Maybe it's safe to do this now, with less than 10 days remaining before pitchers and catchers report. I'm not going to make a big production out of this wilth all the bells and whistles, I'm just going to run down the list. The changes reflect both the trades that have been made since the original list, and new information which would affect my opinion.
I'm going to rank a whopping 50 guys. As usual I disclaim this by saying no team actually has 50 "prospects," rather these are more precisely a few prospects and a lot of guys who could become prospects. but I'm trying to mention everyone in the system (with the possible exception of the DSL which is hard to evaluate for a lot of reasons) that you might be excited about sometime in the future, or at least might be considered a possibility to actually pull on a big league uniform at some point, however briefly.
It's worth noting that there are several players who are not "established" in the majors but who have too many appearances there to be ranked as prospects. These players would certainly strengthen the following list if they were still eligible. Among them most noteably, Brett Cecil, Marc Rzepczynski and of course Travis Snider.
On top of that, I'll mention a few more guys at the end who could arguably have been on the list.
(Age as of April 1, 2010)
1. Kyle Drabek / RHSP / 22 - Some recent lists put Wallace first, but in my opinion, the big question mark on Drabek was said to be some maturity/attitude issues and the latest reports say that's no longer an issue. Ever the optimist, I'm sticking with the thesis that he has a chance to be a good #1 pitcher.
2. Brett Wallace / 1B / 23 - I would be more sympathetic to the idea of ranking him first if there was a real shot he'd stick at third base, but the Jays management has been very clear that's not the plan. Still, I like Wallace as the sort of hitter Nick Johnson was at his peak.
3. Henderson Alverez / RHSP / 19 - The kid turns 20 in mid-April, and he's impressed a lot of people. I like his growth curve, I like his performance at such a young age, I love his control, and Dunedin (and the FSL in general, where he'll play this year) is traditionally kind to pitchers. I think I'm the only one who has him this high, but he's for real, in my opinon.
4. Zach Stewart / RHSP / 23 - For all the talk that he'd be a stud reliever, the Jays seem (rightfully) committed to seeing things through in building up his endurance to start. there's a lot to like about Stewart and a lot of folks had him #1 before the Halladay deal. He'll pitch at AAA this year but temper expectations about him making a big impact in Toronto this year because his innings will be capped at 140 or so this year in all likelihood.
5. JP Arencibia / C / 24 - All prospect watchers know JPA had a rough year last year, but I may be the only one who keeps pointing out he was rushed to AAA and should have started (at least) 2009 in AA. In addition, Tony LaCava implied in a recent interview that Arencibia's (since resolved) kidney issues might have contributed and also revealed that JP has had Lasik eye surgery in the off-season which often works wonders (See Denard Span for a recent example).
6. Travis d'Arnaud / C / 21 - A couple of steps further back than Arencibia, he's said to be a more complete player. One wouldn't be doing a strange thing to flip the two in the rankings. I have a hunch he'll see a bit more development in power and might be one of the more productive catchers in the game at some point. I wonder if, should both these guys turn out well, the Jays might not think about shifting one of them to 3B in a few years.
7. Chad Jenkins / RHSP / 22 - Hasn't thrown a professional pitch yet, but one always hopes their #1 pick is a top 10 prospect. Jenkins has a lot of good reviews, most projecting him as a workhorse type #2 or #3 guy. Possibly he could start out in Dunedin this year.
8. Jake Marisnick / CF / 19 - The proverbial "five tool" guy, Marisnick was considered something of a steal in the 4th round this last year. Like Jenkins, he hasn't done a thing in pro-ball yet, but there seems to be a very good "vibe" around him. LaCava says the Jays will be more cautious with moving high school prospects than they have been so you are probably looking at a four year wait, more or less, to see Marisnick play for the Jays. Unless he forces the issue as Snider did.
9. Mosies Sierra / RF / 21 - Still waiting on the power to develop, but in a lot of ways this guy looks like he could be another Alex Rios, though hopefully without the more frustrating qualities.
10. Justin Jackson / SS / 21 - a lot of people have all but given up on the 2007 high school crop, but Jays management feels the group was rushed. I agree. Sierra is the same age and he took a big step forward by repeating Lo-A ball instead of being pushed to Dunedin with Jackson and his classmates. On top of that, Jackson has had left shoulder issues going back to 2008 which were hopefully resolved by surgery last season. It's because of the injury that I give Jackson a mulligan while dropping the others, but it would be a mistake to give up on any of the three.
11. Carlos Perez / C / 19 - Jays can afford to take it slow with impressive kid.
12. Brad Mills / LHSP / 25 - lost in the numbers game, but don't count him out.
13. Josh Roenicke / RHRP / 27 - late convert to pitching, don't let age fool you.
14. Gustovo Pierre / SS / 18 - very raw, massive potential, may grow out of SS.
15. David Cooper / 1B / 23 - Even if he gets it together, Wallace clouds his future.
16. Eric Thames / LF/ 23 - all he does is hit and get hurt.
17. Brian Dopirak / 1B / 26 - Like Cooper, Wallace creates a problem for him.
18. Robert Bell / RHSP / 24 - I rank him higher than anyone but I think he deserves it.
19. Brad Emaus / 2B / 24 - ranking down some from last year but not down on him.
20. Scott Campbell / 2B / 25 - lost a year to injuries and bad ideas, still a great bat IMO.
21. Kevin Ahrens / 3B / 21 - this is the year for him to step up if he's going to.
22. Tim Collins / LHRP / 20 - I think he's really good but it's difficult to rank relievers highly.
23. Danny Farquhar / RHRP / 23 - interesting skill set, solid results.
24. Tyler Pastornicky / SS / 20 - a lot to like but I don't see the ceiling some do yet.
25. Darin Mastorianni / CF / 24 - Podsednick skill set, Johnson's "scrappiness"?
26. Adam Loewen / LF / 26 - flashes of promise last year, needs to start putting it together.
27. John Tolisano / 2B / 21 - Defense said to be improving, needs to take a step.
28. Bobby Ray / RHSP / 26 - probably crowded out of rotation, could be solid reliever.
29. Andrew Liebel / RHSP / 24 - Hasn't impressed me much yet.
30. Luis Perez / LHSP / 25 - Depth chart not on his side, bullpen or trade in his future.
31. KC Hobson / 1B / 19 - could be a big mover on next year's list.
32. Jose Vargas / LHSP / 19 - Rocked the DSL in 2009, need to see what he can do in the States.
33. Sean Ochinko / C / 22 - will stick with him behind the plate for now, maybe 3B in the future.
34. Brian Jeroloman / C / 25 - definate step back in 2009, needs to regroup.
35. Ryan Goins / SS / 22 - High floor, low ceiling guy.
36. Yan Gomes / C / 22 - could really climb by this time next year.
37. Ryan Schimpf / 2B / 22 - looks like a fringy guy to me.
38. Kenny Rodriguez / RHSP / 25 - yet to step up, depth works against him.
39. Robert Sobolewski / 3B / 23 - real ordinary year from a guy thought to be a steal.
40. Trystan Magnuson / RHRP/ 24 - might top out as a AAAA type shuttle rider.
41. Mike McDade / 1B / 21 - intriguing bat, worrisome waistline.
42. Antonio Jimminez / C / 19 - Six catchers in front of him, needs to show something.
43. Kyle Ginley / RHSP / 23 - can he stay healthy?
44. Egan Smith / LHSP / 21 - impresive debut, needs to be challenged at Lansing maybe.
45. Chuck Huggins / LHSP / 23 - one of those guys who might not look so good at higher levels.
46. Daniel Webb / RHSP / 19 - possible sleeper, no pro appearances yet.
47. Balbino Fuenmayor / 3B / 20 - needs to start finding a bit of plate discipline.
48. Joel Cerrano / RHP / 23 - depth makes him a potential reliever, marginal guy though.
49. Devy Estrada / RHP / 17 - DSL is hard to read but his stats were impressive.
50. Reider Gonzalez / RHP / 24 - pretty decent numbers but I don't get the impression he'll make it.
Other names you might see on next years list: Wellinton Ramirez, Kenny Wilson, Marcus Brisker, Eric Eiland, Brad McElroy, Lance Durham.
Also, let me mention Kyle Phillips. He's not strictly a prospect, but he might step up and surprise this year. the thing is, if he does that well he won't be eligible for next years list. but to be clear, I don't think he's going to be an impact guy - just that he might be better than we think.
So, there ya go - all the names you need to know for the Jays system this year. Forgive any typos, this took 2 hours to write and I'm not proofing it any more.