Archive for the ‘Keith Law’ Category

Oh, hello. Anything interesting happen today?

Ho ho ho. Yes, yes, the Encarnacion deal– which I totally heard about, only… like, three minutes after Parkes had already taken the reins on that post. But it certainly wasn’t the only interesting thing to take place around here today (not that you’d know it based on my level of activity), because Keith Law published his mid-season top 50 prospects list at ESPN.com (Insider Only), and followed it up with a related chat with his readers, both of which were rich with Jays content.

First and foremost, there’s the list itself, which not only– as the title of this post kinda gives away– features Aaron Sanchez listed as highly as we’ve likely ever seen him, but also has Travis d’Arnaud way up in fifth, and Jake Marisnick rounding out the club’s contingent in the 32nd spot.

d’Arnaud’s qualities we know about, though Law gives word to our deepest fears about him, suggesting that his latest injury in a long string may indicate “it’s possible, even likely, he is always going to be an injury-prone player, one who is great when he plays but won’t average 140 games a year the way you’d want.”

Ouch.

But Sanchez is the big one for me, as he’s way up at 25 from being 96th pre-season. To contrast, he made his first appearance in John Sickels’ top 120 list at Minor League Ball earlier in the month, coming in at 49.

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There wasn’t a whole lot of Jays content in Thursday’s Keith Law chat at ESPN.com, but fortunately there are a few more tasty nugs [note: sorry] from his Twitter and his piece on the Futures Game rosters (Insider Only) that I think I can cobble together a whole post out of it. So… um… I s’pose that’s what we should do…

From the Chat

AA (Toronto)
Is any of the available pitching on the trade market worth me giving up any of my big 4 pitching prospects (Sanchez, Syndergard, Nicolino, Norris)?
Klaw
Why would you do that?

Bill (Toronto)
Can you please try and explain to me why the Blue Jays do not trade for a starter that can get them through the season rather than filling from within with prospects going up and down their system? Or even sign a free agent, such as Livian Hernandez? This is driving all Jays fans nuts!!!
Klaw
If you think that’s a good idea, you were already nuts.

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Drew mentioned earlier that Bob Elliott often employs a classic trick where he turns some quotes from a scout into a column– and funnily enough, that’s almost exactly what he employed earlier this week at the Toronto Sun (here via Canoe, because the Sun’s website has been squirrely lately).

To be fair, Elliott actually tacked the quotes below a whole column’s worth of content that wasn’t based around what his scout-buddy was telling him, but… who gives a shit about that, amiright? Here’s how his RBI-loving source viewed some of the Jays’ top prospects, followed by more prospecty tidbits from Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law…

Now, I scoff at this evaluator’s anachronistic-seeming view of the game, and this would be the part of the post where I back off of that slightly, except that I’m pretty sure I have damn good reason for doing so.

“He’s an all-star shortstop with the glove, which everyone knew at the start of the season,” he tells Elliott of number two (no, really) prospect Adeiny Hechavarria. “Now, he’s starting to hit some, look at his runs scored and RBI.”

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The damn draft is still meandering towards its merciful conclusion, but by Day 3 all of the good stuff has already happened– and this year a whole hell of a lot of it seems to have taken place during day two, as many teams, the Jays perhaps chief among them, started test-driving their strategies on how best to game the new CBA system in order maximize the amateur talent they’re able to acquire.

All that good stuff, and further scouting on the Jays’ top picks, was the subject of Mike Wilner’s chat with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus during the pre-game show last night on the (audio here), as well as some gold from Keith Law yesterday, who spoke about Marcus Stroman and Matt Smoral on the Baseball Today podcast, and answered a number of Jays-related questions in his post-draft chat at ESPN.com.

Here are your highlights…

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This evening, beginning at 7 PM, MLB will conduct the first round, and the first supplemental round of its Rule 4 Draft from gorgeous Secaucus, NJ. The Houston Astros are currently, technically, on the clock, as holders of the first pick, and after that, the real clusterfuck begins, as club will start making their selections, picking up the pieces of their draft boards, and trying to figure out how best to manage their money.

I’ll have a Draft Threat post up in time for Houston’s selection at 7 PM, and will keep updating it as the evening progresses, with an eye obviously on the Jays, and whatever information I can get my hands on regarding the players they pick. And it shouldn’t even be too insufferable, as the Jays should provide one of the evening’s more interesting story-lines– for all of baseball, not just for us– as they’ll be making five picks (17, 22, 50, 58 and 60), and have been viewed as quite aggressive in their selections– not to mention in their acquisition of extra picks– since Alex Anthopoulos assumed the GM’s chair.

It’s not an unrealistic expectation that they’ll be one of the clubs attempting to game the system and extracting as much value out of their multiple picks as possible. How they might do this remains somewhat up in the air. Anthopoulos has said, as I posted earlier, that it’s possible they’ll take guys who can be signed under-slot later in the draft, if they feel a player is available to them earlier who is worth going after, but the impression he left was that this was dependent on who is available to them.

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Is it because he reads books? What the hell gives, dickholes?

There wasn’t a whole lot of Jays-related content in this week’s Keith Law chat at ESPN.com, as the upcoming Rule 4 draft (i.e. the amateur draft) commanded most of the attention. What was there, however, definitely could use some expanding upon, so… um… I dunno, let’s just do that!

J (toronto)
Drew Hutchison…… in the top 25, where would his relative spot be? Do you like what you have seen out of him so far in the majors? Do you like the fact that the Jays brought him up to the majors?
Klaw
Would not be in the top 25.

KLaw is already on record having said that he thinks Hutchison has been kinda rushed by the Jays, so we know what he thinks on that front, but I suppose that, with all the movement, it is surprising that prospect number 42 on his pre-season Top 100, who is already in the Majors, would be so easily dismissed from the top 25. I don’t know if it’s a ceiling thing, or what, but I guess Hutchison doesn’t get bonus points for being called on to develop under the Big League lights. I don’t think it’s unfair, and… y’know… not having seen anybody who’s ranked higher, who the hell would I be to suggest it isn’t.

 

RD (Toronto)
Why is Thames still the starting LF!?
Klaw
I have no idea.

This is the question that’s been on the minds of an ever-increasing number of Jays fans this month– we spoke about it on today’s podcast, in fact– and what the answer seems to actually be is that there just isn’t much in the way of viable alternatives. And maybe that’s OK, because, as Drew and I discussed– and maybe Parkes, who the fuck knows?– the Jays’ plan all along has seemed to be to let Thames prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s not actually, seriously a better option than Travis Snider. He’s close to having proven it, I think– his career weighted on-base is now down to .322, within four points of Travis Snider’s .318, and while it’s unfair to say that represents the best of Thames, we certainly can’t feel we’ve seen the best of Snider, despite what an odd category of insufferable, smug twats who want to be first to have called “bust” on him will brainlessly tell you about his ability to hit a Major League fastball, or a Major League slider, or whatever they’ve decided he can’t do– but I actually could live with seeing Thames getting a little more time, just so we can be absolutely certain that it’s time to put this debate to rest and give Snider the keys. Not that we have much of a choice at this point anyway.

And– seriously, we talked about it on the podcast too, but seriously– what the hell was with the bullpen’s utter disinterest in Thames’ injury in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against Tampa? Like… I don’t know if we can call that any kind of indication of how Thames is thought about on the team, but… yikes. It was uncomfortable. And yet, he seems so nice! Is it because he’s practically a rookie? Because he reads? Because it’s one of those the bullpen guys don’t care much for the hitters and vice versa things? I don’t know. Weird.

 

Craig (toronto)
Glad to Aaron Sanchez mentioned in your top 25 article. Good chance he makes your top 50 he continues to perform well?
Klaw
He’d have a better chance if he was allowed to turn a lineup over twice every now and then.

And here’s possibly the maybe kinda big (but not really) one, as we get some rare criticism for… well… for anything related to the big fuck pitching prospects the Jays currently have at Lansing. Obviously the club’s main goal in handling their developing pitchers isn’t to get them onto top prospects lists, but… Law kinda makes a good point about asking them to turn over some more lineups, doesn’t he? It certainly can’t hurt to have these guys starting to see hitters more than once, as they essentially are, with the piggybacking scheme the Jays are following. At the same time, it’s not like they’re not ever going to have their in-game workload stepped up, so… is it really a concern?

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.