Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 Prospects for 2010
All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd!
1) Brett Wallace, 1B-3B, Grade B+: Didn't hit quite as well as expected last year but I still believe in the bat.
2) Zach Stewart, RHP, Grade B+: I like him a lot, too....could be a number two starter or closer, only role is unclear. Stuff slightly better than Drabek's I think.
3) Kyle Drabek, RHP, Grade B+: Fully recovered from surgery and looks like a fine number two/three starter to me, assuming he keeps his head on straight.
4) Travis d'Arnaud, C, Grade B: Borderline B-. Numbers aren't spectacular but he's very young and I think the bat will continue to develop.
5) Chad Jenkins, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline B, but would like to see some pro data. Could end up as a B+ next year if he puts things together quickly. A rotation of Drabek/Stewart/Jenkins could spin a lot of quality innings if everyone pans out.
6) David Cooper, 1B, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Disappointing season in Double-A but I can still see him developing into an Overbay-type regular. Be interesting to see how/if they get both Cooper and Wallace into the future lineup.
7) Josh Roenicke, RHP, Grade C+: Borderline B- but at age 27 it is hard to rate that grade. Great stuff, can close if the command is there.
8) Henderson Alvarez, RHP, Grade C+: Projectable and young with excellent command.
9) Carlos Perez, C, Grade C+: GCL catcher is a long way away, but has a good balance of offensive and defensive potential.
10) Brad Mills, LHP, Grade C+: Couldn't replicate '08 performance but '09 numbers at Vegas aren't bad considering the environment. Could be useful inning-eater control type.
11) Jake Marisnick, OF, Grade C+: Very toolsy, but need pro data to see how raw he is or is not before ranking higher.
12) Eric Thames, OF, Grade C+: I like this bat a lot, but he needs to stay healthy, apparently a big "if" for him.
13) Brad Emaus, 2B, Grade C+: I think he's better than what he showed at New Hampshire, could put up much bigger numbers in Vegas.
14) Ryan Schimpf, 2B, Grade C+: At best, a cross between Dustin Pedroia and Frank Catalanotto. At worst, a Tony Graffanino style utility player. Need data from higher levels to tell more.
15) Dan Farquhar, RHP, Grade C+: Command is an issue, but overpowering when on. Could help quickly as a relief option.
16) Robert Bell, RHP, Grade C+: Spectacular stats in the Florida State League, but need to see if stuff will hold up against better hitters. Certainly a sleeper.
17) J.P. Arencibia, C, Grade C: Baseball America likes him a lot more than this, but both personal observation and his performance in Vegas make me very skeptical at this point. Power is there, but his approach to hitting is terrible. I see him as a reserve catcher.
18) Justin Jackson, SS, Grade C: Awesome tools but right now he just doesn't do anything with the bat with no signs of growth. Injuries also an issue. But bottom line there are just guys I like better at this point.
19) Reidier Gonzalez, RHP, Grade C: Ground ball/control artist added to 40-man roster, could help as inning-eater or a bullpen asset.
20) Tim Collins, LHP, Grade C: Continues to put up outstanding statistics, pretty good stuff considering his 5-7 height. Should make a fine LOOGY. Note that other Grade C guys listed below (particularly Ahrens, Dopirak, Liebel, Magnuson, Tolisano, and Pastornicky) could easily slot in here, but I wanted to point Collins out since he's very interesting.
OTHER GRADE C players: Kevin Ahrens, 3B; Brian Dopirak, 1B; Ryan Goins, SS; Yan Gomes, C; K. C. Hobson, 1B; Andrew Liebel, RHP; Trystan Magnuson, RHP; Darin Mastroianni, OF; Tyler Pastornicky, SS; Luis Perez, LHP; Gustavo Pierre, SS; Welinton Ramirez, OF; Robert Ray, RHP; Moises Sierra, OF; Egan Smith, LHP; John Tolisano, 2B; Daniel Webb, RHP; Kenny Wilson, OF; Zech Zincola ,RHP.
The Blue Jays system was thin, and greatly benefits by the recent addition of Wallace, Drabek, and d'Arnaud this month. Stewart and Roenicke were acquired in trades this summer.
The Jays under former general manager J.P. Ricciardi took a lot of flak for focusing in polished college players in the draft. However, even when they brought in tools players, such as the high school hitters drafted in 2007 and various Latin American investments, the results were poor, leading me to wonder if the problems are as much in player development and coaching as much as in the drafting. The debacle of the 2009 draft is a huge blow: failing to sign the second, third, and fourth round picks speaks to serious problems with the Jays organization as a whole and hampers depth at the lower levels of the system for '10 and beyond.
In any event, the trades of the last six months help, and even beyond that the system is not completely barren, particularly with pitching. There are the makings of a good bullpen in the system, and if the top group of pitching comes close to meeting expectations, the future rotation looks solid. The hitting looks thin.