With the end of the minor league season approaching soon, it’s obvious that all obsessive Jays fans want to know what we learned this year about future Blue Jays (and future wash outs) and so, in the coming weeks, I will attempt to give you the most exhaustive listing of players of note in the Jays system that you will find anywhere. I can't tell you that these will be extensive scouting reports on what pitches a guy throws or stuff like that. I'm only able to give you background info, an overview of the stats they posted, and whatever scouting I can dig up on the web. But at least you will have a thumbnail of all the important guys to refer to.
I have compiled a list of the 70, that’s right 70, most important names to know in the Jays’ system. Does that mean we have 70 guys with a legitimate shot at playing in the majors?
No one does. Or, more precisely, any of the 70 might make it, but as a whole, a relatively small percentage will. Thirty percent would be outstanding. But I created such a long list because I wanted to cover every player that someone might come back later and say “what about this guy?”
Let me just tell you right now, if they guy you are looking at didn’t make this list, he’s either way too old for his level, or a relief pitcher (because there are always tons of relievers who do well in the low minors who never make it to the bigs - most relievers in the bigs were starters in the minors), or he's in the very low minors where it's not possible to get a good statistical read on him yet (and not a high draft choice). So if I didn’t list him - especially if he was playing at Lansing or higher - the odds are outstanding he’s never going to get any relevant playing time in the majors...more than likely he won’t ever get the call.
Also, as you read, you have to remember that the further a player is from the majors, the more skeptical you need to be. Remember Vito Chiaravalloti.
“Who?” you asked? Exactly. Vito (pictured above) was the Jays 15th round pick in 2003. A slugging 1B with a great baseball name. In short-season league Auburn in 2003 Vito posted a batting average of .351, and an OPS of 1.074 in 228 at bats and Jays prospect watchers developed a bit of a man-crush.
In 2004 he was pretty good in Dunedin, in 2005 he was a disaster in New Hampshire and was sent back to Dunedin where he was even worse. He failed AA again in 2006 before being released, and stunk it up for the O’s at two stops. He spent 2007 in Indy League ball (where he had a heck of a year) at the age of 26. I’m thinking he ought to check on playing in Japan, but I digress. The point is, not every player who kicks ass in the low minors is the Next Big Thing. So when I say, of a player, “remember the Vito Factor” you will know what I mean. That said, I do have to mention all those guys because they might be something special after all.
What you will see, beginning next weekend, is a series of nine posts of the top players in the system, position by position, starting with 1B. In this way the information will be, hopefully, easier to digest and not lead to so many huge posts.
After all that is said and done, The Southpaw crew will put our heads together and come up with a top prospect list with our comments on each player we rank. We’re still working out the details on that. Stay tuned to this bat-station!