John Sickels has swung full-on into end-of-year mode at Minor League Ball, with six posts worth our attention: two part reviews of the seasons put in by his top 50 pitching and hitting prospects, and his preliminary lists of the top 50 pitching and hitting prospects for 2013.
There are Jays players listed on all of these, so let’s have a look…
Only two Jays scraped their way into the first part of Sickels’ top 50 pitchers for 2012, with Nose Snygen and Justin Nicolino coming in at 24th and 25th respectively. Sickels offers “no complaints” on the season Syndergaard had, and suggests that he and Nicolino will make a great combo “as they move up the ladder.” The esteem he holds them in becomes evident in his preliminary list for 2013, which we’ll look at later.
In part two of the reviews we have Dan Norris (27), Drew Hutchison (31), Deck McGuire (35), as well as ex-Jay Nestor Molina (30).
That’s right, Aaron Sanchez didn’t make the cut last year, which makes his jump onto the 2013 all the more impressive.
As for his read on the Jays guys who did, um… Sickels didn’t do so hot. Norris had an atrocious season split between Bluefield and Vancouver, though we’re told that his “mechanics need a lot of work,” which maybe indicates why his numbers look so awful, rather than suggesting that there’s an even bigger problem afoot.
Hutchison, of course, held his own in the Majors before being wiped out with Tommy John, while McGuire “lost some zip on his fastball,” and his “secondary pitches and command weren’t good enough to compensate.” Sickels says that his stock is “way down at this point,” which maybe makes us understand better why the Jays traded away guys like Kevin Comer and Joe Musgrove this summer, getting value for them while they still had pre-draft shine, despite taking concerning steps backwards as pros.
Molina, he says, “was an aggressive ranking that didn’t work out, although his control still gives him a chance.” Of course, for some reason, dealing him doesn’t seem like quite the stroke of fucking genius as it once did, huh?
Moving on to the hitters, Travis d’Arnaud (10) and Jake Marisnick found themselves in part one of last year’s top 50. d’Arnaud, we know, was truly hitting his stride in Las Vegas, and looking like a certain call-up, before he went down with a torn knee ligament that ended his season.
Marisnick had troubles of his own: though he was in the top 25 in wOBA among players with over 300 PA in the Florida State league (and in the top ten among those 22 and under), he struggled after what seemed to be a quick promotion to Double-A. Perhaps a reason for the rush is that, as Sickels explains, “scouting reports on his tools remain positive but he’s still got a lot of work to do with the bat against advanced pitching.”
In part two of the review of last year’s top hitting prospects we have only Anthony Gose, who ranked 26th, and on whom Sickels noticed what every-fucking-body else did. “Speed and glove are impressive,” he says, “but will he hit enough?”
Preliminary 2013 Lists
Beyond the obvious labelling as “preliminary,” there are reasons to take some of the players Sickels lists as top prospects for 2013 with a bit of a grain of salt– particularly on the pitching side, as we a list populated a number of guys who you might think would be considered as graduated (Trevor Rosenthal, Chris Archer, Martin Perez, Dan Straily). That kinda makes the rankings of the Jays’ Big Three all the more impressive, I suppose, but leaves me wondering if some of the other arms in the organization might have otherwise squeaked in.
For now, it’s “only” Syndergaard (11), Sanchez (13), and Nicolino (20). As we used to say around here… um… boners up!
On the hitting side it’s now only d’Arnaud (9) in the top 50, which I suppose would be more dispiriting if we didn’t see that Sickels ranks our future catcher– or trade bait (or 1B/DH?)– ahead of Francisco Lindor, Christian Yelich, Nick Castellanos and Mike Olt, who you may remember from around the trade deadline, as the Rangers held firm on keeping him, despite many reports suggesting he could have been the key piece in deals that would have netted them either Josh Johnson or Zack Greinke.
There are no scouting notes on any of the players on the preliminary lists (other than those who are holdovers from the 2012 versions discussed above), so… uh… yeah. There’s that.
UPDATE: There’s also this: check the first comment on the 2013 pitching piece: Sickels says he thought Roberto Osuna was in there, and he mistakenly was not. He should be in the 40 range, he adds.
Image via Bluejaysplus.com.