It’s been a while now, but from time to time around here we used to breathlessly pour over a little exercise that ESPN does each year, getting Keith Law, Jim Bowden and Buster Olney together to rank the MLB teams in terms of their future championship viability in what they call their Future Power Rankings.

The crew ranks each club in terms of the quality of their Major and Minor League talent, their finances, the value and stability of their management and coaching staff, and the flexibility of their roster.

Today they updated the project for the end of the 2013 season (Insider Only), and… uh… well… as you can see above…

The shadow graphs show us where the Jays were ranked at the start of the year, before it turned out their talent base was about half of what we expected. That, of course, threw most of the other categories into flux– their management and coaching situation isn’t nearly as stable or valuable as it was considered back during the spring, and their ability to move pieces around and their financial commitments look considerably more dire than they did back then as well.

Of course, as you can also see, the club was only ranked 13th at the start of the season. Prior to 2012 they were ranked sixth– and following last year they had moved up to fifth. In other words, the rankings, for whatever they’re worth, see more value in the frustratingly untapped potential energy of the previous years than whatever construction it was misapplied in creating. Which… is kinda entirely their intention, right?

And maybe they’re not worth all that much anyway: in the rankings that came ahead of 2012 the Orioles were ranked dead last in all of baseball, and they’re a month away from wrapping up a second straight very strong season.

So… yeah. Things can still work out OK, you guys! And the rankings are, maybe, a little more down than I’d be on what they think of Alex Anthopoulos, or of the talent that’s got the potential to rise up from the lower minors in the next couple of years, or of what I’m hopeful about when it comes to the security of John Gibbons’ job and Rogers’ willingness to spend their way out of this horror show. But it’s a pretty doggone honest assessment, unfortunately.


Comments (29)

  1. Meh
    2014 or bust right?

  2. Meh
    2014 or bust right?

  3. These are fucked.

  4. I’m expecting a Kansas City Royals-esque 75-80 win campaign next year. No way can they fix all their pitching issues in one offseason, and I think the 2013 campaign has exposed our lack of depth.

    I’m not trying to sound like Debbie Downer, but after getting my hopes crushed this year I’m just trying to protect my fragile psyche in the years ahead.

    • You’re being ridiculous.

      • It’s ridiculous to think they’ll be a .500 team next year?

      • Do the rankings of the MLB talent account for injuries? Because I’m pretty sure the team would have performed a heck of a lot better without the injuries to our rotation, Brett Lawrie and Jose Reyes.

        Personally, I like our chances if the Jays go and get 1 quality starter (ideally 2, but let’s let Hutchison and Drabek fight it out for the #5 spot) and make even modest upgrades at 2B and C.

      • JM is ridiculous for being grounded in his take? Or is it bc the manager who can’t be blamed for bad pitching will suddenly find a way to win despite holes in the rotation and guys

        • …like buehrle and dickey now another year older at the top of said rotation. Add in huge holes in behind the dish and up the middle at second and i guess you expect 90+ wins in the AL East next season?

      • @Stoeten, JM is right

        • Right now, I think that’s a reasonable number. There are just too many question marks in the rotation, injury problems, and black holes at three positions (C, 2B, and LF) to rationally think otherwise.

          The off-season could change the calculus, of course.

    • It’s amazing how often people confuse shittacular performances from key players for a lack of depth.

      Especially astounding coming off of back-to-back continued solid pitching performances by Esmil Rogers and Todd fucking Redmond.

      • I think it’s fair to say the Jays needed more depth this year, especially at SP. Saying that the lack of depth at SP will be the issue for next year is silly. The Jays have Drabek and Hutchison as depth for next year, and that extra year of development for the kids will mean Nolin and Stroman are now reasonable options. Add Rogers and Redmond to the list of depth guys who can start but will likely be in the BP, and I feel a lot more comfortable with our pitching depth.
        I do think that the Jays could use another starter, and a catcher this off season, but I don’t believe depth will be the same issue it was this year.

        • Drabek/Hutchinson doesn’t provide you with depth, they provide you with more AAA pitching. We need to have another off season where we bring in 2-3 pitchers with solid resumes and hope that they don’t flop again like this year.

    • Dickey, Morrow, Buehrle.

      Sign one top tier free agent starter.

      Use any of the following: Hutchison, Drabek, Rogers, Happ, Redmond, Janssen, Cecil, and all the lower minors talent, to land one more top tier veteran pitcher.

      • They’re gonna keep relying on Morrow to be healthy when he’s never been anything but?

        • I don’t think they need to do anything that drastic. I’d be good with adding someone like Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo or Bartolo Colon through free agency, or maybe Rick Porcello or Kyle Kendrick via trade to go along with Dickey, Morrow, Buehrle and Happ. Even if they don’t add anyone, and it’s one Rogers, Redmond, Drabek, Hutchison, Nolin or Stroman who rounds out the rotation at the start of the season next year, I really think you’ll get better results from that group than the 4.75 ERA that Dickey, Morrow, Buehrle, Johnson and Happ have combined to put up this year. I also think you have to figure that when injuries occur next season, the rest of those guys will put up better results than the 5.75 ERA that the replacement starters have combined for this year.

  5. “Rogers’ willingness to spend their way out of this horror show.”
    Best line.

  6. #2017

    In all seriousness, these rankings are depressing, but I could see many scenarios where the Jays shoot up these rankings by this time next year.

    And certain teams at the top *cough*Red Sox*cough* fall down.

    • It’s not about shooting up these rankings, it’s about shooting up the standings. The MLB talent score doesn’t seem to account much for the injuries to Morrow and Reyes, and the finances, management and flexibility scores involve a lot of guessing about whether AA knows what he’s doing or how much Rogers is willing to increase the payroll in 2014. Because if the payroll goes up and the Jays win, none of these rankings are worth a crap.

  7. As much as these rankings got our collective dicks hard in years past, when frankly, reports such as these were just about all we had, lets not get roped into thinking these rankings hold any sort of predictive value.

    Without having read the article, my assessment FWIW:

    Majors – We are way worse than expected. That must mean this is true talent for this group.

    Minors – We sold off all our best pieces. This must mean we have nothing left. Or so say Bowden, Law and Olney, none of whom would be considered the authority when it comes to minor league systems. Law maaaaybe, but even then that’s a stretch.

    Finance – We have a larger payroll then otherwise anticpated, and come 2016 have nothing on the books besides Reyes so we have a fuckload of flexibility, no?

    Management – The team sucks this year after greater expectations so this must mean the FO sucks. I’ll reserve judgement till September 4, 2014.

    Mobility – The team is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. There is little tectonic activity in this region and therefore, the team and city as a whole is not particularly mobile. I agree with this ranking.

  8. End of season bad press can be a good thing. It puts pressure on ownership to sell tickets and advertising in the off season (assuming it’s not one of those teams that can make money while being bad).

    The clusterfuck at the end of last year, in my opinion (Escobar, Farrel, on feild second half shittyness), contributed to an ok of a 35% budget increase and a sincere commitment to putting grass in the Rogers Centre.

    ESPN please, shit on this team some more.

  9. Luckily there wasn’t a separate breakdown in the report for starting pitching and defense. Double Ugh.

  10. I was almost gonna argue that the mobility score seemed a little off but no, that’s probably fair. How you can have over 90M committed to so few players in ’15 (with just 24 going to the two best players on the roster, no less) is fucking incredible.

  11. * pore

  12. Winning changes the view of everything and everyone. And it’s good to be ranked so low, just ask the O’s and the Rays(a few years ago, when they hadn’t proved they could win). I still like their chances, but this roster has been extremely fragile for the last three years. I don’t know if that’s more the roster or the medical staff or a combination of the two, but it needs to be addressed.

    This season has been a disappointment, but I optimistic that they can rebound and have a great year in ’14. If JB and EE do their thing, Reyes for a full season and at full speed. lawrie has a break out year, and Rasmus was hitting the ball with authority before he went down, they have the potential to be a offensive presence they haven’t been for most of this season. They obviously need a full time second baseman and a catcher, that is known for catching(McCann to platoon with JP), but one quality hitter picked up this off season and we may not need great starting pitching to win games. This year just seemed that everything that could go wrong, did. Next year, it’ll all go right.

  13. Someone explain that chart to me ‘cuz those numbers don’t add up to or average 36.1. Last year’s numbers don’t make 55.8 either. Is Sportsnet doing ESPN’s bar charts now?

    • Just because you’re too lazy to look it up. The value of the bars are weighted. Major and Minor League talent get a full share, Finance gets 2/3rds of a share, and Management and Mobility get 1/4 of a share.

      You’re welcome!

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