The prospect team debates the no. 1 young pitcher in the Blue Jays system.
Nearly two years ago, the hot topic in Toronto was who their top pitching prospect was, Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez. Yesterday, one of those two pitchers dominated the Orioles for seven innings to clinch Toronto's first division title in over two decades. This article originally ran on December 9, 2013.
The subjective nature of prospect prognostication is equal parts fascination and frustration, as the prejudices and partialities of the evaluation process can limit what we see and how we go about compartmentalizing that information. I’m a registered bullpen box offender; a recidivist when it comes to placing radically short arms, radically tall arms, slim and slender arms, and most arms of Dominican provenance into a future bullpen role before the developmental process has played out. I recognize that this particular bias is often incongruent to the nature of the process itself, and it paints me as a hypocrite when I preach against binary logic and then participate in such black and white developmental tropes. I’m working on it.
In a relaunch of the Eyewitness Accounts series for 2014, the BP Prospect Staff profiles Jorge Alfaro, Bubba Starling, Josh Hader, Aaron Sanchez, Lucas Sims, Tim Anderson, Brandon Nimmo, and Anthony Kemp.
Reports on Julio Urias, Aaron Sanchez, Gregory Polanco, Hunter Dozier and other prospects it would be irresponsible to ignore.
(3/19) LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers) Okay size; probably closer to 6’1’’ than listed height (5’11’’); strong build; definitely more body than listed weight (160 lbs.); could end up being high maintenance but not a problem at present; in delivery, lifts leg high before brief (straight) extension; soft landing; stays very balanced; everything looks very easy and repeatable; stays over the ball from ¾ slot; creates angle; fastball ranged from 91-95 in three-inning pop; mostly worked 93; command was solid-average to plus; line to the plate veered a little into the LH box; tendency to miss arm-side/up; showed excellent feel for altering movement; was cutting the ball and making it run; fastball is easy plus at present; could play even better with sharper command.
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Aaron Sanchez leads off the second half of the list.
The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 2014, our second-annual prospect book, which will collect all of BP's offseason prospect content (plus exclusive prospect and fantasy offerings) in book and e-book form. Here's a look at last year's book; expect an even more meaty offering this time around.
To read part one of this list, published yesterday, click here.
The Bush League series takes a slight turn this week, doubling up to tackle a pair of pitchers from the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects list. I broke down the mechanics of a total of 21 pitchers from the Top 101 in the newly-released 2014 Starting Pitcher Guide, including each of the top 18, and all 47 arms from the big list were covered by Paul Sporer within the guide. I’d like to cover a number of those top pitchers at BP before the season begins, so let's make a dent with the top two prospects in the Toronto system.
Mookie Betts, Travis d'Arnaud, and Jorge Soler are among those who came off the board between picks 29 and 56.
In the first episode of the BP Mock Expert Draft, we went over the backstory and parameters of this draft, so there’s no need to rehash that here. Plus I know you’re all just going to skip past the intro anyway to see who else got picked and when. Sometimes you just have to give the people what they want.
So, without any further ado, here are the next two rounds (three and four) of the Baseball Prospectus Expert Mock Prospect Draft with analysis from the participants themselves:
A look back at the teenage and college years of top prospects including Dylan Bundy, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Aaron Sanchez.
As part of Perfect Game's partnership with Baseball Prospectus, David Rawnsley, Todd Gold and Patrick Ebert will be conducting a “Before They Were Pros” series, providing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in baseball from when they were in high school attending PG events. This six-part series (one for each division in MLB) will appear once Baseball Prospectus has provided their own detailed scouting reports of the top prospects, team-by-team, as part of their “Prospects Will Break Your Heart” series.
Notes on prospects playing in the desert and abroad, including Astros righty Matt Heidenreich and Dodgers outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez.
Hitter of the Day: Brian Cavazos-Galvez, RF, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 3-4, R, 3 2B. BCG’s days as a prospect are pretty much over, given that he’ll turn 27 next season, but he still has an interesting bat. He’ll never get regular at-bats in the Dodgers lineup now that they’re spending over $200 million a year, but he could be a useful bench bat with some pop.
Pitcher of the Day: Matt Heidenreich, RHP, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 4 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Heidenreich needed a strong fall to wash the taste of a terrible summer out of his mouth. He’s accomplished just that, with his strong final start lowering his AFL ERA to 2.14.
A look at the notable prospect performances in the desert and abroad.
Games of Friday, November 8
Hitter of the Day: C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 4-4, R, 2 2B, BB. Cron is known for his power, which is his lone plus tool and the sole reason he ranked third in our ranking of the weak Angels farm system last week. He is not, however, known for the overall hitting prowess he showed on Friday. He also went 2-for-4 on Saturday with a double and a home run and didn’t strike out all weekend.
Notes on nine prospects, including White Sox second baseman Marcus Semien and Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez.
Hitter of the Day: Marcus Semien, 2B, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. Semien broke out this season to show more power to go along with his plus plate discipline, combining for 19 home runs between Double and Triple-A. Power is still not Semien’s game, but on Monday he got a pair of pitches down and in and showed he can do enough damage to still make pitcher’s think twice about just pounding the zone against him.
Pitcher of the Day: Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 4 1/3 IP, H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Sanchez has dynamic stuff, but outings like these have become all too common. He stayed out of trouble on Monday because he doesn’t give up hard contact and misses enough bats, but he was unable to finish the fifth inning. He will be able to get away with poor control more so than most pitchers because his fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches 97 and because he pairs it with a plus breaking ball, but his ceiling will be limited if he doesn’t get it everything under control.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!