Kevin Prospectus of Baseball Goldstein has been layin’ down some Jays-related prospect talk over the last few days, and I’m here to scoop it up…
In Wednesday’s Future Shock column for Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein tossed out ten names as potential minor league players of the year, including the Jays’ own Travis d’Arnaud.
“With Jesus Montero–a catcher in name only–now a big leaguer, d’Arnaud will begin the 2012 season as the best catching prospect in the game,” he writes, “and after winning Eastern League MVP honors last season with a .311/.371/.542 line, he’s moving to Las Vegas, where the ball flies out of the park. Two years ago, J.P. Arencibia hit 32 home runs and slugged .626 in 104 games before being called up to Toronto, and one wonders if d’Arnaud can force some difficult decisions with an equal performance.”
The previous day’s Future Shock piece had some Jays content as well, behind the paywall, as Goldstein provided an AL East Prospect Preview, in which he says he’s down on Anthony Gose, and sets Jake Marisnick at 2-1 odds to be the club’s 2013 top prospect, leaping ahead of d’Arnaud, presumably because of the likelihood that the young catcher graduates to the Majors at some point this season.
He calls “either of the A-ball affiliates” the Jays’ minor league teams to watch, “as no team in the game can match Toronto’s lower level talent. Low-A Lansing should have a monster rotation, headed by Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino and Aaron Sanchez, while the High-A Dunedin outfield will have Jake Marisnick and Michael Crouse, who is coming off a huge camp.”
Side note: we’re currently working on getting some weekly dispatches from Dunedin for this season, which I’m very excited about, as it will give us a chance to hear a lot more about a lot of the Jays best prospects, including Crouse, who Goldstein calls his breakout candidate. “After hitting .261/.352/.475 last year in Lansing, Crouse is showing more signs of converting his tools into skills this Spring, and his athleticism is off the charts,” he writes.
“Still not quite ready to compete,” he adds, speaking to the possibility of the club dealing some of its young talent, “the Blue Jays are likely to stick to the long-term plan as opposed to being big players in July.”
Lastly, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Afternoon… er… Morning Snack, Bluebird Banter recently posted a lengthy interview with Goldstein on a variety of Jays-related players and topics. I’ll encourage you to read the whole thing– it’s not really that lengthy– but here are a few things that stood out to me.
On the subject of the Jays being competitive in the AL East, he says, “I think this year’s a little silly. I don’t think next year’s crazy at all.” (Just like everybody said about the ’08 Rays, AMIRIGHT???)
He sees the possibility of some sort of a time-share at catcher in 2013, between d’Arnaud and JP Arencibia, with d’Arnaud spending more time behind the plate, and JPA making up at-bats at DH. I’ve said before that I just don’t see how it’s possible Arencibia’s bat will play as even average at DH, so I’m not sure it’s the ideal plan, but I suppose it may be necessary while the younger, reportedly better catcher is breaking in.
As I’ve heard him done before, he excellently tempers expectations on Anthony Gose, while simultaneously giving a thrill to the fan base by comparing him with Devon White, “which is a damn good player obviously,” he says. “He does have power, he does have speed, he does have an arm, he does play a hell of a center field.”
Speaking of the potential of Colby Rasmus, though a good general rule for all prospects, he explains that “the further we’re removed from it the lesser the chances we have of him reaching it. I think that’s important.” He adds that “we can make a million excuses for him or we can be concerned and I’d rather be in the concerned pile.”
That’s largely because he thinks “it’s dangerous to act like [a turnaround is] going to happen because he has a new attitude or because he’s a Blue Jay and Alex is the GM and Tony’s not his manager any more. You get stuck in these very dangerous kind of causal relationship traps.”
That said, he admits he’s “the guy who’s been holding onto Travis Snider as a guy I believe can really, really, hit and not make outs and all that good stuff, for a long time and I’m still somewhat on that bandwagon. I still think there’s a chance he could be a well above average offensive player, but this is the last year I’m willing to stay on that bandwagon.”
Lastly, on a more he says this: “I think everything’s kind of lined up for this to be Brandon Morrow’s year. If I was to pick a break out guy for the Blue Jays this year I would pick Brandon Morrow.”
Depends if you think Brett Lawrie’s not broken out yet, I suppose. But it makes sense. All of what he’s saying does. And for Jays fans who are mature enough to take the long view, they’re some pretty fantastic words.