As the MLB season heads towards its midway point, it’s time for a lot of the prospect evaluators out there to check in with an update on the minor league landscape, and John Sickels of Minor League Ball has done just that, updating his Top 120 prospects list, and posting an “All Questions Answered” thread related to the list.

The Jays, as you may expect from a club with such vaunted system– or, y’know, if you read the title of the post– placed a lot of prospects on the list, with not just seven among the ranked 120, but three more prospects among the additional 58 honourable mentions– aka “Other Players Considered for the list.” It should be noted that Sickels doesn’t include 2012 draftees here.

Travis d’Arnaud, as usual, tops the list among Jays prospects, though he’s way back in 18th– an improvement over his previous ranking on Sickels’ list, 26th, but perhaps a little farther back than we’ve come to expect.

There’s then a cluster of prospects in the 40 to 50 range: Noah Snydergaard at 40 (up from 67), Justin Nicolino at 45 (up from 68), the new-to-the-list Aaron Sanchez at 49, and Anthony Gose (pictured) holding steady at 51.

Perhaps I’d gauged wrong, but I’m a little surprised to see Sanchez, despite the huge jump, below his Lansing teammates, as the buzz the internet had been giving me was that he’s the one who has differentiated himself and stood out among the trio of excellent pitchers. But… what do I know?

Jake Marisnick, who has struggled in the early going at Dunedin, comes in at 69 (note: heh) down from 48, while Dan Norris, who has only now just begun to pitch in pro ball at Bluefield, is down a peg to 71 from 70.

The pre-season list featured eight Jays, with the addition of Sanchez on the updated one being offset by the graduation of Drew Hutchison and the shittening of Deck McGuire.

McGuire does still show up– technically– in the honourable mention section, along with his New Hampshire teammate John Stilson and Bluefield’s Joe Musgrove, making for 11 Jays among the 158 prospects mentioned– well above the average number per team, which is just a shade under 6.

In the All Questions Answered threat, a few Jays-related items came about…

“He’s the highest-ranked catcher on the list,” Sickels says to a fan concerned about the “low” ranking of Travis d’Arnaud. He adds that he does have concerned, though, primarily surrounding his “spotty plate discipline and Las Vegas/PCL stat inflation.”

Sickels agrees with the notion that Sanchez could keep on moving up the rankings as time goes on. “Needs to get the walks down though,” he writes. He later adds, when asked about which of the Lansing pitchers could move up a level this season, that “you could make a case for any of them, although if I had to bet I would say Syndergaard. Sanchez still has some control issues.”

You may recall from his higher-than-anyone rating of Nestor Molina last winter, Sickels likes him some control. So… after a little reflection, perhaps the Sanchez stuff isn’t as surprising as I’ve found it to be.

Moving on, when asked to compare the heavily buzzed-about Billy Hamilton– the 21-year-old Reds prospect in the High-A California League who has a barely-fathomable 98 steals in 77 games– with the Jays’ 21-year-old Triple-A prospect Anthony Gose, Sickels agrees that Gose would be tearing up High-A too. But “having seen both of them play, I like Hamilton slightly better,” he says. “There is something about Gose that makes me think he will be a disappointment with the bat. That said, he does have better defensive tools.” He later lists Gose among the players he found most difficult to rank– bless the PCL, amiright?

Cushioning the blow regarding Jake Marisnick, we’re reminded that “he didn’t fall that far, and his stats aren’t bad for the FSL.”

Then, decidedly not cushioning the blow on Deck McGuire, Sickels is asked, “You have him listed in ‘Considerations’ [i.e. Honourable Mention]. Does that mean you still consider him ahead of the other Jays pitchers (Wojo, Desclafani , Osuna, Cormona [sic. -- he means Cardona] for example)?”

His blunt reply: “Well, it basically means I looked at him because he was on the original list.” Ouch.

As for some unlisted Jays prospects he’s heard “good scoutinig reports for [Adonys] Cardona and [Roberto] Osuna,” but he doesn’t want to be too quick to rush them up the list with so little pro-ball data. “Both have Top 100 potential, if not higher,” he adds.

Indeed, it’s a monster system that Alex Anthopoulos and his staff has put together, and it’s only going to get stronger as the guys in the low minors move up the ranks. If only, y’know, they could do something about the current roster…


Image via Jonathan Ferrey/Getty.

Comments (81)

  1. Ya. The minors is looking pretty good. Add in the new draft and the big international signings, and things are lookin’ pretty awesome going forward. As for the current roster, could anyone have imagined that Aaron Laffey would be a more dependable Jays starter at this point in the season (or at any point in any season) than Ricky Romero? Seriously, how the fuck do you solve THAT problem? WIth all the injuries, he’s picked the worst possible time to shit the bed. I just don’t see at all how this team can stay at .500 (let alone compete for that second wild card). They can’t trade for a whole new starting rotation can they? Still a fun team to watch though. Or, at least, the half innings where they’re at the plate are fun to watch. The other half innings have me flipping over to Seinfeld reruns.

    • Ricky has improved each of the last 3 years. There was bound to be some regression, but I didn’t expect this much. However, he deserves our support. Last year, it seemed that when the Jays needed a win to halt a slide, Ricky stepped in and was that man. Keep running him out there, keep showing him love.

      • Everyone forgets Romero had this problem last year too but his babip was really low meaning he enjoyed a lot of luck on balls that were put in play. I didn’t think he would shit the bed like this though at THE worst time possible

    • At this point, they should be looking to add at least 2 starters, and probably closer to 3 before the start of next season. Brandon Morrow will return and probably be decent. Then you need 1-2 of either Romero, Hutch, Alvarez, Drabek, Deck or Jenkins to perform as a serviceable starter.

  2. as good as AA has been at stacking the farm, his first round picks, jenkins and mcguire have been pretty fuckin meh.

    his sandwich round picks have been better than his first round picks. (norris, syndergaard)

    thats nitpicking i suppose. no one expected mcguire to fall off the face of the earth.

    • That’s the problem with masturbating to all this prospect porn. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Prospects can be fickle things. Don’t really want to bet the team’s future on a few guys working out in the bigs.

      • Very true. At the beginning of the season, the Jays expected Morrow & Romero to lead the rotation.

        Now Romero is imploding & Morrow won’t be back till August.

        The problem I have with this team is there is no margin for error.

        AA didn’t get enough pitching in the offseason .

        He didn’t want to sign any free agents & didn’t want to trade any prospects.

        His one big deal with Santos is in shambles.

        The reliever corps of DFA’d jays could have it’s own roster.

        I hope the Jays have a special reunion dinner with Iragashi. et

        • except that they have Santos until 2017. Hard to say that the deal is in shambles. Even if it hasn’t worked out immediately, I bet a lot of evaluators would still think it was a solid deal for the jays.

          • It is a worrisome injury. What’s the success rate with converted position players becoming closers??

  3. Jenkins was a Riccardi pick.

  4. (I’m missing an “i” in there somewhere.)

  5. The “Shittening of McGuire” hahah It really is too bad that McGuire has been so awful at Double A. He was supposed to be a lock for a steady back end of the rotation type guy and this year we could have used him more than ever. You never know.. it has only been a bad half-season but its troublesome for sure.

  6. Notably Hechavarria did not make honourable mention.

  7. No love for Hech.

  8. So I was just looking up newest Blue Jay Andrew Carpenter’s career stats on baseball reference.

    Career ERA: 8.51

    I hope no one’s expecting too much.

  9. I can see the Jays having a shit tonne of prospects on these lists at the beginning of next year simply because no one is likely to graduate to the majors in time to lose their eligibility and they’re got another wave of pitchers in Bluefield that are looking good.

    Osuna is looking studly so far. He’s outpitching Norris, Musgrove, Comer, and everyone else at Bluefield and he’s 2-3 years younger than all of them.

  10. They really need another AAA affiliate. I hope they can get one for next year because it’s going to get to the point where they don’t have enough rotation spots for their arms if they won’t graduate their actual pitchers to AAA.

    • I think this is the last year the Jays have on their contract with Vegas. Hopefully they get out of the PCL.

      • They’d be better off buying a team in the Mexican League for their Triple A affiliate… Although I doubt that’s allowed.

      • Sorry I listen to you spew crap all the time. The PCL is not the problem if it was every MLB team would be trying to get out of there and they are not, In fact most teams love the PCL.As for Vegas I will agree its a launching pad and hard to put high potential pitchers in that park for 14 or 15 starts. But for christs sakes do some true research before spouting off all the time about stuff you know nothing about… out

        • That’s an extreme response. I don’t think it’s out of line to say that a) Las Vegas is beyond an extreme hitter’s park, b) that pitching prospects should not be sent there, and that c) an IL affiliate would be vastly superior to Vegas for the Jays, even if only because it’s not on the other side of the continent from 90% of the rest of your organization in the middle of a desert.

  11. We should start selling pretty soon… even if only 3 or 4 games back… how do you catch up with this pitching staff… What type of prospects could we get for Yunel, Johnson, Fraser and Oliver? Maybe trade Lind at wavier deadline if teams are desperate… AA will probably wait until deadline to make trades to save face on season, the team should be out of the race by then… AA doesn’t seems to want to help the team out this year, band aid after band aid..

    • Well, they gotta hold the fort until Morrow comes back. And define selling and buying? Because AA has never really done either (in the traditional sense). I am sure, however, that he is aggressively trying to transform limited assets into longer term pieces.

      • He didnt sell because he would get picks for those type of players, it might be a different deadline this year…

    • What can he do to “save” this season? Is it realistic to think that the Yankees, Rays and Sox will not start playing much better baseball soon as they get injured players back and gear up through the summer? If the Jays, as I believe, never had a true shot at the post-season this year, then is it smart of the organization to mortgage the future for the sake of two or three extra wins this season?

      You are not going to go out and find four starters who can content in the AL East. You would be lucky to find two, and it would cost you too much.

      • He can’t do anything to save the season. All I’m saying is that AA has never done a whole lot of traditional buying and selling kinds of trades. He looks to acquire long term pieces (like Rasmus, Morrow, Escobar, etc.). He’s never traded a reliever for a C level prospect. Quite frankly, given the state of the farm system, I don’t know why he’d start doing that now. I’m pretty confident that he’s not going to do anything stupid to try to “save the season”. I just think AA thinks about things differently than the way most rumor-based sports media figures do.

        • I agree, however since the CBA change, there is not as much value in holding on to a type B free agent because you no longer get draft pick compensation. I can see AA more inclined to flip some of these guys this year if we are “Out of contention” than in years past.

          • But I totally agree that AA doesn’t see things in Black and white (Buyer vs seller for example) like some GM’s and most fans do..

          • It’s true that there’s not as much value in holding onto them, but they could still be packaged into a larger trade for larger pieces (a la Colby Rasmus).

    • Again, why the hell would the Jays trade Escobar? where the hell is this nonsense coming from? What are you going to get for him and who is going to replace his production? Trading Escobar is absolutely ridiculous.

      • They’d only trade him if it made sense long term. If they were getting a piece that they valued more. Otherwise they’ll keep him. But they have some pretty good trade chips at the moment to try to fill in some of their holes (long term).

        • Ok so try and fill one hole, and create another one? Hech is fucking unproven at the big league level.

          • If guys never got called up because they were unproven at the big league level then no one would ever get called up.

      • Why not when you have Heck, might resign johnson or find another 2b… who knows how Escobar reacts if moved to 2b….

      • ” where the hell is this nonsense coming from?”

        Knobler had an article on the weekend saying the Jays are “souring” on Escobar. That’s likely where its coming from.

    • People keep talking about selling Yunel. That’s great. Who is going to play SS? Is Hech really ready? I don’t think he is really going to replace Yunel’s offensive production (as limited as it has been this year). Especially if you are talking about getting rid of KJ as well. The Jays are extremely limited on internal options for middle infielders. I’m not sure who exactly would be available in trade for second base who is young, controllable and athletic. Maybe Altuve? But he seems like someone the Astros would want to build around. The FA market for 2b/SS is extremely limited in this offseason — pretty much just replacement level players.

      I think the most likely scenario is they will try and sell off on Oliver, Frasor, KJ, Coco at the deadline. Oliver will be pretty valuable next year if we plan on contending, so if we can’t get rid of him its no big deal. He has been a pretty dependable arm. If KJ doesn’t get traded, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him extended. Earlier this year it seemed as though he would be a lock to get a multi-year contract and would be a valuable trade piece — but he has been shitting the bed as of late and may not be able to fetch nearly as much. He may have to settle for another 1 year (maybe 2 year) contract.

      Lind will probably not get traded. Teams would have to be insanely desperate to call on him. They could have had him for salary-only back when he was placed on waivers.

      We came into the season knowing it probably wasn’t our year to compete. Everything would have had to break right — Drabek would have had to show massive improvement, as well as Adam Lind, Rasmus (which has happened), EE (which has happened), etc. Too bad players like KJ have been bad and it seems like Yunel has regressed a little offensively. Don’t get me started on the situation in LF.

      To have competed this year, the rotation would have had to have been shored up and probably another bat or two added. We know Beltran was given an offer. So I’m not sure it was from lack of trying on AA’s part. Toronto just isn’t the most popular destination for FAs at the moment, and GMs want to pillage our robust farm system for players like Gio Gonzalez.

      If even a few of this team’s needs are bet at this trade deadline as well as the offseason, we can easily compete next year.

      • i agree about selling RP, but if someone will give you a good prospect for Yunel then you take it… Maybe bring Heck up in Sept and see what he can do and depending on the off-season deal Yunel at that time, however you might get more right now rather then in the off season…

      • Weird. You used your shit posting account to make a good, rational post.

      • Unfortunately one of this team’s needs is ’3-4 starting pitchers that don’t fucking suck.’ I suspect that’s not widely available.

        On the Yunel thing, I don’t get the handwringing; no stat has him even close to the top shortstops this year. I mean, no doubt Hech would be worse but if AA got something for Yunel I don’t see why I would get all worked up about it. .299 OBP for goodness sake!

  12. A couple things: It’d be interesting to know more about the history of these lists and how well they project players. I think before saying “AA needs to deal all these young guys” it’d be worth knowing just what it means to be in a top prospect list. At what level of certainty do these players tend to pan out?

    And before people shit on McGuire, I’d also remind them that Romero’s AA numbers were pretty horrible as well, and he spent 3 seasons as a 21-23 yr old (plus a start in his 4th season) at this level with pretty horrible numbers (4.90 ERA, 1.564 WHIP, 9.7 h/9, 4.4 bb/9, 6.5 so/9). Romero played 2.5 times as many games as Mcguire at the AA level as well. Does this mean Mcguire will turn into Romero? no, but I think it’s good evidence that players can be shitty and then figure out.

    • absolutely true on Romero.

      • “but I think it’s good evidence that players can be shitty and then figure out.”

        and then turn shitty again?

        • So you think that’s permanent then? That’s the only reason I assume anyone would make such a dumb comment.

          • I think its quite possible this is permanent for Ricky. We are looking at the next D-Train here.

          • @jesuschristo 10:56am

            Explain how such a small sample size could give you enough information to determine that Romero will permanently be a a negative-WAR player for the rest of his career.

    • @Jim

      True Dat. From a stats point of view, there are plenty of examples of pitchers struggling in the minors before finding their way to the big leagues. Romero is a fine example.

      However, the issue I have had with McGuire is that the pick was too safe. There is little upside at this point. If McGuire is fortunate and works hard, he might make it to the show to only become a shitballing 5th starter. Don’t get me wrong, shitballing 5th starters have value on a MLB roster. But it was a shame to use the first pick in the draft to get one.

      Take a look at recent draft picks and then take a look at McGuire. Big difference is the ceiling or upside of more recent draft picks (mostly high school guys who throw hard with high projectable ceilings).

      • The word on McGuire at the time was that he had a ceiling as a three and wouldn’t take much to get there. Obviously it’s gone wrong, at least for now, but while I definitely prefer the approach they’re now taking in the draft, you can’t discount the fact that a safe bet number three starter is really, really valuable– more valuable than people realize, I think.

  13. One other thing. Syndergaard and Sanchez are 19 and Nicolino is 20 and all three are putting up as good or better numbers at A ball than Garza did as a 21 year old. Does that mean they’ll be as good or better than Garza? who knows. But just because they are prospects it doesn’t mean you rule out their ability to become good pitchers at the MLB level. And given AA’s reluctance to deal those players, he must see something beyond just their numbers that suggests there is something worth holding on to.

    • Syndergard, Sanchez, Nicolino……come on boys, age quicker

    • I can’t wait until we see these guys in the big leagues.

      I just don’t get my hopes up. So many of these prospects turn to shit. It’s a long, hard road in the minor leagues and even the best prospects frequently fall short. Sometimes these players are at the peaks of their value while they are playing minor league ball. That is why AA may need to take advantage of this fact and sell off various pieces to improve the major league roster.

      • But if you’re AA and you’re evaluating your talent and you’re looking at a group of pitchers that are putting up the numbers they are, at the age they’re doing it, and in your opinion have the ability to be successful major leaguers, why would you trade them? You don’t trade the guys that you think will be your future just because most prospects don’t pan out, especially for short-term help at a time when it’s probably unnecessary considering the injury/pitching situation. If you believe in those players and the potential they hold (and this would be an educated belief based on in depth knowledge of the player) then you stick with them.

        I guess all that can be summed up as “trading prospects because they’re prospects is short-sighted and doesn’t take into account any of the internal work that AA and his staff put into evaluating their players.”

        • But if you can use some of those low minors prospects to leverage a trade for a Colby Rasmus/Brett Lawrie type piece, then trade the freakin’ prospects.

          However, he really hasn’t done this yet, other than for Santos. i guess Zach Stewart was included in the Rasmus deal.

          • The thing about those low A guys is that they’ll be even more valuable as trade chips the longer you hang onto them (assuming they maintain their level of production). And next year they’ll have all of those high end Appy League guys playing full season ball and yada, yada, yada. Basically, I think they have a lot of pieces to put together a trade (with both Major and minor leaguers) but AA just needs to find the right piece coming back.

          • @Pete. Some of them may be more valuable. Arms can blow out at any point along the development process.

  14. Gettin’ kinda prospected out. I wonder if other team fans have been fed the prospect kool aid as much as us. (we) (Them)

  15. So here’s a question: if Chad Mottola is such a great hitting coach that we’d all fire Murphy and bring him up here to replace him, why do Gose and Hechavarria continue to suck at hitting?

    • Because hitting coaches can only do so much. I’d guess that there is a lot about hitting that cannot be taught, and Hech and Gose just don’t have it to the same extent as guys like Travis Snider.

    • Hech actually has pretty decent numbers among the guys at AAA. Of course just how much do you discount the numbers? Personally I think you play him at AAA for the full year, bring him up in September, and if even if KJ is still here, you rotate Yunel, KJ and Hech throughout the rest of the season to see what his bat is really like. I know September stats should have some discount to them as well but I think that will be lessened now with more teams in the wild card race for longer.

      Next spring you bring him back with the idea he’ll be either a starter if you can’t resign KJ or as the utility guy if you do with plans on getting him a bit more work than your average utility guy.

      As for trading Escobar outright, short of getting a pretty impressive return, it’s a dumb idea especially with his very team friendly contract. Lets face it the guy is going to be very cheap until 2015. You don’t give up on that kind of deal to take a flyer on another player unless what your getting back is a sure thing and will help the team without question. There’s not a lot of prospects that will fit that bill.

      • The team OPS is .851 and Hechavarria is at .810– ninth among those with 100 PA or more (and behind Ruben Gotay as well, who has 92).

        • I wouldn’t put as much weight into OPS difference since I think the other players get more benefit from the playing conditions or park factors compared to a slap style hitter who doesn’t put the ball in the air nearly as much. That said, I’m definitely not advocating making him a starter at this point.

          • His splits are actually encouraging.

            Home: .355 OBP, .748 OPS
            Away: .395 OBP, .846 OPS

            What worries me the most is his .524 OPS against lefties. The last thing we need is a platoon LHB who can’t hit for above-average power, especially when Rasmus appears to be ok against lefties.

          • My mistake. For some reason I thought the convo was about Gose.

            Herp derp.

            Hechavarria’s splits are a little worrisome, as they indicate he’s a full product of Vegas.

    • I don’t think anyone would want the Jays to fire Murphy to bring up Mottolla, would they? I mean, he’s done enough good with Bautista and Rasmus (to name 2) that he’s proven his worth. My only thought is why not have BOTH on the big league club when the time is right? Sometimes one coach cannot effectively communicate to a player what it is he wants the player to do – Bautista noted this with Murphy and Cito … that they just explained to him what “getting ready earlier” meaned differently and it all “clicked”.

      I believe the Rangers have 2 hitting coaches (or one coach and an assistant).

    • Gose is OPSing .800 in a league where the average age is usually around 27, and he’s still 21.

      What a clwon question, bro.

      • Yes so many forget that he’s the youngest in the league and rave all about Billy Hamilton who is a couple of weeks younger but two levels lower. The interesting thing about Gose’s stats is that there’s a good chance he’s numbers aren’t as skewed as say a power hitters numbers are. For the type of hitter that he is and Hech for that matter too, the thin air won’t benefit them nearly as much as say an Adam Lind. I like the fact the Gose’s walk rate has stayed the same while he cut 5% off his strikeout rate and it’s now his lowest as a professional.

        • Exactly. His wRC+ may be average, but his wOBA is still pretty good at .367. I think people just look at the home runs and wonder “what is wrong with Anthony Gose?”

          He has improved in the facet of the game that’s most important: not creating outs, particularly not creating outs without putting the ball in play. His .375 OBP is the highest it’s been in his pro career.

  16. Once, Twice, Three Times a Tabby.

  17. I hate prospect rankings because they lead people to believe they actually have a clue as to what the value of a given player is. These rankings are all irrelevant.

    • Does it not get as tiresome for you writing comments like this as it does for us reading them?

      • What’s tiresome is seeing people pretend they have a clue what prospects are worth because they read a prospect ranking and can google a player’s minor league stat line.

        You know what else is tiresome? You picking fights with commenters for no apparent reason. It’s one thing to lay into people who disagree with something you’ve said in an idiotic fashion, but I was merely making a statement about how overrated prospects are in the eyes of fans because of these sorts of rankings.

    • Comment section of that article is funny.Only two of them but uninformed.

      • Totally. The very premise that this season is over (close but not quite) and therefore we need to sell just totally ignores the long-term plan and point of building a team like the way he has been doing. Personally, I’d be happy if all did was fill one hole with a core player for the future come the trade deadline.

        • It’ll be nice but I foresee more movement in the offseason. To me at least,just makes a whole lot of sense.A shitload of things are on the line in 2013.

  18. I propose a great drinking game: every time Tabby says “just a little bit more,” take a swig of beer. You’ll be shitfaced by the 3rd inning.

  19. I think the Jays have a short stop to trade very soon. Whichever one they decide to trade would probably depend on who’s coming back and who the Jays ultimately prefer and or the other team will want to be included. As for the Jays “souring” thing, I don’t believe a word of that kind of press stuff. It’s just as likely that the Jays staff is leaking it as subterfuge, while allowing Hech to tear up Vegas, in order to bait and switch. They aren’t going to move either of them to second, so within the next year, one of them is going to be moved. They’ll also be moving a catcher at some point. (Obviously not until D’Arnaud is healthy again.) Gose is a nice chip too.

  20. There’s a good little article on minor league run environments for those trying to put things into the correct context. The quoted I included is pretty interesting and I think is a good example of why a player like Gose or Hech’s numbers shouldn’t be beaten down as much as a Snider’s, Thames’ or Lind’s. As neither are big home run hitter both are going to benefit far less than hitters that hit a lot of fly balls or line drives. Having said that, I think it’s all the more important for the Jays to see these guys for a few weeks at the major league level one way or another and evaluate what they do against major league pitching in a more park neutral environment.

    “It’s also the case that hitter leagues don’t “achieve” those run environments in the same way. The Pacific Coast League gets its five-plus runs per game thanks to the highest minor league home run rate, second-highest OBP, but relatively low error rates (again, you can click in the header to sort the table and see this more easily).”

  21. More prospect bullshit …. Enough already by the time most these guys make it 3/4 of the people on here will be off the band wagon and onto something else. I wanna see major league moves , rumors and some big league talk. no more prospect porn !

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