Archive for the ‘John Sickels’ Category


John Sickels of Minor League Ball has his overall top prospects list out today, and even though there’s not a whole lot in the way of commentary about any of the Jays who made the list, it’s of particular interest to fans of the club, I think, because unlike many of the others, he goes 150 names deep. This means we get to see how a couple additional Jays prospects stack up to the rest of the league, as well an idea as how close they may have been to some of the Top 100s that have already been released.

As has been universally the case this off-season, Sickels ranks Aaron Sanchez highest among the Jays prospects, checking in at 42 for Sickels, after having been 19th for Keith Law, 23rd for FanGraphs, 32nd for Baseball Prospectus, and 65th for Baseball America. Not universal, however is whether Sanchez is preferred over Noah Syndergaard, with Sickels joining BP and BA in having the Mets prospect ahead.

Sickels does join Law and FanGraphs, however, in being higher than BP and BA on Roberto Osuna, as neither of those two had him on their list at all. Osuna checks in at the highest position he holds among of these lists, 75, with Law placing 87th and FanGraphs having him at 81.

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Because there sure isn’t anything happening on the Jays front at the Winter Meetings– at least, not that we’re hearing about, or that Alex Anthopoulos is admitting to– let’s take a detour into some delicious prospecting, as John Sickels posted his list of the top 20 Jays prospects today at Minor League Ball, giving a brief scouting note on all twenty, and a lengthier discussion of the organization as a whole.

As we’ve come to expect by now, Travis d’Arnaud tops the list– Sickels calls him “not perfect” but “either the best catching prospect in baseball or the second-best behind Mike Zunino”– with few surprises following him among the top tier.

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As the MLB season heads towards its midway point, it’s time for a lot of the prospect evaluators out there to check in with an update on the minor league landscape, and John Sickels of Minor League Ball has done just that, updating his Top 120 prospects list, and posting an “All Questions Answered” thread related to the list.

The Jays, as you may expect from a club with such vaunted system– or, y’know, if you read the title of the post– placed a lot of prospects on the list, with not just seven among the ranked 120, but three more prospects among the additional 58 honourable mentions– aka “Other Players Considered for the list.” It should be noted that Sickels doesn’t include 2012 draftees here.

Travis d’Arnaud, as usual, tops the list among Jays prospects, though he’s way back in 18th– an improvement over his previous ranking on Sickels’ list, 26th, but perhaps a little farther back than we’ve come to expect.

There’s then a cluster of prospects in the 40 to 50 range: Noah Snydergaard at 40 (up from 67), Justin Nicolino at 45 (up from 68), the new-to-the-list Aaron Sanchez at 49, and Anthony Gose (pictured) holding steady at 51.

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On Wednesday, John Sickels of Minor League Ball posted a list of 12 of the best non-rookie position players in MLB under age 25, and Brett Lawrie was all the way up in second. Of course, Sickels is clear that this should be regarded as his “personal favorites” list, but still… Lawrie’s name ahead of Andrew McCutcheon? Buster Posey? Mike Giancarlo Stanton?

It might be crazy (though it might not!), but I’ll take it.

He writes:

“The only thing I’m concerned about here is a possible tendency towards nagging injuries. If he stays healthy, Lawrie will be (already is) a terrific hitter with power, speed, and a glove that is underrated (at a minimum) and could be excellent once he settles in . He’s superb.”

I believe he means “supoib,” but nonetheless, cock-ticklingly awesome point taken.

In a follow-up piece he names 32 additional under-25s who didn’t make the original top 12, including Jays outfielders Colby Rasmus, Travis Snider, and Eric Thames.

Colby’s “broad base of skills is too intriguing to give up on after one bad year,” we’re told, and he’ll be interesting to follow as a test of the “change of scenery” theory.

Snider is a “change-of-scenery type” as well, he says, but it’s “too soon to give up on him in the big picture,” because while “strikeouts are eating him up, ” there’s “still plenty of thunder potential in the bat.”

Thames, Sickels tells us, has “a solid bat and has improved his defensive skills. I don’t expect him to be a star but he should be productive enough to hold his job.”

As a fully-committed member of Team Snider, I really don’t say nearly enough that if the extremely-likable Thames were to do that, it’s be a little bit awesome.

When the news broke over the weekend that the Jays had demoted Travis Snider and decided to give Eric Thames the starting left field job, I just knew I had recently read someone suggest precisely that scenario, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out who it was.

Turns out, it was John Sickels of Minor League Ball, who I’ve discovered (while in preparation for tomorrow’s ultra-rare Morning Snack post) included the following nugget in his Prospect Notes post back on Saturday afternoon, a day before the news broke.

Buzz from Toronto Blue Jays camp is that Eric Thames has the edge over Travis Snider in the competition for the regular left field job. Both are hitting well (Thames 13-for-40, .325/.378/.500, Snider 13-for-43, .302/.375/.698) but Thames is reportedly impressing more with his defense and athleticism, which looks like the deciding factor since both are hitting. Thames is also making better contact, with eight whiffs against Snider’s 14.


Whoever he got his information from either got lucky… or he’s got the goods. I couldn’t possibly say which– though, knowing the Jays, I’d be willing to wager a guess. Still, I must admit, I might pay a little closer attention the next time Sickels says he hears some Jays-related buzzing.