Additional Thoughts on the Blue Jays Farm System
Here are some additional thoughts on the Toronto Blue Jays farm system, answering some questions that people posed in the comment thread.
***If he still qualified as a prospect, Brett Lawrie would be a pure Grade A, top of the Blue Jay list, and a Top Five prospect in baseball. He might even rank Number Two behind Bryce Harper, although I won't be able to answer that until I get all of my grades complete and the Top 50 list done.
**If he still qualified as a prospect, Henderson Alvarez looks like a very strong Grade B/borderline B+ to me, which would put him in the 8-10 range on the Blue Jay list.
**Some people have asked about Gose (Grade B) vs. Marisnick (Grade B+), pointing out that Gose is more toolsy and has experience at a higher level. That's true, but Marisnick is nine months younger, which matters, and his tools, while not quite as good as Gose's, are still impressive. He's shown a better feel for hitting when I've seen him. Gose's tools are among the best in the game, and it is possible I'm not cutting him enough slack. I will think more about it, but the strikeout rate is high enough to keep me concerned.
**I'm probably going to bump Hutchison up to a B+.
**As I wrote in the Top 20 piece, ranking all the pitching prospects is tough, and many people are surprised about Molina coming out on top. Here is how I reasoned this out. (I am ignoring the youngest guys like Sanchez, Cardona, and Osuna for purposes of this exercise).
As long-time readers know, my prospect lists are based on a hybrid approach between sabermetrics and traditional scouting. On pure upside, I would rank the Jays top pitching group about like this: Syndergaard, Norris, Nicolino, Molina, Hutchison, McGuire. However, given the lack of full-season data for the top three pitchers, sabermetrically I would go Molina, McGuire, Hutchison, Nicolino, Syndergaard, Norris.
Another way to look at it:
Molina: UPSIDE/SCOUTING: 3 points, SABEMETRICS: 6 points: TOTAL:9
Syndergaard: UPSIDE/SCOUTING: 6 points, SABERMETRICS: 2 points: TOTAL:8
Nicolino: UPSIDE/SCOUTING: 4 points, SABERMETRICS: 3 points: TOTAL; 7
Norris: UPSIDE/SCOUTING: 5 points: SABERMETRICS: 1 point: TOTAL: 6
McGuire: UPSIDE/SCOUTING: 1 point: SABERMETRICS: 5 points: TOTAL: 6
Hutchison: UPSIDE/SCOUTING: 2 points, SABERMETRICS: 4 points: TOTAL 6
This oversimplifies things. I didn't actually make a list like that when thinking through the issue, but it illustrates how things turned out the way they did.
The thing here is that I think Molina's stuff is underrated and I have reports that are more enthusiastic than a lot of things you see publically available. I realize that putting Molina number one bucks consensus. The rumors that Molina may move to back to relief, if confirmed, might change the ranking by the time the book is ready to publish.