Toronto Blue Jays: Chat
Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.
Greetings everyone. Thanks for stopping
by for the Blue Jays Top 10 chat. I'm sure you can all guess what the
most asked question is, so let's go ahead and get it out of the way
If this trade goes through, which seems inevitable at this point, the
Top 10 would probably look like this: Drabek, Taylor, Stewart,
D'Arnaud, Arencibia, Jenkins, Cooper, Alvarez, Marisnick, Roenicke.
Obviously, this also means Halladay is not your 2013 No. 1 starter.
That would likely go to Drabek. Arencibia would probably be the catcher
over D'Arnaud, just because he's closer to the big leagues at this
point and if Taylor stuck around I'd find a way to get him in the
outfield instead of Marisnick probably. Taylor isn't far away and
Marisnick clearly is.
If the Blue Jays then flip Taylor for Brett Wallace then I'd probably
just replace Taylor with Wallace in the rankings. Now, let's get to
some questions about the Top 10.
Mat Germain (Halifax): How close were the 2
dynamite relievers: Daniel Farquhar and Tim collins, from making the
top 10 and what can you add about their chances to make it to the Jays
I don't want to reveal too much because
you should get our Prospect Handbook. It has 30 reports for each team
and you can get pre-order it here:
Farquhar actually could have been called up to the big leagues in 2009
if the Blue Jays were contending for a playoff spot. So I imagine he
has a pretty good chance to make it there in 2010. He has several arm
angles which makes him tough to read, but it also messes with his
command so he'll need to work on that. As for Collins, he got a taste
of Double-A and I bet he'll start there again in 2010 with a chance to
move up. If he continues on the same road he's been down so far, I'd
bet he can make it in the big league bullpen in 2011.
Mat Germain (Halifax): Does Darrin Mastroianni
have a chance to start the year in AAA and get a look with the Jays in
2010, or is he still too raw at the plate?
He'll probably get another crack at
Double-A to start and see a chance to move up during the season. Power
clearly isn't part of his game but it would be nice to see him increase
his slugging percentage just a little. He puts the ball in play quite a
bit and has good speed so there's reason to have hopes about his
Ken (Lakewood CA): Do you see both Lind and
Snider as defensive liabilities? Would both be considered DH material
if they were on a different AL team? Is it only a matter of time before
Toronto gets capable defensive OFers to put in their places in LF &
Snider is a better athlete than he gets
credit for and has an arm that would fit in right field. I think he's
fine as a future LF, especially considering how good the bat could be.
Hal (Ottawa): I see you have Roenicke as the
closer in the 2013 projected line-up, but doesn't Robert Bell have the
better success rate as a reliever thus far?
I'm going to have to strongly disagree
with you on that one. Roenicke has been pitching well in relief since
2006 and was one major league appearance away from not qualifying for
this list. Bell was 23 for most of the season at High A. Granted, it
was a good year. But I want to see him do it at higher levels before I
think about moving him ahead of Roenicke.
Paul (Buffalo): Dannie Webb was a highly
touted power pitcher out of high school prior to the 2008 draft but did
not sign. He went to juco and did not really wow anyone there before
being selected by the Jays. What have been the reports been now that he
has signed with the Jays, and where will he start 2010?
The Jays went over slot to get Webb in
the 18th round this year. He fits in the back of the Top 30 with his
live arm. He can sit in the low 90s and run it up to 94. However, I've
been told his curve isn't quite what it was in high school. One scout
felt he was a reliever with his slingy arm action and there are some
makeup questions as well. My guess is he'll start 2010 in Low A.
Tom (San Francisco, CA): In the wake of
letting three of their top five picks walk away last year, how
seriously are we supposed to take Anthopolous' pronouncements about
building through the system? He didn't exactly demonstrate his prowess
during the Eliopolous negotiations last year.
If I were a Jays fan I'd take him
seriously to start. I'm not here to point fingers, but the negotiations
from this past draft don't rest solely on him. There were several
people and factors involved, with the organization and the players. But
Anthopolous has already done something that I like. He basically double
their scouting staff. Of course, you still have to find and evaluate
the talent, but with a larger staff they should have an easier time
covering the country. I also believe he increased the scouts' pay so it
would seem he is really trying to create a desirable franchise to work
for. That's a pretty good start I think.
Kyle (New York): Is Egan Smith in the 11-20 range? What is the scouting report on him?
Egan Smith was definitely considered for
the 30, but just didn't get enough love to justify making it this time
around. Heading into the draft he was 87-91 with his fastball from a
three-quarter arm slot and scrapped his curve for a slider. He also
showed feel for a changeup.
MJ (Valpo): Will the Blue Jays also give Kevin Ahrens a "mulligan," and hope for bigger and better things in 2010?
I assume he starts the season in hi class-A?
Yes. He's in the same boat as Justin
Jackson right now. That group of high school picks (Jackson, Ahrens and
John Tolisano) were moved up based on their draft status when they
probably should have been moved along a little more slowly. I expect
all three of them will start at High A again next season so they can
try and rebound.
Marc Hulet (London, Ontario): What are the
thoughts on left-handers Luis Perez and Carlos Pina. They both have
average to slightly-above average heaters for southpaws, and they both
induce an above-average number of ground-ball outs. Are they viewed as
relievers in the long-term or will one or both stick in the rotation
(keeping in mind Pina is a ways away).
Both are intriguing lefthanders though
only Perez made the Top 30. Pina is a ways off as you mentioned so
let's see how he does in the coming seasons. Perez projects as a back
of the rotation starter and does a very good job of getting ground
JAYPERS (IL): With an excellent 2009 season,
did Brian Dopirak re-establish himself as a legit prospect in your
eyes? Is there any room in Toronto for him?
He made the Top 30, but I won't say
where. The Jays added him to the 40-man this offsesaon so we may get to
see him in the big leagues at some point in 2010. We all know about his
power. He showed good improvement in hitting to all fields this year
instead of being a dead pull hitter. His defense is nothing to write
Pierre (Ottawa, Ontario): Will the players in the Halladay trade be included in the Prospect Handbook under the Jays section?
No. The trade isn't official (at least it
wasn't before I started chatting) and we've passed our transaction
deadline for the Handbook. Should the trade be announced in time, it
will be reflected in the magazine.
Mat Germain (Halifax): What can you tell us about Santiago Nessy C/1B?
I had to go to international Ben Badler
for this one. He tells me that Nessy is a big, strong kid with good
power potential. There are questions about him staying behind the plate
and we'll wait to see how he does in pro ball before getting too high
BlueJaysDaze (Halifax): Will Tyler Pastornicky eventually make it with the Jays in a bench role, or do you see him developing into an MLB regular?
The more I asked and talked about
Pastornicky, the more he grew on me. I think if he were a regular in
the big leauges it would be at second base. But I think he would serve
well in a utility role. He's capable of playing short. He doesn't have
flashy tools, but gets the most out of them out of anyone in the
system. He's a 60 runner but has good instincts as well which helped
him swipe 57 bags this season.
Big Dave (AR): When Chavez writes his name on a piece of paper does he write Johermyn or Yohermyn?
That is a good question. I've seen it
both ways but went with what our official records have. If you get an
autograph from him, let me know which way he prefers.
Fred (Ohio): I have read conflicting reports
as to whether Johermyn Chavez was eligible for the R-5 draft? So, do
you know if he was? Also, how close was he to making the top 10?
He was, but he was too far away for a
team to take that chance. There's a couple questions about how close he
was to the Top 10 so I'll answer that here. The Jays were really
pleased with his breakout season and hope he continues to progress.
However, I didn't consider him for the Top 10. Consider the track
record: He hit .276/.371/.362 in the Appy League in 2006, then went
DOWN a level in 2007, hitting .301/.389/.494 in the GCL. Then in Low A
he hit .211/.272/.323 before repeating and playing well this year. He's
strong and is an average defender, probably best fit for left field. I
definitely hope he continues down this track but want to see a little
more before running him way up the list.
Bryan (San Francisco): Where does Eric Thames fit in? If he could stay healthy would he be considered a top prospect? Thanks!
He's in the Top 30 and would've been a
little higher if it weren't for the health concerns. He can flat out
hit, but needs to stay on the field. He's very strong, has exceptional
bat speed and good strike zone discipline. He can be an average runner
but it seems he holds back a little bit because of the injury risk.
Fred (Ohio): Can Ryan Goins stick at ss?
I wouldn't bank on it. The Jays are
optimistic but I didn't talk to anyone outside the organization that
felt he could stick. He does bring a good bat to the plate though and
would be an offensive second baseman.
Sean (Calgary, Canada): Aside from the trade,
can you please please provide me with a reason for some optimism? What
are your expectations, hopes, and dreams for the new regime? The old
one seemed unable to recognize the draft as the main point of focus for
competing with the Yanks and Red Sox.
I mentioned this a little before, but I
like the outlook for a new concentration on the draft. Anthopolous and
his staff really seem invested in developing that department. Just
increasing the staff doesn't mean you'll succeed but I think it shows a
commitment to at least trying.
Sean (Calgary, Canada): Did the Jays get enough? I think they did much better than the Twins did with Santana.
We could argue all day about this package
being enough and whether or not the Yankees' offer would have been
better. But I do think they got a better package than the Twins did for
Sean (Calgary, Canada): The Jay's prospect
talent was right at the bottom prior to this trade. Where would it rank
now? Have we climbed all the way to mediocrity?
We haven't done the rankings yet, but
pre-trade the Jays would be 25-30 for me and move up a couple ticks
with the new players. Three prospects aren't going to vault a system
way up, but it obviously helps.
Shawn (Winnipeg): How far has Kevin Ahrens fallen? Is he even still in the top 15? Is there any hope?
We dropped him from the Top 10 late to
bring in Carlos Perez. His bat really needs to come around in order for
him to not fall any further. He obviously drops a couple more spots
if/when this trade goes through. I hope there's hope. 2010 seems like a
make or break season for me.
Shawn (Winnipeg): Who has the highest upside in the organization? Pitchers and position players?
The Jays will tell you it's Gustavo
Pierre, but he's incredibly raw and really needs to work on his strike
zone discipline. For me, I'll throw out a wild card with Marisnick. If
his hand position is the answer to his bat breaking through then he has
a pretty high ceiling with five-tool potential. As for the pitchers
(pre-trade) I'll go with Stewart because he could be a front-line
starter and if that third pitch doesn't develop he could be a very good
Moises Sierra (New Hampshire): Thanks for the chat. Where did I rank in the Top 30, and how far away do you think I am?
The Blue Jays really challenged Sierra
with the High A assignment and were very pleased with the response. Now
they have to decide whether or not let him get some more seasoning in
High A or go straight to Double-A where he finished the season. I think
he's still a couple years away from the big leagues, but the 2009
season was pretty promising. He's in the 10-20 range.
Steven (St. Louis): Interesting take on Zach
Stewart. He's an intriguing pitcher, but I always saw him as a future
closer. Is the development of his changeup what will determine his
It absolutely is. The reports I got made
it seem that the changeup shows enough potential that he can start.
He'll be given the at Triple-A next season. But the closer option is
one to fall back on and a very good option at that.
Gerry (Toronto): No Moises Sierra questions yet. Sierra had an excellent season in 2009, what kept him out of the top ten?
I held back on putting him the Top 10
because I'd like to see it a little more and if he's going to be a
corner guy, the power needs to develop. Granted, the FSL is very
pitcher friendly so I'm not saying that his power was disappointing. I
like what he has to offer and expect that he can continue climbing the
list and ranks of the organization.
Ken (Lakewood CA): I notice current pitchers
like Marc Rzepezynski are not listed in your projected starting
rotation. I actually think Rzep has some real promise. Am I missing
something or are the young draftees they have now that much better than
he is? Thanks.
Rzepczynski had a nice season and he'd be
one of the leading candidates to slide in that rotation should any of
them depart or get hurt. I just think the guys I listed have better
upside. No knock on Rzep. There are a lot of teams he could start for.
Steve (Toronto): Is Eric Eiland a bust?
His campaign has certainly been a
concern. He hasn't developed as the Jays would have hoped but they're
going to keep running him out there in hopes that something clicks. He
needs to gain some confidence and consistency. His swing was altered
some when he returned from playing in Hawaii which threw him off and
set him back a little.
Orest (Toronto): Does Andrew Liebel get a call-up to the Jays this season? Do you see him more as a reliever at the big league level?
I wouldn't bet on it, but you never know
given injuries, trades and the progression/regression of players. I
think he's on that border of starter and reliever. He could be helpful
in either role. He's not going to overpower anyone but has good command
and gets good movement.
Brian Daniels (somewhere out there): Nathan,
where did Brad Emaus place on the list? Do you see him excelling and
making the majors at 3b since it seems EE is not the answer there.
Emaus' season was disappointing
especially after he had a great spring in big league camp. I don't
think he'll be pushing Encarnacion aside anytime soon especially since
he's more of a second baseman. Hopefully he can bounce back in 2010.
Brian (Syracuse, NY): Assuming Brett Wallace
ends up with the Blue Jays, does he begin the year at AAA with Edwin
Encarnacion blocking his path to the major league 3B job?
If this trade does happen I think Wallace
is in line for some seasoning at Triple-A. He's not going to be a great
defender at third. I'd move him to first base as he's not terribly
athletic. But the bat is pretty good.
Johnny (Irvine): How deep is this farm system?
When I was talking to some of the Jays'
brass one told me he knew they didn't have elite talent, but felt that
they were deeper than in years past. I could see that argument for
sure. Honestly, After the Top 10-15 I bet there are many versions of
the rankings that you could come up with and not get laughed out of the
room. There are several guys in the 15-30 that are intriguing and could
contribute in the big leagues, but the system really lacks the high end
talent, pre-trade of course. Stewart would be a good No. 3-4 guy in
Dale (Roswell): No David Cooper questions? How do you think he will do in the Majors, and when will he get there? Thanks!
Wow, have I not answered any yet? I saw
some good ones too. Well here you go. Cooper's year wasn't great,
especially considering how much stock is put into his bat. He has the
inside track to the first base job should Lyle Overbay be traded or
depart once his contract is up. Cooper could hit for a high average but
doesn't show a ton of power, at least not what you would expect out of
a first baseman. His defense isn't great at first base but he did work
hard over there this season after admitting he never really did before.
With a good season he could get a taste of the big leagues in 2010 and
settle there in 2011.
Gerry (Toronto): AJ Jimenez did OK at Lansing considering his age. His rep is better defense than bat, agree?
Ryan (Toronto): Is Arencibia going to develop any sort of plate discipline, or is he going to turn into Rod Barajas Part II?
The rate is alarming. I think it might
improve a bit with some work, but his approach isn't going to help it
change much. He showed some improvement after being overly aggressive
in the first half and of course pitchers get better at exposing you as
you move up. He's not going to be 1-1 guy or even close to it, but with
solid defense and his power, there are some things that you might be
willing to overlook.
Roger (Baton Rouge): Where does Ryan Schimpf fit in the top 30? Is he a future organizational player or does he have a major league ceiling?
He and Goins have some similarities.
Schimpf can be an offensive second baseman but also showed versatility
in college with the ability to play the outfield. I think he can be a
solid major leaguer with that.
Clint (BC): Do you see either Drabrek or Stewart up with Toronto at some point in 2010?
I think there's a very good chance of seeing both in 2010, with Stewart making it first.
I'm going to have to wrap it up folks as
we have an issue and book deadline this week. Thanks for the great
questions and I'm sorry I couldn't get to them all. Come back tomorrow
to chat with John Manuel about the Yankees Top 10. Happy Holidays!