Friday, 5 November 2010

Baseball America's Top 10

By now, those of you paying attention have seen BA's Top 10 list, but here it is if you haven't:

1. Kyle Drabek, rhp
2. Deck McGuire, rhp
3. Anthony Gose, of
4. Travis D'Arnaud, c
5. Zach Stewart, rhp
6. Asher Wojciechowski, rhp
7. J.P. Arencibia, c
8. Carlos Perez, c
9. Aaron Sanchez, rhp
10. Jake Marisnick, of

My initial reactions . . .

McGuire at #2 surprises me - not sure if they think he's really good, or if it's just a deference to his draft position. Possibly some combination.

Stewart at #5 (instead of #2) is a mild surprise but reasonable.

Wojciechowski in the top 10, instead of Alvarez was totally unexpected.

Otherwise, It's probably much like most every top 10 that comes out this winter will look. The obvious questions all flow from the names not there: "what about Thames? What about Adeiny?" but I could tell you, and the BA writers said as much during the chat, that this isn't an illustration that the missing players are lacking, but that the system is deep enough to have more than 10 worthy prospects.

BA's write-up is jealously guarded for subscribers, as is the chat, but in very general terms here's what Nathan Rode had to say: they are really impressed with Drabek's curve and their 2014 projection lists him as a #1 starter ahead of Romero and Morrow; they really like McGuire's slider, he has a good change and his curve is his rawest pitch; Gose is described as the best defensive outfielder, and fasted baserunner but Marisnick is called the best athlete.

Travis d'Arnaud is described as the long-term answer at catcher, due to excellence on both side of the game which would presumably dictate position switches (or trades) for the other highly ranked catchers; Stewart was rated as having the best fastball, and though they agree with his continued development as a SP, they also project that they Jays will have enough better options by 2014 that he'll be the closer; Woj was said to have similar stuff to Stewart.

Sanchez was described as having a steadily improving fastball (touching 95 in instructionals) and the Jays are said to be even more excited about his ceiling now than when they drafted him.

Other players mentioned but not on the list include Brad Emaus being described as having the best strike-zone discipline I the system, and Drew Hutchison has the best control among the pitchers (on a side note, Pat Hentgen, in an interview at BluebirdBanter, spoke very highly of Hutch). Hechavarria was described as JUST missing the cut; Eric Thames also was a near miss, he was called very strong and expected to be an average LF (I wonder if there will be George Bell comparisons?).

When asked about Jenkins, Rode didn't respond with negatives - no reason to be concerned; he was asked about Sam Dyson and said he'd just had TJ surgery and would miss all of 2011 - I can't find a report of this elsewhere; Henderson Alvarez, he said, didn't miss as many bats as you'd like to see but given his age and level, that's likely part of the process - projects as mid-rotation starter still. Kellen Sweeney was highly praised ("really really good") but missed the top 10 because of system depth (my guess is he's in their top 20).

Rode also said on a couple of occasions that the Jays had arguably a Top 10 system, and that there was a lot of talent in the low minors which would stand them in good stead even when they graduated Drabek and JPA. The implication was that the system would be near the best in the majors for the next few years at least. In terms of looking at my own list, every player in my Top 20 got some kind of praise except AJ Jiminez, and the two top 10's had 8 players in common.

Speaking of prospects, John Sickels' Prospect list for the Jays should fall sometime in the next week, and he mentioned briefly yesterday that he saw Eric Thames in Arizona and had glowing praise for him (as has everyone except Kieth Law). Good days to be a prospect junkie!


SP said...

I think 2-10 can pretty go in any order and it would make sense.

Mylegacy said...

Tammy, lots of exciting things happening in Jay's land. Mel Queen says he's excited over the youngsters in "instructs" and besides the additional new short season team the Jays are holding a special pre-Spring Training camp for a bunch of the kids to give them more "one on one" work.

While I would have rated some guys higher or lower - the only concern I have with BA's Top 10 was McGuire - who I just don't see as having too high an upside. However, I do recognize he has a fairly high bottom being an accomplished college pitcher.