Last week, while we were knee deep in Winter Meetings innuendo around here, Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America released their Jays top prospects lists. There is a tonne of information in each package– far too much to go over in its entirety, which I wouldn’t do anyway since the majority of it is behind a paywall– so let’s try to boil it down to a few key takeaways I found most interesting.

There is, of course, the obvious stuff that we’re all likely aware of by now: BP’s Jason Parks loves Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez remains an elite prospect even after a season that took some of the shine off, Roberto Osuna is hard to evaluate due to his ongoing recovery from Tommy John surgery, and the lower minors of the club’s system are stacked with arms.

Beyond that, here’s what I found most interesting:

There’s a reason Marcus Stroman can’t shake the too-short-to-start label

“Since 1960, just two righthanders 5-foot-9 or shorter (Tom Phoebus and Tom Gordon) have more than 30 career major league starts,” writes Clint Longenecker for Baseball America in their scouting report on Stroman, which… I mean… holy shit. Obviously part of that number is a function of opportunity, but it’s still pretty staggering.

If anyone can do it, though, Parks thinks its Stroman, explaining as much in his own scouting report at Baseball Prospectus:

Stroman might be even shorter than his listed height (5’9’’), and normally I would be the first person to put him into the reliever box—especially given the fact that he could be an elite closer in that role. But I think Stroman is a starter all the way, with more than enough strength and athleticism for the workload and a deep arsenal that he can command. He’s atypical and unorthodox, but Stroman is going to be an impact starter at the major-league level. The stuff is well above average, the delivery and arm work very well and should be able to handle a starter’s workload, and the aggressiveness and poise fit the mold of a frontline starter just as much as it does a late-innings arm. If you focus too much on the height you are going to miss on the realities of the overall profile. This is a starting pitcher.

Longenecker wasn’t negative in his outlook on Stroman, mind you– he was still BA’s number two prospect in the system– it’s just not quite so glowing, or confident that he’ll stick in the rotation.

What exactly is wrong with Aaron Sanchez?

In a word: not a whole lot. There’s still a huge ceiling there, by all accounts, and nitpicking him is really only done in the context of the question of whether he’s as good as Stroman, or whether he’ll be able to fulfill his potential as a front line starter. It’s not boom or bust, either, as Longenecker’s report explains, suggesting that “if he can’t show the control to start, he has the stuff to become a high-end closer.”

In BP’s debate piece on the Stroman-or-Sanchez question, however, Parks notes a key separator for him:

The command is a concern for some, as is the ballsack attribute; a few sources referred to him as soft. I’m leaning toward ranking Stroman higher on the list despite Sanchez’s ultimate ceiling. I think Stroman is a safer pick with at least comparable upside, and I’ve never heard a negative comment about Stroman’s fortitude on the mound. As silly as it might sound, I really value that characteristic in a pitcher. I want to see a strong mentality on the mound, somebody who likes to bring the game to the hitters and not the other way around. I’m not suggesting Sanchez is a passive arm; rather, the reports on Stroman’s approach are just better at this point in time.

Earlier in the piece his BP colleague, Chris King, explained that “Every time I saw Sanchez he nibbled until he faced another stud.” That may sound concerning, in context, but it was actually a compliment. “He seems to ramp it up when facing better competition,” King continued. “The sequence I saw when he faced Buxton in the FSL was downright filthy.”

Longenecker had an explanation for that sort of stuff as well, saying this in response to a question in the comments at the bottom of his non-paywall’d overview piece on the Jays system:

The primary driver behind the decision was Sanchez’s higher upside and the belief that his plus athleticism will allow him to make the adjustments necessary to reach that ceiling. He is still growing into his body and when things click, the improvements will likely be drastic. Although others have questioned his fortitude but we have heard positive reports from many inside and outside the organization about his drive and competitiveness. Its not the externally visible, extreme closeup on Papelbon’s face sort of drive and intensity, but he is a competitor and a diligent worker. By his nature, he is quiet but that should not be viewed for anything beyond simply his natural temperament. At the end of the day, there is no wrong answer and the debates are fun, as both players are valuable commodities with the potential to be difference makers at the major league level.

The stuff about making adjustments is an especially positive thing, in Longenercker’s view, as he sees further tweaking as a necessary part of the development path for Sanchez– and also sees the much talked-about shortening of his stride this season as just one component of that process. In his chat with readers at BA he explains:

Sanchez has had trouble throwing strikes, as his 2012 walk rate was 51 [percent] higher than league average. The organization believed that Sanchez was getting under the ball, causing him to miss up and armside too frequently. In an attempt to get him on top of the ball more and working downhill, Sanchez shortened his stride (because he was often late into foot strike, which caused him finishing up and arm side). By reducing the amount of time his stride leg was in the air, the variables were reduced. And he began to work over the ball more, getting more plane to the plate and throwing more strikes. His walk rate improved to 31 percent above league average. Many people have pointed out that he is more upright in his delivery and this is true because he used to tilt on his backside a little bit, but this has been reduced. That is where things stand presently, and he groundball rate was well above-average this year, demonstrating that he is working over the ball more and has at least plus fastball life. After getting more comfortable with this aspect of his delivery, Sanchez ideally should be able to increase his stride length to where it was before while maintaining that plane to the plate. So, expect further adjustments going forward.

Thing is, if you look at it over the course of the year, the changes don’t necessarily appear to have served their stated purpose: Sanchez walked 9.4% of the batters he faced in April and May, but from the time he returned from injury until the end of the season, that number jumped to 12.1%. Then again, as I noted in separate early-August pieces by way of Keith Law and Shi Davidi, he was trying to pitch through a blister. Remove three appearances near the time of those reports– including two very brief ones– and eight walks issued among thirty batters faced, and his rate goes right back to 9.4%.

The final word on the debate…

It comes from Parks on the latest Fringe Average podcast:

Well, I mean, we ranked him number one in that system based on the fact– I mean based on the theory– that he will be in the rotation, that he does have what it takes to be in the rotation. I talked to guys who scouted him as an amateur, I talked to guys who scouted him in the minors– I stay away from talking to the org. itself about players until after I’ve already constructed the list, because I don’t want to be influenced by them, and I don’t want any manipulation– but man, consensus is that he’s a starter. It’s not ideal, it’s not prototypical, obviously. But man, he’s short, but he’s not frail. He’s strong, and he’s a competitor in a major fucking way. He’s got balls. He’s got rig. And he’s got the arsenal. I mean, he’s got the cutter he started to bring out in the AFL; he’s got the big fastball; he’s got the slider that he can manipulate– it kind of looks like a hard curve ball at times because of the two plane movement instead just a pure slice; the changeup that’s got a lot of action to it. Man, and he knows what to do with it. And you look at that and you see a guy who’s listed at 5’9, but I think he’s smaller, and you say, “Well he’s a reliever, he’s an elite closer,” which is awesome– that’s an awesome floor to have. So I looked at it like, “OK, man, even if he is a closer, there’s very little risk there”– this guy’s gonna come in and throw B.B.s. And Aaron Sanchez, for all the sweet arm action that he has, for all the ceiling, for the fact that he can just throw in the mid-90s like its nothing, he’s not a complete pitcher. There’s more risk there. I’d definitely take Syndergaard over Sanchez– I think that Sanchez still has that crazy high ceiling, but there weren’t good reports on how he goes about with his pitchability, with his ability to repeat, to locate, to attack. I kind of soured on him a little bit. I still think he’s a top 35 type of prospect in baseball, but man, that decision to go with Stroman feels good now– I felt confident, and you keep going down that list: you’ve got Alberto Tirado, who’s a really loose armed kid, you’ve got Daniel Norris who has really taken a step forward and put that bad season behind him, you’ve got high ceiling position players like D.J. Davis and Franklin Barreto, you have more arms– there’s just arms for days. Jairo Labourt is a fuckin’ name and a fuckin’ arm– big lefty kid with stuff. Man, there’s just– you keep going lower and lower and lower in the system and all their short season affiliates and they’re just fucking stacked with high ceiling arms. That organization is fine.

Discrepancies on Nay, Lugo, Osuna, Davis, Tirado…

OK, calling these discrepancies is a little bit of a stretch. Dawel Lugo made the back end of the BA top ten but wasn’t mentioned in the BP piece, but the other three showed up on both lists — with Osuna as a “notable omission” for Parks, due to the Tommy John surgery– just in somewhat different places.

Parks and BP are just so enamoured– as he freely admits– with the club’s arms that the position players are taking a back seat by comparison to the BA list. Alberto Tirado is third on the Baseball Prospectus list, for example, but eighth for Baseball America– the exact reverse of the positions held by D.J. Davis on the lists.

On the pitching side, Parks explains:

Tirado is a beast in the making, with three pitches that could end as plus offerings. The delivery is inconsistent at present, and the body needs to add strength to hold stuff and log innings. Despite the iffy command at present, Tirado shows pitchability and aptitude, and with a slow and steady approach, has a good chance to develop into a top tier prospect in the coming years. His stock is going to soar when he shoves in full-season ball, and when the command starts to refine, look out. This is an impact prospect that could develop into an impact major-league starter.

Having him eighth, though, doesn’t mean that BA isn’t pretty much just as high on him, really. In their scouting report they too suggest the upside of a number two starter, and in his chat with readers, Longenecker explains that “He could have even been higher on this list and he could really jump if he can show the same stuff over extended innings at a full-season club, continues to improve his control and repeat his delivery. You cant dream too big on Tirado because the potential is immense.”

Davis, on the other hand, is still just so raw that I think the slight divergence is understandable. Parks notes that he has “a monster ceiling,” but still “a very long way to go on all sides of the ball.” Longenecker sees him the same way, he just evidently puts more value into the big upside.

Then there’s Mitch Nay, who ranked fourth for BA and was the second of three “prospects on the rise” for BP, placing him outside of the top 10.

“Nay has legit above-average projections on the hit/power tools, but several questions about his athleticism and ultimate defensive profile pushed him off the top 10,” Parks explains. “If you really like the bat, the defensive limitations won’t bother you much, but if he has to eventually move to first base, the bat needs to be a heavy player for him to have value.”

For BA, however, “he moves well enough to play right field,” and “with a large frame and strong build, the physical Nay has the potential to a middle-of-the-order hitter with power and on-base ability.”

Longenecker continues:

In extended spring training, Nay raised his hitting load, got rid of his bat waggle and shortened his stride, shortening his swing path. He has bat speed and quick hands and makes hard contact to all fields. Scouts praise his contact ability, up-the-middle approach and ability to drive the ball to right field. He could be an above-average hitter to go with his 70-grade raw power. He has an advanced approach and should get on base at an above-average clip.

In his chat with readers, Longenecker also singles out Nay for praise when asked about prospects who get above average grades for makeup/character:

Mitch Nay is widely praised for his work ethic, intensity, love for the game and ability to take to instruction. Tom Robson, who improved as much as any Jay this year, really took to the organization’s instructions and has makeup that allow his tools to play up. Tangentially related, two years ago I was sitting with a Blue Jays crosschecker at an extended spring game and he was raving about Robson’s makeup. He called Robson “an All-American type of young man,” which speaks volumes about his makeup and is also funny because he is, in fact, Canadian. Labourt, who lost a lot of weight and became a fiercer competitor, also draws praise.

Labourt is, of course, Jairo Labourt– “a fuckin’ name and a fuckin’ arm”– who was tenth for BP, and just missed BA’s top ten– ranking twelfth, based on his placement on their list of the organization’s top players under 25, which, speaking of…

Anthony Gose and (to a lesser extent) Brett Lawrie continue to slip…

Maybe it’s only natural that prospect-focussed organizations like these would be more excited about actual prospects rather than guys who’ve actually reached the majors but have struggled somewhat to find their place there, but it’s interesting that both BA and BP included a list of the top players in the organization under the age of 25, and that Brett Lawrie was no longer the top listed talent on either of them. It’s not a whole lot of slippage, though– he ranked second for BP, behind Stroman, and third for BA, behind both Sanchez and then Stroman.

The case of Anthony Gose is even more striking– if understandable, thanks to his putrid .239/.316/.336 line at Buffalo. For BP he ranked sixth, with Sanchez, Tirado and Daniel Norris all now ahead of him, in addition to the top two. At BA he placed eighth, behind the aforementioned three, plus Drew Hutchison, Davis, Nay, and Franklin Barreto.

The love for Hutchison there I like– and I may go as far as to call his omission an oversight on BP’s part, though as the case of Osuna shows, they’re maybe not quite as cavalier about assuming guys will come back as good as new from Tommy John– but throwing Davis way up there when, if you’ll forgive the comp., you’ve got Gose slipping away after coming up with basically the same profile– raw, potential five-tool, speedy centre fielder with massive contact issues– is maybe a bit weird. Different players, I know, but… I guess it really does illustrate the power of the big dream. Gose is approaching “is what he is” fourth outfielder territory, while Davis hasn’t had nearly the kind of failure yet for us to stop dreaming on.

And the rest…

I’d be remiss if I finished up this piece with only having briefly mentioned– or not mentioned at all– some of the other many exciting prospects from the lists. Barreto, who I wrote about back in September, is one that jumps out, landing 5th (BA) and 7th (BP) despite not turning eighteen until the end of February.

There’s also Dan Norris, who BP already had at number four in the organization, after his terrific, turnaround second half, while at BA– where he was sixth– Longenecker tells us that he “could easily make a push into the top 3 if he can sustain his mechanical changes over a full season and shows he can repeat his delivery.” He could also end up teammates with Aaron Sanchez in New Hampshire at this point this year, though it looks like he’ll begin the year at high-A Dunedin in the Florida State league.

Then there are near-misses Chase DeJong and Clinton Hollon. DeJong, a 2012 second rounder, actually made BP’s list, ranking ninth because “several sources waxed poetic about Dejong’s arm action and arsenal projection, suggesting the
fastball velocity is going to arrive and take the 19-year-old arm to the next prospect level.”

Parks adds that “He has feel for craft, and the curveball already shows its plus potential. If he can take a step forward in full-season ball, Dejong has a chance to emerge as a top 101 prospect in the game. If the fastball starts to tick up, look out.”

He just missed on the BA list, but in his chat Longenecker explains, “He was in earlier cuts of the top 10 and was tough to move out. He is an exciting guy. The thumbnail report is that DeJong profiles to pitch with a plus fastball, plus curveball and his changeup could emerge as plus (as it has made considerable developmental strides). DeJong projects to also have plus control with a body that will hold up in the rotation.”

Hollon, 2013′s second-rounder, sounds mighty exciting as well. Naming him his top prospect on the rise (i.e. who didn’t make the top ten), Parks explains:

Athletic righty with big arm strength and feel for a deep arsenal, Hollon received several votes of confidence from scouts that encouraged me to include him in the top 10. He needs to stay healthy and stay on the field, but the profile is yet another impact rotation arm with projections in the two/three starter range. The Jays are growing these guys on trees in the lower minors.

By way of his chat, Longenecker evidently concurs:

Hollon, who has a ton of upside and was not far off from DeJong, could rise quickly on this list. Hollon is a plus athlete that can touch 95, 96 and sit in the low to mid-90s. His slider is plus and both his curveball and changeup have the potential to also be above-average offerings. With a deep arsenal, athleticism and pitchability, Hollon has the ceiling of at least a No. 3, with an outside shot at a No. 2. Of the guys outside the top 10 that could make a jump he is probably the guy.

It’s exciting stuff, all of it. And I’ve given just a taste– a healthy one, perhaps, but just a taste– of what’s contained within the excellent work of the guys at both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America. There is an absolute tonne more, and all of it should make any Jays fan upset with silliness about how the club “traded all their prospects” last year see just how far from the truth those kind of statements are. I mean, sure, it’s about as far from the truth as most of these short-season guys are from reaching the Majors– HEYO!– but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole, whole lot to like here.

Now go and subscribe to both BA and BP and enjoy all the rest of the gold on these guys… y’know, at least until they get traded and we all start zeroing in on their warts!

Comments (166)

  1. not really sure how you could call Gose a potential 5 tool player… seems like a reach

    • Seriously? This is the first comment?

      Power’s not there, sure. What-fucking-ever.

      • lol sorry,
        this is all good stuff, maybe one of these guys can show up midway through the season and do a Puig and just take over.

      • The raw power was (and is) certainly there for him to still be considered a 5-tool talent. Parks loves his power potential.

      • Seriously, this is how you say “yep, meant four tool player” ?
        How can someone with so much writing talent be so unbelievably insecure ALL the time?

    • Since when do you need 5 tools to be a good player? Sure, Gose is currently a 4th outfielder, but he still has the ceiling to be solid to above-average in 4 of those tools (maybe not average per se, but in OBP).

      Yes, his 2013 campaign was disappointing, and perhaps a touch concerning, but he’s still only 23. There’s still lots to like about him.

      • Also, power isn’t always home runs. If Gose ever figures it out with the bat enough to hit for a .250-.260 average, his speed would likely enable him to hit a tonne of doubles and triples. A .750-.800 OPS is definitely feasible.

      • Nobody said that you did.

        Also: talking about his profile as a prospect, which he really isn’t any more. There was hope that the hit tool would come along a lot more than it appears to have. The somewhat limited power ceiling probably did indeed make five tools a stretch, but I guess there could be some wiggle room on that notion.

        • Gose isnt even a 4th OF right now. Hes a AA 5th outfielder

          • Gose is actually pretty much the definition of 4th outfielder at the moment.
            Three plus tools and super cheap…. not really sure what you think is a fourth outfielder

            • A 4th OF should be able to hit decently vs either righties or lefties. Gose cant do that.

              • Can you stop being wrong about stuff.

                • Nope, love being wrong. Gose cant hit and you cant prove otherwise. I laugh when people still say he has upside. How old is he 24? 25? Yeah, hes just not very good. Not a fan.

                  • Me neither. Doesn’t make your understanding of fourth outfielder correct, though.

                  • I can’t believe that I’m about to defend Gose, because I also don’t think he’s going to figure it out at the plate. BUT — he’s fucking 23 years old. (and he won’t be 24 til two thirds of the coming season is done.) For some perspective, Rasmus is 27 — four years older almost to the day. It looks like Colby only finally figured his shit out this past season. And yes, I know that he had that one awesome season early on in St. Louis. You know how old he was? Twenty fucking three!

                    Am I saying we wait on Gose for four more years — hell no. I’d have liked to seen him packaged while a hotter prospect last year (or now would be fine.) But as much as I’ve shit on him I have had to keep in mind that he is still very, very young. It’s too early to say that he is what he is.

              • Gose has a .354 OBP and .781 OPS against righties in the minors since 2011. Little point in quoting his MLB numbers, as uninspiring as they may be, due to a SSS.


              • A 4th OF who can hit decently against righties and lefties and has Gose’s defensive and baserunning tools is not a 4th OF. That my friend, is a star.

          • You sir know very little about baseball and must enjoy trolling. Gose is young and has huge upside still . A 5th outfielder comment shows how little knowledge you have

        • For sure, and you’re right, no one here said a player needs 5 tools to be a decent player. It just irks me when people are negative suckholes about a player who has the potential to be a 3+ WAR player, and is still very young.

          I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Gose has the potential to own all 5 tools. It’s a stretch to think he will because, hey, how many players in the league actually do?

          Still plenty of time for the bat to come around.

          • I guess maybe “potential” is nebulous enough to make it technically possible. Need a lot of Kool-Aid to see him as anything close to a power guy (oh, but the leg kick thing!) or even the hit tool being plus.

          • It is a very big stretch to think that Gose will ever be a good hitter at this point. Good enough to be able to be a regular – maybe.

            • Ever hear of a guy named Devon White?? gose has ever chance to be at least like Devon White

              • If Gose turned into Devon White 2.0 that would be about as good as you could hope. Unless the hit tool improves, he is more likely to be Gary Pettis.

                • Yes exactly. “Unless the hit tool develops”. It is very far from a given that a guy can learnhow to. Analysis seems to be cavilier in projecting that guys will learn how to hit. He is a great athlete etc etc but at teh end of the day most times a guy can hit or he cant. Most guys who cant hit don’t learn how to hit and end up being borderline MLB players.

      • 5 tools is great. Seems to me that often the hit tool in underrated. All tools were not created equal value for playing baseball. If you cant hit you are not an MLB regular plain and simple. A guy who has 2 tools, contact and power, is often a much more valuable player than a guy like Gose because you cant play a guy with OPS under 600 no matter how fast he is or good his defence is.

        Gose – all throughout his prospect porn phase being highly touted and saying all he needs to do is learn how to hit. And guys don’t just magically learn how to hit well with practice everytime – I hope Davis bucks the trend (and Goins!)

        Looks like the Jays Nay is touted and is this type of player – this guy could be a beast. I like him more than Davis because Davis cant hit. Of course you cant have a team full DHs but in evaluation of particular players Ill take the guy that can hit.

        • Davis is also a shitty fielder… which is surprising because he’s so fast.
          I see Gose maxing out as a BJ upton kind of guy… which would be fantastic if that happened.

          • I dont see that at all. Gose does not have the potential hitting ability that Upton does and has already shown. WIshful thinking that he could hit like Upton has

          • Is he? I’ve never seen DJ Davis play so I can’t comment on the fielding.

            What’s shitty about his fielding? Is it his routes? I’m presuming because he’s so fast that Range isn’t an issue. So a Rajai Davis sort then?

          • I sure hope Seitzer has some magic he can work on him. It’d be ok with me too if he could just get him to be a “Master Bunter” so he could get his ass on base.

            • This is the attitude I am talking about. Some new guy I’m sure he will work some magic and teach this guy how to hit. I mean he just needs to be taught how to hit. Unfortunately magic isnt real and hitting is to a large degree an innate ability. Not saying it wont happen just need to be realistic that usually guys who havent been able to hit dont magically start hitting

  2. Greg Maddux is 6′ tall and his fastball topped out at under 86 MPH.
    Good chance he’d never even get a look today.

    Good on the Jays for giving Stroman the opportunity
    in spite of the fact he does not fit the 21st century prototype.

    • Preeeeety sure Maddux threw harder than that in his prime.

      • Maddux relied on his command, composure, and guile to outwit hitters. Though his fastball touched 93 mph in his early years,[22] his velocity steadily declined throughout his career, and was never his principal focus as a pitcher. By the end of his career, his fastball averaged less than 86 mph.

        From wikipedia “”

        • And movement maybe most of all. Man was that reverse curve fastball inside to lefties that broke back over the plate a lethal pitch for him. Amazing he didn’t shred his elbow throwing that pitch so much

    • Maddux sat mid 90s in his prime.

      • Pretty sure Maddox NEVER threw in the MID 90″s (which to me, suggests 93-95). from most accounts his top end was 91.

    • He also had a 1.5 BB/9 and a 4.47 K/BB ratio from ’92-’03…That is fucking elite even if he’s throwing underhand.

  3. Now that makes me feel good about the organisation. Kind of brightens up a drab winter day.

  4. Clint Longnecker’s Jays prospect chat at BA was one of the best I can remember.

    • Yeah it was awfully fuckin rosy. I’ve been a long time subscriber and read all the team top 10 chats and rarely have I seen so much positivity top to bottom.

      The Boston one was pretty glowing, but even though they crush us at the top of the organization it looks like we are deeper overall. It will be interesting to see where we rank as a team in the top 30.

      • Can we develop the guys is the question? If the Sox had our low minors guys they would be looking very good, with us it is a bit of a question mark given our history developing players.

        • They don’t ahve our low minor guys so that’s a moot point. And we technically developed the lansing 3 into top 100 prospects, I’m sure that says something

          • The point is that they have guys in the upper minors that weren’t as highly touted as the guys we have in the low minors yet they still developed them into top prospects. Can we manage to develop our higher ceiling guys even to that level? Clearly the Sox, Cardinals, Rays etc have a leg up on player development.

          • The book is still out on the Lansing 3, none of these guys have even reached AAA while two of them are in different organizations now. Developing prospects and developing MLB players are two different things. Sox, Cazrds etc have a history of developing MLB players, Jays do not. We will see over the next 5 years if theJays can develop MLB players or not.

            • Indeed it is way too early for a verdict on that as AA hasnt been at the helm long enough to see the fruits of his draft labour.

    • I like Longnecker, but he’s only been doing this for 7 months. Prior to this write up for the Jays he’s been on the High School circuit. He’s admitted he’s only seen the 2013 draftees and some winter ball of the Jays low minors guys. He’s obviously an upside/ceiling. Which is going to provide glowing reviews the Jays system. Rode (who did the Jays list last year) was much more about likely to reach ceiling. Personally I can’t jump on low minors pitchers but there is a great chance I’ll love the Jays system again in a year. Right now I’ll wait until I can watch DeJong, Labourt and Tirado in Lansing. Hopefully Norris make it to New Hampshire as well

  5. Is the lack of new posts due to the jays inactivity so far?

  6. I hope Stroman beats the odds and makes a believer anyone who had doubts about his small stature.

  7. Man, I really, really hope Sanchez can put it all together.

  8. It’s really easy to forget that Lawrie’s only just about to turn 24.

    • An he’s been in the jays system for 3 years now

    • Yeah, I can’t believe the prospect guys wouldn’t have him #1 in the under 25 rankings. that’s kind of ridiculous. In 2012, his 22 year old season, he was a league average hitter with good baserunning skills and all-world defensive numbers (SSS Alert!) giving him 2.5 WAR. Even if he never improves from that, he’s kind of what you hope a lot of your prospects turn into.

  9. It has taken some time (too much for some) but the “Wave after Wave” of prospects coming through the system that AA spoke about years ago is finally coming together.

    Especially with the pitching prospects:

    Hutchison, Nolan, Drebek – ready
    Stroman, Sanchez – almost ready
    Then all the young kids

    I have faith in the plan – it’s just that will take a few more years

    • Yup
      Just that the youngsters will take over after 2015 anyways

    • To make the marlin, dickey and happ trade and still have a top ranked system says a lot .

      I hope they begin drafting some position players though

      • How about just the best guys available?

        • Amen, we all know how that Romero over Tulo thing turned out.

          • I think we can start choosing Best Guys Available now. (BGA?)
            I can’t remember which publication I read in the last week or so
            (Longnecker?) mentioned the Jays under AA had chosen 75%
            pitchers up til now. I wonder how many good 2Bs there were?
            I also noticed in one of Longnecker’s ratings he had Barreto at #5 in
            the Jays system. The kid is only 17 FFS!! Are we looking at Robbie II?

            • I remember kolton Wong was on the board and people were saying the jays should pick him but took beede and the cards took Wong with the next pick

        • hard to compare pitchers to position players. so to say one is better then the other is a difficult argument to make.

          its a high percentage of arms that they are drafting. they can’t all be the best player available

      • cavet though, it looks like the happ prospects are a bunch of scrubs. Asher might be someone, but I’d make that trade 100 times over

        • But could we have gotten something better than Happ for those guys? Was more than Happ we got too we got a couple rental players that we got just to finish out the season with MLB players. Could we have landed something better than Happ for this team right now?

    • The first wave started with Gose/Lawrie/Hutchison/Alvarez. The second “wave” would have been D’Arnaud and the Lansing Three, but that was mostly used in trades. I think it’s been coming all along, it’s just been used in different ways.

      I’ve had a lot of fun following these guys the last couple years and it’ll really exciting in 2014 when they start to make it to full-season ball. All these young guys are flying up the ranks and the Jays are about to add the 9th and 11th picks in 2014…

  10. You hit the nail on the head in regards to opportunities of pitchers 5’9 and under.

    Pitchers that short usually aren’t given chances out of high school.

  11. I don’t get putting Lawrie behind Sanchez and Stroman. I get Lawrie has scuffled a bit, but he’s still had major league success with upside left. He’s already put up 6.3 WAR over 275 games. If he ever figures out the bat, he’s a 4-5 win player.

  12. Stoeten, I know its early and the rest of the FA pitchers and Tanaka issue needs resolution, but what are the chances of Stroman competing for a rotation spot? If the price is too high on the FA and Tanaka do you think that the 4 and 5 spots will be a combo of Stroman, Drabeck, Hutch? And I wonder if AA actually quietly (viz. not publically admitting) prefers that over signing one of the overpriced starters available.

    • I doubt the latter is true– especially at least on Tanaka, unrealistic as it may be, and maybe the other guys if the price comes way down. And I doubt they want to rush Stroman’s service clock anyway. I also doubt that they have that much hope for Drabek to suddenly figure it out.

      So… no. Hutchison I could see being part of the rotation– though I’m maybe a little down on Happ, who isn’t good, but I think can probably still be better than 2013– but I can’t imagine them already being ready to pencil those other two in.

      • That’s a good point about service clocks in reference to Stroman vs Hutch. But I wonder how much the Jays actually care about starting a guy’s service clock, given AA’s talk about being able to afford (and pay more) to wait to extend guys. They might value half a year of production over the added year of control in the right circumstance. At this point, the difference between half a year of Hutch, and half a year of Stroman, is pretty small.

        • Yeah, I’d think Stroman still starts in Buffalo for that reason. I still don’t think they’re going to go into the year with the rotation as is, either.

          • yeah absolutely. im really curious what the gameplan for the rotation and 2B are and how they interact with each other. Infante’s pretty decent contract with the Royals seemed like the kinda thing AA might do and i have a hard time he was outbid, given the modesty of the deal.

            is the strategy now to trade for an affordable 2B? (Franklin, Ackley, Espinosa?) and then sign one of Ubaldo, Santana or Garza when/if their prices drop in January? seems risky. i like how aggressive the Cards were to fill their (granted) modest holes but even the Royals have done a really nice job of filling their gaps.

            • I wouldnt say that about Infante – was 4 years and not so modest salary. Mark Ellis yes – could have had him on short term for less money and not taken the risk that Goins as a starter presents

              • um, yeah, the deal is ridiculously modest. the guy is a 2-3 win player. the contract has an AAV of $7.5 million. a win on the free agent market costs $7 million so that is definitely a great deal for the Royals, especially so when you consider the fact that much older, defensively-limited players like Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson got more money, fewer years, and were attached to draft pick compensation.

                the Royals only need Infante to put up 4.3 WAR over the life of the contract to get their money’s worth. i’ll take the over on that.

                • Izturis has historically been a very similar player to Infante and we have him at under half the price for the next three years yet fans want to dump his salary. Of course he was pretty bad last year but whos to say Infante doesnt tank and his slary becomes a burden for several years? I would have liked an Infante signing myself – dont like the idea of Goins being a near auto out

                  • maybe superficially they’re similar.

                    but Infante is a year younger and is a regular second baseman.
                    Izturis is a year older and has played more third base in his career than second.

                    plus Izturis’ peak was 5 years ago. Infante’s was last year. i’ll take the guy who can play second and is still above average.

      • Jays have a history of rushing service clocks on under developed guys (Alverez prime example with just 2 pitches). Stroman has a developed arsenal already so not sure if that would be an issue.

        • They have that history because there was no pitchng depth in the higher levels. Now taht we actually have alot more depth , I don’t see them rushing stroman. That extra year of control is important for top prospects, we havent had that in a while.

          • Yep you are right. We also have significant payroll in our starting rotation which we havent seen in the past as much either. 5 SP are getting paid counting Romero and Happ.

    • I wouldn’t mind one of Hutch or drabek but both would be a stretch especially if you are also relying on morrow. Need at least one FA starter so drabek can be your 6th man

  13. I subscribe to BA but haven’t bit the bullet for BP yet. Worth it, or am I pretty much getting the same content?

    • not at all. BA is scouting focused. BP is sabremetric-oriented but also as scouting stuff.

    • I signed up for the 1-month “subscription” for $5 so I could read all of the Jays stuff. It was worth it but I didn’t see the need to subscribe long term.

  14. you know what would be awesome for all these young pitchers?
    -a David Price in the organziation.

    • If they want David Price in the organization then there won’t be any young pitchers left.

    • you know what would be better? a Roy Halladay. and you don’t even have to give him a roster spot. maybe he’s going to retire and the Jays could offer him some sort of role in spring training that might lead to a long-term front office gig.

      • It’s already widely known that Doc is both retired and coming to Spring Training with the Jays to get a feel for how the front office conducts business.

        • Sarcasm, yes. On the Doc thing, though , how valuable he’d be to young pitchers, though, is way overstated by fans, I think. Maybe he’s a different guy now that he’s out of the game, and maybe we saw a bit of that in his farewell press conference, but it’s asking for a big turnaround for a guy with a reputation as not being very approachable or effusive with comments– a well-earned one at that, from everything I’ve ever heard.

          • yeah you’re right about his potential impact being overestimated. it’s cool to have him back in the organization in a ceremonial role.

            though one of the things that is fascinating about Halladay and may make him really valuable and unique in a front office capacity is his knowledge of Dorfman’s work on the psychology of pitching (Mental ABCs of pitching). there seems to still be a significant gap between the academic pursuit of sports psychology and the implementation of it. it was fascinating hearing Halladay talk about Dorfman and Ricciardi’s ties to him (gave me some more respect for JP). given his own struggles when he was young it’d be cool to see Halladay pursue something like that. it was telling that a SABR guy like Ricciardi was familiar with Dorfman – maybe there’s a market inefficiency to be exploited? like with injury metrics.

            i have to imagine the main beneficiaries of that kindof work would be prospects and guys under 23. im not sure there’s much you can do for a guy like Romero who is almost 30 or whatever and pretty set in his ways.

            i dunno, im just babbling now… take these babblings with heavy grains of salt, which you can then use to salt your front steps.

          • Maybe that’s why Doc wants to learn the front office rather than coaching.
            And don’t under estimate his influence on younger pitchers ie Burnett and some of the Philly pitchers is documented.

            His onfield prep and clubhouse personna while playing, may be totally different than his retirement personna. In fact it already has been shown that it is.

            • Pretty clear that Doc is a bright guy and the work ethic is unquestioned. More than just the mental he must know and have studied a ton about the mechanics. Intensity as a player and its negative aspects on colleagues doesn’t necessarily carry over to coaching. There could be some potential there for Doc to be a good mechanical instructor – you know he is going to work hard at it at least.

              Hentgan was very intense pitcher too. Looks like he did a great job last year and could be a good pitching coach moving forward.

              • what makes you think he knows anything about mechanics? or interest in pursuing it? if he had real interest in that pitching coach type work he wouldn’t have talked so much at his presser about his desire to get into the front office and into the more strategic type stuff.

                and Halladay has spoken at-length and throughout his career about his interest in Dorfrman’s work.

                • I’m sure knows plenty about mechanics as he himslef ahs tinkered with it his entire career. From when he was snet down, do trying to pitch through his back injury.

                  I’m not saying his knowledge of mechanics would impact any desire of his for coaching though.

            • Radar! Burnett is older than Doc by 4 months!

    • Unfortunately, the top young arms (a few of them) will be in a different organization (the Rays) if David Price is pitching for the Jays.

  15. Would have been a nice pickup for Jays to have hired Dave Duncan to help develop these high ceiling arms.

    I dont know any other development pitching coaches nor any of the Jays guys but seems like an organizational weakness and this guy is touted as the best. Why not spend money to get this guy when it could have such a big impact? Give him 1M a year more than the DBacks did I say.

  16. So, Smoral has fallen completely off the map?

    • He had a pretty bleak year, i think. Needs to gain some semblance of command.

    • Still young and very few innings pitched.Hard to make an accurate assessment.
      But from what I’ve read recently,he’s still considered a raw talent with high upside.

    • I think in the Longenecker chat he said that the upside and everything is all the same, just might take a while, especially to refine the mechanics and get repeatability out of a 6’8 lefty like him.

  17. I really hope they make a move for a free agent like JImenez, or pulled another trade and landed a guy like hamels, but wouldn’t it be nice if just once we rolled with the young guys and at the end of the year Stroman had better numbers than the guy we were supposed to get but didnt? just to shut up hockey announcers who talk about baseball in the summer?

    • Jays have done that before.I’d like to see a fully developed pitcher earning his way to the Show rather than a kid being rushed and set up for failure.

    • We have been rolling with the young guys for years. See McGowen, Marcum, Litsch, Cecil, Rzepchinzky, JoJo Reyes!!!, Alverez, Hutchinson and the list goes on and on. Many underdeveloped SP have cracked the Jays rotation throughout the years. They even brought up Nolin to get rocked for one game and take up a 40 man roster spot last year.

      Drabek is much more developed than guys in rotation in years past. Id like to see him in AAA for depth myself with Happ and a veteran acquisition for #4,5. Bring these young guys up when they are developed and get the most out of their pre arbitration years – then you can pony up for a couple big money pitchers and still have great rotation.

      • you caught half the point, not just go with the young guys, but go with them and have them do so well no one bitches about the guy you didn’t go after.

        • It could happen, unfortunately the Cardinals we are not.

          • Jay could potentially have a five man rotation in AAA where everyone on the team could arguably have cracked a rotation spot if they played for a lesser team…. this is good thing.

            • Its a great thing. Our SP isnt nearly as bad as people are saying even if we dont add anyone. We arguably have better rotation as is now than what we had last year given the depth and the risks there were last year for the main guys. Upside isnt as high but floor isnt as low either.

  18. Hyro LaBort: a fuckin’ name, and a fuckin’ arm

  19. Is Dickey Thon Jr still considered a prospect? I think he’s with the Vancouver Canadians now but you don’t seem to see him on any top 50 lists.

    • Last I read ( last year) , Thon had a blood disease that he was battling.

      • FWIW, I just googled Thon and couldn’t find anything about him, except he did play for the Candians last year.
        I may be talking out my ass and just going on memory..
        If i’m wrong,My bad.

  20. I would like to think AA is forward-thinking enough to let Stroman have a true chance at starting.

  21. All this talk about only two pitchers five nine or under have made thirty starts sure makes you wonder how tall Roy Oswalt is doesn’t it?

    Might have been an optical illusion but he sure looked small on tv.

  22. Hey Stoeten, have you read much on Miguel Castro?
    Longnecker almost barfed out a load when asked about him.

    I have read very little about Miguel Castro yet his numbers jump off the page, is he a legit prospect?

    Clint Longenecker: Yes, very real. He will be in the top 30. He was covered previously. “Tough to say because he spent so little time stateside, is so young (18) and has so much developmental time left. But he could be a stud. Now this is a body you can dream on. He is big (6’5), very lean with long arms and a narrow waist, and oozes projection. Guys that look like this end up playing on TV some day. He can touch 96 and has feel for turning over a pretty good CH. He throws from a low arm slot and will likely be very tough on some side hitters, as he has a long stride, the ball jumps out of his hand and his fastball has life from a tough slot. Keep Castro in mind because the dream is big and the ceiling is high.”

  23. Am I the only one thrown off by seeing “ballsack attribute”?

    I admit I’m not familiar with Parks’ usual writing tone. And I assume that stuff behind a paywall is a Shangri-La of wisdom and beer fountains, not to mention professional as fuck.

    • Have you listened to Parks before?

      • Only as a rare guest on the GB/DJF podcasts.

        I’m not offended, I just second guessed myself when I read it and first thought it was an obscure baseball term I didn’t understand; not a “Hot Sprots Take” colloquialism along the lines of “testicular fortitude”.

        So it was just me.

  24. Holy shit we got rid of Arencibia!!!!

  25. Sign Tanaka $120M for 6, including the signing bonus (is that reasonable?). Trade for Ackley with bullpen arms and Happ, possible? Please trade kittenface, please.

  26. There has been talk of Anthopolous being on the hot seat if they dont suceed in their current window. But if it doesnt work out and they have to sell assets to build around the young group of players, I dont know if I would want anyone but Anthopolous to do that. We haven’t even began to see the fruits of their investment of high school and latin players. That can be a 10 year process

    • I don’t think there’s been any talk from anyone who matters about that kind of stuff, for what it’s worth.

  27. Would I be disappointed if Stroman was like Tom Gordon? Probably not. I realize what they’re doing (the improbability of pitchers 5’9″ and under succeeding), but Tom Gordon isn’t a negative comparison in any other respect. He walked too many, which I think I remember was the main reason why the KCR put him in the ‘pen, but he was a good pitcher. He put together 26 fWAR from ’88-’96, when the Red Sox turned him into a full time CL, doing which, incidentally, he was a 3 fWAR pitcher..

    If the Jays get 18+ fWAR (with a sub. 4 FIP, too) in 7+ seasons from a swingman like Gordon, will we be happy? Kelvim Escobar’s 14.1 fWAR is the highest production the Jays have received from any homegrown pitcher not named Roy Halladay over the last decade-and-a-half. It’s a good comp, since Escobar was truly a swingman (274 G; 101 GS). Next on the list is David Wells’ 10.9 fWAR.

    Here’s to hoping that Marcus Stroman is Tom Gordon 2.0. My Christmas wish is that he has better control than ‘Flash’, thereby making him a mainstay in the rotation and that much more valuable.

  28. Is there an update on Anthony Alford. Is he still attempting the football dream

  29. So Parks says our #9 prospect Chase DeJong could be a Top 100 overall guy with a step forward this year?

    And we have 8 guys better than him?

    Holy shit that sounds OK to me.

  30. [...] also did some prospecting over at DJF and gives us highlights from both Baseball America’s and Baseball Prospectus’ recently [...]

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  32. Good list.

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