Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, in a piece at, calls Las Vegas catcher Travis d’Arnaud the top fantasy prospect for 2012 not currently in the Majors, says he’s the rare “catcher who can hit in the middle of a big league lineup,” and perhaps surprisingly, that “he has been seen taking some ground balls at first base this week.”

Anthony Gose shows up in this week’s 12-for-’12 piece as well, as Goldstein likes the results of recent a tweak to the centre fielder’s swing, explaining that he “has the potential to be a fantasy stud, with double-digit home runs and 50-plus steals a season.” He adds that, in his view, “the Jays likely will find a way to make him an everyday player by 2013.”

Nails much?

These sorts of comments were echoed when Goldstein showed up on TSN Radio Sunday evening, to talk about this week’s draft, in addition to these close-to-MLB prospects, with Jim Tatti.

After some talk about how the changes to the CBA have impacted the draft, and some general talk about the depth of the draft class, and some of the top prospects, Goldstein and Tatti turned their attention to the Jays. “I think it’s safe to say they’ll be creative,” Goldstein explains, noting that they were the most aggressive team in last year’s draft.

“I think they are one of many teams who are looking at Lucas Giolito,” the injured pitcher who may be the most talented prospect, according to some, but who’ll reportedly be a tough sign if he slides down to a pick with not as much money available, unless a club with multiple picks, like the Jays– who hold numbers 17, 22, 50, 58 and 60– punts on a later pick to make enough pool money available to give him an elite-level bonus.

“It’s pretty easy to say they could have one of the more interesting drafts, come Tuesday.”

The conversation then turned to what the Jays already have in their system– which Goldstein calls “one of the best, if not the best” in baseball, lauding their up and down the board talent, with great prospects in Dunedin, Lansing and Las Vegas.

He reiterates that he’s a lot higher on d’Arnaud than Gose, he says. “d’Arnaud looks like a star,” he says, “possibly even a superstar.”

“He’s not great defensively yet, but he’s a very athletic kid,” he explains, after assuredly saying that “he’s going to hit, and he’s going to hit for power.”

He says that Gose is worth keeping an eye on, as he seems to have really taken off of late after making a tweak to his swing. “The swing-and-miss is always going to be a concern,” he says, but he repeats everything we’ve always heard on his tools: his defence, speed, his arm, and the fact that he has a bit of power, too. Devon White would be a good comparison for him, Goldstein says, which is always going to be a well-accepted notion around these parts.

Once again… nails much?


Image via Jonathan Ferrey/Getty.

Comments (79)

  1. Hmmmm…Travis d’Arnaud taking ground balls at 1st??

    Is this even worth fantasizing about?

    • JPA’s bat plays at catcher, not at first. If D’Arnaud can mash, put him at 1B. Why not?

      • if he is an elite bat than you probably dont want him as a catcher anyways.

        save the legs and the risk of injury

        • derrrrrp

          • I’m not convinced D’Arnaud’s bat plays at 1B. Everything I’ve read, up until his recent hot streak at Vegas, projects him as a 15 home run player in the MLB with potential to hit 20. This coupled with a good OBP is fantastic for a catcher, however I don’t think a lot of people would be excited about those numbers at 1B.

      • Because d’Arnaud’s a much better defense catcher? Derp?

    • W T F is Adam Lind thinking riight about now?

      “Dude I’m supposed to be 1B!” …

      “Dude check with the coaches. All I know is they told me to grab a 1B glove and show up here….”

  2. His abilities at catcher make him look like a “possible star – perhaps even a superstar”….I’d like to know what his projections would be as a 1st baseman prospect.

  3. Don’t know if Goldstein was preaching to the converted but I am somewhat surprised how he has begun to warm up on Gose. In the past, Goldstein was much more lukewarm in his projections. Perhaps the swing change is the trigger that unlocks the potential in Gose’s hit tool that was always lacking.

    No question, Gose has a lot of WANT and certainly has many plus tools. If the kid can hit and get on base, he might be a key top of the order catalyst that is needed in the Jays lineup. Gose could shoot up the rankings in the depth chart if he can light it up all year. Spring training will certainly be interesting in 2013.

    The knock on d’Arnaud is that he is raw defensively, despite being ahtletic for the position and having a strong arm. While d’Arnaud projects to be next Russell Martin (Dodgers era), keeping him in AAA for the whole year is probably best for his development. Interesting that his taking ground balls at first. Could be a sign that his bat is simply too good for him to stick at catcher. Less risk of an injury and less off-days.

    • I don’t understand the d’Arnaud at first strategy. 1st is the easiest position to fill in the majors, even EE can play there. d’Arnaud at catcher makes sense, the Jays have invested time in teaching him, his presence will make JPA better through competition, the Jays have had 4 first baseman play already this year, and we have McDade on the farm. What does taking ground balls at firstmean anyway? What context was it in? Was this a tryout? A break from catching cause his knees were sore?

      • Maybe because he’s not there defensively yet who knows. I still think we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit considering we’re not exactly suffering at catcher.

        As for him playing first, as I said the other night if it keeps his bat in the lineup and his bat turns out to be a true middle of the order bat, then having him DH or play first is the way to go just like countless other teams have done with their start catchers. There’s zero downside in having him take balls at 1st.

        • I wonder if D’Arnaud is athletic enough to play 2B? It worked for Craig Biggio and is brother Chase can play 2B.

          As for becoming a middle of the order hitter? I’ll believe it when I see it.

          • It is remarkably rare for a major league catcher to make a successful transition to middle infielder.

      • The recent track record of elite hitters behind the plate (okay, I’m only talking about Mauer really) hasn’t been great. Moving a guy whose bat will play at another position isn’t the worst idea in the world.

      • I think it gives the jays some leverage when talking deals involving JPA or TD. If Travis can play first then we have the opportunity of seeing both of them on the jays at the same time. Travis plays catcher on JPA’s off days and first on the other days. Both maintain maximum value since they both keep playing catcher/ get their rest days and get enough AB’s. If Travis’s bat plays at first get ready for the Carlos Delgado comparisons, we did the same thing with him.

      • what about D’Arnaud at first in order to keep his bat in the lineup when JPA’s catching? Removes some of the logjam issues, allows him to rest his legs, and keeps him engaged in the game, as opposed to DHing. We all have seen how much the organization values positional flexibility under the AA regime.

    • too good to stick at catcher?

    • I’d say TdA projects past Martin, no offense to Russ.

  4. Two things stand out in Gose’s AAA offensive stats so far. First, he has better overall numbers on the road than in Vegas. Second, his numbers versus lefties are atrocious. Unless the swing “tweak” helps hit hit lefties better, he’s basically a left-handed Rajai Davis right now. Maybe that’s why the Jays have him playing in LF the last few days? Maybe a temporary platoon situation with Davis is in the works until one of Snider or Thames is ready.

    • ,320 OBP vs lefties isn’t totally awful, he just hasn’t hit them for power yet. that could develop and thats why he needs to play everyday

      • SSS aside, you could drive a cruise ship through those splits:

        vs left 180/305/240/545
        vs right 335/401/486/887

        Can’t see how that’s not putrid versus lefties.

    • Only 50 ab’s and I can’t find split data for prior years so it could be just a small sample size this year.

      To me the important stat is his K rate. With his speed, a good K rate is going to mean an awful lot and in May it’s a very decent 16%. He’s always managed to get a decent amount of walks so continuing to strike out less is going to be a huge step forward.

      Personally if he can provide an OPS of around .750 and play the kind of defense he’s supposedly capable of, that would a huge win for the Jays. It would let them move Rasmus to left and pretty much give them above average D at nearly every position. If he continues to fill out a little more then the added pop would be just a huge bonus.

      • I’ve always thought that if/when Gose comes up, Rasmus would move to right and Jose moves to 1B. Does Rasmus have the arm for RF? It looks pretty average to me but man his range would be such an upgrade over Bautista.

        • But does Bautista’s bat play at first? ;)

        • I would be nervous about the injury risk of Bautista at 1st. You also lose his arm, which is a great weapon in the outfield

          • Injury risk at 1B over RF? Also, you do lose his arm, but his arm really doesn’t make up for his limited range. Rasmus in RF >>> Bautista in RF. An OF of Snider, Gose, Rasmus would be one of if not the best defensive OF in MLB.

        • yeah. but if you had a lf/cf combo of gose/rasmus range in right would not really be an issue as you could play with an outfield shifter towards right and still cover the left side due to the speed of gose/rasmus.

  5. If Gose had an emergency call up, I’d probably tell him to bunt every time he faced a left-hander unless the infield was absolutely taking it away. It would put a hellalot of pressure on the infield defense.

  6. As for the Jays being in on Giolito, I actually had a dream last night they were able to score him. lol I know too much baseball on the brain. That said, if he’s got the arm he’s reported to have and the fact that he’s a high school player, I’d be all over him at the top of the draft. Since it’s his elbow and not his shoulder, time off for recovery shouldn’t make too much of a difference in the end.

  7. What are the chances that Gose & Travis D’Arnaud are in the starting lineup on opening day in 2013?

    Would Colby be moved to LF?

    Would Gose be moved to LF since Colby is an excellent defender in CF?

    If Gose is the LF for 2013, where do Thames & Snider play?

    Are they both traded?

    Would D’Arnaud be JPA’s back up catcher?

    • It’s possible that both are in the lineup to start but really it’s such a long way off with the trading deadline and winter meetings in between but there’s a good chance considering AA’s distaste for free agents.

      Seeing what happens with EE and Lind will play a large factor in what happens with d’Arnaud imo. If EE resigns and Lind isn’t shitting the bed then there’s a good chance d’Arnaud still makes the team but as back up to JPA. Once he’s done that, depending on how he handles the staff and hits will go a long way to determining things after that.

      As for left field, I think Rasmus gets moved, but you never know. With his arm, speed and range it makes sense. Either way you’d easily have the best defensive outfield in the majors imo. Though the Angles would give them a run for their money with Trout and Bourjos. If Gose makes the team then you’d probably see Rajai get traded with Snider as the 4th outfielder. Thames would likely be kept at AAA along with Sierra as depth or trade bait as Marisnik is probably still 2 years away.

      It could be even more interesting if the Jays are in on Soler as well.

      • OK Thanks,

        I think AA will have some trading chips, so he better use them wisely to get a bat .

        I suppose EE will resign. I can’t see AA being foolish enough to let him go.

        Watching Rajai flail away at RHP is not a good sign. He should be a bench guy & 4th OF

    • I can see a scenario where they find a way to use both TdA and JPA next year to see how each of them developes, for me the tough question is the outfield. I think the big question mark is Gose. If he’s ready for MLB next year, it’s going to make for a very interesting situation because barring a trade Snider is making the team next year in some way shape or form. Let’s also not rule out Bautista moving to 1B next season, its unlikely but possible.

    • I think there’s zero chance that Gose is put in LF simply because he has a rocket arm. If he’s not in CF, he would likely be put in RF, IMO.

      I would love to see a Snider, Rasmus, Gose outfield.

      Then to complete my prospect porn imagination, what if Hech hits well enough to be put at SS and Escobar accepts a move to 2B? Our pitchers ERA’s would thank that kind of defense.

      • You forgot to mention Sierra. Some minor league managers say that his arm is one of the best in MILB. With Sierra in RF, Gose in CF and Rasmus in LF, the Jays outfield defence could be pretty fucking awesome, causing third base coaches to lose their hair overnight.

  8. Something needs to happen. JP’s .265 OBP is a concern in my mind. But Buck Martinez tells me you can throw out JP’s numbers because he is doing very well in the Production column. So, I don’t know what to think.

    • Never, EVER listen to Buck.

    • Just because Buck is talking, doesn’t mean you have to listen. Form your own opinions, follow your gut. That OBP is absolutely a concern, and it should be.

    • That’s right. You don’t want catchers on base. Too slow. That’s why he kept his career OBP in the .280s. Didn’t want to clog up the bases.

      • +1

        Arencibia helps the offense by making outs and keeping the bases nice and unclogged. Or something.

  9. Buck > sabremetrics right?

  10. Hey Stoeten, is there any chance you can post the audio from the “writers roundtable” show aired during the Blue Jays pre-game on Sunday? I missed it and I can’t find it on their website. Thanks for your help.

  11. I’m not sure why everyone thinks JPA is so valuable. His OBP is deplorable. Sure, he can knock a few HR’s and he’s a good-looking lad, but I think he’s trade bait, TDA is the real deal. JPA is just a more Twitter-friendly John Buck. Trade him for a solid #3 pitcher.

    • JPA also has value because of his years of control. If GM AA could find a #3 with similar years of control to deal for JPA, Aaron Cibia wouldn’t still be on the team.

    • +11ty

    • That’s true but he’s not horrible defensively and he’s got major power that makes up for the low OBP and it’s against major league pitching. People forget he’s just 26. Best thing to do is break d’Arnaud in slowly see if the bat is for real at the major league level and move JP eventually.

      • So what, give TDA Mathis-like PA’s?

        • Not necessarily, but you also have to put the teams situation in perspective as well. JPA was able to get the bulk of the playing time in a clear rebuilding situation. Are you prepared to hand over the bulk of the playing time to a rookie when you’re supposed to be contending? He’d have to be really adept at handling pitchers and be able to maintain his supposed above average hitting while learning at the major league level. People don’t realize how much that is when you factor in the defense and game calling. Not saying he can’t do it but they’re saying his D still needs work. Who knows maybe he pulls a Posey next year.

          • “Are you prepared to hand over the bulk of the playing time to a rookie when you’re supposed to be contending?”

            Why not?

            This idea that a rookie C can’t contribute on a catcher is dumb to me.

            The Giants did just fine with Posey behind the plate.

          • Fuck the Future! Win Now. Instant gratification! Seriously though, why bring him up at all if yoiu’re not going to play him? It’s a fantastic way to stunt his development.

        • id rather have TdA getting fulltime AB’s in vegas than backing up JPA

    • He is a major league catcher. And the power is legitimely good. But I don’t think anyone sees him as a star or anything.

      • …except for the guy who wrote the article being discussed.

        “He reiterates that he’s a lot higher on d’Arnaud than Gose, he says. “d’Arnaud looks like a star,” he says, “possibly even a superstar.”

    • TDA has never even played a major league game, how is he “the real deal”?

  12. I really have a feeling that Thames played himself into AAAA stardom. His numbers weren’t that good and the holes in his swing are large. Now add in the terrible defense and I just don’t see him being much of a factor anymore. I’m starting to get concerned for Snider considering the exciting talent in the OF starting to develop in the system. In my mind if Snider continues to hit when he returns from injury and during his call up (if he gets one) going into the winter the Jays will trade JPA move Bautista to first Snider to RF and have Gose and Ramus in CF\LF. I know its a long shot for Jose to move but it’s the most beneficial to the team. EEs potential contract demands also play a factor into this.

  13. I’m not sure why everyone is so excited about Gose being compared to devon white. I mean, ya the defense and speed were great, but the guy had a .320 career OBP. Not exactly what you want in a leadoff hitter. Do people not realize this. Gose doesn’t project to hit any better than rajai davis at this point.

    • White was worth 31.6 fWAR between 87-93 and had another 2.3 fWAR in the strike shortened season. He averaged 4.5 fWAR during that time and had seasons of 6.9 fWAR and 6.5 fWAR in 92 and 93. If he’s going to be Devon White I’d be over the moon if I got that kind of contributions from my center fielder. Those kind of numbers would put him in the upper echelon of center fielders even if he’s not batting lead off.

  14. Jays 4th in attendance today, and only 500 people behind Anaheim and Detroit for 2nd (Phaillies in 1st with 45K)

    In 4th on Saturday (43.4K), 1K behind Anaheim and 600 behind Detroit for 2nd (Phaillies with 45.5K)

    Friday, ehhhh, not so much. 7th with 29.7K. But, a nice weekend for the BUSINESS of Blue Jays baseball, which we all hope translates to more Rogers commitment, etc, etc. Mets weekend was good too. Phaillies is the next weekend homestand so, should be good and Nationals with Bryce Harper and Strasbourg will likely be so-so – like Darvish/Rangers.

    Turnstile Watch . . . .to be continued



    #17 Because it is a major crapshoot. – example #13,467 – Stetson Allie, $2.3 million signing bonus in 2010, 52nd overall, because he was a BIG ARM guy

    Now, they HOPE he can make it as a position player. Not what they paid for.

    • Not that I disagree with your point, but citing the Pirates developmental philosophy as an example is like using your little brother as an academic source in a doctoral thesis.

  16. if you actually want to know how good/bad JPA is then simply look at where he ranks among catchers

    5th in rbis
    2nd in hr tied
    17th in ops 125 ab
    10th in slug

    he’s basically jeff mathis with power. unless some team is desperate, I really don’t think any team would give up much for him. so there’s really no point in trading him. and I really don’t think JPA has shown that he deserves to be an everyday catcher. mike napoli has never gotten lots of ab’s despite being a power hitter so either should JPA

    • But, but, but Buck said they tweaked Mathis stance and opened it up a bit. I thought that meant he was going to slug 650 all year. Weird how he’s sucked at hitting all these years and yet noone tried to open up his stance like Murph did.

      Or perhaps the more realistic explanation is that he now sucks with a different stance.

  17. I doubt they are thinking of converting him to 1st full time. Far more likely IMO that giving him the ability to play first is simply a way of keeping his bat in the lineup when he’s not catching. Defensive flexibility is never a bad thing.

  18. I think people can relax about d’Arnaud possibly becoming the Jays’ next “can’t miss” 1B prospect. The Jays preach versatility, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving d’Arnaud some rips at other positions to give other players days off, and to keep his bat in the line-up if it materializes the way we hope it will.

  19. Can you believe this crap ? Jays call talker says that he was standing and cheering with two outs i the 9th for Janssen to close out the game..and ushers came down and told him to sit down and be quiet

    • What a joke! Could you imagine if they tried to pull that shit with the bleacher creatures…

    • Some highschool boy comes and tells me to sit down and shut up in that situation and there’s gonna be trouble! Tell him to FUCK OFF! Stand up for yourself. You’re the paying customer. You better find a supervisor bitch cause I ain’t doin no such thing!

  20. I wonder when Lawrie is going to pick up his game. His OPS is currently below JPA’s, and most of his offensive value comes from his batting average (which is a soft .281).

  21. Jeff Francis to Toronto à‎ la Guerrero?

  22. If scouts think he’s a potential middle order of the bat, then his bat will play at 1B.
    He can always play 1B,DH and C in 2013 , Jp isnt even in ARb yet sow hy not explore trading one of them after 2013 or in the middle.
    He is an athlete we could always put him in RF and but Jose at 1B.

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