Archive for the ‘Aaron Sanchez’ Category

With a bunch of promotions, injuries and regressions already changing the nature of who is considered a prospect at this point in the season, ESPN’s Keith Law has decided to revise his rankings, publishing today an updated top 25 prospects list (Insider Only)– and Las Vegas catcher Travis d’Arnaud finds himself in fourth!

That ranking is up two spots from the sixth-place ranking d’Arnaud achieved in Law’s pre-season Top 100. There was actually quite a bit of shuffling required to get there, as Matt Moore, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have all graduated from the list, Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller dropped, while Orioles phenom Dylan Bundy and Texas shortstop Jurickson Profar vaulted over d’Arnaud into first and second respectively– with another Oriole prospect (gulp!), Manny Machado, also ahead.

“Yes, it’s Las Vegas, which is a notorious hitters’ park, but he’s on a tear right now, hitting .341 with five homers in his last 10 games,” Law writes. “The combination of plus defense, power and enough OBP makes him a potential All-Star.”

The 23-year-old catcher is the only Blue Jays prospect to make the top 25, though Law also lists Lansing pitcher Aaron Sanchez among his honourable mentions/players to keep an eye on.  That’ll play.

 Hentgen always had a keen eye for young talent.

As an employee of the club, it’s hard not to take anything Pat Hentgen– who filled in as bullpen coach last night for Pete Walker, who is home in Connecticut due to a family medical issue–  without a mammoth grain of salt, but according to the latest from Richard Griffin’s Jays blog at the Toronto Star, the 1996 Cy Young winner really– really– likes what he sees in Lansing pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard.

You should really read Griff’s whole piece for a lot more background and extra quotes, but here’s the money shot:

“When I saw Syndergaard first, I came back and said, ‘Wow, that’s the best pitching prospect I’ve seen here since ’04-’05,’ Then when I saw Sanchez from behind the rubber, I thought, ‘Wow, now we’ve got 1 and 1-A. You know, they’re Carpenter and Halladay. That’s my best analogy. That’s what I’m thinking right there, if they develop. They’re both hard workers. They just remind me a lot of Carp and Doc. They’re big-bodied kids that haven’t even filled out yet.”

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Greetings From Dunedin
Welcome back to your weekly fix of Blue Jays prospecty goodness. I decided to try something new this week: if you scroll down to the end of this article, you’ll see organization leaders in several hitting and pitching categories (current through games of April 17). If you like seeing them every week, let me know. If enough people are interested in them, I’ll work on a better way of displaying the leaderboard tables.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you’re now able to follow the statistics of Toronto’s top 20 prospects (as ranked by Kevin Goldstein) over at Baseball Prospectus’ new Top 11 Prospects Tracker.

(Note: to conserve pixels, I won’t be running the Top 30 Prospects list every week, but I will include a link to the list in each post) Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial Note: We’re pumped to bring you the first of a season’s full of weekly prospect-y dispatches from Dunedin, FL, home of the Jays’ FSL High-A affiliate, and some of their best prospects, courtesy of the awesome Bradley Ankrom (@BradleyAnkrom) of Baseball Prospectus. Awesomeness awaits!

It’s an exciting time to be a Toronto Blue Jays fan. Despite their competing in baseball’s toughest division, many pundits have embraced Canada’s Team as their “dark horse” or “sleeper” or “ballsy pick” of 2012, and for good reason. The Blue Jays scored the sixth-most runs in all of baseball last year, and project to do even more damage with third baseman Brett Lawrie in the lineup all year. Rotation anchor Ricky Romero has established himself as one of the league’s best starting pitchers, earning AL Cy Young votes for the first time in his career after going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts last year.

The big-league roster is undoubtedly shaping up nicely, but it’s what Alex Anthopoulos & Co. have done on the farm that should tickle Jays fans about the future. In his annual review of organization depth, Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein ranked the Blue Jays 20th, 24th, 10th, and 22nd between 2007-10. A bumper draft in 2010 revitalized the farm system, and players taken that year account for nearly one-third of the team’s top 30 prospects listed below and, more importantly, five of the top 11. In his first winter as Blue Jays general manager, Anthopoulos traded franchise icon Roy Halladay to Philadelphia in a deal that netted the organization’s current top prospect, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, as well as right-hander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Michael Taylor, who was flipped to Oakland for Brett Wallace, who was subsequently traded to Houston for Anthony Gose, Toronto’s third-best prospect.

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Apparently Keith Law wasn’t done with writing about the Jays when at the end of last week he told us that Kyle Drabek seemed to be taking well to the mechanical changes the club has got him to make, and that Dustin McGowan looked like ““a shadow of what he used to be.” He also took in a game featuring the Jays and Phillies minor leaguers on Friday, providing some detailed notes at (Insider Only), the most interesting of which– for our purposes– feature Aaron Sanchez.

Law is upfront about how much he likes Sanchez– something we’ve seen in his recent top prospects lists. In 2012 he listed him as the organization’s second-best pitching prospect, behind Drew Hutchison, and thirst-best in 2011, behind Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart– however, the 2012 consensus of top Jays prospects, based on Law’s and several other lists, done by Steal of Home has Sanchez behind McGuire, Norris, Nicolino and Syndergaard, as well as Hutchison.

So, Law is high on him– and he explains part of the reason why, saying that Sanches has “got great makeup and the delivery and body are what they’re supposed to look like.”

Sanchez has added some weight since Law last saw him, and against the Phillies he was “mostly working in the 94-96 range, showing good feel for a changeup but less for his slider.”

For a lot of evaluators, Sanchez has sort of slipped in behind the other high-end Jays pitchers in A-ball after not having the best year in 2011, so it’s nice to see that Law maintains his belief, writing that “now that he’s sitting in the mid-90s it’s hard to offer any reasons for skepticism beyond the usual caveats on young pitchers.”

He also provides notes on a few other Jays prospects, like 3B Kellen Sweeney– who didn’t look great, he says– and pitchers Dustin Antolin, Tyler Ybarra, and most impressive of all, John Stilson, who “was 91-94, straight but firm, with a hard-tumbling changeup at 79-83 that dropped almost like a splitter, showing one hard downer curveball at 81. There’s effort in the delivery, and stress on the shoulder, and the command wasn’t good, but if that’s how he looks right out of the chute he could move quickly through the low minors this year.”

Yup. That works.