Back in December, as the Jays were about to “pry” R.A. Dickey away from the Mets, I wrote this, in an attempt to allay the fears of those fans who had swallowed so wholly on the Jays’ prospect-hoarding philosophy that had been officially placed in the dustbin a few weeks earlier when Alex Anthopoulos orchestrated his roster-reshaping deal with the Miami Marlins:

Cy Young-calibre talent becomes available to this franchise so incredibly rarely, and it can be such a difference-maker right now, given the career arcs of the Jays’ core players, that as much as it hurts to see them seemingly about to  part with d’Arnaud– as much as we’d much prefer it if JP Arencibia could be “the cost of doing business” instead (again: he can’t, which is precisely why we’re here)– and as much as Dickey maybe isn’t quite a “Cy Young pitcher” in the Justin Verlander sense, this would be a tremendous, tremendous pick-up for the Jays, especially outside of the sometimes-too-cute vacuum of cost control, prospect fawning, and dollars-per-WAR.

Something about flags? Something about how they fly forever?


And, of course, the deal didn’t just include d’Arnaud– who I focused on in the piece– but Noah Syndergaard as well.

Though I suspect our feelings might be different about it if the fireballing Texan who started this year’s Futures Game at Citi Field had been included in the Marlins trade, with Justin Nicolino or Henderson Alvarez going instead to the Mets, the fact is, Syndergaard really feels like the one who got away. And in an utterly fucking futile pursuit of a forever-flying flag, no less.

Ugh again.

All of that, I suspect, is what got so many– granted, mostly mouth-breathing– Jays fans’ underthings in some sort of a knot when last week Zach Mortimer of Baseball Prospectus made this bold statement on Twitter:

Bundy, is, of course the Orioles’ über prospect who was one of the biggest name September call-ups a year ago, though he has been slightly out of the public mind since mid-summer, when he underwent Tommy John surgery.

I am, of course, really in no position to answer this question– and not just because my crystal ball is in the shop [note: meuh!]– but what I can do is transcribe the discussion of the subject that took place between Mike Ferrin and Jason Parks on this week’s Fringe Average podcast at BP.

That is, if my tear-stained keyboard doesn’t short out halfway through…

Ferrin: If you missed the Twitter conversation, Mort had the audacity to say that he thought Noah Syndergaard was going to be a better Major Leaguer than Dylan Bundy. And that kind of set off a lot of Jays fans, in that. Do you think Noah Syndergaard is going to be a better Major Leaguer than Dylan Bundy?

Parks: Yeah, I mean, I think you can make the case that he is. I think, you know, it’s premature. You have to look at the level– I mean, Bundy, the injury is going to cloud a lot of things here, obviously, but I think that what Syndergaard is doing now is just as impressive as what Bundy did before the injury. Obviously, with Bundy being on the shelf, you’re going to forget about him– he’s not going to have the new car smell. And with the injury cloud, we just don’t know how he’s going to come back. But there were some questions about Bundy’s delivery, his size, his aggressive approach, the fact that he had to work up– he had to work aggressive. You look at Syndergaard and he’s bigger, he’s strong, the secondary stuff has really improved throughout the year, obviously the fastball is a true monster type of pitch. So I don’t think it’s outlandish to make that statement– and yeah, I think I could get on board with that. Yeah.

MF: I think one of the other things, and this isn’t meant to be a knock against Bundy at all, who obviously you’ve got to like if you’ve seen him– I mean, he’s electric. But one of the things– and I can’t remember if this was a conversation that you and I had, or a conversation I had with a scout, like, early in the season– was talking about him and projection. And there’s just not a whole lot of projection left with Bundy– either physically, because he’s built almost like a fire hydrant; he’s a little guy, but he’s like one giant muscle– or necessarily in the quality of his pitches. Now, his command can certainly improve, but he’s already got Major League quality pitches. Syndergaard is a complete opposite, in that he was really raw and he’s taken this huge step forward because the breaking ball has taken off this year. He still needs work on his changeup, but there’s physical projection, there’s still projection in some of the pitches, as to where they can get better, and maybe that’s where you could see a potential higher ceiling with Syndergaard than you would with Bundy. Because, I think, Bundy, when he gets back healthy, is going to be closer to a finished product.

JP: Yeah, I agree with that. I actually had a conversation with a scout about Syndergaard’s changeup– and I agree with this; this is something Jason Cole and I were even talking about during the futures game. We were like, ‘man, he has a lovely arm action.’ It’s just the way he throws the ball down, the way his fastball moves. We were talking about, how like, ‘man, I think that that his changeup is eventually going to become pretty damn good.’ It’s got a long way to go, but you have to like certain characteristics of the way he delivers a baseball, and how that could play into the changeup, especially off of the fastball that’s so powerful. I was talking to a scout about that, and he was like, ‘I never really do this, I never– or very rarely do I take a player and allow them a two grade jump for a future.’ He was just like, ‘you don’t see it all that often, you don’t see players at the Double-A level improve two full grades, so I’m careful to do that, but,’ he was like, ‘I put a 5 on Syndergaard’s changeup, and I think it’s going to be a 7.’

MF: [Laughs] Shit!

JP: And he says, ‘I think it’s going to be a 7, but it may take four or five years. Eventually this guy is going to have a monster, Verlander-esque type of arsenal.’ And Verlander’s an example of a guy who didn’t use that changeup a whole lot in college– we’ve talked about this before– his changeup really became a monster at the highest level. And I think that a guy like Taijuan Walker is going to have a good changeup at the highest level. These guys who have really long arms, really good fastballs, are able to keep their fingers on the ball a long time– shows some feel. It’s such a feel pitch that just because you don’t have it when you’re 19 or 20 doesn’t mean you can’t get it.

MF: Sure.

JP: And I think that when you look at Syndergaard’s delivery, when you look at how big and strong his hands are, how much natural movement he’s able to put on the ball, be it cut or sink, I think that he’s going to have a changeup some day that’s going to be able to stand up there with the rest of his arsenal, and that’s dangerous, because he could be an 8/7/7 guy.

Fucking hell.

I mean… it’s… I just…


. . .

So that was fun, huh? Well, at least we can end on a high-ish now, as I can inform you that it’s not all unrelentingly depressing news on the prospect front for the Jays. Over at Batting Leadoff (crotch grab in the direction of @birenball for the link) there’s a pretty damn glowing scouting report on Marcus Stroman.

So buck up and check out some of these kind words, then head to the site for the full report (which has many more words than what I’ll quote below):

Stroman attacks hitters with a 3-pitch mix and will occasionally show a 4th, with solid average potential in the curve. His delivery is fluid and he repeats it well. … Has stuff and confidence to pitch inside to both LHBs and RHBs. Small stature may be durability concern as starter, but has compact build and stuff to start. Should be given every opportunity to start. Has ceiling of 2-starter due to potential four above average pitches, plus command, pitchability, and makeup. If body cannot hold up to starting role, has tools to close. Ready to pitch in the Majors now as a starter.

OK, so maybe he’s not graded as a future 8/7/7 guy, but that’s still pretty OK, right? Right???

Comments (53)

  1. “Has ceciling of 2-starter due to…” that’s a cruel typo.

  2. fuckinfuckfuck. Dickey. fucketyfuckfuck FUCK

  3. DickeyTheBest right?

  4. Mort explained himself on a special episode of our podcast this past week.

    • Listened to it. Nice talk with him. I don’t really understand all the hate he was getting in twitter. Bold statement, sure, but he backed it up well on the podcast.

      • Some twitter Jays fans don’t appreciate Zach and his bad trade talk. They think he’s just some idiot supporting Syndergaard no matter what. That’s where all the heat came from.

  5. With the volume of prospects that were dealt surely it was to be expected that there was one who got away ( and Syn still hasn’t pitched a day in the majors.)
    I still remember the hype surrounding Nicolino,Chavez, and all the rest before they were dealt.
    So the Jays may have lost out on ONE of the many prospects dealt.
    There was a lot of moaning around here about prospect hoarding and waiting for 4 years to see them compete at the major league level.
    Some stuff works ,some doesn’t

    • Synd is different than the other guys though. Nicolino was never talked about like this and I don’t recall Chavez ever having future ace potential. Synd is an incredible asset right now -honestly, probably one of the best in baseball. Not AA’s fault because of the timing an the fact that one bad year from Noah, and his prospect stock is down the drain, but this trade hurts.

  6. We always knew the possibility that Syndergaard could turn into something amazing. Its why we were all so excited by the Lansing 3. Still, this year was shitty for Dickey – but there is no reason why Dickey can’t come back with a better year next year. He wouldn’t be the first guy in history to have an off year. Not saying its a guarantee – just that drawing conclusions about whether the trade worked out for the Jays before Syndergaard even throws a pitch in the majors is a little premature – especially given that the comparison in this conversation was Bundy – who was the can do no wrong prospect de jour until his arm injury and now is an unknown. I wouldn’t wish arm troubles on Syndergaard – but it happens with so many arms – that you can’t pretend that everything will automatically work out for the guy and that all of his talent will meet the projections. That almost never happens.

    • wow I used an awful lot of – in that. Sorry to my English teachers.

    • Dickey’s didnt have a great year, but, the real person who shit his drawers was JJ AND he and Ricky deserve the Award for Failure with DIstinction, not Dickey, if Dickey wins 60% of his games in September he will finish the year 15-14. Not Great but not Shit the Drawers JJ, Buehrhle is a solid # 3 Pitcher, and the question is with he damaged goods Pitcher who will fill the void next year.

      • @Jensan.


        Dickey won’t win a Cy Young but he is OK.

        Johnson,Romero & Morrow have been very disapointing.

        I would be shocked if Ricky is still a Blue Jay next year.

  7. What annoys me about the Dickey trade is that Syndergaard was probably included so that the Mets would absorb John Buck’s salary. I have a feeling that trade looks much different if 118m wasn’t AA’s offseason ceiling.

    • wait – why would AA not include someone much shittier if it was only a salary dump. There is no way he would have added Syndergaard to convince the Mets to take Buck.

      • Obviously because to eat 5m, the Mets required actual value. If the Jays were offering d’Arnaud + X for Dickey, the Mets required that the X be bumped up to Y in order to eat Buck’s salary, a factor upon which the deal was contingent. These two tweets this winter from Mike Kerwick, a Mets writer, lead me to believe AA parted with too much value for Dickey.

        “Interesting story from Alderson. He told Francesa that Mets asked another team for two players for Dickey. Other team said no.

        After Mets traded Dickey, Alderson said that same team offered those two players for d’Arnaud. Mets said no.”

        • But why would it require arguably the next highest prospect to eat 5 million? Couldn’t they have included someone say in the Moises Sierra or Daniel Norris range? I don’t know of many teams that would “throw in” a highly prized prospect in order to move John Buck.

          Doesn’t it seem more plausible that the actual cost of acquiring the reigning Cy Young winner was 2 top prospects?

          • Not if you believe Alderson via Kerwick, no.

            And again, you seem to be starting from d’Arnaud for Dickey, but add Buck and you need to add Syndergaard. What I’m saying is that the Mets demanded a certain package for Dickey sans Buck (d’Arnaud + Norris, let’s say) but when AA told them he needs to get rid of 5m they told them it would require an upgrade to Syndergaard to get it done.

            • I’m not starting from anything. You just made the assumption that somehow the cost wasn’t D’arnaud + Syndergaard for Dickey and that AA threw Buck at the Mets in order to at least solve one of his problems if he was going to get prospect raped to land a Cy Young pitcher. In other words the inclusion of Buck in the deal makes it more palatable to accept even though the cost was always going to be D’Arnaud + a high pitching prospect (as was rumored at the time). To me thats infinitely more plausible than somehow AA “needed” to get rid of Buck and forfeited one of his top 2 pitching prospects to make it happen.

            • That doesn’t make any sense. There’s no way that AA would drop a 100 prospect to save a few million. Otherwise, why would they have put all of that money into the draft for the last three years. There is no way that this is right.

  8. I still don’t think it was wrong ahead of the time to just fucking go for it. With what we know now, yeah, fine, bad call. But what the fuck were we supposed to do? Let Encarnacion and Bautista get old and hope for a brighter future? We had some really good core pieces and AA did everything he could to improve the team.

    I mean, we knew it was possible that this wouldn’t work.

  9. I love how xyz’s prospect report > SSS ML at bats

  10. I’m not saying that any report on Syndergaard is untrue, but I have noticed the hype of New York prospects to be often overstated.

    There is just to much to be gained by writers by giving such a large fan base some love.

    • Except the guys being quoted here with boner ripping reports on Syndergaard arn’t writers from New York, their prospect bloggers.

  11. I kinda think that if we would have kept all of those kids and filled spots with scrap-heap or internal options, we might have actually ended up with a better record THIS year (Let’s not even talk about down the road). Plus, you know, kept the prospect porn collection. But it did make the “Rogers are cheap fucks folks” happy for a few (offseason) months… And ya know, it made me smile too.

    For the record Stoeten, I think you should only mention Keith Law’s opinion on Syndergaard from now on (more future reliever with no breaking ball stuff). BP is fucking killing me with this shit.

    • KLaw has been getting more positive about it, too, from what I’ve seen lately. Though still says he has Sanchez ahead.

  12. Doesn’t this kinda just point out how much of a crapshoot prospecting is, too? If Bundy was the consensus (or close to) #1 pitching prospect and an injury-riddled has changed his stock that much, then who knows what will happen?

    Also who knows if Syndergaard takes the same steps with his off-speed stuff if he’s in the Jays system. Maybe something someone had him do just clicked for him.

    There’s just too many variables, and it’s too easy when you’re looking back in hindsight.

    That being said, it was tough to swallow at the time and it sure as shit hasn’t gotten any better after that goddamn season. But hey, at least they went for it.

    • By “at least they went for it”, do you mean they made a series of panic moves in an attempt to appease the fan base? (Not really serious here. But it’s been a tough pill to swallow this season.)

      • I don’t think they’re panic moves. They made sense at the time and I’m still confident that with a few tweaks, this same roster can contend next year.

  13. So… Carlton Fisk and Justin Verlander for Tim Wakefield. No, I don’t believe that.

  14. 8/7/7?

    Fastball 8, sure.
    Changeup 7, sure why not.
    But his breaking pitch is a 7? Isn’t that the pitch that people thought might make him a bullpen piece (klaw) and really wasn’t there. Has he developed his curve that much that it is a 7? Wouldnt that have been a bigger jump than 2 grades his changeup made?

    Am I missing something?

    • There seems to be a wide range in the details/opinions of published scouting reports on basically everyone.

      • Klaw is higher on him now too. Still not high on the breakingball, but I think he said its improved enough that he can be a top end starter.

  15. Ugh, well… what is it that they say? Young pitching will break your heart?

    It sure as fuck looks shitty now, but lets wait and see before feeling as though we lost our next Halladay.

  16. Well…this hurts.

    I still think d’Arnaud may be the bigger loss, with pitchers flaming out so often and catchers being so rare.

  17. It’s way too early to call this trade a failure. Sure, Dickey has not been as good as we expected, but he has been A LOT better, lately. Even top prospects don’t always work out (Travis Snider, any one?). Plus, you have to give up something of value to get something of value in return. Only time will tell, of course, but I’m still optimistic that Dickey can provide a lot of value at a reasonable (for MLB) salary, regardless of how d’Arnaud and Syndergaard perform.

  18. I love prospecting, but I won’t chalk this up as a loss unless both d’Arnaud and Syndergaard become above average major leaguers. They both are still just prospects.

    TdA has been atrocious at bat in an increasingly large SSS since his call-up and despite all the hype, Syndergaard has only made 10 (mostly good, but not crazy dominating) starts at AA.

  19. (not to knock either guy – i just don’t really care about the hype machine, just their results)

  20. Apropos of nothing Blue Jay-related, just a great article in The Hardball Times:

    Reminds me of why I stick with it, even when baseball is kickin’ my team in the teeth. ;)

  21. Kind of like coming to the realization that your x was actually quite hot….after the fact.

  22. the worst part is that with his improvements this year, and the jays shitting 2013.

    he could have been used in the trade for price or another big name pitcher.

    but thats all hindsight. just fucking sucks

    • The whole summer has been about hindsight but I guess it’s time to look forward to fucking next year again. At this point I say ’14 is the year to break the bank and go all in and if that fucks up blow it up and shoot for 2020…yeah 2020 and hindsight Fuck!

  23. comparing him to Justin Verlander already? fuck off.

  24. We’re talking about a ceiling. He might make it or he might not. People need to calm the fuck down. Most of the time, these guys don’t achieve their ceilings. Go look at all those high ceiling guys who Detroit gave up for Miguel Cabrera. Turned out to be a big pile of meh.

    • Just to clarify Dickey ain’t Cabera. And none of those high ceiling guys they have up were being compared to a Verlander type player.

  25. Fuck. Hated the Dickey trade and now I’m beginning to loathe it.
    This whole shitty season sucks. At least Norris turned a corner.

  26. I don’t know that we should be losing our minds about this. Dickey (while not a Cy guy) is a legit 200 inning guy who still has time to figure out playing in the RC. He’s actually been pretty good since June.

    While I’m sure that TDA will become a good every day catcher, you never know about pitchers. AA to the show is a massive jump. Unless Snygen does develop a good breaking ball and changeup (and we don’t know that he will), there’s no need to worry. There’s a better chance that he develops into a Delabar without the big slider rather than a Verlander.

  27. [...] this one too (h/t DJF, @birenball) but a rather drool-worthy scouting report of Marcus Stroman via Batting [...]

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