Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects

The Yankees and Red Sox long have dominated the American League East, while the Rays have bucked the financial odds and consistenly contended for the last five seasons. With the Orioles’ surprise run to the playoffs in 2012, the Blue Jays are the only team in the division that hasn’t made the postseason in the last four years. Toronto hasn’t visited the playoffs since 1993, when it won the second of consecutive World Series championships.

The Blue Jays planned on contending in 2012 but injuries piled up and contributed to a 9-26 run from late July to early September that destroyed their chances. Jose Bautista, Kyle Drabek, promising rookies David Cooper and Drew Hutchison and trade acquisitions J.A. Happ and Sergio Santos ended the season on the disabled list. Toronto finished 73-89 for its fifth straight fourth-place finish and worst record since 2004.

After spending his first two seasons on the job mostly trading veterans for prospects, GM Alex Anthopoulos tried to make moves to immediately bolster the big league club this time around. In the offseason, he sent righthander Nestor Molina to the White Sox for Santos. With the Jays still trying to contend in July, they parted with four prospects (righthanders Kevin Comer, Joe Musgrove and Asher Wojciechowski, plus catcher Carlos Perez) to get Happ, David Carpenter and Brandon Lyon from the Astros. Toronto also gave up on two outfielders, shipping Travis Snider to the Pirates for Brad Lincoln and Eric Thames to the Mariners for Steve Delabar.

The Blue Jays’ most significant acquisitions may have come in the June draft. With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement radically changing the draft, Toronto came out swinging with the most aggressive approach of any team. The Jays took high-upside, high-dollar players with their seven picks in the first three rounds and then extremely cheap college seniors in rounds four through 10.

The biggest bonus went to supplemental first-rounder Matt Smoral, a big lefthander who signed for $2 million. The Blue Jays also gave seven-figure bonuses to power righthander Marcus Stroman ($1.8 million), athletic outfielder D.J. Davis ($1.75 million) and power-hitting third baseman Mitch Nay ($1 million). They got the best athlete in the draft, outfielder Anthony Alford in the third round, and paid him $750,000 with no guarantee the Southern Mississippi quarterback will one day give up football.

Toronto also made a splash in the international market, signing Venezuelan shortstop Franklin Barreto for $1.45 million and Dominican shortstop for Richard Urena for $725,000. Barreto was the top prospect available in the 2012 summer crop. The Blue Jays landed another Venezuelan shortstop, Luis Castro, for $800,000 but voided the deal when he failed his physical.

After the draft, Toronto promoted scouting director Andrew Tinnish to assistant GM. The Jays promoted professional crosschecker Brian Parker to replace Tinnish, who ran their last three drafts.

They made another significant personnel change in mid-October, trading manager John Farrell to the Red Sox for Mike Aviles. Boston showed interest in Farrell, their former pitching coach, a year earlier but those talks broke down when Toronto asked for Clay Buchholz in return. The relationship between Anthopoulos and Farrell reportedly chilled in 2012, and the manager was entering the final season of his original three-year contract.

1. Travis d’Arnaud, c
2. Jake Marisnick, of
3. Noah Syndergaard, rhp
4. Aaron Sanchez, rhp
5. Justin Nicolino, lhp
6. Roberto Osuna, rhp
7. Marcus Stroman, rhp
8. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss
9. D.J. Davis, of
10. John Stilson, rhp

Best Hitter for Average Travis d’Arnaud
Best Power Hitter Travis d’Arnaud
Best Strike Zone Discipline Kellen Sweeney
Fastest Baserunner D.J. Davis
Best Athlete Anthony Alford
Best Fastball Aaron Sanchez
Best Curveball Aaron Sanchez
Best Slider Marcus Stroman
Best Changeup Justin Nicolino
Best Control Justin Nicolino
Best Defensive Catcher A.J. Jimenez
Best Defensive Infielder Adeiny Hechavarria
Best Infield Arm Adeiny Hechavarria
Best Defensive OF Jake Marisnick
Best Outfield Arm Jake Marisnick

Catcher Travis D’Arnaud
First Base Edwin Encarnacion
Second Base Christian Lopes
Third Base Brett Lawrie
Shortstop Adieny Hechavarria
Left Field Colby Rasmus
Center Field Anthony Gose
Right Field Jake Marisnick
Designated Hitter Jose Bautista
No. 1 Starter Noah Syndergaard
No. 2 Starter Aaron Sanchez
No. 3 Starter Brandon Morrow
No. 4 Starter Justin Nicolino
No. 5 Starter Ricky Romero
Closer Marcus Stroman

2003 Dustin McGowan, rhp Blue Jays
2004 Alex Rios, of White Sox
2005 Brandon League, rhp Dodgers
2006 Dustin McGowan, rhp Blue Jays
2007 Adam Lind, of Blue Jays
2008 Travis Snider, of Pirates
2009 Travis Snider, of Pirates
2010 Zach Stewart, rhp Red Sox
2011 Kyle Drabek, rhp Blue Jays
2012 Travis d’Arnaud, c Blue Jays

2003 Aaron Hill, SS Diamondbacks
2004 David Purcey, LHP Phillies
2005 Ricky Romero, LHP Blue Jays
2006 Travis Snider, OF Pirates
2007 Kevin Ahrens, 3B Blue Jays
2008 David Cooper, 1B Blue Jays
2009 Chad Jenkins, RHP Blue Jays
2010 Deck McGuire, RHP Blue Jays
2012 D.J. Davis, OF Blue Jays

Adieny Hechavarria, 2010 $4,000,000
Adonys Cardona, 2010 $2,800,000
Ricky Romero, 2005 $2,400,000
Felipe Lopez, 1998 $2,000,000
Deck McGuire, 2010 $2,000,000
Daniel Norris, 2011 $2,000,000
Matt Smoral, 2012 $2,000,000

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