Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mid-Season Prospectapalooza!

It's roughly mid-season for the upper level teams, and the short season teams are just getting started, so as promised, I have a two day binge of prospect porn for your consideration. Rather than pad what will already be massive posts, I'll just tell you what's in store and then get to it.

Tonight, I'm going to re-rank the players by position. Tomorrow night, I'll rank an overall list which will stretch quite possibly to 80 names. Both posts will include 2010 draftees (purely on clippings and speculation and will presume the signing of every unsigned player above the sixth round and one other guy (along with those who are signed from a lower slot already). I ask your understanding that players who haven't played yet this year (or in a few cases, at all) are ranked based on more projection/assumption/P.I.O.O.M.A. than others on the list.

Also, the tendency for prospect geeks is to over-react to a slump or streak and adjust the list too much and too quickly. I tried to avoid that unless there's a larger trend in play.

Catchers:
(The premium position among Jays offensive prospects)

1. JP Arencibia - probably not the highest ceiling, but he's almost arrived and thus has fewer hurdles left to overcome.
2. Travis d'Arnaud - same song in a lesser key, the next two guys are studs but d'Arnaud is more advanced.
3. Carlos Perez - not going to dismiss the off-season praise due to the excellent start of...
4. Antonio Jimenez - really getting a lot of buzz among Jays watchers.
5. Brian Jeroloman - on pure physical talent he goes here, but he might be the most likely of the bunch to reach his ceiling.
6. Yan Gomes - dropped off some lately, edges out here because of reports regarding defense
7. Jon Talley - big guy, may not stay behind the plate, has intriguing bat.
8. Santiago Nessy - very young and very raw.
9. Jon Jaspe - buried on the depth chart but MIGHT be the sort that surfaces in the majors with someone.

First Base:

1. Brett Wallace - lot of over-reaction to recent slump about, including those who "knew all along" he wasn't a big deal, but he's a fairly big deal.
2. Mike McDade - Big Mike has found his stroke this year and is punishing the ball.
3. KC Hobson - pure speculation combined with the continuing struggles of...
4. David Cooper - shows occasional flashes but far more rarely than he should.
5. Brian Dopirak - was removed from the 40 and no other team claimed him. That's a wake up call concerning how professionals view him.
6. Balbino Fuenmayor - Still young but taking a long time to figure it out.
7. John Delgado - I know nothing about him, he's on the DSL team. But how can you not pay attention to a Delgado?!

Second Base:
(tricky to rank because of fluidity among infielders moving among positions)

1. John Tolisano - seems to have figured things out in the last six weeks or so. Still probably won't end up at second if he makes the majors but this is where he has the most experience.
2. Scott Campbell - Hip injury could be career killer, but if he can take the field his bat must be respected.
3. Jarrett Huffpauir - not really a prospect, but tearing up AAA with everything but power and he's close enough to pay some attention to.
4. Ryan Schimpf - Marginal guy, behind not only those above him but a few other guys who are now playing another position. Still, he's the sort who could fight his way to the majors and stick around a few years on determiniation maybe.

Third Base:

1. Brad Emaus - moved up to AAA and took just a game or two to start pounding opposing pitchers. He insists you take hm seriously.
2. Shawn Bowman - waiver claim at first thought by fans (at least by me) to be filler (sort of like Dopirak) but the 25 year old is raking in AA and turning heads.
3. Mark Sobolewski - thouse who have seen him play suggest caution, pointing to his age for his level. But the crop really thins fast at third.
4. Sean Ochinko - versitle guy, could be ranked as a catcher but he fares better in this group. Again, you really won't know what you have until he preforms at a higher level.
5. Kevin Aherns - was sent back to Lansing to adjust to dropping switch-hitting (he was much better from one side than the other) - still too early to tell if that will rescue his career.
6. Kris Bryant - power potential give him very slight edge over two fellow draftees in 2010. Has been called "young Troy Glaus" by some.
7. (tie) Kellen Sweeney & Chris Hawkins - shortstops who project to shift to third, some would rank all three of these ahead of Aherns and possibly Ochinko right now. Some would rank Bryant third in fact.

Shortstops:

1. Adeiny Hechavarria - extended slump may worry some, but too highly regarded to ignore.
2. Gustavo Pierre - all projection and assumption here based on reports - may well shift to 3B if Adeiny thrives.
3. Tyler Pastornicky - health gives him the edge over...
4. Justin Jackson - I still believe, but if Hechevarria works out both of these guys may find themselves groomed at 2B as well.
5. Ryan Goins - older and should be more advanced than the previous two, but stuck behind them on the depth chart. Said to play above his actual talent level.
6. Dicke Joe Thon - might bebetter than Goins right now but since he may not sign...
7. Mike McCoy - lowest ceiling here, perhaps, but very close and Jays think if he can play major league defense he might be the bridge to Adeiny.

Outfield:
(looks deep but covers all three spots)

1. Moises Sierra - has been injured all season, but RF defense and potentially solid bat are still there.
2. Adam Loewen - I'll take some grief for this but he's blossomed over the last couple of months into the player the Jays and others thought he could become. Still unpolished in the outfield but dedicated and you have to assume he has the arm for RF.
3. Jake Marisnick - the CF hasn't played a pro game yet but he gets so much love from those who observe that it must mean something.
4. Eric Thames - has a real solid bat that gets better as he finally has a healthy season (so far). though he's slumped lately he's added power to his game this year. Would rank higher but for defensive questions.
5. Marcus Kenect - 2010 draftee, I base this almost entierly on the fact that the jays thought the HS outfielder was ready to start in Auburn just a week or so after signing.
6. Darin Mastorianni - Reed Johnson style guy, by all reports.
7. Chris Lubanski - may not really have a place to play in Toronto, and still has some bad ratios, but a guy with his pedigree tearing up the PCL deserves at least a nod, because he's in AAA and doing it.
8. Kenny Wilson - learning to switch hit, take batting stats with a lot of salt.
9. Wellinton Ramirez - could arguably rank as high as fifth on this list.
10. Brad McElroy - too old for the level, proceed with caution
11. Marcus Brisker - saw raw he moos when you stick a fork in him. What? Nevermind. Has done nothing yet but has time.
12. Eric Eiland - like Brisker only with less time, he's two years older (though still only 21).


Starting Pitchers:

1. Kyle Drabek - when looking at the stats of Jays top starting prospects this year, keep in mind two things (a) variable defense, particularly when the pitcher induces a lot of grounders; and (b) the Jays have instructed some pitchers to focus on developing certain pitches which they will throw in order to work on the pitch, no matter if it's not their best one. Every report says Drabek is on course. I think they might venture him to AAA in August.
2. Henderson Alvarez - confidence may be the only thing standing in his way. His coaches say if he has a bad inning he tends to fall apart. Otherwise he has a huge future. Probably won't move up since he's so young.
3. Zach Stewart - the Jays' depth is such that despite all protestations, Stewart might end up the closer. But he's shown flashes of why he's so highly praised.
4. Marc Rzepczynski - not actually a prospect in the technical sense, but i don't consider him an established major leaguer. Although that doesn't mean he won't be pretty darn good. He might not have the tools of the first rounders but he's gotten this high so, as with others, there are fewer potential pitfalls between him and his ceiling.
5. Aaron Sanchez - going a bit against the grain here, he's further away than the college guys but has a higher ceiling potentially.
6. Chad Jenkins - doing everything the Jays have asked and building an impressive ratio, albeit a college guy is a bit old for the league. One assumes he'll get promoted at some point.
7. Deck McGuire - said to be quite similar to Jenkins.
8. Brad Mills - lower ceiling than most here, better chance to reach it, particularly if he ends up in the NL.
9. Asher Wojciechowski - has a lot of innings already this year, could rise fast (like McGuire is expected to) starting next year.
10. Griffin Murphy - considered a bit of a steal (as were several of this year's picks) at that position.
11. Devy Estrada - Dominated the DSL at 17, almost no one has heard of him but that might change.
12. Noah Syndergaard - hard to get a read on the late risers but the Jays love him.
13. Bobby Bell - having a rough year, eventually a reliever I expect, especially in THIS organization.
14. Sam Dyson - extensive injury history but highly praised.
15. Randy Boone - no name or reputation but was having a very impressive year until he was hurt.
16. Luis Perez - I'm not a big believer, his AA manager expects him to relieve in the majors if he makes it.
17. Chuck Huggins - probably one of those guys who doesn't translate well to upper levels.
18. Egan Smith - had done well so far, we'll have to see what happens as he moves up.
19. Bobby Ray - can't stay healthy.
20 (tie) - Drew Hutchenson & Daniel Webb - 2009 draftees, got a lot of positive press last year but just starting their pro careers this month.
22. Joel Cerrano - lots of K's, needs to figure a few things out to move up.
23. Evan Crawford - flashes but very little data so far.
24. Ray Gonzalez - AA stuff hasn't translated to AAA
25. Andrew Liebel - hasn't taken step up that he needs to be noticed.

Relief Pitchers:

1. Tim Collins - When are they going to start calling this guy "The Freak"? It's not supposed to be possible to do what he does.
2. Josh Roenicke - if he ever manages to bring his control with him when he comes north, he'll be special.
3. Danny Farquhar - perhaps not a massive physical talent but has a very deep bag of tricks.
4. Trystan Magnuson - the opposite of Collins in everything but success. Tall lanky guy isn't a power pitcher but he went eight weeks (actually pitching) without giving up a single run.
5. Alan Farina - older relievers at lower levels don't often get a lot of regard but he does.
6. Dustin Antolin - sidelined by TJ - has some intriguing tools.
7. Ronald Uviedo - being used as a starter out of necessity, most comments suggest he is best suited to be a reliever.
8. Kyle Ginley - can't stay healthy, might yet start if he could.

That's 81 names! Have any suggestions (besides DSL guys) for players I missed? I'll attempt a ranking tomorrow unless hindered.

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