Thursday, September 20, 2012

Looking Ahead

It's  that time of the year that we have become so accustomed to in Jays-land, when the desire to watch significant baseball games means watching someone besides the Blue Jays, and thoughts of the Blue Jays are necessarily focused on "next year" again. Still, since one of the things I like best about baseball is the whole art and science of roster manipulation (I'm an odd gal, sue me) I can roll with that possibly a bit better than others.

Of course the first thing you do, when you set out to rosterbate is anticipate which positions are "in play" so let's run over the obvious available information, reflecting both what we can discern and what Alex Anthopoulos has openly stated.

Catcher - Travis d'Arnaud's injury, while unfortunate, does in fact clarify this situation a bit. the Jays re-signed Jeff Mathis for the bench role, have said nothing to disparage incumbent JP Arencibia, and have indeed spoken of the potential of getting d'Arnaud at bats at DH or even 1B. Make no mistake, the future is d'Arnaud barring something as yet unexpected, but that future is not, in all likelihood, going to arrive next April. Depending on what happens with the DH position, you might in theory see d'Arnaud in June or July, getting at bats as the second catcher (with Mathis serving as an emergency guy) and also either he or JP as DH (with Mathis the obvious reserve in those games). As such, there will be no catcher import this winter. Alternate scenario: JP ends up being the key to a deal which will fill some open position and the Jays ignore the slightly inconvenient timing and make the deal.

First Base - while it's not impossible the Jays would acquire a classic 1B and return Edwin Encarnacion to DH, for the purpose of this exercise we'll pencil EE in as the 1B so as to give ourselves more flexibility with the DH position.

Second Base - will NOT be Kelly Johnson. This one is "in play"

Shortstop - it's impossible at this hour to guess how the Eye-Black Incident will play out, either in the short or long term, it is still not invalid to observe that Yunel Escobar has not hit well enough this year to make the team overlook his eccentricities. He's not a BAD SS, to be sure. His WAR  ranks seventh among AL shortstops, but you don't want to create baggage unless you are good enough to make the team overlook it. Still, AA listed SS as a position that's "locked up" (always "brring a trade" of course - that's a standard disclaimer) so we have to pencil him in, with two caveats: 1. the EBI might change everything; and 2. Escobar might be the key to an important trade as non-sucky shortstops are hard to come by and have value. For instance, the Arizona D'Backs may well trade Justin Upton and are known to be seeking a SS. Obviously, if he departs the Jays will go with Adeiny Hechavarria. It's worth noting that Hech in an admittedly small sample, has hit almost exactly as well since August 12 as Starlin Castro has hit for the year, and is a considerably better defender.

ETA: One other thought. It has been said that the Jays were worried about Esco's reaction if they ask him to move to 2B. This bit of drama may put Escobar in a corner where he dare not make waves about such a request. The Jays may well investigate that before making a deal for a 2B.


Third Base - Brett Lawrie, settled, next question. (okay, one tidbit: Lawrie even having lost much time to injury and not having lived up to pre-season offensive expectations, still has the third highest WAR among AL 3B)

Right Field - Jose Bautista. Settled. Next Question. (Bautista's WAR, pro-rated, would rank him #1 among AL RF)

Center Field - Colby Rasmus has fallen into the Adam Lind trap of being very good for short stretches and utterly abysmal for others. Now it's true that there were some mitigating play-through injury circumstance in the second half of this season, but still. At the ASB he was right where you'd have wanted him to be, somewhere in the 5-7 range when the Top AL center fielders are ranked. In fact, for the last 46 games before the break he was arguably the second best CF in the AL (a .971 OPS) depending on how you define Josh Hamilton.
Since the ASB he's hit for a spectacularly bad .520 OPS (and that was worse before he heated up a little over the last couple of weeks). Again, AA lists this as a settled position, and the odds are that the Jays will continue to try to get him to reach his potential until a prospect takes the job from him. but he could have probably earned a multi-year contract before the slide. That won't happen now.

Left Field - obviously in play. Not impossible the team will end up gambling with Gose here but it's not remotely Plan A.

DH - absolutely in play. Lind is around and the team has not completely written him off (although if they have ANY opportunity to make a reasonable trade which includes him they will) but they sound much less confident than they did a year ago, and with good reason. In 43 games since his AAA exile (interrupted by injury) Lind's OPS is .783 which is likely the best guess for where his "true talent" level is. But he's done nothing to prove he can even touch LHP which makes him a platoon player at DH (or 1B) even with the most generous assumptions.David Cooper can (apparently) hit RH more or less as well as Lind has and isn't as lost vs LHP. He's a much cheaper and more flexible back up plan. Still, if the Jays manage to move lind, it will have to be in some situation where they can mitigate the contract. He went unclaimed this summer when any team could have had him for free.

As a personal aside, I'm pretty disappointed in how Lind has turned out. I never expected him to be an MVP candidate, as his career year implied might be possible. but I had taken for granted he would regularly land in the high .800s (for OPS) for several years.

----------
So basically, the leagues best RF, second best 1B, and third best 3B...you have a league average SS and C (more or less) and a CF who could be in the top 5 or 6 if he consistently did what he's capable of...and three gaping holes.

One other consideration that has to play into their thinking: Over the next couple of years, the team will anticipate integrating three high ranking prospects into their offense, while attempting to contend.  It's not wise to pencil three rookies, no matter how good, in at once. so d'Arnaud, Gose, and Hech ought, in a best case situation, be staggered. if the Jays add a projected starting outfielder this winter, which seems highly likely, then gose is looking at opening day 2014 (as far as being a starter) at the earliest. Meanwhile, d'Arnaud seems likely to not be the starter from Opening day 2013, but unlikely to wait a full year.

The implication of this is that the Jays, assuming things play out as expected in other areas, see the wisdom in going ahead and clearing the SS position for Hech, just to have him "in place" before the others arrive. but they might just as easily take it as a given he will be the last to be added to the starting lineup (say, by trading the incumbent mid-season 2014 so as to get Hech off the bench). It's impossible for the layperson to guess how they will react, but you can bet the consideration is part of the formula.

---------------------------------------------------


Starting rotation - Put Brandon Morrow down as the #1, it's pretty evident at this point. Ricky Romero is the tentative #2 but the right acquisition would push him back to #3 - so say that a 2/3 spot is definitely "in play." JA Happ is well positioned to be the #4 or #5 depending on how the team finishes out the rotation. Personally I'd go for re-signing Carlos Villianueva (the team can afford it, even if they end up paying "starter money" to a guy who's their "#6" starter) under the assumption that all he has to do is get them through 20 starts or so until you begin to have other options available should he fade. and for the record, Villianuva threw over 180 IP in 2006 and I dismiss the idea that he's bound to fade. Also, Dustin McGowan might still fit in here somewhere, and Aaron Laffey remains under team control.

So yes, an opening for a 2/3 guy and one for a 4/5 guy.

You might wonder that i said nothing of Henderson Alvarez. Now that the Blue Jays have Buffalo in the fold as their AAA affiliate, I have a strong suspicion that Plan A is to return Alvarez to the minors next year for more refinement. I think it's likely Chad Jenkins ends up there two, and dark horse candidate John Stilson will join them there.Deck McGuire would have a spring chance to prove he deserves it but he will have to show that 2012 is well behind him.

Bullpen -  Pretty much set. these guys WILL be in the 2013 pen, barring trade or injury:
Sergio Santos, Casey Janssen, Brad Lincoln, Steve Delabar, Darren Oliver (option will be exercised, assumes no retirement), and Brett Cecil. That's six of seven spots. Technically that leaves one in play, but unless the re-sign Brandon Lyon (not impossible) or (less likely) Jason Frasor, then they will have a lot of options to address the 7th (and occasionally 8th) spot. start with Aaron Loup, who has a small sample but excellent results. then there's Joel Carreno if he learned from his mistake in 2012, and Chad Beck, and Sam Dyson (one I have my eye on) and Marcus Stroman (who can pitch in ST and would step out from under the suspension if he made the majors), and David Carpenter and Chad Jenkins and maybe even John Stilson. Oh, and Jesse Litsch health permitting.

So I'm not going to envision any potential imports here, as I'm going to suggest they either re-sign a fre agent or stay in-house.

Expect the Jays to attempt to add an upper-rotation starter, and another reliable guy if possible. while there is no assurance that the Jays will fill these holes via free agency, the third and final part of this long post lists some options for each of the clearly existing "in play" positions.

-----------------------------------------------
Second Base - The field of potential free agents second baseman is thin, as, in fact, the field of potential additions via trade are. My favorite target is Omar Infante and my second favorite is Jeff Keppinger.His 2.1 WAR would put him in the middle of AL 2B if he hadn't spent most of the year playing 3B. He had a considerably higher OBP than Infante in 2012, which is very relevant, and has a 20 point edge career wise, while Infante has slightly more speed. The tie-breaker is that Infante is 2 years younger. that said, the gap between them is small. The third option, and a worthy one, is the return of Marco Scutaro. The thing that puts him in third place is that he's 4 years older than Keppinger.

Left Field - Wanna gamble on Melky Cabrera? doesn't seem the sort of risk the Blue Jays would take. Otherwise, there's Ryan Ludwick, who's 34 and could either be the Josh Willingham of this class or a serious overpayment. Then you go all the way down to Scott Hairston, who's not awful but he has an ugly OBP and he's a RH hitter (the Jays really need to plug in another quality LH hitter if possible). Looking at CF and RF free agents, there's BJ Upton, who's been awfully average the last five years for the money he will get. But the guy who jumps out at me, despite being RH, is Tori Hunter. If you can convince him to play of turf (he'd be wise not to), he's as productive as ever.  Angel Pagan  would be a good defender and a solid lead-off option but his ability to play CF makes him attractive elsewhere. and he'd be a very nice option in CF.
All that said, I expect a trade on this one, frankly.

ETA: Overlooked Nick Swisher who, should the Yankees unexpectedly let walk, would seem to be a very smooth fit in this spot. 

ETA2: I would not be completely surprised to see the Jays look in on Ichero Suzuki - though not as a starter unless they strike out on younger and better options. If they do, however, they would then turn around and flip Raji Davis to someone else as there's not a place for both on the team.

DH - David Ortiz is obviously the class of this field, and I think he'd be the Jays first choice, and they'd be his second choice. but I'm not assuming a divorce between he and the Red Sox just yet. He might decide to let the winter play out for a few months and see what the Red Sox do by, say, Christmas. One wonders if the Jays will wait that long to try and fill the hole. that said, if he brings to the team the bat he's displayed in Boston, it would be difficult to overstate what he could do for the lineup. Bautista>Ortiz>Encarnacion in the heart of the order would produce quite a few "giggity giggity goo!" reactions among Jays fans.

After that, things get much less thrilling. So much so that you could make a halfway decent case for giving the job to Jim Thome. Which is a way to say that you'd probably need to fill it with a guy who wasn't DHing in 2012, which throws the field of possibilities wide open. Mike Napoli obviously jumps out at you, though he's going to be reluctant to give up catching. There's also Lance Berkman if you can convince him there's no shame in being a DH. In fact, Berkman would be the second best option, by a wide margin, except he doesn't apparently want to do it.


SP - We'll look at the upper rotation possibilities first, then the lower end guys:

Top tier-

Zach Grienke - will want too many years.

Anibel Sanchez -has recovered his footing in the AL, expect him to try for a contract of six or more years.

Jake Peavy - if you can trust his health, and if ou can get him for, say, 4 years, he'd definately be a top of the rotation type. but it's a not insignificant gamble.

Ryan Dempster - hardly ever discussed in the whole "get more Canadians" discussion, but he's worth discussing. Age is an issue but that makes it easier to sign a shorter contract, which the Jays prefer. Don't be fooled by the Texas ERA. He got shelled in two of his first three AL starts, but he's been fine since (2.97 ERA with excellent peripherals).

James Shields - in the unlikely event that the Rays don't pick up the option, this would be an ideal addition.

Dan Haren - Angels may decline $15.5 million option, Haren may seek a one-year deal to re-establish his value. Of course, someone might step up and offer him a five year deal at a price he likes too.

Hiroki Kuroda - one has to assume he re-sings with the Yanks or returns to the Dodgers.

Brandon McCarthy - can the Jays afford this big a health gamble?



second tier-

Carlos Villianueva - who else on this (second) list inspires visions of a better cost/benefit ratio?

Edwin Jackson - will get paid like a top guy, but results say "average guy"

Shaun Marcum - emotions say "Yes!" Injuries say "hold on a sec..."

Francisco Liriano - since the middle of May he's been good other than being too wild. Assuming the Jays have no problem signing a lefty.

Gavin Floyd - if option is declined. Slowly going backwards. An average guy, but fits the "inning eater" cliche.

Rich Harden - might as well just count on McGowan, no?;

For me, I'd be FINE with Villianueva from the second list, with Marcum and Liriano both being intriguing. From the first list, there's really just too much we don't know yet to get committed to one favorite choice. If you can't get one of the expensive guys, then sign two of these three - that still wouldn't be a bad outcome, just less than ideal.

Again, I speak here only of free agents and there's every possibility that one or more of these positions might be filled by trade. For instance, the Indians still have Cord Phelps languishing behind Jason Kipnis and he shouldn't be terribly expensive (or as good, obviously, but maybe good enough to be league average for the position). There's no way to predict how that will play out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Concerning Escobar

Ain't it the way?  Here I am yesterday finally dedicating myself to working up one of my patented gigantic posts (which any post here is all too rare this summer) and just wondering how to handle the breaking-but-predictable news of the Buffalo deal and THIS happens. Not that I'm complaining about my minor inconvenience, just noting the timing conflict. So I laid aside that draft for a couple of days in order to let my thoughts on this incident stand on their own.

I don't want to belabor the observations that are already widely published in the public record, other than to just note where I can agree. I agree with AA that the opportunity for education ought not be lost; I agree with both the proposition that he may have deserved to be benched the rest of the year, and also with the observation that given the cultural context, 3 games is not wholly unreasonable in terms of length; I agree with the observation that the league really needs to form a policy here as there seems to be a rather wild range of potential outcomes for being a public asshole as an MLB player.

Most of all I do think it's fair to acknowledge that within the cultural context of Latino players, it's not considered an offense and, indeed, within the context of professional athletics and other "locker room" type settings, it's common usage. Indeed, from what I have heard in various "guy" situations - fishing trips, poker games, whatever - (not that I'm an active participant in that circle) it's a pretty accepted "throwaway" dig that is apparently considered a "free" slur in that no one present is assumed to be offended. it is a synonym for "sissy" or "girly man" or whatever.

This in no way makes it right or acceptable - but what it is, is very very COMMON.

And therein lies the problem. 60 years ago, it was likewise common to use the work "nigger" indiscriminately with no fear of repercussion. In some circles among blacks today, they still feel entitled to use "nigga" as a "free word" that doesn't insult anyone. I heard and rebuked it often among middle school kids when I was teaching. So the idea of using an offensive word without offensive intent is legitimate.

The problem is in the implication. If a man calls another man a "sissy" he does so with the INTENT to insult, else there would be no point in calling him that. it's not a word like "mate" or "bro" - self evidently. therefore it's logical to ask "WHY is it insulting?"
Why?
Because being that which one is called is understood by mutual consent to be a BAD thing. That is, "you are less than me because you are a sissy." and THAT is why it is a slur, no matter the intent. Because the use of the term AS an insult implies the belittling and denigrating of the sort of person the label refers to. THAT is the mindset that needs changing and is most difficult to change because it often exists in the minds of people outside the locker room, the poker game, or wherever - outside that circle of folks who would ever allow themselves to speak the word "faggot" no matter what language.

There's a TV show you might be watching (if not you should be) which is Canadian in origin and currently airing on the CW network in the U.S. called "The LA Complex." One of the main characters is a "gangsta rap" star who is a closeted homosexual. Played with great skill and surprising grace by Andra Fuller, the rapper, Kaldric King, is seen to struggle fiercely with accepting himself and with the knowledge that to be exposed as a homosexual man is to commit career suicide. He does and says some very bad things in an effort to balance the competing interests and, indeed, reflects in his own view of himself the bigotry he knows exists in the culture around him. Kal is, though fictional, the other side of the coin from Yunel Escobar (and the other Latino players who are saying "it's not really a bad word to us"). He's the man who looks in the mirror and struggles to say the words "I'm a faggot" and is deeply ashamed because his culture has told him, by word and deed, that this makes him less that other men.

Changing that mindset is a MUCH bigger task than changing how Yunel thinks, and it's one that all civilized folks ought to be about doing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Looking Back

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)-
Kevin Pillar
Taylor Cole
Javiar Avendano
 Yefry Del Rosario
Alberto Tirado
Matt Wright
Griffin Murphy
Seth Conner

And, of course, many 2012 draftees will be on the next list.