I don’t want to steal too much of the excellent paywall’d content from Baseball Prospectus, and I know that I already wrote about the latest in slobbering all over Noah Syndergaard this week, but I think I would be remiss if I didn’t continue to give Jays fans– and, presumably, the front office (hi!)– palpitations by passing along a tiny bit of the glowingest of glowing reviews of the now-traded Jays draftee from the man whose twitterings were at the centre of things.
But actually, I’m not going to do that! Zach Mortimer’s report on Syndergaard in today’s Eyewitness Accounts piece certainly is favourable– and I’d encourage you all to put away the sharp objects and subscribe, so you can see the whole thing– but I’m actually more intrigued by the key knock on the potential ace, as it… it hasn’t really changed from everything else we’ve heard and made us feel not quite so bad about considering him the second-best of the former Lansing Three. [Italics mine]
Weakness: Will leave changeup elevated; sequence can be predictable; curveball still has to take a step forward to be a high level weapon.
Well well well. Seems like ol’ Syndie still isn’t quite a finished product. I mean, so what if Mortimer says that his “near elite arsenal” is “complete with no major weaknesses, and secondary offerings still have room for projection moving forward”? Or that he puts an overall future potential on him of 70, and a number one starter, with a medium risk factor. Right? Right????
Or maybe we just shouldn’t care so much, and heed the words of a wise man who, back when Snydergaard’s name first popped up as potentially being included in the deal (when we thought for sure it then meant that some kind of decent prospect must be coming back the other way), said this:
Expanding the deal to include Syndergaard isn’t going to do anything to make those losing their minds at the thought of giving up d’Arnaud feel any better, but so what? Their hissy fits at this juncture are just collateral damage in the Jays’ grand scheme of hoarding and lionizing prospects– thereby building a prospect-frothing fan base– then dealing from this massive pool of strength in order to improve the big league club in ways, and on a timeline, they’d have been incapable of doing otherwise. The club has shifted gears, acting like the Yankees and the Red Sox used to– with a supreme confidence that whatever gets depleted from the system will be built back, and that the pipeline is so strong as to be unshakable.
That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt to think of what may be headed to New York, but the big league club is so ridiculously better for it in the near-term, and with at least Dickey (presumably), Buehrle, Romero and Morrow locked in for the next few years– and possibly Johnson before all is said and done, too– the necessity of holding a Syndergaard in the hopes that he can break through into their midst likely is lessened, given the fantastic short-term gain, and the host of other lottery ticket arms the Jays are still holding.
It’s horribly reductive to make blanket statements against a deal like this by pointing out that all prospects are unproven and the attrition rate is staggeringly high– you really need to look at each player you’re referring to on his own, I think– but it sure is funny to see so much consternation over these guys possibly being moved, so soon after the Jays got Brad Stinkin’ (see what I did there?) for Travis Snider– as stark a reminder of how hard prospect value can fall as we’ve seen around here in a long, long time. I’m certainly not saying Syndergaard and d’Arnaud will bust– I think there’s a good chance that they don’t– but this is by leaps and bounds a better return than the club got by holding onto their Great White Hope, and these prospects are certainly no more “can’t miss” than he was.
I don’t know. But what I do know is that there really are other prospects in the Jays’ system, even if in a lot of cases they’re still pretty far away, and not necessarily about to end up on anybody’s top 100. But neither were guys like Syndergaard or Sanchez, at one point!
Heading into 2012, Baseball America had Sanchez and Syndergaard as the Jays’ sixth and seventh best prospects– behind d’Arnaud, Gose, Marisnick, Daniel Norris and Nicolino (!!?!). Baseball Prospectus had Syndergaard 5th and Sanchez 12th at that point. FanGraphs had them six and ten. Keith Law had Sanchez as the club’s second-best arm, behind Drew Hutchison, after the previous year he was third-best, behind Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart.
In other words, this stuff isn’t exactly an… um… exact science. And the Jays’ system isn’t necessarily as bereft of talent as every fucking clown with the ability to dial up a radio call-in show seems to want to believe. There’s Hutchison– who, FYI, is only a year older than Marcus Stroman and eight months younger than Sean Nolin– plus Drabek, Jimenez, Stroman, Nolin, Sanchez, Norris, Nessy, Osuna, Barreto, Lugo, Davis, Nay, Dean, Tirado, Hollon, Labourt, DeJong, Robson, Urena, Tellez, Alford, Brentz and Smoral, to name but a few.
In fact, Baseball Prospectus highlighted a couple of them this week– Franklin Barreto, who showed up in Jason Parks’s Prospects Will Break Your Heart– and Richard Urena, who was in yesterday’s What Scouts Are Saying.
“Viewed by many as the top international target available in 2012, Barreto might be small in stature, but his tools can pack a loud punch. While his ultimate role is unclear, his athleticism and overall feel for the game open up numerous possibilities, and his ability to sting a baseball could be his ticket up the prospect lists regardless of his position on the diamond,” Parks writes. “The bat is very good, with a quick trigger and fast hands, allowing him to sting baseballs despite being undersized and extremely young for stateside ball. Barreto is one of the higher ceiling players in the Jays system, and a likely candidate to not only crack the top 10 but push for a spot in the top five.”
Barreto struggled in a 15 game move up to Bluefield, but put up a .415 wOBA in the GCL– good for fifth in that league, and the top line among the league’s seven 17-year-olds.
Richard Urena was the best hitter of the 17-year-old crop on the Jays’ Dominican Summer League club, and while his numbers weren’t as eye-popping– especially at a lesser level– he showed the ability to take a walk, and was otherwise impressive, as evidenced by the comment from the scout spoken to by BP:
Has all the raw tools to be an everyday shortstop at the major-league level. Live-wire body; everything he does is quick and athletic and he has lots of room to grow without losing any of his mobility. He slows the game down defensively extremely well for someone his age. His range is solidly above average and his arm strength is at least plus. His swing has some holes but he has quality bat speed and he can really run. He’s barely played any ball on US soil but I think he could be a special one.
Feeling better now? Not quite so bad as it sometimes feels, huh?
Hey, and there’s even more, as Jim Callis takes questions at MLB.com (that’s right!), including one about Rowdy Tellez, who he calls “a legitimate second-round talent with tremendous power, which he displayed by besting No. 5 overall pick Clint Frazier (Indians) in the home run derby at the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase.”
Image via Simon Druker.