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…

2012 Reviews

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.

That works.

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.


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Comments (52)

  1. Jays system is terrible overrated.

    Our 1st draft picks continue to be flops.

    • I think that’s the problem with most 1st round draft picks in baseball. Unlike other sports, draft picks take years before there’s any glimpse of hope or expectation.

      So, by drafting as many high-end prospects and seeing what sticks, like the Jays did over the past few years to rebuild the system, is probably the best strategy. Most of us will agree that it’s mostly luck (with a side of non-travis-snider-fuck-around) afterwards. We should applaud the process, if not the system.

    • That would be a terribly damning statement, dc, if there was any evidence you had the first fucking clue what you’re talking about, or– y’know– if it was only the first pick that counts.

      Under the old system the Jays made some “safe” picks with their first selection, and (at least since AA has been here) spent over slot in the supplemental rounds and later rounds. Pointless to make any kind of assessment of first rounders alone, let alone at this point in time, three years into AA’s regime, to be pissing any moaning.

      And it’s ESPECIALLY fucking ridiculous to call the system “terrible overrated” when the Jays have three of the top 20 pitching prospects on that list. Arizona has three of 12, St. Louis three of 21, Seattle three of 25, and Cincinnati three between 15 and 27, and that’s about it for clubs with that kind of wealth.

      Eleven teams have their BEST prospect on that list below where the Jays’ third-best one is, and surely not all teams are represented. So… um… what the fuck are you talking about?

      Or, shit, was that sarcasm?

      • Do you know when the last time the Jays had a number 1 ranked prospect or even a top 3 on these kinds of lists? Not trying to be snarky- actually am curious. The last name that comes to mind that might have been close was Travis Snider.

        • Can’t remember a 1, personally. That’s true of a LOT of clubs, though.

          • Rasmus was a 3 on BA’s list. Now, I know he wasn’t a Jays prospect at the time but… ugh, these sort of lists, amirite?

            Why the arbitrary endpoints? Top 50? What if it should only be Top 38 and the rest aren’t worth writing about?

            Why do people get so worked up over the difference between your team having prospect number 9 instead of someone in the top 5? Who cares? That player is really, really good and the rest is subjective.

            Take these rankings for what they are: a fun way to document prospects across MLB, bearing a relationship with reality (d’Arnaud is a highly thought of prospect, among the best bunch in the game) but nowhere near definitive. You’d think the predictive history of these lists (mediocre, just like the teams’ own projections) would provide pause for would-be critics before they get worked up about this stuff.

        • This is going WAY back, but Delgado was a #4 prospect at one point with BA. I honestly can’t think of anyone that was rated even higher than that as a Blue Jay. Halladay wasn’t even ranked in the top 10 once.

    • the last 20 years (not including 2010-2012 because they have yet to be seen)…..Shawn Green, Shannon Stewart, chris carpenter, roy halladay, vernon wells, alex rios, aaron hill, rickey romero all have been all-star seasons at some point.

      Billy koch, dustin mcGowan, travis snider, JPA, Brett Cecil have all been serviceable to a certain degree also.

      i don’t know what planet you’re on… but saying the jays system is overrated and that their 1st draft picks continue to be flops has me scratching my head.

      • If you’re going that far back, how about Carlos Delgado? I’m sure he’ll get some Hall of Fame votes.

    • DJ Davis had a solid year …

    • On god, I was just checking the 2008 draft. I did not know David Cooper was a 1st round draft pick! The horror!

  2. Im so sick of this fucking prospect porn. Can we just trade some of these fuckers already? Jays ML Roster could use a LOT of help in quite a few areas. Not all of these prospects are going to end up like verlander and mike trout.

    • Agreed, other than the big 3 (who are at least 2 years away if not 3) and d”Arnaud there isn’t much else on the way in terms of real impact players. Maybe Gose if he can ever hit, and Hech but these 2 certainly aren’t future Trout’s or Harpers, or probably even Manny Machado’s.

      • Why put an apostrophe after “Trout” and “Machado” but not “Harper’ you PATHETIC FUCKING RETARD.

        • Because he clearly doesn’t know when to apply the apostrophe. So instead of choosing to select one way, giving him a 50/50 chance of applying them correctly, he used both possibilities and was exposed for the simpleton that he is. But still, pretty harsh reaction …

          As for his comment, Trout and Harper are generational talents of which there are very few anywhere in anyone’s system (maybe Bundy on the pitching side). I would not use them as the benchmark for defining impact players.

          • Fair enough. I would have classified Brett Lawrie as an impact prospect, and my point is that aside from d’Arnaud, the Jays don’t have anyone like that who can step in and immediately help the team out.

            Zaun, for all his faults, made a good point regarding this last week. He said the Jays have nobody at the triple A level right now (Vegas or not) who can step in and immediately help the team out when there’s an injury. Gomes, Hech, Gose and Sierra did not help the team this year.

        • It gives me an incredible amount of satisfaction that a mid day brain fart can make you so incensed. Please go back to your pitiful, bitter existence now. Also, I hope this comment makes you blow another gasket. Judging by your first comment I’m fairly certain it will.

      • Don’t forget Marisnick. Also… there are lots of guys who were just drafted. Also… how much impact talent do you think most systems have at any given time?

        afdg can be sick of it all he wants, he clearly doesn’t understand how any of this work.

        • Really? I dont understand how this works because I refuse to buy into this propaganda that is rarely accurate. How many of these “top prospects” turn into all stars? Not very many.

          • The same stupid logic can be applied to free agents: How many of these “top free agents” remain all stars for the duration of their contracts? Not very many. Therefore, all free agent signings must be bad. It is such a narrow point of view that it isn’t even worth discussing … which begs the question why I am even bothering responding to you …

          • afdg, no, it’s not about your not buying whatever you think is propaganda. I’m not saying don’t ever trade prospects because they’re all going to be great– that would be stupid. The point is, prospects have value, veterans have value, and figuring out who to trade, who to trade for, and when, in order to best capitalize on their ever-fluctuating value, is insanely more complicated than dumbly shitting out a statement like “I’m sick of prospect porn, trade the fuckers.”

            Also, as has been noted below, several already have been dealt, but… y’know… whatever, right?

      • So, you have an issue with a team “only” having 4 out of 100 top prospects (actually 5 since Osuna was mistakenly overlooked and was supposed to be on the list).

        With 30 teams, on average you would expect 3 per team, plus 10 teams with 4. The Jays have 5. I may not be the best at mat, but 5 seems pretty good, right?

        • My issue isn’t prospect porn who may become superstars in 3 years (i.e. the big three), its the lack of guys in the minors who can help the team right now. There isn’t any, aside from maybe d”Arnaud.

    • By trading them now, you run the huge risk of getting rid of getting rid of an eventual allstar (None will end up Verlander or Trout types)

      All three of the Lansing guys could end up as top of the rotation starters, but all three could end up as busts.

    • I’m so sick of these fucking baseless posts. Can posters on this site not realize that the Jays have been trading away some of these fuckers already since AA took over? Jays ML Roster has been bolstered a LOT in a few areas from such trades. Not all ML players acquired in these trades end up like Verlander and Mike Trout, but are still solid additions.

      Seriously though, in terms of trading, a lot more prospects leave this organization than enter it.:

      - Chavez in the Morrow trade
      - Pastornicky in the Escobar trade
      - 2 prospects for Rajai Davis

      - Stewart (top 3 prospect in the system) major part of the Rasmus trade

      - Molina for Santos
      - 2 prospects for Frasor
      - 3-4 prospects for Happ
      - Snider/Thames for Lincoln/Delabar

      • Well said.

      • Add in the midget reliever who’s name escapes me at the moment in the trade for Davis too.

        Jays aren’t afraid to trade prospects.

      • All the ‘prospects’ you mention were traded very wisely while they still had value. Chavez was outrighted to AA this September. Stewart is now 26 and an official bust. Even the Red Sox couldn’t use him when they had Aaron Cook in the rotation. Thames and Snider contributed nothing for their new teams and have less value now than when they were traded, if any. Each of the trades you mention shows how wise it was to get something for next to nothing. That Chavez helped bring Morrow was sheer genius.

  3. Apparently Osuna would’ve been in the top-40 range as well. He thought he was already in there (see first comments on story).

  4. The jays’ system is only just starting to see the results of the AA regime’s focus on high end, high tools, mostly high school talent starting to come to the top end of the system. Unlike drafting college seniors who are closer to fully developed from a talent and physical standpoint, younger players with higher ceilings ave further to go before they are figured out by the org and ready for even the upper levels of the minors. I understand patience is hard to come by, but Tony Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  5. So the new market inefficiency is trading your prospects before they struggle? Think of what we could have gotten for Snider 2-3 years ago…

    • I think more like once they start to struggle, before they lose their amateur shine, maybe.

    • Remember, AA has already confirmed that KC wanted Drabek and Snider who are now both SHIT for Greinke. Yes, you have to know when to hold em and when to tell em to fuk off ( oops sorry..fold em)

      • Do you have a link to that, because I am very suspicious of your comment that AA confirmed the details of a trade that didn’t occur. I know Drabek and Snider were being floated around in trade rumors, but that is not quite the same thing.

        • Yeah I dont remember that that was confirmed either. But I Do remember thinking the rumour that they wanted Drabek, and Snider (wasnt there a 3rd?) was way too much for Greinke , who was thought to have “issues”.

  6. I don’t want to trade any of the big 3. I love prospect porn.

    Keep them, and hedge your odds that one turns out to be a really good starter. Odds are against all three being big league starters, odds are against two of them being reliable big league starters. I don’t want to trade one, then have that one turning into the one that makes it, and the other two crapping the bed.

    Keep the big three together. Trade any other prospect in the system.

  7. I was hoping Stroman would crack the top 50 in the 45 range.

  8. Weird to not see Stroman in the top 50. Could this do with his suspension?

    • I think he was probably fringe top 50 before suspension, and maybe the lack of playing time did something in Sickels’ mind to keep him out.

      • probably not top 50 if they are going to keep him as a reliever. Also only Gausman from that draft is on the list. You’d have to figure that Zimmer is miles ahead of Stroman, Wacha was unreal in his 18 innings…Heaney did nothing to drop him below Stroman. Really the only guys from this years draft that Stro might leap over are Giolito and Travieso.

      • Yea, I doubt the suspension had anything to do with it. The extremely limited amount of professional innings, plus the fact that he is currently projected to be a reliever, probably has more to do with it.

  9. Add Osuna to the list as Sickels mentions in his comments that he missed and he should be in the 40′s.

  10. Regarding Marisnick, Marc Hulet had some interesting insight about Handsome Jake’s struggles in double A ball this season. After having a strong year in high A ball in a pitching heavy league, Marisnick went through some swing and mechanical changes in upon entering double A ball. Hulet notes that Marisnick could be in for a big year in New Hampshire in 2013, once the changes are better ingrained (and let’s not forget that the AFL league will be a good place for him to continue getting some reps).

    You can listen to Hulet and Cistulli on a recent Fangraphs audio segment (the Marisnick piece is towards the end of the show)

  11. I look at this updated list and see Bogaerts flying up the board. Think to myself, there’s your Farrell compensation. Starting 2b in 2014 hits for avg and power

    • He’s their #1 player prospect and #1 overall in their system. Would you give up TDA, for instance, for a manager?

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