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:
1. Travis d’Arnaud, C
2. Jake Marisnick, OF
3. Daniel Norris, LHP
4. Anthony Gose, OF
5. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
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.