Archive for the ‘Prospecting’ Category

Jonathan Mayo and the folks at MLB.com have posted their top 100 prospects list for 2013– complete with an MLB Network announcement-and-making-insane-Barry-Bonds-comps extravaganza– and while, for obvious reasons, there are a lot of names on the list who will be familiar to Jays fans, only two of the club’s prospects actually make this year’s top 100.

They are, it may come as a small surprise, right-handed pitchers Aaron Sanchez, who ranked 35th, and Roberto Osuna, who ranked 90th.

Roberto Osuna

The mild surprise here is Osuna, who was behind Sean Nolin and DJ Davis on the Jays’ organizational list from Baseball Prospectus, though he was behind only Sanchez among the remaining prospects at FanGraphs and Minor League Ball. At just 17-years-old, he’s the youngest player on the list, four months younger than last June’s first overall draft pick, Houston’s Carlos Correa (30), and the handful of other 18-year-olds on the list– Albert Almora of the Cubs (39), Colorado’s David Dahl (58), and the pitcher Washington pulled just from under the Jays’ noses, Lucas Giolito (74).

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Prospecting: BP’s Top 10

While there are many, many reasons to have a subscription to Baseball Prospectus, and many posts that will motivate folks to get one, yesterday was one of the big days on the calendar that I’m sure got Jays fans ponying up in numbers– or if it didn’t, it should have, because Jason Parks posted the Jays instalment of his Prospects Will Break Your Heart series, giving us all kinds of scouting gold behind the paywall.

I don’t want to give too much of his excellent work away– he broke down strengths, weaknesses, ceilings and risks for the organization’s top ten prospects, and also looked at some names on the rise (Santiago Nessy could be a top 10 guy next year he says, 2012 second rounder Chase DeJong gets a glowing review, as does small, toolsy 2012 international signing Franklin Barreto), some guys we’ll likely see in the Majors this year, and also gave a ranking of the club’s best talent under 25 (still headlined by Brett Lawrie)– but there are some definite highlights worth… uh… highlighting.

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Kevin Ahrens

Welcome to part two of our offseason prospects series. Today we’ll delve into corner infielders, which is really just a euphemism for third base. I changed the format around a little bit this week—instead of breaking the comments down into neat blocks, I decided to write a single paragraph on each of the players ranked below, incorporating components of the format we used last week. As a reminder, our schedule:

Nov. 29 – Catchers
Dec. 6 – Corner Infielders
Dec. 13 – Middle Infielders
Dec. 20 – Corner Outfielders
Dec. 27 – Center Fielders
Jan. 3 – Right-handed Starting Pitchers
Jan. 10 – Left-handed Starting Pitchers
Jan. 31 – Top 50 Overall: 26-50
Feb. 7 – Top 50 Overall: 1-25

State of the Organization – Corner Infield
Let’s just say it’s nice to have Brett Lawrie around. He may not have met expectations in his first full season, but he’s hardly at risk of being usurped by an emerging third base prospect any time soon. That isn’t to say that Toronto is devoid of interesting prospects at the hot corner, however. Matt Dean and Mitch Nay, two high-profile picks from the last two drafts, are both intriguing but they’re several years away from making any impact in the big leagues. The other three names on this list, all third basemen, all spent time in short-season leagues last summer.

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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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I spent about an hour trying to craft a beautiful introduction to our offseason prospects series, but nothing magical came to mind. You didn’t come here to a read long-winded introduction, anyway; you came for the prospects. Before we begin, however, I do want to touch on a few things:

1. I’m not going to bullshit you here: the capsule structure is very similar to the ones Kevin Goldstein used to do for Baseball Prospectus. I toyed with a few different ideas, but wasn’t able to come up with anything better.

2. The age listed is the player’s seasonal age on July 1, 2013 (the age at which they will play the majority of next year). After the stat lines, I list the level and league at which the stats were accrued (e.g., “SS-A/Northwest” for short-season Class-A Northwest League).

3. Finally, I decided to break this series up into ten chunks so that I could deliver more comprehensive information about each position’s players (also, I’m paid by the article). The tentative schedule:

Nov. 29 – Catchers
Dec. 6 – Corner Infielders
Dec. 13 – Middle Infielders
Dec. 20 – Corner Outfielders
Dec. 27 – Center Fielders
Jan. 3 – Right-handed Starting Pitchers
Jan. 10 – Left-handed Starting Pitchers
Jan. 17 – Relief Pitchers
Jan. 31 – Top 50 Overall: 26-50
Feb. 7 – Top 50 Overall: 1-25

With that out of the way, let’s get started. Read the rest of this entry »

The top prospects lists keep on rolling, as Baseball America has released their 2013 top 10 prospects list for the Toronto Blue Jays, and… as you’d expect, it’s a variation on the usual suspects.

Marisnick is higher than some, Osuna is lower than others, but it’s about what you’d expect.

There are some projections about the future lineup and rotation, as they always have, and as always, they’re fun, but pretty useless– in 2008 it was suggested that the Jays lineup for the 2012 season that just passed would have been Arencibia, Cooper, Hill, Ahrens, Jackson, Snider, Wells, Rios and Lind, with a rotation featuring Halladay, McGowan, Marcum, Cecil and Litsch, and BJ Ryan closing things out. So… yeah.

There is some scouting of tools, which is always interesting, with Travis d’Arnaud coming up as the system’s best hitter for both average and power– though Kellen Sweeney has better plate discipline, they say. Aaron Sanchez has both the best fastball and curve, while Nicolino has the best change and the best control.

More interestingly, for those with BA subscriptions there was a Jays-specific chat this afternoon, and yesterday John Manuel and JJ Cooper did a second podcast on the top prospects in the AL East, having focussed almost exclusively on the Yankees and Red Sox in their podcast from earlier in the week.

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Though all kinds of immediate transaction stuff remains up in the air– the Jays don’t have a damn manager yet, for example– the off-season is also a time filled with looks to the future, and how each organization’s valuable future commodities performed during the year. Yes, we’re already starting to see the front edge of the next wave of prospect porn, as Marc Hulet of FanGraphs weighs in on his Top 15 Jays prospects, while David Laurila gives us a Q&A with the list’s number two man, Aaron Sanchez.

As always when I post about these things, I’m a little hesitant about how much of Marc’s outstanding work I want to provide here– go and read it in it’s entirety for yourself– but there are definitely a few things worth examining, both on their own, and in relation to last year’s list, which looks quite a bit different in a number of ways.

At the very top, things are basically the same. Anthony Gose has graduated, and Travis d’Arnaud moves up a spot to take over as the club’s top prospect. Interestingly, though, the sense Hulet gives is of a player who the Jays might be more inclined to deal than incumbent backstop JP Arencibia, who we’re told the organization remains committed to, despite offensive struggles, “because of the trust he’s built up with the pitching staff.”

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