Keith Law week continues with the release of his top 100 prospects today over at ESPN.com (Insider Only) and… hang on. What’s this? While Law has his top Jays prospect, Aaron Sanchez, way up at 19th, he has the now ex-teammate who is usually ranked about the same or better all the way down in 97th.
Noah Syndergaard, now a part of the Mets organization that Law obviously hates so much he ranked Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud 13th and 14th respectively, barely cracks the list. Mind you, this isn’t inconsistency from Law. He’s been a big fan of the Jays’ selection of Sanchez since draft day in 2010– he’s told me as much– and it’s not as though Syndergaard tumbled once out of the organization, as he didn’t make the 2012 top 100.
That’s not to say that Law doesn’t find a lot to like about Syndergaard, as in his scouting reports he cites a good delivery, excellent fastball, an above-average changeup and his prototypical frontline starter size as working in his favour. What worries him, however, is Syndergaard’s lack of a breaking ball, given “reports this year grading it as average at best, and often coming in below that or saying it came and went.” For it to still be so lacklustre after two years in the organization, he says, does not bode well.
“At worst he should be a solid fourth starter,” he explains, “very durable with above-average control, and still has that No. 2 starter upside if the curveball comes along.”
Sanchez, on the other hand, was the one Jays prospect deemed untouchable in all of the Jays’ trade talk this winter, and “for good reason: Ace stuff like this is too hard to come by for the Blue Jays to let it go.”
The report on the lone member of the Lansing Three still in the organization is positively glowing, as we’re told that “his curveball became sharper this year and his changeup, his third-best pitch coming into the season, was so effective that he showed a big reverse platoon split — allowing just two extra-base hits to left-handed batters all year while punching out nearly a third of them.”
As with any prospect, of course, there’s still plenty of risk. Sanchez still needs better command, we’re told, and the health of pitching prospects will be a concern no matter who it is– though Sanchez, at the very least, has a “very easy” delivery and “gets good life on his fastball to keep the ball on the ground.” He’s raced up this list, from 96th last year, now to a spot among the best-known prospects in the game, leaping ahead of guys like Shelby Miller, Trevor Bauer, and Jameson Taillon.
Of course, the fact that the Jays traded Syndergaard, d’Arnaud, as well as Justin Nicolino (61), Jake Marisnick (82), and a number of other non-Top 100 prospects, doesn’t mean that the cupboard is bare. As has become common this off-season, 17-year-old Roberto Osuna finds himself among the top prospects in the game, thanks to his extremely advanced feel for pitching, coupled with some pretty decent stuff.
With him, Law explains, “the breaking ball is the question mark, as he throws a slider to spots right now rather than letting it go, putting more power into it almost like a cutter would have,” but “he looks like at least a solid league-average starter, with substantial upside if that slider becomes a viable third weapon for him.”
To answer my own question: yes, nails.
I’ll leave it at that, since I’m already probably toeing the line of what is an acceptable amount of content to pull out from behind ESPN’s paywall. There is a shit-tonne more of it though, with full reports on everybody in the top 100, including many more words on Sanchez, Syndergaard and Osuna that I didn’t quote, a list of ten prospects who just missed out on the top 100, plus a chat coming up this afternoon at 3 PM ET. And then tomorrow, we’ll get his full top ten for each organization in the AL, with the NL to follow on Thursday.
Happy KLaw 100 week!
Image via MiLB Perspective.