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.