Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
This list was originally published December 8, 2008. This is a REVIEW of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. The first grade listed is the OLD GRADE.
1) Travis Snider, OF, Grade A-: Hit .242/.292/.394 in the majors, .314/.409/.654 in Triple-A. I still believe in the bat and you should too.
2) Brett Cecil, LHP, Grade B+: 4.35 ERA with 54/28 K/BB in 70 major league innings, 81 hits allowed. Gets lots of grounders; I think he's going to be very good as long as he remains healthy.
3) David Cooper, 1B, Grade B: Hitting .255/.333/.372 for Double-A New Hampshire. Very disappointing, no power, mediocre batting average and OBP, looks like I overrated him. BB/K ratio is decent, so he still has a chance to improve but needs to make progress quickly in '10.
4) J.P. Arencibia, C, Grade B-: Hitting .224/.272/.409 for Triple-A Las Vegas. Poor strike zone judgment is holding production back. Good with the glove but has needs big adjustments with the bat.
5) Justin Jackson, SS, Grade B-: Hitting .213/.321/.289 in the Florida State League, with 17 steals. Power has completely vanished, and prone to wild performance swings (.155 in April, .367 in May, .217 in June, .150 in July). Still has tools, but extremely raw. Out with shoulder trouble.
6) Brad Mills, LHP, Grade B-: 4.06 ERA with 72/35 K/BB in 84 innings for Las Vegas. Out with bruised ribs.
7) Kevin Ahrens, 3B, Grade C+: Hitting .214/.285/.282 in the Florida State League. Another guy the Jays drafted for tools who is not improving.
8) Ricky Romero, LHP, Grade C+: 10-5, 3.66 with 90/44 K/BB in 116 major league innings. One of the best rookie pitchers in baseball, somewhat surprising after a mediocre minor league career. The talent was always there, but he lacked consistency before.
9) Mark Rzepczynski, LHP, Grade C+: 2.86 ERA with 104/40 K/BB in 88 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 4.38 ERA with 37/19 K/BB in 37 innings in the majors. Looks good so far.
10) Scott Campbell, 2B, Grade C+: .263/.357/.360 between Las Vegas and New Hampshire. Controls the zone well, but lack of power limits production.
11) Brad Emaus, 2B, Grade C+: .255/.339/.384 at New Hampshire. Good plate discipline, has a little pop, but not repeating '08 numbers at the higher level.
12) Eric Thames, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .308/.391/.442 in the Florida State League, but limited to just 42 games by injury. A good player but appears to be fragile.
13) Luis Perez, LHP, Grade C+: 3.85 ERA with 93/52 K/BB in 131 innings in Double-A. Another ground ball-generating lefty, a type the Jays seem to like.
14) Andrew Liebel, RHP, Grade C: 4.02 ERA with 105/37 K/BB in 132 innings in the Florida State League, 133 hits. Throws strikes, will have to prove that stuff can hold up at higher levels.
15) Tyler Pastornicky, SS, Grade C: Hitting .272/.342/.341 in the Midwest League, with 51 steals. Lots of speed, decent on-base skills, good glove, but lacks power.
16) Robert Ray, RHP, Grade C: Held his own in four major league starts, but out most of the season with shoulder problems.
17) Jon Tolisano, 2B, Grade C: Hitting .240/.311/.419 in the Florida State League. Showing some pop but batting average and OBP are issues.
18) Markus Brisker, OF, Grade C: Hitting .139/.216/.165 with 19 steals in 77 games between Midwest League and NY-P. Lots of speed, can't hit. Still has a cool name.
19) Chad Beck, RHP, Grade C: 5.88 ERA with 62/19 K/BB in 83 innings in the Midwest League, 95 hits. Decent walk rate, but other numbers mediocre and disappointing considering his age (24).
20) Tim Collins, LHP, Grade C: 2.01 ERA with 96/25 K/BB in 63 innings in the Florida State League, 42 hits. Exceptional K/IP and H/IP numbers. And he's just 5-7, 155 pounds in soaking wet clothes after a huge thanksgiving meal.
This is a good news/bad news system. Several of the hitters are failing to develop, including young tools guys like Jackson and Ahrens, and college types like Cooper and Arencibia. On the other hand, Cecil, Romero, and Rzepczynski give three very impressive young lefties on the major league staff. Romero is a huge surprise considering how disappointing his minor league career was, but he was the sixth-overall pick at one point and the talent was always there. Snider will be great, he just needs more experience.