I hesitate to start this because the idea shares somewhat in common with the latest series of threads at Batter's Box. But I'd intended to do this as ST was commencing and my format is a bit different.
What we're going to do is take a look at how the players in the Blue Jays' system will shake out in terms of minor league assignments. This is, of necessity, a preliminary analysis and injuries, trades, and ST performance will affect these decisions. It's also worth noting that the further from the majors you get, the more uncertainty exists - particularly in the short-season leagues.
There are a few places where I go with an alignment which makes things easier to sort out (i.e., Zep in the majors and Drabek at AAA to start the season, or Scott Campbell at 2B) and there are places where I have to assign players as I would (with my incomplete info) in the absence of knowledge of what the Jays are thinking. With the exception of known existing injuries (Dustin McGowan and Sam Dyson) I assume health for all players. This will not, of course, actually happen. Let's begin.
I will do it team-by-team, and within each team separate starters, relievers, and hitters for separate commentary. Also, I've bolded those I consider the top 60 farm system players to watch (not necessarily the top 60 prospects)
Rotation: Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Litsch, Rzepczyinski
I'm going with the assumption that Litsch will enjoy the veterans "benefit of the doubt" but I'd guess he's the one here most likely to lose his job to Drabek, and the one featuring the least "stuff." I went with Zep over Drabek because (a) the team needs to know what his value is (b) there's no longer room for him in the 'pen and (c) there's some player control issues that work in their favor if Drabek starts the year in Vegas.
Bullpen: Francisco, Rauch, Frasor, Purcey, Dotel, Camp, Janssen
I'm not a believer in Villianueva and I am a fan of Janssen. The rest here seem quite obvious and I'm quite convinced Francisco is the closer on April 1.
C - Arencibia, Molina
1B - Lind, Encarncion (DH)
2B - Hill
SS - Escobar
3B - Bautista
RF - Snider
CF - Davis
LF - Rivera
Bench - McDonald, Patterson, McCoy
I've a strong feeling at least one player will be added who will push McCoy off the roster. Patterson isn't real safe either. I realize most projections have Snider in LF but I'm thinking that the Jays have so little commitment to Rivera that they'd like to know once and for all if Snider can handle RF, much as they are attempting to make Lind work at 1B. for now, I'm going to project that they start the year with him there (absent a trade).
Rotation: Kyle Drabek, Zach Stewart, Brad Mills, Scott Richmond, Jo-Jo Reyes
The general assumption is that Reyes will not clear waivers, but I'm not at all sure there will be team out there with an open spot in their major league rotation that they would claim him. Mills badly needs a trade if he's gonna start in the majors, the chart is too deep for him here. If Drabek is in AAA it's only for the first couple of months at most. I think the Jays will hold out for an injury or ineffectiveness from one of the five if they can. They won't be eager to replace a guy who has done nothing to lose his job, even for Drabek.
Bullpen: Chad Cordero, Josh Roenicke, Carlos Villianueva, Jesse Carlson, Rommie Lewis, Alan Farina, Luis Perez, Bobby Ray
That's one too many guys, but there are a TON of excess relief arms coming to camp, and these are the eight most notable guys of those not in the majors. If Reyes is gone, Ray or Perez will be starting and that would leave the correct total of seven relievers. Other names who will fill in if there are injuries, trades, etc (and otherwise likely be released) include: Winston Abreu, Will Ledzma, Sean Henn, Mike Hinkley, William Collazo, Brian Stokes and Jamie Vermillyea.
C - Brian Jeroloman, Ryan Budde
1B - David Cooper, Ryan Shealy (DH)
2B - Scott Campbell, Calix Crabbe
SS - Jon Diaz, Manny Mayorson
3B - Brett Lawrie
LF - Eric Thames
CF - Darin Mastroianni
RF - Adam Loewen
Bench - Danny Pearles (OF), and Leonard Davis (OF)
That's actually one too many hitters, but along the way I'll be including extra guys when there's no obvious way to distinguish and when the likelihood is that someone will be hurt and a spot will open up. Other guys on minor league deals who will nominally be candidates for the 51's include Jason Lane, Craig Stansberry (3B), and Al Quintana.
A note here about Scott Campbell - the Jays had been trying him at 3B before his hip injury. Due to the changes in organizational depth at 3B, I've an idea that should he recover he's going to back at 2B. I'm also presuming a bit by putting him at AAA, but I think if he's healthy at his age they need to go ahead and throw him out there rather than being cautious.
Rotation: Randy Boone, Joel Carreno, Bobby Bell, Wes Ethridge, Steve Raburn
Those last two are minor league Free Agent signings and I frankly don't know what the team thinks of them but it beats recycling previous year filler like BJ LaMura and Mike MacDonald. Bell will at some point be a reliever but it seems to me that unless they think that health prevents, he's more likely to keep a spot in the rotation warm than some scrub filler. Especially with so many relievers in need of work.
Bullpen: Matt Daly, Frank Gailey Ron Uvideo, Ray Gonzalez, Boomer Potts,, Dumas Garcia, Vince Bongiovanni
None of these guys except MAYBE Daly are notable, Gonzalez could be a placeholder in the rotation instead of one of the imports, and any of them could be replaced by the trickle down of excess guys from AAA (and a few surely will be). I've taken the tack of listing younger guys from within the organization ahead of guys who are OBVIOUSLY journeyman filler. There are more than enough such pitchers at lower levels that pushing, for instance, Garcia back down to make room seems like a waste. Other veteran filler types available here include BJ Lamura (who likely gets the next open spot as the team seems to like his usefulness), Mike MacDonald, and Clint Everts.
C - Travis d'Arnaud, Matt Luzza
1B - Mike McDade
2B - John Tolisano, Justin McClanehan
SS - Adeiny Hechavarria, Luis Sanchez
3B - Mark Sobolewski
LF - Adam Calderone
CF - Anthony Gose
RF - Moises Sierra
Bench - Richardo Nanita, Conception Rodriguez
A note re Anthony Gose - my general rule here is that this is a projection of opening day rosters, I make an exception here regarding Gose who I think will likely spend 4-6 weeks (at most) in Dunedin to start the season. I do so in this case because anyone who keeps that CF spot warm will be a total place-holder with no reason for us to discuss his identity. there's just no way to pin down who that might be.
The rest, I think, is largely self-evident, except Sobolewski - see a note about that under the Dunedin section.
Rotation: Chad Jenkins, Henderson Alvarez, Andrew Liebel, Ryan Tepera, Matt Fields
I expect Jenkins to move up on roughly the same schedule that Drabek ought to reach the majors, say around the first of June. Alvarez, if he impresses, more like the first of August. Liebel is coming off injury and might get a benefit of the doubt but not too much rope as the pressure from below will likely be intense. The other two simply had the best numbers (at this level) of the pack of lesser-names crowding the lower levels. Other pitchers who will need a BP role, or a break that is not now apparent in order to stay in the organization include: Ryan Page, Ryan Shopshire, and Dave Sever.
Bullpen: Nestor Molina, Kyle Ginley, Steve Turnbull, Evan Crawford, Matt Wright, Dan Delucia, Russ Buckwalter, Chad Beck
That's too many names, and one or two at least won't make the cut. They are listed by age so the guys toward the end have less rope. Molina is a genuine prospect, Ginley was before he spent most of the last two years hurt. None of the rest really matter, and any of them might be replaced by bumped starters.
C - Antonio Jimenez, Yan Gomes, Jon Talley(1B/DH)
1B - Sean Ochinko (3B, C), Lance Durham
2B - Ryan Schimpf
SS - Justin Jackson, Ryan Goins
3B - Kevin Aherns
LF - Brad McElroy / Broan Van Kirk
CF - Kenny Wilson
RF - Brad Glenn, Chris Hopkins
A lot more uncertainty here. First, to tie up the lose end regarding the third basemen: Sobo is 2.5 years older than Aherns, and while he has fewer reps in Dunedin, he did as well or better than Aherns has done there. in my opinion, that means he gets first crack at AA but if Aherns does re-establish his prospect status, he'll be on the short list for promotion. I still think Ochinko will play mostly at 3B but he'll spend more time at 1B while Ahrens is here.
I gambled in leapfrogging Durham over KC Hobson because - again - Hobson is 2.5 years younger and didn't exactly dominate Lansing in his short trial there. Durham, at 23, has no business in Short Season ball, it's either jump him up here or write him off. and he wasn't awful last year.
I've listed Jackson as a starter as one last show of faith in him, but he could be at 2B with Goins starting or he could be working from the bench. None of these outfielders really matter.
Rotation: Deck McGuire, Ash Wojciechowski, Drew Hutchison, Daniel Webb, Egan Smith, Casey Lawrence
I listed six here because I have now real way to pick which of these doesn't deserve to be here and I'm gambling that an injury makes room or that they simply carry an extra guy to spot in for double-headers and such. Listed in order of importance.
Bullpen: Dustin Antolin, Dan Barnes, Drew Permission, Dayton Martze, Aaron Loup, Brian Slover, Scott Gracey, Casey Beck
Antolin has potential, or did before injury - he might not be ready for opening day. The next three are lower round picks from the 2010 draft, and the rest is filler. Some of which will be bumped by promotions from rookie-league teams later in the summer.
C - Carlos Perez, Karim Turkmani
1B - KC Hobson, Balbino Fuenmayor
2B - Oliver Dominguez
SS - Gus Pierre
3B - Kevin Nolan, Randy Schwartz
LF - Marcus Kenect
CF - Jake Marisnick
RF - Michael Crouse
Bench - Eric Eiland (OF)
The 3B are placeholders until Sweeney or Hawkins pushes them aside. Conceivably Sweeney could look so good in ST as to grab the job in April.
Rotation: Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Griffin Murphy, Sean Nolin, Devy Estrada
All the best of the younger pitchers from the 2010 draft, plus intriguing Estrada. A VERY good group.
Bullpen: Travis Garrett, Juan Hernandez, Brandon Berl, Zach Outman, Shawn Griffith, Sean Shoffit
Garret is the only mildly promising guy here.
C - Pierce Rankin, Joe Bowen
1B - Yudelmis Hernandez
2B - Kelen Sweeney, Andy Fermin
SS - DJ Thon, Matt Johnson
3B - Chris Hawkins
LF - Yecio Aponte
CF - Marcus Brisker
RF - Jon Jones
OF - Steve McQuail
Only Thon, Sweeney, and Hawkins are really important here - might be too early to be moving Sweeney but this gets all three in the lineup. Again, if Sweeney makes the Lansing roster then that problem is solved.
Below this, there's a lot of filler and a lot of spots that will go to 2011 draftees. I'll only mention a few names.
Shane Opitz is a SS with some promise, likely to play at Bluefield and look for a chance to move up as others in front of him are promoted.
Adonis Cardona is expected to be in the GCL this year, along with young catcher Santiago Nessy and possibly 3B Gabriel Cenas.
A few other 2010 pitchers will be in either Bluefield or the GCL depending on how they shake out in the spring - Justin Nicolino, Mitch Taylor, Zach Adams, and Myles Jaye. Second baseman Brandon Mimms is a final name to make note of here. The rest is irrelevant other than the recently signed Jairo Labour who will probably summer in the Dominican.
[Programing note: The roster comparisons I had said i would do were fundamentally flawed. I had thought of them as a quick-and-dirty look but they were so dirty that there was little use to them. I'm working on a different concept but I want to be careful to make it more useful, so I'll take my time with it and do it in late March hopefully]