There’s some pretty wicked awesome shit behind ESPN’s pay wall today—Keith Law’s list of the top 100 prospects in baseball is out, as are his lists of the top 10 prospects by team, plus there’s a new KLaw Chat for good measure. So let’s dive in…
The Jays—who in yesterday’s organizational rankings KLaw had 16th in the majors (though he noted that they might have ranked last if not for the Rolen and Halladay trades)—placed four prospects in Law’s top 100: Brett Wallace (#20), Kyle Drabek (#40), Zach Stewart (#55), and Travis D’Arnaud (#99).
Interesting to note that last year he had the Jays 18th organizationally, and Travis Snider (#5) and Brett Cecil (#43) made the top 100.
I know we’ve kind of already read a shit-tonne about all these prospects over the last several weeks, but… honestly… what the fuck else is there for us to do but read some more? (Well, that and arguing about whether or not its worth arguing about John McDonald’s contract).
On Wallace KLaw tells us the future first-baseman “has one of the best swings of any minor league hitter, with good hip rotation and loft to go with an excellent eye (one that has led him to hit left-handed pitchers at a .357/.441/.476 clip in his pro career. (For some idea of how good that is, left-handed hitters in the majors in 2009 hit .247/.317/.386 against left-handed pitchers, the worst OPS of any of the four L/R matchup possibilities.).” He adds that “Wallace is going to hit for average and get on base at a high clip while providing average to above-average power, a combination that will have value at any position, and he’s ready to step into a major league role right away.” (Note: Michael Taylor ranked four places behind Wallace at #24).
Drabek, Law says, “has a chance to throw two above-average pitches, with a curveball that’s currently plus, 79-80 mph with a hard tilt that approaches a slider break, and a fastball that’s comfortably 90-93 mph, although it’s flat and he could benefit from mixing in a cutter or two-seamer so hitters don’t just sit on the four-seamer.” There are some negative signs—his changeup “is not effective enough against left handed hitters to grade as average,” he still lacks command after Tommy John surgery, and has some violence at the end of his delivery that may force him to a relief role—but “with some cleanup and a third pitch, he has a chance to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter,” Law says.
Stewart, stolen from the Cincinnati Reds for the GBOAT, “now projects as a mid-rotation starter with a chance to be a good No. 2,” says Law, noting that he was a relief pitcher for almost all of his college career. “Stewart is a sinker/slider pitcher who gets plenty of ground balls with his 91-95 fastball (as a starter; it was harder in relief). But he can also miss bats with a hard slider in the low- to mid-80s that is already a consistently above-average pitch. His changeup, which he rarely used in relief, improved to the point that he had virtually no platoon split in 2009.” Law adds that “he’d project as a top-shelf reliever if he returned to that role, but the Blue Jays intend to start him and hope he develops into that rare bird among starters who misses bats and keeps the ball in the park.”
The farthest away of the three players obtained for Roy Halladay, Law notes that “after a slow start in 2009 he hit .298/.370/.470 from June 1st to the end of the year, right in line with his performance the previous season.” He concludes D’Arnaud is “a few years off but has promise as an offensive catcher with good defensive skills, a more complete player than the Jays’ other main catching prospect, J.P. Arencibia [sic—obviously he means Aaron Cibia].”
The Jays’ Top Ten
Beyond the big four, the Jays best prospects, according to Law, are: Henderson Alvarez (rhp), Aaron Cibia (c), Chad Jenkins (rhp), Jake Marisnick (of), Moises Sierra (rf), and Gustavo Pierre (ss)
Speaking of Pierre, somebody posted this boner-inducing delight from Fanhouse in our comments the other day—it’s the write-up on Pierre that Frankie Pilliere wrote when listing him among prospects in line to make his own top 100 next year.
If you like raw tools, keep a close eye on Pierre. Even at the Gulf Coast League level, he’s an exciting player to watch. Pierre has an extra-athletic, strong frame. He looks similar to Hanley Ramirez, and his long-term tools may not be all that different from the Marlins’ superstar either.
Pierre may prove to be a bit too sloppy with the glove to stick at shortstop, but, at 18, he still has plenty of time to prove he can play the position. His above-average speed, throwing arm and plate prowess are what make him especially interesting. The right-handed-hitting Pierre received a $700,000 bonus from Toronto in 2008, and so far he’s looked to be worth every penny. He’s inconsistent and very impatient at the plate at this stage, but his hand-eye coordination may make him especially unique. Pierre has the ability to drive pitches well out of the zone into the gaps.
If he can learn even the slightest bit of plate discipline and pick pitches to drive, he’s going to be one dangerous hitter.
Again, please note, I know this is a KLaw post, but that wasn’t a KLaw write-up.
Aaaaand, lastly, there were a few Jays-related gems in today’s KLaw Chat at ESPN—including one of today’s rare non-top 100-related moments, which included some praise for Alex Anthopoulos at the expense of his predecessor.
You seem to have Drabek a lot lower on your list than others (I know Jim Callis has him top 5 pitching prospects). Don’t think he has enough upside or?
No, I don’t think he has that upside. He’s not an ace in the making, and I’ve talked to several scouts and front-office types who share that view.
In your opinion, was the half year of Cliff Lee and the four years of Halladay worth it for the Phillies to practically empty their system (besides Brown)?
Wayne Khan ( Toronto)
What do you think of Alex Anthopolous calling accardo personally to tell him if he pitches well he’l make the team?
That’s the sort of thing a good GM does. And I think he’s deliberately making a break with how his predecessor handled things.
Please rank: Cecil, Rzepcynski, Litsch (healthy), B. Mills, Z. Stewart.Thanks.
Ceiling – Stewart, Cecil, and you can have the others.
Omar (Baltimore, MD)
Why do you go [#18, Red Sox RHP prospect Casey] Kelly over Drabek?
Command, delivery, athleticism, better three-pitch mix.