I didn’t want to reveal too much of the gold behind the Baseball Prospectus paywall, but… actually, I don’t think this is behind the paywall. Regardless, Kevin Goldstein’s journey through each team’s farm system finally made its way to the Jays today, and as you might expect, there was some gold in there.
Oh. Wait. I already said that.
Anyway, here are my highlights– which, of course, should be no substitute for reading the whole thing.
- Just a couple days after Marc Hulet of FanGraphs ranked Jake Marisnick seventh among Jays prospects, Goldstein has him way up at number two, following the club’s only other five-star prospect, Travis d’Arnaud.
- The other big surprise, I think, is eleventh-ranked prospect, three-star outfielder Christopher Hawkins. Um… think it’s maybe a stretch to say that this guy hasn’t been noticed the way some of the others in the system have? The 2010 third-rounder will play for Lansing in 2012, and according to Goldstein, many feel he’s due for a breakout. “Hawkins is athletic and projectable,” he wriets. “He has plenty of bat speed, and could develop average power as his game matures. He’s a tick above-average runner who should become a good corner outfielder.”
- Goldstein also has 2011 draft pick Kevin Comer higher than most lists I’ve seen, checking in at number ten. But don’t get all excited just yet, as he gives an ETA of 2016 on him, explaining that “Comer won’t move quickly through the system. He has far less experience than most high school arms due to his cold-weather upbringing, and has had little need for a changeup. He’s more of a thrower than a pitcher, and needs to learn the intricacies of his craft.”
- Speaking of distance to the big leagues, of the top eleven, Goldstein thinks Travis d’Arnaud– a rare catcher who can hit in the middle of the order, he says– is closest to the Majors, placing his ETA at late 2012. Anthony Gose, Drew Hutchison and Deck McGuire are right behind, with 2013 seen as more realistic goals– though not if you hear some of the talk from the organization about Hutchison. On the other end, along with Comer, Adonys Cardona is looking at something like 2016 arrival.
- As is always the case with prospecting, as good a job as Goldstein does, there’s not a whole lot concrete we can take away from it all: checking the archives, the Jays had a pair of five-star prospects in 2011, 2010 and 2009 as well: Kyle Drabek (twice), JP Arencibia (twice), Travis Snider and Brett Wallace. Yikes.
- Lastly, we get a list of the club’s best players under 25, among whom Brett Lawrie easily stands out, though “there still needs to be some brakes hit here. Expecting him to repeat his .373 on-base percentage or .580 slugging once advance scouts find his holes is foolish.” Henderson Alvarez, perhaps surprisingly, comes in fourth, behind d’Arnaud and Marisnick, while Goldstien has this to say about the high-profile, high-level potential busts: “Drabek, Rasmus, and Snider are all hedges. You could do anything with them on this list and not be wrong. All three could be All-Stars in three years, or two could be in Japan. Drabek’s inability to turn things around after a demotion to Triple-A was especially troubling, but his raw stuff is still there. Rasmus was supposed to turn it all around once he got out of an uncomfortable situation in St. Louis, but instead he was worse, to the point of unplayable. This will be Snider’s final appearance if he doesn’t produce. It’s finally time to do something with his 877 major-league plate appearances.”
- Ahhh… and lastly, it’s a dig at Rogers and the Jays, who “need to stop being the bridesmaids with elite free agents.” Ugh.