Tomorrow is the big day over at ESPN.com, as Keith Law will roll out his Top 100 prospects list, plus a top ten for each club. Today, however, he gives a taste of what’s in store, ranking all the farm systems in the game, placing the Jays all the way up in third– which should come as no surprise to you if you read the title of this post.
The Jays trail only the Padres– buoyed by a strong draft and a bounty of prospects acquired for Mat Latos this winter– and the Rays, who still have rookie-eligible Matt Moore on their list, whereas Law points out that he’s “ranked the 30 MLB teams’ farm systems based solely on the players currently in the organization who have not yet lost their major league rookie eligibility. Thus, Brett Lawrie doesn’t count for the Toronto Blue Jays.” If you could go back in time and flip the eligibility of Lawrie and Moore [Note: you can't], I suspect you’d see a difference in the rankings.
Regardless, the third overall rank is more than impressive for a number of reasons. For one, it demonstrates that last year’s meteoric rise up his system rankings for the Jays was no fluke. Law ranked the Jays’ system 18th in 2009, 16th in 2010– with the caveat that, had the Jays not acquired prospects for Scott Rolen and Roy Halladay they may have ranked last– and fourth last year.
Their third place rank this year comes with even further optimism, as Law calls them “the organization most likely to be No. 1 on this list next winter.”
This also bodes well for the number of Jays we might see on his Top 100, as he said in a chat late last month that he was finding that his “top 100 is loaded with high-upside guys from A-ball or below.” Sound like the Jays’ system much?
He also had this to say:
“One of the many reasons criticism of Rogers Communications, the owner of the Blue Jays, for being stingy with free agents is so ignorant is that the club has spent aggressively in the amateur markets during the past three years, grabbing high-ceiling high school players and Latin American prospects by stockpiling picks and paying whatever it took to sign those players.“
I don’t know if you’re aware, but that’s a subject that we’ve tackled around here before. Ad nauseam.
In a mid-December post featuring probably my best Photoshop ever, I worked out that the Jays had spent $22.5-million in the draft over the last two years, compared to just $9-million the previous two, and almost another $20-million internationally in 2010 and 2011, compared to just $1.75-million, according to the scant information available, in the previous two years– a spending increase of about $30-million over two years, not even including monies used to beef up scouting and player development.
Those expenditures don’t show up in payroll figures. Had the Jays instead spent an extra $15-million on MLB payroll each of the last two seasons, they’d have been at $85-million for 2011, and a hair over $100-million for 2012. Casual fans and insufferable talk radio callers would be a lot happier, and the club would be a whole lot worse off in the long run and not much better in the short-term for it.
Feel free to, y’know, maybe actually tell people this every once in a while, Alex.