Thursday, December 30, 2010

Temper Expectations for Blue Jays Prospects

The Blue Jays and managment are doing all the right things, beefing up the scouting department, hoarding draft picks, signing international free agents, trading for young talent, etc.  The common belief is that because of this the Jays have all the prospects they need to build a core that will take the Jays team back to glory years dominance.  I for one don't buy this, and don't really see many can't miss prospects in the Jays minor league system.

Let's take a look at Baseball America's  ranking of the Blue Jays Top prospects.  Adding Brett Lawrie to this list as their number 1 or 2 best prospect we are left with the following:

1) Brett Lawrie - Honestly I can't say enough about this kid, I've liked him for a long time and believe he will be a very good ball player.  It might not be at second base, but we could be looking at the Jays 3rd baseman for the next decade.  If you look at Baseball Think Factory's Zips projections for 2011, Lawrie could even hold his own in the majors this year at the young age of 21.

2) Kyle Drabek - Another guy that I really like, especially after seeing him pitch in his limited appearances with the Jays in 2010.  The ball just dances out of his hands.  Between Lawrie and Drabek the Jays have two legit high end prospects right here.

3) Deck McGuire - This is where it falls off the map in my opinion, McGuire has the potential to be a nice innings eater 3rd or 4th starter pitcher, say in the mold of Joe Blanton.  While I do think innings eaters are under rated, I don't think this guy will cut it on a contender in the AL East.

4) Anthony Gose - He's a tools guy, unless there is more development, which to be fair many project, he is not currently a major leaguer.  This guy strikes out a ton, has very little power, has a low on base percentage and his best skill is his speed, but he was caught stealing 32 times last year if you can believe it.

5) Travis D'Arnauld - I just don't see this guy hitting well enough to ever be an above average catcher.  The on base percentage could be nice, but that is about it.

6) Zach Stewart - Too many smart people are telling me that he is a future reliever.  Good thing for the Jays is that they need a closer to replace Dotel

7) Asher Wojciechowski - Wild Card here, can you imagine if this guy and Rzepczynski end up in the same rotation, I may quit blogging just to avoid typing their names

8) JP Arencibia - Sorry folks, I see this guys potential as a poor defending Rod Barajas, a very replaceable commodity.

9) Carlos Perez and Aaron Sanchez - there is potential here, but they are young and a long way from a sure thing.

11) Jake Marisnick - Could be the next Reed Johnson, which should make the fans happy.  But you wouldn't want to count on this guy winning you many games.

First, lets remember that it's early in the building (not re-building) process, Anthopoulos has only been working his magic for just over a year and we can't expect him to be able to turn this team around over night.  If he continues acquiring talent in the same fashion, once this team becomes a serious competitor, it should stay that way for a long time.

As it stands now I see the Jays having two nice prospects in Drabek and Lawrie, a bunch of wild cards and a bunch of low ceiling guys.  If it were up to me, and it should be, I'd hold on to the former and try to dangle the rest in offers for player I like better.  Specifically, I'd target a young 1st baseman.

This is not meant to be a message of doom for the Blue Jays, in fact, I believe that the current players on the Blue Jays (Snider, Lind, Cecil, Romero, Bautista, and Morrow) could be that core that takes the team to the promise land.  If Drabek and Lawrie develop as I expect, and the Jays acquire a power hitting, high on-base percentage 1st basemen, the Jays era of dominance could begin as early as 2012.

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