Archive for the ‘Prospecting’ Category

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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John Sickels has swung full-on into end-of-year mode at Minor League Ball, with six posts worth our attention: two part reviews of the seasons put in by his top 50 pitching and hitting prospects, and his preliminary lists of the top 50 pitching and hitting prospects for 2013.

There are Jays players listed on all of these, so let’s have a look…

2012 Reviews

Only two Jays scraped their way into the first part of Sickels’ top 50 pitchers for 2012, with Nose Snygen and Justin Nicolino coming in at 24th and 25th respectively. Sickels offers “no complaints” on the season Syndergaard had, and suggests that he and Nicolino will make a great combo “as they move up the ladder.” The esteem he holds them in becomes evident in his preliminary list for 2013, which we’ll look at later.

In part two of the reviews we have Dan Norris (27), Drew Hutchison (31), Deck McGuire (35), as well as ex-Jay Nestor Molina (30).

That’s right, Aaron Sanchez didn’t make the cut last year, which makes his jump onto the 2013 all the more impressive.

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Because it’s Friday and I don’t feel like doing anything more than some copy-and-paste work, here we’ve got all the Jays-related nuggets from yesterday’s Keith Law chat at ESPN.com– with added bonus nuggets from Jim Callis at Baseball America in his recent chat (er… from last week), and some stuff from BA’s latest top 20 prospects lists for the various minor leagues.

So… um… here we go!

KLaw

Grant (Toronto)
Gose and Hechevarria seem to have similar profiles in that they are plus defenders at premium positions with questionable hit tools. However, Gose is frequently referred to as one of Toronto’s top prospects with all-star potential, while Hechevarria seems to be known as John McDonald 2.0 unless he learns to hit. Not that either comps are necessarily wrong, but why is there such a disparity between their “prospect statuses”?
Klaw
Gose has a better swing with a little more raw power. He’s also 16 months younger.

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 Not actually mentioned in the post. But what am I gonna do, find a picture of Matt Smoral?

Over the weekend at Minor League Ball, John Sickels played a little Prospectapalooza, answering as many reader-submitted prospect questions as possible, in not just one thread, but a second one as well.

A good number of the questions were Jays-related, and… um… here they are.

How much progress (if any) has Noah Syndergaard made with his secondaries this season?
by Super Bass Hallways on Sep 15, 2012 1:10 PM EDT

I didn’t hear anything negative about him at all. And I heard that his curve and change are coming along nicely. Not spectacular yet but substantial progress. This seems backed up with the numbers.
by John Sickels on Sep 15, 2012 1:47 PM EDT

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Adeiny Hechavarria We know the defense is very good. My question is will he put up at least league-average offensive numbers for a SS?
by lftyg33 on Sep 15, 2012 1:48 PM EDT

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