MLB.com released their list of the top 20 Jays prospects today, along with an accompanying article that provides some basic background on some and adds a couple sleepers– Michael Crouse and Anthony DiScalfani– and predicts the biggest things in the organization this year for Travis d’Arnaud on the hitting side, and perhaps surprisingly, Adonis Cardona on the pitching side.
We’ve been down this road a few times already this off-season– with lists from John Sickels at Minor League Ball, Marc Hulet at FanGraphs, Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, among others, and Keith Law’s listings scheduled to hit ESPN.com this week– and there are some rather interesting things that I think we can cull from the similarities and the differences between them.
As you might expect, Travis d’Arnaud tops MLB.com’s list, as he did on all but Hulet’s, where he placed second to Anthony Gose– who is second here, and no worse than fourth on all but Sickel’s list. Jake Marisnick is either third or fourth on each list by Hulet’s (seventh), and at least three of Dan Norris, Justin Nicolino, Drew Hutchison and Noah Syndergaard occupy the four spots from fourth to seventh on every single list– only MLB.com has all four in those spots.
Hutchison is no higher than fourth and no less than ninth on any list. Nicolino ranks between four and seven, Norris always between third and fifth, and Syndergaard between third and seventh.
Other young arms find themselves in similarly narrow bands: Deck McGuire slots between sixth and tenth on all the lists, Aaron Sanchez ranks between eighth and twelfth on all lists but Hulet’s, where he sneaks into sixth, and Asher Wojciechowski is tenth to thirteenth for everyone but Goldstein, who puts him at 18th.
If we discout the really noticeable outliers– Gose at eight for Sickels, Marisnick at seven for Hulet, Sanchez at six for BA– we can come to a pretty reasonable agreement on who the top handful of prospects are and whereabouts the stand.
d’Arnaud, Gose, Marisnick, Norris, Syndergaard, Nicolino, Hutchison, McGuire, Sanchez and then probably Wojciechowski.
After that things get interesting– a thought that struck me when I saw Carlos Perez way up at ninth for MLB.com, despite being 19th and 20th for Goldstein and Sickels, and nowhere to be found on the shorter lists from Hulet (goes to 15) and Baseball America (top 10).
“J.P. Arencibia may get the attention in the big leagues, with Travis d’Arnaud nipping at his heels, but you don’t want to forget Perez, even if it takes him awhile to get there,” Jonathan Mayo writes. “Signed out of Venezuela, the young backstop has shown some ability with the bat, though he took a little bit of a step back numbers-wise during his full-season debut in 2011. He runs well for a catcher, and his athleticism, along with an arm that has thrown out 34 percent of would-be basestealers heading into the 2012 season, should allow him to develop into a solid defensive catcher when all is said and done.”
Sure, catchers are valuable commodities, but that seems a little light for a guy he ranked ahead of McGuire, Wojciechowski, Adonis Cardona, Joe Musgrove, AJ Jimenez, Chris Hawkins, Jacob Anderson, and Adeiny Hechavarria, all of whom rank ahead of Perez on at least two, and as many as four of the other lists.
There are other curiosities: Dwight Smith Jr. and Matt Dean show up in the 14-15 and 16-17 range respectively for Goldstein and Sickels, but don’t tickle Mayo’s fancy as much as Moises Sierra and Kellen Sweeney, and can’t crack Hulet’s and BA’s smaller lists. Kevin Comer shows up on Mayo’s list at 15, Goldestein’s at ten, yet isn’t to be found elsewhere.
What does any of this actually tell us? Fuck if I know. Your guess is as good as mine. Interesting, though, to see it all laid out like this, huh?