Archive for the ‘Prospecting’ Category

Who Is A.J. Jimenez?


If you read this week’s Griff Bag post, you have noticed I tried to be maybe a little more hopeful than in weeks past about J.P. Arencibia and his future here in Toronto. Or… well… yeah, a little.

About his closest competition in the minors I wrote:

A.J. Jimenez is back in Double-A after missing most of last year with Tommy John surgery, and he has some promise– a defence-first guy with not much pop but a decent hit tool, from what I’ve been led to believe– but even though he’s getting closer, don’t expect him to displace Arencibia to start 2014 or anything.

I still think that’s pretty accurate, but… um… about Jimenez…

Microscopic sample size alert, of course. And this is, let’s net forget, a guy with just 35 games above A-ball, and who put up an OPS of just .666 in 27 games last year. Aaaaand he’s walked just 65 times 1247 minor league plate appearances. But he’s also not Jim Negrych, either.

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Indiana high schooler Trey Ball

We’re just about three weeks away from MLB’s annual Rule 4 draft, aka the amateur draft, and with the tenth overall pick– though nothing in the way of extras this year, for the first time in… forever– the Jays have a chance to see a nice bit of high end talent fall their way, and we’re starting to see that in the mock drafts that are filtering out.

Two of those showed up in the ol’ digital inbox yesterday, with John Sickels of Minor League Ball coming out with his second version, and Keith Law of (Insider Only) revealing his first mock.

Both of them link the Jays to two-way Indiana high school prospect Trey Ball, who was profiled today at Baseball Prospectus. Sickels evidently thinks the Jays are more inclined to take him than Law, as Keith actually has the Jays passing on Ball– though obviously things are very fluid at the moment.

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Visual approximation of Jason Parks

Last week Jason Parks had himself a monster, eight hour chat over at Baseball Prospectus, and– as is likely to happen when someone is talking about baseball for that long– the Jays came up several times, and I’m here to scoop up all those delicious mentions for you! Or at least most of them.

I say only “most” because, damn it, I haven’t pulled out these specific quotes just so you don’t have to go and read the whole, massive, awesome, bloody thing for yourselves. In fact, I’ll let you know that missing from my compilation is: a spitballed 2014 top ten including Aaron Sanchez; analysis of Wulimer Becerra, the far away prospect also sent to the Mets in the Dickey deal; a second mention of former Dodgers GM (and BP writer!) and current Jays scout, Dan Evans; an additional Travis Snider comment; something positive about Miles Jaye, who the Jays dealt to Chicago last winter to regain Jason Frasor; a comparison of Sean Nolin and Mike Foltynewicsz; plus probably some other Jays stuff that I missed, and a whole lot more outstandingness from around the league.

So go check it out, and stop making me feel guilty about “borrowing” content already.

Erix (Brooklyn):
Zack Mortimer spoke very highly on Lansing catcher Santiago Nessy. He mentioned that he had ++leadership. What is your thoughts on him? Does he #shimmer?
Jason Parks:
He has the kind of qualities you want to see in a field general, and I’m very high on that. Big questions about the bat, but it takes time to develop on both fronts, so its too early to say he won’t hit.

tlheard12 (Canada):
Can Alberto Tirado be a top 101 prospect next year?
Jason Parks:
Yes. I think he will. He needs to clean up the delivery, but the stuff already belongs in the 101 discussion.

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To answer the question posed by the title, apparently so. At least, according to this cock-ripplingly fantastic tweet from Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus:

So you’re telling me there’s a shoot!

Parks later clarified that he was indeed talking about Ricky Romero’s soon-to-be Dunedin teammate. So… uh… maybe we’re not quite over the whole prospect thing yet?

Speaking of Sanchez, he got a– glowing, as usual– mention in BP’s Notes From The Field piece today by Zach Mortimer, as did no less than 20 other Jays prospects on whom scouting notes are provided.

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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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Not Keith Law

Keith Law week continues, as today at (Insider Only) he’s revealed his top ten prospects for each club in the American League. As we learned earlier in the week, the Jays currently have the 24th best system in baseball, in Law’s estimation, with just two players– Aaron Sanchez (19) and Roberto Osuna (87)– among the top 100 prospects in the game. Following behind them in the Jays organization is Marcus Stroman (above), the PED-suspended 2012 draftee who Law, like many others, says could pitch in the Jays’ bullpen this season if they wanted him to (though the Jays seem to want to give Stroman the chance to fail as a starter first, before moving him to the ‘pen permanently).

We’re told this in a new section of Law’s organizational reports, in which he briefly looks at “any prospects (top 10 and beyond) who might help the major-league team this year.” Along with Stroman, he suggests that John Stilson– who is a candidate to pitch permanently in relief, because he “has a SLAP lesion in his shoulder and a violent delivery that won’t hold up in a starting role”– Sean Nolin and HELLO KEVIN PILLAR!!! may see some time in the show this season.

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Keith Law week continues with the release of his top 100 prospects today over at (Insider Only) and… hang on. What’s this? While Law has his top Jays prospect, Aaron Sanchez, way up at 19th, he has the now ex-teammate who is usually ranked about the same or better all the way down in 97th.

Noah Syndergaard, now a part of the Mets organization that Law obviously hates so much he ranked Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud 13th and 14th respectively, barely cracks the list. Mind you, this isn’t inconsistency from Law. He’s been a big fan of the Jays’ selection of Sanchez since draft day in 2010– he’s told me as much– and it’s not as though Syndergaard tumbled once out of the organization, as he didn’t make the 2012 top 100.

That’s not to say that Law doesn’t find a lot to like about Syndergaard, as in his scouting reports he cites a good delivery, excellent fastball, an above-average changeup and his prototypical frontline starter size as working in his favour. What worries him, however, is Syndergaard’s lack of a breaking ball, given “reports this year grading it as average at best, and often coming in below that or saying it came and went.” For it to still be so lacklustre after two years in the organization, he says, does not bode well.

“At worst he should be a solid fourth starter,” he explains, “very durable with above-average control, and still has that No. 2 starter upside if the curveball comes along.”

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