I've noticed something about myself, which you may have noted too - when the Blue Jays have an extended run of hard times, I end up having little to say. By nature, my fandom is built around positivity and optimism. I don't much enjoy the sort of fandom that is built around negativity and criticism. But for the last month, there's just been very little positive of which to make note. Sure there have been positive notes (Villianueva - re-sign him! Steve Delenbar, excellent value) but on the whole it's been the toughest month to be a Jays fan in probably a decade.
And, just sayin - if the sorry squad in Baltimore actually makes the playoffs based on an ocean full of dumb luck, I might just quit this game altogether.
However, with the approaching off-season I can immerse myself in roster machinations and prospect porn and try to forget this nasty bit of business. Which brings me to tonight's theme - I'm taking a look back at the last prospect list in the spring (found here) and asking the question: How'd they do?
1.Travis d'Arnaud: as you probably know, he was tearing up the PCL before a knee injury ended his season. Not to worry, though, it's not the sort of knee injury that tends to plague catchers and shouldn't have a long term impact. Prognosis - Jays will market, but not push, JPA this winter. if he stays then d'Arnaud will open the season in AAA for at least the first couple of months.
2. Jake Marisnick: Was good-but-not-great at Dunedin, in the context of a very pitcher-friendly league. Was promoted a bit sooner than I expected and initially struggled at AA. He adjusted and hit well for a few weeks, then cooled off again. He ended the season on another hot streak, posting an OPS of .966 in his last 10 games, and he's bound for the AFL in October. Prognosis - likely to spend the first half of 2013 in AA and have the opportunity to earn a promotion by mid-season. Barring a rash of injuries, or incredible performance, don't look for him in the majors next year.
3. Anthony Gose To be a 21 year old in AAA, he did well, but not eye-popping in AAA, but looked totally over-matched during a stint in Toronto. Unless he looks much better next spring, he will open the year in AAA and that's the best place for him right now.
4. Drew Hutchison; lost rookie eligibility, pitched well in the majors after a slightly wobbly start. Won't be back on a mound until well into next summer due to TJ surgery, and likely won't be seen in Toronto before September. A candidate, on paper, for the 2014 rotation.
5. Daniel Norris: Good strikeout rate was the one redeeming feature of his initial campaign. Reportedly has good stuff but was much more hittable than a guy with his clippings should have been. Likely ticketed for Vancouver to open 2013.
6. Noah Syndergaard: You couldn't ask for better results here. If you insisted on finding a flaw, he had some trouble adjusting to pitching in "relief" roles during the tandmen starter arrangment early in the season. but that's nitpicking.
7. Justin Nicolino: Again, nothing to complain about here. Some think he will be the first of the Lansing trio to arrive in Toronto as he's somewhat more polished than the righties.
8. Aaron Sanchez: widely viewed to have the best pure stuff of these three members of the Lansing staff, he does not quite have the strike zone control of the others. All three will no doubt move up to Dunedin next spring.
9. Adeiny Hechavarria: hit much better than expected, at times, in AAA. Scouts such as Kevin goldstien and others, who had said all along he'd have trouble being a passable major league hitter, acknowledged he had made considerable strides and it was not just a PCL illusion. Nevertheless, like Gose, he's not ready to hit at the major league level yet. That said, over the last two weeks he's raised his production up into the neighborhood of your average MLB ss so he might be a hair closer than Gose. He will likely at least begin 2013 in AAA.
10, Deck McGuire: struggled, let it get in his head, and struggled worse. Every occasional good outing is immediately followed by another train wreck. A lost season. He'll likely return to AA next year.
11. Carlos Perez: did not do as well on the second tour of the league as one might have expected. Traded to the Astros in the Happ deal.
12. Michael Crouse: Crashed and burned. Just an awful awful season.
13. Antonio Jimenez: went down early in the year with an elbow that needed Tommy John surgery. Should be ready by ST (doesn't take as long when you are not a pitcher). Should return to AA to start the year.
14. Marcu Kencht: see Crouse. He was slightly better but only slightly.
15 Adonys Cardona inconsistent and too wild in an injury shortened season. Not as bad as it looked though. Take away one appearance which resulted in 4 earned runs in only 2/3 of an inning and it's in line with his first campaign. Breakout candidate for 2013 if he stays healthy.
16. Matt Dean: Started off cold but heated up for a couple of months before fading. Reportedly struggled mightily with the glove all year. Disappointing but not disastrous. With a good spring, he could land a promotion to Vancouver.
17. Kevin Comer: was just "okay" - reportedly suffered a velocity drop. Belongs to Houston now.
18. Roberto Osuna: electric, fantastic, impressive. Almost certainly a top 10 prospect this winter. Might start the year back in Vancouver but they have been aggressive so far and there's a solid chance he breaks camp with Lansing.
19. Asher Wojciechowski: Inconsistant, dominant at times and mediocre at others. Traded.
20. Chad Jenkins: I was worried about ranking him this high, and it seemed for a while I was justified in worrying. A surprise promotion to Toronto and even more surprising success has put him back on the map. Still, I don't think there's room on the major league roster for him on opening day next year, unless there are injuries.
21. Chris Hawkins: Not awful, but certainly disappointing. Not the numbers you look for from a top 20 prospect.
22. Jacob Anderson: Horrible struggles at the plate. Not at all what was hoped for.
23. Dwight Smith, Jr.: Not awful, but awfully pedestrian. More was expected.
24. Moises Sierra: Good but not great at Vegas, but when the door was opened by injury, he flew past Gose and seized the moment. Don't be fooled though. The 1:8 BB:K rate is alarming, and - after being on fire for the first couple of weeks, he's come down to earth real hard. In the last 10 games, his OPS is .384 so don't be penciling him into left field next year just yet.
25. DJ Thon: Still unimpressive. It's impossible to tell from stats alone how much this is a result of his health issues last year. Will be way down the list next time though.
26. John Stilson: seemed to run out of gas towards the end so the final line is not eye-popping. but there were a lot of good signs and I wouldn't be shocked to see him land in AAA when the teams break camp next spring.
27. Christian Lopes: a nice solid start for a high school draftee. Encouraging. Good chance he breaks camp with Lansing next spring.
28. Sean Nolin: Took a big leap in 2011, and a HUGE leap in 2012. Has gone from a guy on the fringes of the top 40 to a candidate for the top 10-12 spots.
29. Joe Musgrove: pitched only a few innings before being traded.
30. Joel Carreno: had a golden opportunity, and reportedly came to camp out of shape. Whatever the cause, he blew his shot and has been passed on the depth chart be several. probably in the AAA bullpen next April.
31. Mike McDade: Another case of a guy who was okay, but not so good as to have made a case for himself as a player to be excited about. Likely back to AAA next year, potentially sharing 1B/DH with David Cooper unless one of them (or Adam Lind) leaves the organization.
32. Wilmer Becarra: Season was shortened when he was hit by a pitch and missed most of the GC Jays schedule. In an 11 game sample, he had an OPS as good as any on the team (not counting re-habbers). Likely will return to the GCL next year, but might make the cut for Bluefield.
33. Dewal Lugo - like Becarra, he was ranked her based mostly on the praise the team received for signing them. The GCL was a low-offense league, but even in that context Lugo was mediocre at best. Still, he's just 17 and holding your own in the GCL at 17, as opposed to still being in the Dominican league, speaks well of him.
34. David Cooper: Graduated from rookie status this year, out-preformed most published expectations for him offensively, but also demonstrated he's a natural DH where the offensive expectations are somewhat higher. Looks to be a decent supporting player but not a star.
35. Kelen Sweeney: Started off slow again, continuing last year's poor offensive production - but he got better as the year went on and had an OPS of over .800 in August. If he can maintain that he'll be back on the radar. Likely to be assigned to Lansing next spring, if a starting opportunity exists.
36. Griffin Murphy: moved into a relief role this year and, for whatever reason, blossomed. Pitching mosr of the year for Bluefield, he posted an ERA under 2 and his ratios supported that result. A bit old for the short season, he really should open the year in Lansing next year.
37. Mark Biggs: small sample, accumulated mostly in relief, in the GCL. Struggled early, but turned it on as July arrived and pitched well in the final two months. Can't read too much into 20 hot innings. One of those guys who should be able to make the cur for Bluefield next spring.
38. Mitchell Taylor: Left baseball before the season started, reportedly with some sort of emotional issues.
39. Evan Crawford: pitching in Toronto early in the season, but was inconsistent and seemed to never find his footing anywhere as the team moved him up and down. Still a promising bullpen option, but next hear's pen might already be full with presumptive candidates.
40. Jario Labourt: pitched well, but a couple of other Dominican signings did even better. Probably in Bluefield next year to start.
41.Jeremy Gabryszwski:: Great ERA, less than one walk per nine, but much lower K rate than is customarily associated with a top prospect. Of course, Dyson is widely praised without a lot of K's so that's inconclusive.
42. Jesus Gonzalez: Like most GCL Jays, showed little offensively (though he did lead the team in doubles). But like Lugo, being in the GCL instead of the Dominican at 17 means you need to have some slack cut for you.
43. Tom Robson: An injury limited to three appearances totaling 11 innings. Conclusions can't really be attempted.
44. Yan Gomes: in the spring I said " may never realize abilities in our system due to crowding. But he's got talent." - I think he backed me up, though he needs to make some adjustments at the major league level for being a bench player.
45. Manuel Cordova: assigned to the DSL, didn't get into a game. One assumes injury but he was not on the DL so it's uncertain what the story is here.
46. Alan Farina: coming back from TJS, Farina wasn't expected to do much and didn't at first but he closed well, with a 1.88 ERA in august, and seems ready to get back on the radar in 2013. consider him a sleeper for next season.
47. Tyler Ybarra: I expected him to be in a rotation this season but he spent the year in the bullpen at Lansing. At 22 he was old for that league, particularly for a reliever, but he quietly had a pretty good season, with a lovely K rate and more walks than would be ideal. Could still make the climb.
48. Santiago Nessy: lost more time to injury than you'd like, but did nothing to remarkably improve or depress his prospect status.
49. Anthony DeSclafinin: spent the season in the shadow of the Lansing Big 3 - not remotely in their league in terms of talent. He was serviceable but too hittable, and I'm not optimistic.
50. Gabriel Cenas: Spent the year not hitting along with the rest of the GCL squad. Lots of patience still required.
Best seasons by guys not on this list (but might well be on the next one)-
Yefry Del Rosario
And, of course, many 2012 draftees will be on the next list.