Jays prospect Arce impressing

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

Eric Arce sticks out like a sore thumb on the Blue Jays draft list from June.

Gaze at a screen of drafted players and you see the usual columns: Name, position, hometown and school.

On a list which has the schools of the drafted players such as Bowling Green State University, DeLand (Fla.) High School, St. Clair (Mich.) High, University of South Carolina, Indian River Junior College and San Jacinto Junior College:

As for Eric Arce: Tampa, (No school)

No school?

Doesn’t everyone have to go to school?

Well, Arce was drafted in the 27th round by the Blue Jays in 2010 but chose to attend Florida State University.

He decided to withdraw from school and the Major League Baseball rule is as long as a player withdraws from classes 100 days before the draft, he maintains his eligibility to be selected in this June’s selection process.

Hence the “no school” listing in the draft.

He did go to school, graduate high school and gained entrance to Florida State.

The Jays took him this June in the 25th round and gave him a $100,000 US signing bonus.

The slugging outfielder broke the Gulf Coast League home run record with his 14th homer the other night in Lakeland and Wednesday was promoted to Bluefield.

“Every homer he hit was legit,” said manager Omar Malave.

The first one he ever hit at the Bobby Mattick complex in Dunedin travelled over a pavilion in left.

And his record breaker in Lakeland was ‘way out,” according to Malave.

Malave compares Arce’s power to former Jays outfielder Mark Whiten, who hit 25 home runs with the 1993 St. Louis Cardinals and 105 in parts of 11 seasons.

“Plus Eric has good discipline at the plate. I saw him at a tryout out camp and he was impressive.”

Arce’s prowess even caught the eye minor-league pitching co-ordinator Dane Johnson.

“I saw him swing the pole a little, he’s a real good fastball hitter,” Johnson said. “Hitting is not my area of expertise, but when he knocks the ball out of the park, it kinda gets your attention.

“And they’re legit parks he’s playing at.”

Arce broke the 1996 Gulf Coast record of 13 homers, held by Chicago Cubs farmhand Derrick Bly.

Had Arce stayed in school he would not be eligible for the draft again until 2014. Now, he has a home run record notched on his belt and has already been promoted a rung on the Jays organizational ladder.

“Eric always had the pro mentality,” said Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish, who liked him enough to draft him in successive years.

“A year ago he saw Florida State as a good option,” said Tinnish. “He’s geared towards playing the game every day. We didn’t forget about him.”

Acre worked out for a number of teams and when he auditioned for the Jays, the slugger peppered the woods behind the outfield fence with moon shots.

“I was curious to see him in a game, he was facing guys throwing 88-to-93 m.p.h.,” Tinnish said. “He was hitting balls hard, but he was also content to take a walk.”

It was fitting that the Lakeland resident, who attended the same high school, Lakeland High, as Jays right-hander Drew Hutchinson, broke the record in the city where he grew up.

Tinnish only saw the Gulf Coast Jays play once this summer.

Arce was 0-for-3, with a walk ... “he hit three line drives.”

“I’d call him selectively aggressive,” Tinnish said.

Much like the Jays scouting approach.

MINOR LEAGUE NOTES

Darin Mastroianni homered and singled to raise his average to .312 in a 6-4 loss to Fresno Monday night. He has had four multi-hit efforts over his past six games.

Former No. 1 pick Chad Jenkins pitched seven strong innings, allowing three runs striking out eight in a 4-3 New Hampshire loss to Trenton as Anthony Gose hit his 14th home run.

Kevin Patterson was 3-for-4, with a pair of RBIs as Vancouver lost 14-5 to Salem-Kaizer.

Christopher Hawkins, who had four hits as Bluefield clinched a playoff berth, with a win over Greeneville, had two more hits, two RBIs and his 15th double in a 7-5 win over Greenville, while Kevin Pillar was 3-for-4 with his 14th double.

Jacob Anderson, signed earlier this month, was 2-for-4 with his second home run in a 12-5 Gulf Coast Jays win over the Tigers. Eric Arce hit his 14th home run to lead the league, three more than the next best.


Photos