In case you haven’t heard, Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein recently (as in Thursday) released the Toronto Blue Jays Top 11 Prospects list. If you’re in to prospect porn and pie-in-the-sky rosterbation like myself, go check it out. The Top 20 are available for free, although detailed scouting reports of the Top 11 are available behind a pay wall.

Either way, the Top 11 looks like this:

Five-Star Prospects
1. Travis d’Arnaud, C
2. Jake Marisnick, OF
Four-Star Prospects
3. Daniel Norris, LHP
4. Anthony Gose, OF
5. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
6. Drew Hutchinson, RHP
7. Justin Nicolino, LHP
8. Deck McGuire, RHP
9. Adonys Cardona, RHP
10. Kevin Comer, RHP
11. Christopher Hawkins, OF

In case you weren’t aware, those who are paid to be experts on these matters have pegged the Jays’ farm system as one of the very best in all of baseball. Goldstein said on the Up and In Podcast that the “three-star” prospects extend 20-deep. Much of that depth is found in incredibly high-ceiling pitchers.

For all the hang-wringing and head-bashing Jays’ fans and pundits seem to do about the inability of the Jays to develop talent, we are seeing a wave of system depth in Toronto that hasn’t been seen in my lifetime. GM Alex Anthopoulos and his team deserve a metric tonne of credit for their near-complete turnaround of the farm system.

Some of the highlights of Goldstein’s piece include:

On Travis d’Arnaud:

“d’Arnaud will enter 2012 as the best catching prospect in the minor leagues. He could put up some huge numbers at Triple-A Las Vegas before getting a look in September.”

On Jake Marisnick:

“Marisnick looks the part of a high-ceiling prospect. He’s a big, majestic athlete with above-average speed, excellent hitting skills, and is just starting to tap into his power, which projects as plus. He’s a good center fielder, and his arm is a weapon.”

In summary of the system:

“Toronto has one of the best systems in baseball, and a chance to do what at times seems an impossible task: to compete in the American League East.”

Of course, it’s important to keep some perspective on this; prospects have an unbelievably high attrition rate and bust rates among even the most promising are disturbingly lofty. One way to beat the prospect blues, however, is to accumulate so many elite ones that you’re bound to hit on more than a few. This appears to the Jays’ approach and we should see it bear fruit sooner than later either through Major League players or as assets in trades.

Comments (18)

  1. As a Yankees fan I’m nervous of the Jays. I think now is the time to make the leap over the Red Sox and Rays.

    • I don’t know if it’s now but soon. Nice to hear a Yankees fan talk about someone else’s team. I used to work at a bar with a Chad who was a Yankees fan and he was cool…but it’s hard to lose every year to you guys (Yankees AND Chad’s). Check your mirror, we’re coming.

  2. The now all but inevitable rise of the Jays in the East will nicely bring further attention to divisional realignment (read: abolition). The sad part is if the Jays don’t become a powerhouse, the topic will almost certainly continue to be ignored.

    In the meantime, Iet’s all look forward to Dustin McGowans other knee and other arm exploding.

  3. The question is now, is it better to trade them all for proven MLB players, or keep them and see who pans out.

    Remember, before you answer, if you keep them, even the best prospects are a year away and then it will likely take 2 years of major league games before they gain consistency and productivity. So, at the same time they come into their own, the current best players on this team may be leaving or on the decline.

    • Peter, couldn’t agree more. AA has often mentioned he is very concious of properly timing talent waves in the system. I think he really is trying to put a winner our there now and over the next 2-4 years of Bautista’s peak years, he’s just not ready to “guarantee” a winner to Rogers to spend that extra $20-$30mm he might really want to help get into the playoffs. He’s already traded prospects for what should be entering peak years of Rasmus and Santos. If we are close at the deadline and McGowan isn’t doing the job I expect a similar prospect for controllable emerging star deal.

    • I honestly think he can do both. That’s the point of building a system this way. Trust me, there’s enough depth to trade for impact Major Leaguers AND wait on some of them to develop into stars.

      • Too true, and he’s already done it a couple of times. Zach Stewart traded (among others) to get Rasmus, and Nestor Molina to get Sergio Santos are two examples of using prospects close to the major league level to fill in holes in their line up.

      • I think he will have to do both, if it is true that there are 20 plus prospects with real big league potential, you can’t keep them all otherwise you will lose some for nothing.

        I’m not sure if at this point there are any guys that I would deem untradeable or “can’t miss”

        • Noah Syndergaard. He’s is the closest to untradeable.

          There’s a reason why AA didn’t trade him for Gio. And I doubt it would’ve been a straight-up trade.

  4. I say we trade them all for George Bell, Moseby or Barfield. You know, try and get some real talent.

  5. Would love to see the Jays come to Arizona again…or move to Scottsdale for spring training.

  6. Anthony Gose hit .253 at AA last year. I’m not getting excited about that.

    • You probably should get excited by his .364 wOBA. Batting average is a terrible measure of talent and Gose’s strength is not in his hit tool. He’s a guy who Goldstein compares to Devon White (not just for the race thing either). Low BA, solid approach that leads to walks, GREAT baserunner and GREAT defender with plenty of power.

      Let him hit .230 if he brings all of that to the table.

  7. From everything I’ve read on the Jays prospects, it looks like the depth is in outfield, catching, and pitching and are years away. Certainly the best positional prospects outside of catcher are in the outfield. Add to it that Rasmus and Snider could still turn into studs and I’m more convinced than ever that the Jays should trade Bautista for 1B, 2B, or pitching prospects and target 2013-2015 rather than try to win in his prime now.

    • have you seen Jay attendance figures ? 23rd in MLB payroll and always wait till next yr with this team …by 2015 they be averaginf 15000 in attendance…the time is now !

  8. All this excitement over bluejay prospects ? they only have one rated in the top 50 (the catcher) according to baseball prospectus. calm down Jays fans, show me the hot shot prospects like Tampa has and then maybe i’ll get excited. you know more players like Lawrie !

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