sanchezST14

In this guest post from Kyle Matte, we’re treated to an historical review of the Jays’ top prospects, with the hope of divining some meaning from the fact that Aaron Sanchez now holds that spot. You can view some of the data Kyle discusses here in this Google Document. Follow Kyle on Twitter at @KyleMatte.

Baseball America has been around for a very long time, having been founded by Canadian Allan Simpson way back in 1980. In 1983, it was purchased by the owner of the Durham Bulls minor league franchise, and moved to Durham, North Carolina. It was then, in 1983, that the publication began their organizational top ten prospect reports. While I don’t necessarily agree with their rankings or their methodology of the rankings itself (they rely greatly upon team sources for the organizational reports, whereas other publications, like Baseball Prospectus, primarily utilize sources from outside the organization, as well as their own eyes, to avoid bias), it speaks volumes that they have been churning out content every year since. It affords us a rare opportunity to have over thirty years of organizational prospect rankings to reflect on, and I’ve taken advantage of this information in an attempt to uncover what exactly it means to be the Toronto Blue Jays number one prospect, as Aaron Sanchez was named for 2014 this past December.

What has our overall success rate been with #1 prospects? What level of Major League production did those players generate over their careers? How have we fared with pitchers versus hitters? I was able to answer all of these questions and more, and before the end I’ll offer a glimpse into the career Aaron Sanchez might have, if he develops like the average number one Blue Jays prospect.

As mentioned above, the first Blue Jays organizational report was released in anticipation of the 1983 season, so that will be the starting point for this exercise. For an end point, I settled on 2009. It’s not arbitrary – as the rankings are released prior to the season, ending the analysis in 2009 would supply us with five years of data from which to analyze that final number one prospect. If you wished to stretch the list to 2010 to include Zach Stewart who is most assuredly a bust, I could see your justification, but I felt five years was the bare minimum from which to fairly judge a professional career.

These parameters offer us 27 years of top ten rankings, on which 18 different names appear at the top. Five prospects rank number one twice, while two players repeat at the top thrice (and man, did they ever have different careers). The split is skewed heavily towards positional players, as of the 18, only 3 are pitchers, interestingly, all of whom are right handed. The Blue Jays have never had a left-handed pitcher rank number one.

I investigated a variety of factors in hopes of best encapsulating a professional career within one line of a spreadsheet. I looked at the year in which they played their first full MLB season (a designation loosely based around a minimum of 300 plate appearances for hitters, 100 innings pitched for starting pitchers, and 30 innings pitched for relievers, though exceptions were made), how many years after their number one ranking they achieved that first full season – which I termed the “lag” – and how old they were in that season. Using the value figures calculated by Fangraphs, I inspected the WAR they created in their first, second, and third full MLB seasons separately, as well as cumulatively. In addition to their career WAR, I also designated each player’s peak years – where I felt they performed at their highest level – and looked at how much value they produced over that specified time period. Finally, using the first year of the peak window and their first full MLB season, I was able to determine how many seasons of development at the Major League level it took for the prospect to begin playing at their best.

Because of the inclusion of players whose careers are still on-going, some of the averaged numbers, namely the career WAR, are being artificially held down. For this reason, when it comes to projecting the completely hypothetical career for Aaron Sanchez in the latter half of this article, I’ll only use the WAR for players who have officially retired (and Vernon Wells, because, come on Vernon, it’s over).

In the 1980’s (1983 through 1989 in this case), four different names led the Blue Jays top ten: Tony Fernandez (’83, ’84), Fred McGriff (’85), Sil Campusano (’86, ’87, ’88), and Derek Bell (’89). Fernandez had easily the best first full season of any of the 18 prospects with 4.1 WAR, and went on to have a terrific six year peak from that 1985 season through 1990. The Crime Dog had a solid first year at 1.3 WAR, but exploded into his prime in years two and three with 6.6 and 6.4 WAR seasons respectively. Unfortunately the Blue Jays lost four of his seven prime years to the Padres and Braves, but I think we can all agree those banners hanging in the rafters more than compensate. Considering he was labelled the Blue Jays number one prospect for three consecutive years – ranking above players like Kelly Gruber and David Wells – you’d think Campusano would have an illustrious career to his name some 25 years later. That’s unfortunately not the case, as Sil managed just 288 plate appearances across parts of three Major League seasons, producing a grand total of 0.0 WAR. Bell last appeared as the number one in 1992, so he’ll be discussed with the next decade’s group.

The 1990’s saw eight prospects headline Baseball America’s top ten: John Olerud (’90), Mark Whiten (’91), Derek Bell (’92), Carlos Delgado (’93), Alex Gonzalez (’94), Shawn Green (’95), Shannon Stewart (’96), and the good doctor Roy Halladay (’97, ’98, ’99). As I’m sure you’ve immediately noticed, that’s an incredible collection of talent. Olerud had a solid but unspectacular start to his career, accumulating 7.0 WAR over his first three seasons. In 1993, his fourth, he hit .363, produced an astonishing 8.1 WAR, finished 3rd in AL MVP voting, and helped lead the Blue Jays to the World Series. It was the start of a ten year peak over which he’d average 4.7 WAR per season. Whiten and Bell fell short of the lofty precedent set by Olerud, and found most of their success outside the Blue Jays organization. King Carlos was arguably the face of the Blue Jays from 1996 through 2004, and in the heart of his prime from 1998 through 2003, he amassed an impressive 30.0 WAR over six seasons. Gonzalez was an elite defender at shortstop, but frequent injuries and a feeble bat otherwise held him back. His best season came in 1996, with just 2.2 WAR. In his first three years – 1995, 1996, and 1997 – Shawn Green totalled 2.1 WAR. Cito Gaston was fired after 1997, and Shawn Green proceeded to produce nearly 25 WAR over the next five seasons. Weird. Shannon Stewart quietly had a great career, with 4.7 WAR over his first two years and another 14.8 over the next four. Injuries derailed Stewart, as he’d play in 100 or more games just twice in his 30’s. Finishing off the 90’s for three straight years was Roy Halladay. The story of his meltdown in 2000 and complete mechanical overhaul in Single-A is a part of Blue Jays lore at this point – as is his Hall of Fame career – but let’s rehash it one more time; in a ten year span from 2002 through 2011, Halladay averaged 6.1 WAR per season, threw a perfect game, threw a no-hitter in the playoffs, was an eight time All-Star, placed in the top five for Cy Young voting seven times, and won the damn thing twice. He was a generational talent.

Vernon Wells led Toronto’s top ten at the turn of the millennium (’00, ’01), and six other players would top the list between then and 2009: Josh Phelps (’02), Dustin McGowan (’03, ’06), Alex Rios (’04), Brandon League (’05), Adam Lind (’07), and Travis Snider (’08, ’09). At 1.4 WAR, Wells had a solid first season, but he really burst onto the scene in years two and three over which he totalled 8.0 WAR. After a setback in 2005, he had a career year with 5.7 WAR in 2006, earning himself a contract worth 126 million dollars. He’s produced 6.4 WAR in the seven years since. Phelps was basically one-and-done, with his career year coming in his 2002 debut. Dustin McGowan is an interesting case, as while he appeared to be on the sure track to stardom in 2007 (3.5 WAR) and 2008 (2.2 WAR in limited innings), his body completely let him down and a promising career has fallen by the wayside. Since going under the knife in 2008, he’s thrown just 94 innings between Toronto and the minor leagues. Alex Rios has been the star of the decade (not quite the 90’s, huh?). He broke out in year three, and as shocking as it may be, he could easily eclipse the 30 WAR mark for his career in 2014, and he turned just 33 this month. As a career reliever there’s not much to talk about with League; despite seemingly being above average more often than not, he’s only amassed 1.9 career WAR. Such is life for the non-Mariano Rivera and Craig Kimbrel’s of the world. Like Rios, Lind broke out in his third year (3.4 WAR), but unlike Rios, he’s done little since – his 1.8 WAR season in 2013 was easily the second best of his career. Blame J.P. Ricciardi; blame Cito Gaston; blame whomever you want, the reality is that Lunchbox has been our most disappointing number one prospect in over 20 years. His 1.1 WAR 2010 season is the high water mark, and the only high point, really, in an otherwise wholly disappointing career. The meats have clashed, people.

What does that all mean, exactly?

From the group of 18, I’m of the opinion that seven went on to become stars (Fernandez, McGriff, Olerud, Delgado, Green, Halladay, Rios), two became above average regulars (Stewart, Wells), three became regulars (Whiten, Bell, McGowan), three were below average regulars (Gonzalez, League, Lind), and three were busts (Campusano, Phelps, Snider). That’s nine positive outcomes (50%), three decent outcomes (17%), and six negative outcomes (33%). Without running this scenario for every team it’s hard to say precisely how good or bad those percentages are, but I’d argue that having 50% of your number one prospects go on to become All Star calibre talents and only 17% providing zero value is probably a success rate that any team would welcome.

What does the “average” Blue Jays number one prospect look like?

The average number one prospect played their first full season at age 23, less than a year after ranking at the top of Baseball America’s list (for a player appearing multiple times, their latest appearances was used). They accumulated 5.9 WAR over their first three seasons, in a surprisingly linear fashion of 1.1, 2.0, and 2.9 WAR in years one through three respectively. The average number one prospect entered their peak in their third full season and sustained that peak for four years, over which they’d total 17.1 WAR. Removing the active players (save Vernon Wells) from the list of 18 as I mentioned above results in a career WAR of 29.6. This suggests that after concluding their prime years, the average number one prospect would total 9.4 WAR over the remainder of their career.

The Aaron Sanchez forecast

Aaron Sanchez won’t turn 22 until partway through the 2014 season, and given that he’s yet to throw a pitch in Double-A, I think it’s safe to say that barring a miracle or the apocalypse he’ll be spending the entirety of the year in the minor leagues. Furthermore, with Marcus Stroman all but guaranteed to graduate from prospect lists this summer, Sanchez’ unanimous grasp on the top of Baseball America’s list seems almost assured. In 2015 he’ll be in his age 23 season, and in this hypothetical scenario he appears destined to throw 100 or more innings for the Blue Jays. We’ll set this as his first full season, and follow history from there.

Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

Age

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

WAR

1.1

2.0

2.9

4.7

5.5

4.0

2.7

2.3

1.8

1.3

0.8

0.5

0.0

In this hypothetical forecast, Aaron Sanchez has a 13-year Major League career over which he produces 29.6 wins. His peak is from 2017 through 2020 – his age 25 to 28 seasons – after which his value fades on relatively linear aging scale. This scenario is an excellent reminder that while Jose Fernandez blew the doors off in his first year – and some Blue Jays prospects like Tony Fernandez have as well – that’s the exception, not the rule. The average number one Blue Jays prospect has steadily improved their production over their first few seasons before peaking in their mid-to-late 20’s, which nicely coincides with the “3rd/age 27 season” generalization for predicting breakouts that has been ingrained in the baseball world for decades, if not longer.

The only troubling aspect of this analysis is the lack of historical support for pitchers. As mentioned near the start, of the 18 unique number one prospects between 1983 and 2009, only three were pitchers. One of them, Roy Halladay, was beyond exceptional and is all but impossible to use as any kind of fair or reasonable benchmark for future number one pitching prospects. The greatest achievements of Brandon League, another of the three, are arguably messing up his shoulder getting jacked in Hawaii and getting traded for Brandon Morrow, so he’s hardly a suitable comparison, either. The third, Dustin McGowan, saw his career derailed before it really even left the station, a fate that should be wished upon no one – no, not even Red Sox prospects. Moreover, while the two-through-ten spots of the 80’s and 90’s had a number of promising names that the Blue Jays would develop into positive contributors with Jimmy Key, David Wells, Mike Timlin, Pat Hentgen, Chris Carpenter, and Kelvim Escobar, the last decade has been a black hole. The best pitcher to be developed was Ricky Romero, and that success story was horrifically and tragically ended by the Morosi curse. Dave Bush, Jesse Litsch and Gustavo Chacin each had one productive year before seeing their careers engulf in flames; Brett Cecil and Casey Janssen have found all of their success in the bullpen; and David Purcey and Zach Jackson did literally nothing before their pitching careers came to their merciful conclusions. The only unheralded success of the decade would be Shaun Marcum – a pitcher never thought particularly highly of who went on to give the organization three decent-to-good years before being used as ammunition to acquire a certain Red Bull enthusiast.

This is a trend that Alex Anthopoulos has made a clear effort to buck. From the 2010 edition of Baseball America’s list through to their most recent, we’ve seen three different pitchers take the crown as the jewel of the farm; Zach Stewart (2010), Kyle Drabek (2011), and Aaron Sanchez (2014); with Stewart a Ricciardi-era acquisition and the two non-pitcher years both belonging to now-Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud. The transition goes beyond just the top spot, however. When inspecting the four lists Anthopoulos has had full control over (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 – since, despite taking the job in December 2009 he’s not wholly responsible for the 2010 list as he’d yet to oversee a draft or international signing period), the philosophical change becomes crystal clear: 40 names, 24 pitchers (60%). Some of the pitchers have already reached the majors with varying degrees of success – Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, and Sean Nolin, while others have flamed out or don’t appear likely to amount to much – Stewart, Deck McGuire, and John Stilson. Beyond even those six names, the Anthopoulos regime has drafted, signed, and developed an impressive arsenal of arms still in the minor leagues – Asher Wojciechowski, Roberto Osuna, Chase DeJong, Justin Nicolino, Daniel Norris, Alberto Tirado, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, plus this kid Sanchez.

There are two ways to react to this information. The first, which is rather short sighted, would be to suggest that the Blue Jays can’t develop pitchers for shit, and that all those names I just listed – Sanchez included – are bound to crater or blow out their arms, whichever comes at the earliest convenience. The other reaction would be to realize that, historically, the Blue Jays have been very successful at developing number one prospects, and that, mathematically, one of these pitchers is likely to amount to something very good, if not something special. I mean, Roy Halladay just retired; we’re due any way you slice it. Offering further comfort is that, unlike the Ricciardi years, this system isn’t a one pump chump. We’ve got a full magazine of arms should the number one falter, and depending upon who you ask, we really have two number ones this year anyway. The theme of the off-season has been weighing the risks and benefits of signing a starter versus trusting the kids. If history is any indication, the kids might be alright.

Comments (177)

  1. David Wells is left handed…

  2. Great article, Kyle! Getting my brain geared up for baseball season!

  3. Excellent piece. It’s fun to look back and remember some of these careers.
    Plus it’s valuable to be reminded that you don’t have to be a superstar to have a very nice looking career (i.e. your Sanchez projection would actually be just fine, thank you very much)

  4. God bless nerds! This is awesome – thank you .

    Mmmmm that Josh Phelps Kool Aid was tasty, wasn’t it!? I drank me several buckets of that shit.

  5. Hmmm.

  6. Good read. Looking forward to seeing some homegrown talent to start becoming more important on this team. I think a lot of people are overlooking that 2014 will be a good chance to do that with possible contributions from Huch, Drabek and Stroman. Possibly Sanchez too.

    That being said, our position player situation in the farm system seems a little worrisome.

    • I actually hope we don’t see Sanchez at all this year. If we see him before September it means something went disastrously wrong with our Starting pitching (injuries)… and if we see him IN September it probably means the team is out of contention by that point.

      • Or he’s destroying AA and AAA with pinpoint control he found out over the offseason, crazier things have happened.

      • On the other hand if he has a late season call up to bullpen for instance similar to what guys like Carlos Martinez did for the Cardinals then one, he’ll have progressed substantially and two, it will mean the Jays are in a good spot playoff wise.

        • Fine!!!! I take it all back!

        • As long as Sanchez doesn’t favourite so many porn sites on his Twitter feed, I’d be delighted with the Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha comparison for Sanchez at the end of this season.

        • A good read and I appreciate the historical perspective. Laying out all of those #1s sure makes it easy to see why the Jays made the big deals last off season.

          I have no problem seeing Hutch in kind of a Marcum mold–not really on the radar, middling stuff, but a bulldog attitude–and would love to see both McGowan and Romero rediscover past success. I’m likely to be disappointed, though.

          The next wave is headlined by Stroman and Sanchez, and there’s good reason for optimism. I’d be deliriously happy if Stroman turned out like Tom Gordon. Sanchez is a little young/far away for me to grasp, though.

  7. Interesting piece, but it seems odd to me to consider the historical success of the Jays’ prospect development pipeline and to try to draw too many conclusions around how this bodes for Sanchez.

    As you recognize in the post, the Anthopoulos era isn’t old enough to judge how effectively he’s drafted/developed top talent, so what on earth does Sil Campusano have to do with Sanchez’s chances? Does the fact that the Jays seem to have had a lot of position player #1′s tell us anything about their ability to develop these players and not pitchers nowadays? Well, not really, since it was twenty five to thirty years ago, when Anthopoulos himself was just a boy.

    I’m not trying to say that we should do what you haven’t done: read into Anthopoulos success/failure over the last 4+ years and try to project Sanchez’s chances. Obviously that’s ridiculous. But perhaps the better way to look at this is from the fan’s perspective – we watched a reasonable number of top prospects develop into top players – than from the organization’s perspective with a look to Sanchez’s chances – will Sanchez develop into a 5.5 WAR player in 2019?

    Anyway, welcome to DJF, Kyle.

  8. Great work. I think more than anything it just shows what a bad job the Jays did under JPR in drafting and developing players.

    As for the pitching component i think it is or was more a difference in philosophy. Gillick has been on record saying he would always choose the position player over a pitcher because they were harder to find/develop. AA has certainly gone in the other direction.

    • In the past couple years I see a different trend with AA and it’s not drafting poorly, but devaluing prospects. Jays gave up too much in Happ and Esmil Rogers deals with little improvement. The positive is AA drafted Carlos Perez (C), Asher Wojciechowski (SP), David Rollins (RP), and Yan Gomes (C/1B)

    • Everyone slagging JPR, for good reason. But I am still a little PO’d that we haven’t signed our #1 pick in two of the last three years.

  9. great topic and great article.. until you got to the part about Travis Snider. that still stings me in the heart.

  10. Nice to read something that doesn’t make me gnash my teeth about the Jays.

    Really have high hopes for Sanchez. Lunch box hero forever.

  11. Fascinating Jeff Blair interview with Scott Boras. Say what you want about him but the guy knows his stuff. If you can get the download later on in the day it’s definitely worth it.

    Blair also had some interesting tidbits that counter that Rogers has pulled back on the payroll.

  12. Stilson didn’t flame out. He’s arguably one of the jays top 10 prospects and had a decent year in buffalo.

    • yeah i don’t get that either. Stilson projects to be a high leverage reliever. it may not be sexy but that’s a ton of value there. i dont get ruling Deck McGuire out too. sure he’s been disappointing but McGuire had a strong 2013, developmentally and in terms of his FIP of 3.58. i think on two occasions in 2013 Deck flirted with no-hitters. let’s see these guys in the big leagues before we start relegating them to the bust bin.

      • I read it that he was saying “won’t amount to much” rather than total bust.
        Which is likely accurate. Relievers both and relievers are just not that valuable, relatively speaking.

        • Stilson was projected to be a reliever when his arm exploded before he was drafted. I wouldn’t say he’s been disappointing because that’s exactly what they thought they were getting when he was drafted.

      • Actually I’ve been staying quiet on McGuire since they added him to the 40 man. The last month he had in NH was pretty good and that’s why AA added him. In 39 innings pitched (inc 1 CG) he got 35 K’s with an ERA of 2.95. Hopefully it’s not a blip and AA can do something with it.

        • the reason he was added to the 40 man was because if he wasn’t he would’ve been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

      • McGuire will turn 25 in June and has made 57 starts at Double-A without receiving a promotion. His slider can be solid but the raw stuff just isn’t there. If you think there’s any kind of impressive big league future there, you’re crazy.

    • Stilson’s not a top 10 prospect and he will be a reliever. That’s just not an impact arm. Brandon League was a better prospect and look at the value he’s accumulated over his career.

      • the problem with your assessments of Stilson and McGuire is your subjective characterization of “impressive big league future” and “impact arm” – not every pitching prospect will be or needs to be Stephen Strasburg or Craig Kimbrel. if McGuire can be John Lanaan that’s a big deal. if Stilson can turn into a closer, like most knowledgeable evaluators think he can, then that’s pretty good too.

      • I think Stilson will have an impact in his career, whether it’s in Toronto or somewhere else

  13. “Like Rios, Lind broke out in his third year (3.4 WAR), but unlike Rios, he’s done little since – his 1.8 WAR season in 2013 was easily the second best of his career. Blame J.P. Ricciardi; blame Cito Gaston; blame whomever you want, the reality is that Lunchbox has been our most disappointing number one prospect in over 20 years. His 1.1 WAR 2010 season is the high water mark, and the only high point, really, in an otherwise wholly disappointing career. The meats have clashed, people.”

    Are you talking about Adam Lind or Travis Snider here?

  14. My thoughts on Sanchez remain the same… he can have the dirtiest, filthiest, most disgusting stuff ever but it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference if he can’t consistently throw it for strikes. I don’t want him anywhere near the majors until he demonstrates over a prolonged period that he can do that.

    Want to see him cut down on walks without seeing the K rate drop this year. That ought to be his goal. Really hope he does it.

    • He was working on it while at the AFL and hopefully improving. Granted he only pitched 23 Innings, but he had 21 K’s to 11 BB’s. He needs to do better But it’s a start.

      • 4.3BB/9 in the AFL… not really all that different from what he was doing in low A and high A. I’d like to see him halve that amount before he goes any higher in the system (and get his K/9 rate back up to around 9 in full season ball).

  15. this piece is really a mess and the kind of quai-analytical stuff that’s too often getting peddled these days. there is way too little data here to be drawing any conclusions, on-top of that there are all kinds of problems with the assumptions made here. to lump in different player development regimes (Gillick, Ash, Ricciardi + Anthopolous) together is really misguided.

    furthermore the writer admits that “Without running this scenario for every team it’s hard to say precisely how good or bad [the] percentages are” – well, what’s the point of this exercise if there’s no context for the reader?

    and it’s not even clear what those WAR projections are based upon. Oliver projections? average of Jays’ prospects?

    i can see no point in trying to Aaron Sanchez’s value based on some sloppily calculated average of previous Jays prospects. Sanchez is his own man. he will succeed based on his own talents and based on the current Jays player development regime (not on what Gord Ash did 15 years ago). as Sam Miller’s recent insights into the Cards successes showed, in player development, the best way to approach prospects is with n=1.

    so the biggest problem with this piece is that it amazingly ignores the most important part in a prospect’s development: the prospect himself.

    • Shut up

    • Please just shut up and enjoy something.

    • “there is way too little data here to be drawing any conclusions”
      He didn’t

      “well, what’s the point of this exercise if there’s no context for the reader?”
      There is. It’s still interesting. Do some work yourself if you care.

      “and it’s not even clear what those WAR projections are based upon”
      Actually it’s quite clear.

      “so the biggest problem with this piece is that it amazingly ignores the most important part in a prospect’s development: the prospect himself.”
      As the other posters said. Shut up and enjoy something. This piece is one PIECE of a larger puzzle. Everyone recognizes that. Just enjoy the ride.

    • I wasn’t trying to force conclusions on people with my “quai analytical stuff”. I was looking back on old prospects lists and I was curious as to how we’ve done historically and thought it might be something other people would be interested in reading as well.

      Obviously there are a number of different front offices here and they all did/do things their own way. There’s a reason I never stated what Aaron Sanchez will or will not be. No one could know that. I looked at the average from a 27 year sample and came up with a HYPOTHETICAL forecast for our current number one prospect. It’s not meant to be some kind of prediction for Sanchez himself, just what his career would look like if he perfectly followed the path of the average number one. A different and interesting perspective, at least for me.

      As far as the “not clear what the WAR is based on”, as others have said, it’s right there if you wipe the angst from your eyes and look a little closer.

      But hey, thanks for giving Stoeten some page views.

      • Great reply Kyle.

        Although you could stand to have a little more snark and attitude. In due time, due time…

        I enjoyed the read and understand the context just fine.

      • I think that the issue is in this statement you’ve made around your methodology: “I looked at the average from a 27 year sample and came up with a HYPOTHETICAL forecast for our current number one prospect. It’s not meant to be some kind of prediction for Sanchez himself, just what his career would look like if he perfectly followed the path of the average number one.”. To state that you’ve looked at the average number one prospect is a little untrue, isn’t it? I mean, you’ve taken 27 different number one prospect-years from four different regimes and taken the average of that group. The fact that these regimes and players were all Blue Jays is the only thing that really strings this together, and that’s a little weak because, as Cameron’s puppy points out, each prospect is different, and each regime took different overall strategies (and presumably looked at each prospect a little differently).

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not as upset by this work as Cameron’s puppy seems to be, but I think that some of the steps you’ve taken in this and the projections you’ve made are a little weak. You would have done a lot better to simply rank the outcomes of 27 years of prospects for the franchise and then ask the question of where Sanchez (and d’Arnaud, for that matter) will rank in this group, rather than to try to project that result by averaging those vastly different players and results.

        • So as opposed to averaging 18 players and showing one possibility out of an infinte number of outcomes, you want me to rank the players by WAR and use some hidden sixth sense to tell you where specifically Aaron Sanchez is going to rank on that list when his career has come to an end possibly 20 years down the road? That would be a) my opinion and b) a complete fucking guess. What would possibly be gained from something like that?

          The point of this article was to shine some light on the interesting history of Toronto’s number one prospects. It was not a serious attempt to prognosticate the type of career Aaron Sanchez is going to have. If you thought that, either I wasn’t clear or you are mistaken. The “Aaron Sanchez Forecast” was, as I’ve repeated many times, a complete hypothetical. One of an infinte number of possible outcomes. I simply thought it would be interesting to check out the years in which Sanchez would be most productive should he follow the path of the average number one prospect, to maybe see where it lines up with our competitive window. An amusing angle to the discussion, not gospel..

          • “What would possibly be gained from something like that?”

            You know… maybe insight. i hear that’s one of the reasons people read things, and people write things. i guess the standards are low for sports writing these days.

            instead of doing an honest and thorough analysis, like Winfield proposes, you concocted some average which is statistically meaningless… that’s cool, i guess.

          • Thank you, Kyle, for being so engaged in this debate, and for taking the criticism head on, rather than by simply demeaning those who hold an opposing viewpoint.

            My underlying point was not that you had to take a guess at where Sanchez might end up relative to the vast number of comparable number 1 prospects. Rather, I think that you erred by averaging the numbers over several decades and tried to use that to tell us anything at all about Sanchez as an average player. Quite honestly, if that table of a ‘hypothetical projection’ of Sanchez’s future based on historical results hadn’t referenced Sanchez and had simply been the ‘average WARs of Toronto’s #1 prospects’, that would have been fine. It was the moment you put Sanchez’s name in there that you went from doing a little historical study of the organization over four GM’s and 18 players (certainly interesting, and something that I’m interested in as a lifelong fan of the Jays) to suddenly suggesting that there was some connection here – that we can expect that Sanchez will be a 5.5 WAR pitcher in 2019. I understand that you weren’t really trying to draw that conclusion – that you were simply trying to use today’s number one as the guide for historical number ones – but this conclusion was drawn, nonetheless, and that is where I take issue.

      • You say that your article isn’t meant as “some kind of prediction for Sanchez”

        Yet you have a table with a prediction of Sanchez’s future MLB performance. So… ok.

        And in the first paragraph you write: “…I’ve taken advantage of this information in an attempt to uncover what exactly it means to be…. Aaron Sanchez…”And the article is titled “The Toronto Blue Jays, Number One Prospects, and Aaron Sanchez”

        So yeah… that’s fun.

        And it’s not all clear where you get those WAR numbers from. This is the convoluted run up to the table you introduce:

        “The average number one prospect entered their peak in their third full season and sustained that peak for four years, over which they’d total 17.1 WAR. Removing the active players (save Vernon Wells) from the list of 18 as I mentioned above results in a career WAR of 29.6.”

        that doesn’t really make sense. dont you want people to understand how you came up with your numbers? maybe not. i guess it’s fun to engage in hyperbole and all about “angst eyes” whatever the hell that means but it just isn’t at all clear how you are coming up with those numbers (are they fWAR or rWAR? why are you eliminating active players except Vernon Wells?

        the piece is just sloppy, which is cool i guess if you’re into that kind of thing.

        • Wow. As I’ve said a hundred times now, the Sanchez part was an example of what his career might look like if he had the average number one prospect’s career. It’s his name and ages in the table, but other than that none of the “predictions” or whatever you want to call them are based off of him at all. He’s our current number one. That’s what the average number one has done. There’s what Sanchez would look like if he were like the average number one.

          I see you ignored the “…might have, if he develops like the average number one Blue Jays prospect.” part of the sentence. But of course including that would make your point that I’m trying to make some accurate prediction of Sanchez invalid, so I can understand why you skipped over it.

          Also, “Aaron Sanchez” is the THIRD part of the title. Ever think maybe the emphasis might be on the first and second part, you know, “The Toronto Blue Jays, Number One Prospects”?

          Holy shit. “Using the value figures calculated by Fangraphs.” I didn’t say where my WAR figures were coming from? Try not to be alarmed but you might have the read comprehension of a six year old. Every number I “came up with” can be found on Fangraphs or in the table that was linked by Stoeten AT THE TOP OF THE ARTICLE.

          You honestly can’t figure out why I’m excluding active players expect for Vernon Wells from the career WAR averages? It might be because their careers aren’t over and including them would give a less accurate measurement. I included Vernon Wells because while he hasn’t filed his retirement papers and will likely latch on somewhere on a minor league deal, his career as a major leaguer is effectively over. I assumed the audience could figure that one out but I guess it flew over your head a little bit.

          If you think this piece is sloppy, that’s fine. It’s your opinion. But just out of curiosity’s sake, why don’t you link us all to something that the brilliant mind of “monkeyball” has conjured up so we can all dissect it with a fine-tooth comb.

  16. Excellent read!

  17. It is an interesting read. Note that only two of Richardi’s first round picks ever became the organization’s top prospect: Romero and Snider. Richadi presided over seven drafts beginning in 2002 and ending in 2008. His first round picks were Russ Adams, Aaron Hill, Zack Jackson, Ricky Romero, Travis Snider, Kevin Aherns and David Cooper.

    Of the 35 guys he selected with picks 1-5 in those seven years, the only ones not named above to have any sort of major league career were Marcum, Purcey, Lind, Cecil and Arencibia. We’re using the phrase “any sort of major league career” very loosely here.

    His failure to draft guys who would make meaningful contributions to the MLB club has meant that the Jays have had very few pre-arb or arbitration eligible players on the MLB roster. To be competitive with anything but a Yankee/Dodger type budget, a team needs maybe 3-5 of those kind of guys who are not making free agent type money.

    • Good point STW. As I remember his mandate in the initial instance was to get some “moneyball” types; undervalued talent that everyone else was missing (except for Billy Beane)

    • Have to add 2009 as well that was JPR’s draft too. That said, JPR does deserve some slack, Rogers simply did not spend on the draft during his tenure. Considering it was the time where you could get good players well down in the first couple of rounds be because of signability issues it’s a pretty big failure overall for the team.

      • I’m not sure you can blame Rogers. Ricciardi’s strategy was to target the moderate upside, low risk, quick-to-move prospects, and as college players with significantly less leverage, they inherently came cheaper. Who knows what ownership would have said if Ricciardi had stated he wanted to target the more expensive boom-or-bust types. I mean, the same ownership gave Anthopoulos a boatload of cash early in his tenure because that was his philosophy.

        • Of course it was Rogers fault. That was JPR’s entire mandate to build on the cheap. It was why he was hired and what he promised he could do. It’s been fairly well documented and it wasn’t until the end of his tenure that things started to slowly change. The results of that philosophy are what you saw in the draft.

          After JPR, they changed their strategy going back to what they traditionally did. They took the money out of the major league payroll and moved into the draft and international signings.

  18. Would love more posts like this, as Jays player development is something I wonder about all the time.

  19. Good article, something worth thinking about…the only thing that bugs me…
    “The other reaction would be to realize that, historically, the Blue Jays have been very successful at developing number one prospects”
    If you’re not allowed to ascribe the failure of the previous twenty years to this regime (and you shouldn’t be), you’re also not allowed to ascribe to them the successful player development during that time. It’s a new system.
    If anything, I would argue that because Anthopoulos worked under the Ricciardi regime, that that regime is somewhat relevant. But even that is stretching it.
    Bottom line, player development for the Jays has been beyond awful since Ricciardi took over, and that awfulness has continued under Anthopoulos. I don’t know that there’s much of an argument to be made to the contrary, but I’d love to hear it?

    • Most (like 99%) of AA’s picks are still in the minors. His 1st draft was 2010 and he picked (among others) guys like McGuire, Sanchez, Syndergaard, Wojcikowski.

  20. You doing a piece on how Hayhurst was bullied here to the point of suicidal thoughts? Getting a lot of attention now that the early reviews of his book are out.

    Just wow.

    • Haven’t dug into my copy of the book yet, but I’m wondering if Hayhurst wasn’t brought back this year due to some of the content of his book.

      I’m sure we’ll never know, so this is just idle speculation (i.e. Bullshit) on my part.

      • So far early reactionary buzz kind of points at “Brice Jared” (not hard to figure it out if you’ve been keeping up with his blog or have read the book) as a Richie Incognito type that coaching and management turned a blind eye to. Hazing, bullying etc.

        Pretty damning stuff and not sure management would love the timing of these accusations bubbling up.

  21. Or my favourite prospect Rusty Dusty Mccgowan. 14+ years in the organization , hasnt thrown a meaningless pitch since 2009….. and wait for it ……….. we rewarded him with 1.5 million dollars!!!!

  22. I think a key element this article hints at is our history of player development, and it really merits further discussion. Just as there is a ‘Cardinal’s Way’ to player development, is there a Blue Jay Way (other than the street)? Is there something inherent to our approach to teaching baseball to minor leaguers that is independent of the ever-changing front office? What the AA regime has shown is that they’re pretty adept at drafting, especially pitchers (check out the top draft prospects for this year and many of the top pitchers were previously drafted but unsigned by the Jays). But as we’ve seen with St. Louis, Texas, Tampa, Boston, etc., sustained success always involves homegrown talent. What is the Jays’ approach and how does it differ from those teams that have had consistent success? I’d love an in depth piece on this.

    • That’s definitely an interesting perspective but I’m not sure an outsider could ever get the access required for such a venture.

      You’d almost have to speak to scouts and executives from the past decade-plus to see what the direction was at any given time, and to then compare their answers to see what type of fluctuations in strategy there was over the years.

      But just as a wild guess; it certainly looks like the plan is to acquire athletes and then cross your damn fingers.

      • Would definitely be a challenge since no club would want to give away anything they see as a competitive advantage in developing players, but a solid interview with Tony LaCava might be worthwhile. I just wonder whether our current player development approach is based on a cohesive philosophy/unifying theory or is more influenced by the individual coaches/environments at each minor league level. We certainly have plans for players in terms of innings limits and such, but I always come back to why can certain teams be so consistently successful in developing players and we always seem to miss more than we hit? Player development is a black box that needs attention.

        • Jared MacDonald has written about a number of interviews he’s had with Blue Jays staffers while visting our minor league affiliates, so he might be able to answer some of those questions for you.

          But even so, to truly visualize a “Blue Jays Way” that transcends the in-power regime, you’d need to talk to the guys that were here ages ago, too.

      • This sort of comes back to John Farrell’s comments about the Jays vs. Red Sox systems that were much-derided in Toronto, but seemed like there was some validity to it… the Red Sox have had much more success developing their talent and bringing it to the majors than the Jays in the past 10 years.

  23. The conclusion I’ve come to after reading this is the Jays used to be decent in developing talent but not so much lately (last decade or so)

    • Yes, they were absolute beasts in the drafting/developing game in the 80′s and 90′s, and after the decade long lull of the Ricciardi regime, Anthopoulos really looked like he was turning things around with the expanded scout staff and Latin American contingent early in his tenure. But over the last year-plus there’s been a number of firings, and while I don’t have any numbers handy the scouting department sure feels like it’s been shrinking. Losing Marco Paddy to the White Sox really hurt as well, the guy was excellent.

  24. Overwhelming majority of positional players where known for their bat rather than their defence (exceptions: Tony Fernandez, maybe Rios, and as noted, Alex Gonzalez). Seems the Jays are so attracted by draftee bat/power potential that they easily accept average to less than average defence? Think JPA, Snider, Cooper.

    • that bat is always the key, for any team. no one drafts a player based on defense.

      most players end up switching positions anyways, the bat is what keeps a player in the lineup

  25. I think one thing that would have been worth considering is not just where these players ranked in the Jays system, but where each ranked in BA’s overall prospect list. For instance, Sanchez might be the Jays’ top ranked prospect, but he was ranked 65 on BA’s 2013 prospect list, with some teams having 5 or 6 players ahead of him. If previous Jays prospects were ranked much higher overall, wouldn’t that have a substantial impact on their chances of success?

    Hypothetical example, but if Carlos Delgado was the Jays #1 prospect but was, say, also the 4th ranked overall prospect, how right is it to use his success to project Sanchez (1st but 65th), who would not be nearly as highly ranked overall?

    Wouldn’t a prospect’s position in a field of other top prospects better project his possible performance better than just within that organization?

    Might be worth looking at for a follow-up.

    • It’s a fair point and something I considered making reference to, but I thought the thing was too damn wordy already and I was hoping to see at least one or two readers make it all the way through before closing their browser lol

  26. Does anyone else take issue with this sentence?

    ” became regulars (McGowan) three were below average regulars (Gonzalez, League, Lind)”

    OK, if Dustin McGowan is a regular (?) how the fuck are Lind and League (both all-stars) BELOW average?

    • At his peak (the two years before injuries took over), McGowan put up 5.7 fWAR in a season and a half. In 2007, he finished 19th in the majors in FIP and 33rd in pitcher fWAR despite 20-40 innings fewer than every pitcher ahead of him.

      League had a couple very good seasons, but he was nothing more than a decent but inconsistent reliever. Lind had the huge 2009 (18th in the majors in wRC+ but 55th in fWAR because of defense) and has been mostly terrible outside of that season.

      I think you’re remembering the recent McGowan who can’t stay on the field as opposed to the early McGowan who was one of the league’s best pitchers for two years.

      • Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m not ready to give up on McGowan as a starter just yet. His stuff looked good last year.

        • I am with you on this one. I say let his throw his fucking arm off at this point. He says he wants that starter job. Go for it Dusty!

        • I’m not either, but I pretty much fall into the “Why the hell not?” camp there. It’s not like I’m expecting big things out of him, but they might as well give him a chance since we know he has the upside.

          • I’m a fan of both Dusty and the weighted ball programme. If Dusty can make it, (and I think he can) it’ll do wonders for the programme too.

    • Using ‘All-star’ as a value to measure a player’s worth is like using RBI to value a batter’s worth.

    • I think the idea was that McGowan got derailed by injury, and that’s not necessarily something you can blame the drafter or the prospect ranking on. If a player you develop turns into a star, but then gets injured, you were still absolutely right to take that player, you just got shitty luck.

    • Full year equivalents:

      Adam Lind: 5.1 WAR in 3,408 career plate appearances = 0.97 WAR/650 PA
      Brandon League: 1.9 WAR in 469.0 career innings = 0.81 WAR/200 IP
      Dustin McGowan: 5.9 WAR in 400.1 career innings = 2.95 WAR/200 IP

      When on the field Dustin McGowan is (was) a signficantly better player than Lind and League have ever been. I’m not going to fault the Blue Jays player development for the fact that McGowan’s body let him down before he gained longevity.

  27. I don’t know if the Jays have traditionally selected the best available player in drafts. Quite possibly they did this in the 80s and 90s, and moved away towards high-upside pitching first, bats second methodology. In all, I find the world of scouting and drafting today is much, much different than it was 30 yrs ago. I read about the Cardinals Way and they are tapping much smaller towns, doing hands-on scouting, finding guys like Shelby Miller. I don’t know if the Jays are doing this outside of the Dominican.

  28. Why is Sanchez #1 over Stroman again? Aaron is still walking a shitload of guys in A ball, while Stroman has destroyed the minors and looks pretty much major-league ready.

  29. Well, did you see what he did in the Arizona Fall League?

    Bleacher Report, for what it’s worth, said this about him, they have their doubts as well…

    HOTTEST PITCHING PROSPECT

    Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

    2013 AFL Stats: 13.1 IP, 1.35 ERA, .122 BAA, 10/8 K/BB (4 GS)

    One year ago, just before the Toronto Blue Jays made the trade for all of Miami’s big contracts, there were three young pitchers worth mentioning in the organization.

    Today, after Justin Nicolino was sent to the Marlins and Noah Syndergaard went to New York, Aaron Sanchez is the only one of that Big Three remaining.

    The Blue Jays weren’t going to part with the young right-hander in a deal, which was a wise move at the time. Now, however, based on two appearances I saw in the AFL, I am concerned about what the future holds for Sanchez.

    There’s nothing wrong with his stuff. He still has a monster fastball that sits in the mid-90s, a curveball that flashes plus and a changeup that is still in the developing stages but coming along nicely for a 21-year-old.

    Sanchez’s issues come when you break down his delivery, as well as lingering control issues that haven’t gotten better after his breakout season in 2012. He’s always been a very good athlete, capable of repeating a simple, solid delivery with ease.

    That’s no longer the case, though, as Sanchez no longer drives his 6’4” frame to the plate. He stays almost completely straight through his wind-up and push towards home, which prevents him from getting plane on the fastball and allows hitters a little extra time to see the ball out of his hands.

    He’s also been erratic with eight walks to just 10 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. The stuff is good enough that Sanchez can get away with all of these flaws against weaker competition, but he will get eaten alive by advanced hitting.

    This was a pitcher who had the upside of a No. 1 starter, and he still flashes the potential to get there. Sanchez’s flaws are more pronounced now than they have ever been, though, making the likelihood of him ever reaching that ceiling slim. – Adam Wells

    • I totally appreciate that he’s got some filthy stuff, but it just feels like something pretty dramatic has to happen for him pretty soon to be effective in the majors. If he struggles with major command issues again this year, what happens to his prospect shine then?

      Though it does seem that his walk rate is trending in the right direction (ignoring the tiny sample from his AFL stint).

    • “Bleacher Report, for what it’s worth, said this about him, they have their doubts as well…”

      It’s Bleacher Report. “What it’s worth” is pretty much nothing.

    • http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&sid=l119&cid=527&y=2013
      @Morgan
      Check your stats…not sure they’re accurate.
      Also as I understand it, they’ve decided to take Sanchez – temporarily – to a more straight up and down delivery to get him more “on top’ of the ball so he can find a better release point and thus throw more strikes. Again that’s my understanding from something I read recently.

      • Temporarily? That seems strange. Just tell him how you want him to throw the ball. Don’t say, “do this for a while so you can learn to do this other thing.”
        Just fucking tell him to do this other thing.
        But what do I know? Probably oversimplifying things.

        • http://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20131213132633383

          Batter’s Box lifted this from the Baseball America chat with Clint Longnecker
          who explained it :

          Aaron Sanchez: Recent changes to delivery came about as a result of his problem throwing strikes. Jays thought he was getting under the ball, leaving too many up high in the zone or missing arm side. So he shortened his stride to eliminate lateness in his foot strike. The shortened stride reduced some of the variables in his delivery. He expects Sanchez to eventually increase his stride length back to where it was.

  30. awesome read sanchez might be special but stroman is who I want to see pitch

  31. Fuck I loved McGriff so much BITD.
    I ended up loving Joe too tho so NBD

  32. This was an amazing, in-depth, well-written, well-thought out entry. Personally, I focus too much on the Major League teams, so reading about the prospects is a refreshing change.

  33. The linear progressiin to three year peak starting at 27 or whatever is very interesting. What if these guys came up when they were 25 instead of 23 for instance.Would get way more value out of them before they hit fa and have way more payroll flexibility to sign more establishef players. If someone did a compsrison of how close to pesk value top prospects contribute over their first 4 to 6 years the Sox Cards Rays (currently maybe not historically) and others I suspect would have a big edge and this is a big factor in their recent successes. When one of their guys come up they are developed and not learning on the mlb job putting up 1 war 1st yesr 2 war second and not peaking until 4th or 5th

    • interesting

    • All dates for 2014 season:
      Rays: Myers 23, Moore 24, Cobb 25, Archer 26
      Red Sox: Bogarts 21, Bradley 23, Middlebrooks 25
      Cards: Wacha 22, C. Martinez 22, Wong 23, Rosenthal 23, Adams 25, Kelly 25.
      A’s: Gray 24, Parker 25, Norris 25, Parker 25, Straily 25, Griffin 26, Cook 26

      • Oops. Listed Parker twice. I don’t think he has a twin.

      • Seeing all of these young studs listed together, and then thinking about what the Jays have is very depressing.

        • Probably why everyone is excited about stroman. Our list of young players players will change dramatically within the next couple of years too.

          Not to mention the guy is pulling out names from pretty much the top farm systems, pull a list of young guys from detroit, you’d feel alot better.

          • Tigers: Castellanos 21, Iglesasis 24, Smyley 24, Porcello 25
            Blue Jays: Gose 23, Lawrie 24, Sierra 25 (Goins is 26)
            Mariners: Walker 21, Zunino 22, Franklin 22, E. Ramirez 23, Miller 24, Paxton 25, Medina 25
            Rangers: Profar 21, M. Perez 22, E. Belter 24, Choice 24,Ross 24, Andrus 25, Felize 25
            Any more requests?

      • Remember this?

        Cecil 23
        Romero 25
        Morrow 25
        Marcum 28

        Life’s a bitch sometimes.

  34. Wanna know what I think?

  35. It’s kind of painful to think that the Jays haven’t produced a great player in roughly 10 years.

  36. Gotta be careful with the conclusions you draw from this analysis because of the regime changes along the way. Too me, it looks like the numbers suggest that the Jays were much better at player development through the 80s and 90s when they enjoyed their greatest successes, and the organization has then gotten noticeably worse during the Riccardi/AA tenures (don’t forget they are linked as AA was AGM under Riccardi).

    Interpreted in that light, the conclusions of this article would be the opposite.

  37. Off topic, but rumour has it Seattle is finally shopping Nick Franklin and the only two clubs connected are the Mets and Rays. Umm…

    • If you’re AA do you want to be locked in a value dogfight with Alderson and Friedman? He’s probably smart to identify it ain’t happening and to look elsewhere.

      • But AA’s attitude lately has been “take it or leave it” so if whoever he’s offering doesn’t match he’s not worrying over it.

    • Did anyone else see the Grantland note on AAAA-man Ty Kelly? I can certainly think of one team that could use a high-OBP second baseman.

    • If the Rays are looking then it sounds like it might be worthwhile. That said, with multiple teams looking and with Seattle under no pressure to move him, I am sure the price would be exorbitant. If what Blair is saying is true and there is no payroll problems, sign Drew already, keep the prospects for later in the year when you can’t spend your cash to fix problems. Sounds like they would even be willing to backload the contract.

  38. Interesting article, but you’d get similar (and possibly more accurate) results for the 90s if you just looked at first-rounders. The Ash regime had an incredible run of about a decade where they drafted a future star every single year except one. Since Wells graduated, it seems like the BA lists for the Jays have been much more a poopoo platter of random prospects with good minor league results. And that only brings up the issue that where a prospect ranks on his team list is far less important than where he ranks in the overall…I’d rather have had 2010 Bryce Harper as my #2 prospect than most any other team’s #1.

  39. For something different
    An excerpt from Dirk’s new book

    http://deadspin.com/pills-bullies-and-pink-weights-life-as-a-fringe-majo-1530011720

    • Whew RADAR!

      LONG read…have to finish it later.

    • Brice Jared sounds like the obvious BJ Ryan proxy, but he wasn’t around in 2010 when Dirk’s first book came out. Shaun Marcum, perhaps? He was a noted asshole, wasn’t he? Is Jeremy Kitsch supposed to be a composite of Jeremy Accardo and Jesse Litsch?

      • I’ve read somewhere that Brice is Cecil. I forget where.

        • If you read the comments at the bottom of the article the consensous is that it is Brett Cecil.

          After reading that, I’m convinced that Hayhurst is not back with the Jays this season because of his relationship with players on the team. If you figure Cecil still has a grudge against him and with what happened with Arencibia, they probably turned the rest of the players against him as well.

          • Uhh-huh…just the awkwardness of the book alone would be a good reason not to have Hayhurst back. Good on Hayhurst in helping other’s through his writing and all that but the Jays can’t have that stuff floating around.

          • Obviously i don’t know any of the players personally but Cecil always seemed like the real quiet type in any media interview i’ve seen him in. Again that means nothing of course, i am sure they are one way in front of the media and one way behind closed doors.

        • What a whiny, self-pitying creep. Everything is someone else’s fault. Now you have the context to Arencibia saying that nobody in clubhouse respected Hayhurst. It’s true, and it’s because he’s wrapped in self-pity and denial.

          • JB you’re either trolling or victim-blaming/shaming. Either way it’s completely repugnant and has no place in the discussion of a depressive addict and his choice to blow the whistle.

            Honestly, if that’s your opinion after reading that article you need to re-think your values.

    • This just reflects horribly on the Jays as a developmental organisation, let alone adding a real odor to the timing of Hayhurst being let go. Have to wonder how hard the media in Toronto will decide to go after this, because if they do, it could become a real distraction at best, cost jobs at worst. Considering that it took the league office to look into locker room bullying in the NFL, this one could conceivably go pretty high up. “77″, “Brice Jared”, “TJ Collins”, “Jeremy Kitsch” would have to read more of the book to get a feel for what Millar was up to, but man… This is bad.

      This isn’t even taking into consideration that an addict and depressive was offered essentially the barest of help. I don’t blame athletes for acting like athletes, but if Dirk wanted to make a bigger issue out of this, I really don’t see how the Blue Jays could explain this away. From the excerpt clearly he had showed all the signs. Messy.

      Hoping Hayhurst gets a chance to really say more without feeling like he has to protect identities. From the raw deal he got from the org. I don’t see why he feels compelled to lay off.

      • Dude I read his first two books, not just a few select pages. Getting the second one finished was tough. The first one had some appeal in the underdog aspect. But overall the guy had the most boring life of anyone who has written a baseball book. The actual baseball inside scoop is very disappointing it seems because he was more the nerd of the locker room than anything else.

      • Oh please, you think this shit doesn’t happen everywhere? I’m sure the majority of ballplayers go through the same thing at some point; Dirk just didn’t have the mentality to deal with it. Frankly, the “bullying” in that article seems fairly tame compared to most incidents I’ve heard about in super-competitive work environments.

        At least he’s able to write about it and actually have people read it. Most people don’t have that luxury.

      • Lets remember Dirk pitched less than 40 major league innings. He was the 25th guy on a team going nowhere. The few good innings he did have with the Jays were lucky ones in that his ERA was lower than it should have been. Most of us here who are in are forties before being PC was the norm gave and received worse in high school for Christ sakes.

        That he has parlayed his “playing days” into a better career than he had as a player is great for him but lets not make him out to be a martyr.

  40. The game tomorrow is supposed to be televised on MLBN, but it’s blacked out :’-(. Does anyone know where I might be able to find it online?

  41. Don’t know if anyone heard Scott Boras on the Jeff Blair show today but it was pretty fascinating.

    He essentially made a pitch for the Jays to sign Drew and Morales, and then trade Lind for pitching. Said both would want to play for a team like the Jays, and said Drew would play second.

    • It should be noted that the Jays are one of the only teams in all of MLB that actually has an open spot to slide Stephen Drew into. It would make sense that Boras would target the Jays. I’m not sure calling the Jays out like he did was the smartest of moves, in that respect.

      • I agree but it looked more like a move of last resort so he probably is past the point of dealing with them.

        Despite the obvious self interest, his arguments make a lot of sense in Drew’s case. Morales not so much.

    • Can he do that? Lind is not his client. To say his client is a better option and they could trade Lind for pitching and be better off with Moralas seems like tampering.

      • no tampering at all. disrespectful but not tampering… You’re allowed to be a dick to other teams players, like Ricciardi and Dunn.

        The stupidest thing about what Boras said is that Morales is better then Lind (closer then you think, if you factor defense) and the jays should trade Lind for pitching and sign morales.

        how does that make sense? what team is going to give up pitching for an ‘inferior’ player when they could just sign the ‘better’ player and give up a pick.

        he’s getting really desperate, he misjudged the market .

        • Presumably because Lind would be cheaper (of course Boras knows that and that’s why the additional cost goes unmentioned). I mean it’s feasable that the Jays could sign Morales and Drew and then trade Lind + some of the out of options relievers (either directly or as part of a multi-team deal) for a starter.

          Of course I don’t know if that deal is workable considering that we’re talking about finding someone who provides better value then the already reasonable (IMO) deals signed by Free Agent starters and I’m not sure that there’s a team out there that would surrender a pitcher that provides that kind of value for that kind of return.

          Regardless, I don’t think the money is there anyways and for all the sense it makes right now from a baseball perspective considering his comments about his clients willingness to backload deals he’s effectively talking about 4+ year deals (the next two years with significant money on the books, the third year with options and then the fourth year with little committed but several expensive options)).

      • I agree with Boras on Lind vs Morales.

        Lind hit well last year when the post season was out fo reach but I’m sick of his inconsistent horseshit. I’m almost certain he’ll regress to his 12,11 numbers. Why? Becaus it’s Adam fuckin Lind. Trade him to Pittsburgh for a pitching prospect, someone who would be second rounder-ish material and then you lose absolutely nothing by signing Morales. And you gain a switchy who has shown much greater consistency throughout his career. Morales would fuckin rake in the Dome.

    • He seemed to indicate it would take a premium to get Drew to play 2B though. And of course both would be happy to play here – it’s Feb 26 and they’re still out of a job.

  42. Great article. You guys remember when the Chacin, O-Dog for Man-Ram rumors were swirling? And the Jays pundits were like “No fucking way.” Or the Rios for Lincecum rumors after Barry Bonds retired? Fuck, JPR couldn’t swing a deal for the life of him.

    • Been around for thirty years,Ed.
      In one form or another.
      Must be getting close to baseball season.
      Beer and baseball.

  43. Too fucking quiet in here.

    Courtesy of a Stoeten retweet.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-most-and-least-improved-teams-for-2014/

    Jays are projected to be one of the more improved teams in baseball, based on WAR projections.Just by being healthy.

  44. [...] BillieButBBq / February 27, 2014 / No Comments toronto blue jays – Google Blog Search The Toronto Blue Jays, Number One Prospects, and Aaron Sanchez … It affords us a rare opportunity to have over thirty years of organizational prospect rankings to reflect on, and I've taken advantage of this information in an attempt to uncover what exactly it means to be the Toronto Blue Jays … more info… [...]

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