIs. His real strength is on defense, and he could be ready now to take his position behind the plate in Toronto.

Center fielder Anthony Gose, 21, is struggling with a .241 average, but he leads the 51s with 14 stolen bases. Baseball America lists him as the organization’s second-best prospect.

And shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, 23, is batting .304 and is rated by Baseball America as the Blue Jays’ top minor league defensive infielder.

All three are in Las Vegas learning and preparing. “I think they’re where they need to be right now,” Brown said.

The trick is knowing when those players are truly ready. Injuries might force the Blue Jays to make a move, but they would rather wait until the time is right.

Knowing when that time comes isn’t always obvious, and Brown said playing well is only part of the equation.

“What happens if he has to come back down?” Brown said.

Gomes is getting his chance at the next level, and he debuted by going 2-for-3 against the New York Yankees in becoming the first Brazilian-born player to appear in a major league game.

He hit .359 with 12 doubles, five homers and 22 RBIs while playing several positions in Las Vegas. The Blue Jays made room for Gomes by sending down first baseman Adam Lind.

Maybe Gomes will stay in Toronto, joining former 51s such as Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia and Eric Thames as players who went up for more than a cup of coffee and stayed to enjoy the pot.

“You hope you’re making the right decisions not only for the organization (now) but for long term,” Brown said.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

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