State of the Farm:When I hold you in my arms (oh, yeah). And I feel my finger on your trigger (oh, yeah). I know nobody can do me no harm (oh, yeah). Because, (happiness) is a warm gun, mama (bang bang shoot shoot).

Prospect rankings primer

The Top Ten

  1. C Travis d'Arnaud
  2. RHP Noah Syndergaard
  3. RHP Aaron Sanchez
  4. LHP Sean Nolin
  5. CF D.J. Davis
  6. RHP Roberto Osuna
  7. LHP Daniel Norris
  8. RHP Marcus Stroman
  9. LHP Matt Smoral
  10. RHP Alberto Tirado

1. Travis d'Arnaud
Position: C
DOB: 02/10/1989
Height/Weight: 6’2’’ 195 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2007 draft (Phillies), Lakewood High School (Lakewood, CA)
2012 Stats: .333/.380/.595 at Triple-A Las Vegas (67 games)
The Tools: 5 hit; 6 power potential; 6 arm; 5+ glove

What Happened in 2012: A knee injury ended his season before he could climb to the majors, but the 23-year-old backstop is ready to take his turn on the biggest stage.

Strengths: Balanced skill-set; shows above-average bat speed; hands/hips work well; good contact ability; ability to drive to all fields; swing characteristics for power production; good lift and leverage to swing; profiles as above-average hitter for position; quality receiver; good catch and throw skills; arm strength is 6; good body for position; makeup for success on both sides of the ball.

Weaknesses: Setup can get noisy; aggressive approach; tendency to pull-off balls on outer-third; hit tool might only play at 5; game power might play under plus; can play fast behind the plate, lose accuracy on throws, rush footwork.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Explanation of Risk: Low risk; some injuries on resume; ready for primetime

Fantasy Future: Could develop into top-shelf bat at position, with .275-plus batting average and 17-25 HR power potential.

The Year Ahead: If fully healthy, d’Araud is ready for the major league challenge, with a mature bat and a game-ready skill-set behind the plate. His biggest hurdle will be the adjustment against major-league quality pitching, as his approach and setup both show signs of vulnerability. Some sources see d’Arnaud as future all-star, and the dearth of above-average hitters at the position could make that a reality if his tools find full utility.

Major league ETA: 2013

2. Noah Syndergaard
Position: RHP
DOB: 08/29/1992
Height/Weight: 6’5’’ 200 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft, Legacy High School (Mansfield, TX)
2012 Stats: 2.60 ERA (103.2 IP, 81 H, 122 K, 31 BB) at Low-A Lansing
The Tools: 7 FB; 6 potential CB/CH

What Happened in 2012: The Texan returned to the Midwest League, where he made 19 starts, logged over 100 innings, and emerged as the top pitching prospect in a system loaded with pitching prospects.

Strengths: Monster size; high-end arm strength; fastball is thrown on steep plane; already works near plus-plus velocity range and can touch elite; shows heavy sink and occasional boring action; one source called his fastball “bottom-heavy and difficult to lift”; curveball flashes plus, with hard vertical action; changeup took steps forward in 2012, flashing plus with sinker movement and good arm speed; shows strike-throwing ability and feel for working low in the zone.  

Weaknesses: Delivery has some effort; good arm speed, but can show some drag; can lose legs in the delivery and become too arm-heavy; curveball isn’t consistent and will lose depth; changeup can get too firm; tendency to push the pitch.

Overall Future Potential: 7; high-end no. 2 starter

Explanation of Risk: High risk; some effort in the delivery; secondary offerings need grade jump for ceiling.

Fantasy Future: He could be a monster; has the potential for a near elite fastball, two above-average secondary pitches and some pitchability. He could develop into a 15-plus game winner with high strikeout totals.

The Year Ahead: With his bowling ball fastball delivered on a steep plane, High-A hitters are going to struggle with the offering just like Low-A hitters did. As he continues to up the volume of secondary pitches in his mix, he could struggle, as both offerings are inconsistent. However, it’s unlikely that Syndergaard will face a big challenge until he reaches the Double-A level, where secondary utility and pitch sequence take on more significance.

Major league ETA: 2014

3. Aaron Sanchez
Position: RHP
DOB: 07/01/1992
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 190 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft. Barstow High School (Barstow, CA)
2012 Stats: 2.49 ERA (90.1 IP, 64 H, 97 K, 51 BB) at Low-A Lansing

The Tools: 7 FB; 6+ potential CB; 6 potential CH

What Happened in 2012: Sanchez made his much anticipated full-season debut, where the former supplemental first-round pick looked unhittable at times, allowing only 64 hits in 90 innings of work.

Strengths: Prototypical size; improving strength; easy delivery; 7 fastball; works in easy plus range and touches higher; excellent extension and lighting fast arm; plus life; projects as cash money pitch; curveball shows 6+ promise; big hook with tight rotation and vertical bite; changeup flashes above-average potential, with some fade to the arm-side and a fastball disguise.

Weaknesses: Command is below-average; delivery can get funky; doesn’t finish and elevates to the arm side; timing and balance can get thrown off; late pickup will force arm to compensate and play catch-up; secondary offerings are inconsistent; at times, doesn’t show enough pitchability.

Overall Future Potential: 7; high-end no. 2 starter

Explanation of Risk: High risk; command issues and immature secondary offerings (present).

Fantasy Future: Monster. Like Syndergaard, Sanchez has the potential to develop into a no. 2 starter on a championship-level team, the kind capable of winning 15-plus games a season and missing a ton of bats along the way.

The Year Ahead: Sanchez and his fellow high-ceiling rotation mate will inevitably be linked throughout their journey to the majors, locked in sync on a developmental plan that should keep the two paired together at every stop. While the arsenals look very similar, Sanchez makes it look easier, with a faster arm and a more fluid release. His command profile is a blemish, but not one that is destined to be a scar, as the athleticism is present to eventually find more consistency in the mechanics. If the command improves, and the secondary offerings can do the same, the profile can jump Sanchez to the top of this list by next season, making him one of the premiere pitching prospects in the minors.

Major league ETA: 2014

4. Sean Nolin
Position: LHP
DOB: 12/26/1989
Height/Weight: 6’5’’ 235 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 6th round, 2010 draft, San Jacinto College North (Houston, TX)
2012 Stats: 2.19 ERA (86.1 IP, 72 H, 90 K, 21 BB) at High-A Dunedin; 1.20 ERA (15.0
IP, 9 H, 18 K, 6 BB) at Double-A New Hampshire
The Tools: Plus FB; Plus CH; 5 CB; 5 SL

What Happened in 2012: The former sixth-round pick jumped into the prospect spotlight, maturing with each start at the High-A level and putting himself in a position to reach the major leagues in 2013.

Strengths: Big, sturdy frame; physical; repeatable mechanics; some deception; fastball works well in the low-90s with good arm-side movement; shows good command of the pitch; changeup is plus offering; thrown with excellent arm speed and good action; very strong pitch; slider also holds good fastball disguise; effective breaking ball to left-handers, with late tilt; curveball can play as average offering, with good shape and velocity separation from rest of arsenal; plus pitchability.

Weaknesses: Lacks high-end knockout pitch; often works in average velocity range; can lose bite on breaking balls; can spend too much time in the zone; will be more reliant on sequence and location at higher levels.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; mature arsenal; already has three starts at Double-A level; doesn’t need major grade jumps to compete at highest level

Fantasy Future: Has the body and the arsenal to log innings and encourage weak contact; strikeout totals dependent on development of out-pitch breaking ball, but has shown ability to spike fastball velocity when needed and miss bats.

The Year Ahead: Nolin looks to be on the fast-track, and if he performs well at the Double-A level, he could reach the majors at some point during the season. Some sources think his arsenal is on the way up, especially if the slider develops into a consistent plus offering and the changeup continues to work in that range. With a deep arsenal and a good feel for pitching, Nolin has all the characteristics of a mid-rotation arm.

Major league ETA: 2013

5. D.J. Davis
Position: CF
DOB: 07/25/1994
Height/Weight: 6’1’’ 180 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Stone Country High School (Wiggins, MS)
2012 Stats: .233/.339/.374 at GCL (43 games); .340/.415/.511 at rookie level Bluefield (12 games); .167/.348/.167 at shot-season Vancouver (5 games)
The Tools: 8 run; 5 potential hit; 5+ glove

What Happened in 2012: Davis was drafted 17th overall in the 2012 draft and played at three professional levels after signing, finishing up at short-season Vancouver in the college-heavy Northwest league.

Strengths: Plus-plus athlete; natural strength; elite speed and quickness; 8 run grade; generates plus bat speed; strong hands/wrists and balanced setup allow for barrel control; shows some pop and ability to make loud contact; has a plan at the plate; impressive range in center field; glove plays at position.

Weaknesses: Raw product; more athleticism than instincts; lacks loud tools with the bat; linear swing without much present lift; power likely to play below-average; swing could feature lots of miss; arm is below-average; reads/routes immature in center.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Explanation of Risk: Extreme risk; has yet to play full-season ball; wide gap between present/future grades; extremely young.

Fantasy Future: Has elite speed and could be 50 stolen base threat at maturity; possible leadoff-hitter profile; lacks average arm, but has more than enough athleticism to handle center field.

The Year Ahead: Davis could jump to the full-season level, where his bat is likely to struggle against more advanced pitching, leading to big strikeout totals and weaker contact. He has a long way to go on both sides of the ball, but with 80 run and a hit tool that has a chance to find average utility, Davis has the potential to be a first-division talent. It’s just not going to come fast.

Major league ETA: 2016

6. Roberto Osuna
Position: RHP
DOB: 02/07/1995
Height/Weight: 6’2’’ 230 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Mexico
2012 Stats: 1.50 ERA (24.0 IP, 18 H, 24 K, 6 BB) at rookie level Bluefield; 3.20 ERA (19.2 IP, 14 H, 25 K, 9 BB) at short-season Vancouver
The Tools: 6 FB; 6 potential CB; 5+ split/change

What Happened in 2012: The 17-year-old made nine starts over two levels, facing much older competition and more than holding his own.

Strengths: Mature build; excellent present strength; comfortable with delivery; repeats; quick arm; fastball is difficult to square; works in the low-90s and can reach 95+ with effort; easy plus offering when located down in the zone where it shows big life; curveball has plus-potential; shows ability to create tight rotation and heavy two-plane action; will flash drop-off-the-table split/change, with sharp vertical fallout.

Weaknesses: Lacks physical projection; body is already thick with potential for bad weight; conditioning could play large role; works up and to the arm side with the fastball; doesn’t finish and stay over the ball; below-average command (present); immature secondary offerings.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Explanation of Risk: Extreme risk; will pitch 2013 season at age 18; secs need big grade jump; body red flags

Fantasy Future: Could develop into innings-eating workhorse; has the potential to miss bats because of intensity of raw stuff; ultimate ceiling still unknown.

The Year Ahead: Osuna is ready for a full-season assignment, with more than enough fastball and mound maturity to stay above water. The concerns over his body might prove to be more aesthetic preference than a legit red flag, as it doesn’t have to look pretty if it gets the job done. As long as the arm works well and he can repeat his mechanics, the Zambrano-esque physique shouldn’t limit his future, although it might affect his ability to make adjustments and avoid injury. Lots of unknowns at present, but a lot to like and a very bright future.

Major league ETA: 2016

7. Daniel Norris
Position: LHP
DOB: 04/25/1993
Height/Weight: 6’2’’ 180 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd round, 2011 draft, Science Hill high School (Johnson City, TN)
2012 Stats: 7.97 ERA (35.0 IP, 44 H, 38 K, 13 BB) at rookie level Bluefield; 10.57 ERA
(7.2 IP, 14 H, 5 K, 5 BB) at short-season Vancouver.
The Tools: 6 FB; above-average potential with secondary offerings (CB/CH)

What Happened in 2012: On paper, Norris’s debut season looked like a disaster, but the sample is small and the scouting continues to suggest his projection is promising.

Strengths: Athletic body; quick arm; good arm strength and arsenal projection; fastball can work in the plus velocity range and spike higher; shows good arm-side life; some feel for the changeup; good fading action; curveball has projection and can flash above-average; makeup gets high marks.

Weaknesses: Delivery quick to get out of sorts; struggles to maintain a good line to the plate; doesn’t finish his pitches; tendency to short-stride and lose lower-half; inconsistent mechanics greatly affect utility of secondary arsenal and ability to throw fastball for strikes.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Explanation of Risk: Extreme risk; limited professional experience; mechanical hurdles.

Fantasy Future: Could end up with three above-average pitches, with some bat-missing ability; lacks ideal frame for heavy workload, but athletic with good baseball makeup.

The Year Ahead: Norris has tasted failure, perhaps for the first time, which is a vital component in the developmental process. He is likely to return to short-season ball, where he will work to find consistency in his delivery and establish his fastball command. He has plenty of time to work on his secondary arsenal, and could take a slower journey than originally planned, but the end result will be worth the wait.

Major league ETA: 2016

8. Marcus Stroman
Position: RHP
DOB: 05/01/1991
Height/Weight: 5’9’’ 185 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Duke University (Durham, NC)
2012 Stats: 3.18 ERA (11.1 IP, 8 H, 15 K, 3 BB) at short-season Vancouver; 3.38 ERA (8 IP, 8 H, 8 K, 6 BB) at Double-A New Hampshire
The Tools: 7 FB; 6+ SL; 6+ CT

What Happened in 2012: Everything was going as planned for the first-round pick until he tested positive for a banned substance late in the season and was suspended for 50 games.

Strengths: Plus athlete; big time arm strength; straight-forward delivery; easy release; crazy-fast arm; fastball can work in plus-plus range in bursts; very lively; despite size, can create good angle to pitch; slider has 7 potential; very sharp two-plane break with lots of depth; cutter is another plus offering; thrown in upper-80s with late glove-side slice.

Weaknesses: Physically mature; lacks any projection; very short; will have to work low in the zone to create angle; struggles with command; short-burst arsenal without quality off-speed pitch to help disrupt timing. 

Overall Future Potential: 6; frontline setup potential

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; despite suspension, should reach majors leagues quickly; electric arsenal to pitch in late-innings role

Fantasy Future: Has the raw stuff to close games, but profiles better as a set-up option, with a plus (to plus-plus) arsenal coming out of a very little package.

The Year Ahead: Stroman will have to sit in the shadows to start the season thanks to his banned substance suspension, but when active, the diminutive pitcher should move quickly and could reach Toronto at some point in the summer. The arsenal is electric, and if you spend too much time worrying about the stature, you will most likely get run over by the stuff. He’s going to be a quality late-innings reliever.

Major league ETA: 2013

9. Matt Smoral
Position: LHP
DOB: 03/18/1994
Height/Weight: 6’8’’ 220 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Solon High School (Solon, OH)
2012 Stats: Did not play
The Tools: 6 potential FB; 5+ potential CH; 6+ potential slider

What Happened in 2012: Fractured foot ended his season in April

Strengths: Huge human; impressive length; fastball can already work in the plus velocity range and several sources suggested it projects to improve a grade; slider has wipeout potential with velocity and two-plane break; changeup flashes plus potential and plays well off fastball with some late vertical action.

Weaknesses: The mechanical hurdles that come with extreme size/length; secondary arsenal is still immature and inconsistent; no professional record; limited looks against quality competition.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Explanation of Risk: Extreme risk; no professional record; wide gap between present/future; enormous size.

Fantasy Future: Could end up as an above-average innings-eating mid-rotation starter, with a deep arsenal and at least two plus pitches.

The Year Ahead: Smoral will take the mound for the first time in his professional career, bringing a profile that could have landed him in the top tier of the draft if not for the foot injury. He has remarkable size and a very good feel for pitching despite the long levers. Both his slider and his changeup received promising grades as an amateur, and his fastball already worked in the plus range, touching higher. The ceiling might even be higher than suggested here, with too many unknowns to create an accurate report.

Major league ETA: 2017

10. Alberto Tirado
Position: RHP
DOB: 12/10/1994
Height/Weight: 6’1’’ 177 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Dominican Republic
2012 Stats: 2.68 ERA (37.0 IP, 28 H, 34 K, 12 BB) at rookie level GCL; 2.45 ERA (11 IP, 4 H, 5 K, 5 BB) at rookie-level Bluefield
The Tools: 6 FB; 6 potential SL; 6 potential CH

What Happened in 2012: Making his professional debut, the 17-year-old Tirado turned heads in the Gulf Coast League before making three starts in the Appalachian League, where his precocious arsenal held the older completion to just four hits in 11 innings.

Strengths: Extremely loose arm; delivery is easy and smooth; arm is very quick; fastball already works comfortably in the plus range and has touched even higher; very explosive pitch; good life at the end; slider already flashes plus, and one source said it could end up as a 7; changeup could be third plus offering, with advanced action and deception; good overall feel for pitching; glowing reports based on short-burst viewings.

Weaknesses: Needs to add strength; questions about the ability to hold velocity deeper into games; arm can get whippy and fastball command affected; limited professional experience

Overall Future Potential: High 6; no. 2 starter

Explanation of Risk: Extreme risk; only 18 years old; small professional sample; has yet to achieve a full-season league

Fantasy Future: Shows an electric arsenal as a teenager, with bat-missing stuff and some feel. Could be special.

The Year Ahead: All of the reports have been glowing, but the professional sample is very small and Tirado has only made three appearances away from the complex level. This is a rough sketch of what he could become, which will need revision almost immediately, as the 18-year-old has a long way to go before the short-season hype transforms into an accepted reality. 2013 will tell us more, and if the limited reports received in 2012 are correct, the Jays might have another monster on their hands. The arm is very fast and loose, and the velocity comes easy. Both the slider and the changeup are already flashing plus potential, and the bow on the package is a feel for pitching that you don’t often find in complex level arms. Keep an eye on this kid.

Major league ETA: 2017

Prospects On the Rise:
1.C Santiago Nessy: Everybody likes catchers with power potential and the defensive chops to stick behind the plate, and the 20-year-old Nessy fits that bill. Still raw on both sides of the ball, the Venezuelan has a high ceiling and is a good candidate to take a step forward in 2013 and move up into the Top 10.

2. RHP Chase DeJong: A 2nd round draft pick in 2012, DeJong has a prototypical starter’s build, with excellent projection. In his brief complex-league debut, his fastball was working in the solid-average range, but should become a plus pitch down the line, and his secondary arsenal (curve/change) also showed above-average potential. Yet another Toronto arm with a high ceiling.

3. OF/IF Franklin Barreto: Viewed by many as the top international target available in 2012, Barretto might be small in stature, but his tools can pack a loud punch. While his ultimate role is unclear, his athleticism and overall feel for the game open up numerous possibilities, and his ability to sting a baseball could be his ticket up the prospect lists regardless of his position on the diamond.

Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2013
1. RHP Deck McGuire: Selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, McGuire was supposed to be a fast-track starter, projected by some to reach the majors in 2012 and to hold down a profile of a mid-rotation arm at worst. The Georgia Tech product has been dogged by command issues and a solid-average arsenal that finds too many barrels, but with some additional refinement, could find himself at the major-league level in 2013, chewing innings at the back of the rotation.

2. RHP John Stilson: The debate rages on as to Stilson’s ultimate role, whether his starter’s arsenal keeps him in a rotation or his short-burst potential and max-effort mechanics push him into a high-leverage relief role, his eventual major league contribution looks assured. That’s quite a career turnaround from his pre-draft days, when a shoulder injury pushed him out of the first-round and looked to kill a promising career before it even started.

3. IF Ryan Goins: While not the sexiest prospect in the system, the former 4th round pick out of Dallas Baptist played well in his Double-A debut, putting himself into consideration for a utility role at some point during the 2013 season.

Top 10 Talents 25 and Under (born 4/1/87 or later)

  1. Brett Lawrie
  2. Travis D’Arnaud
  3. Noah Syndergaard
  4. Anthony Gose
  5. Aaron Sanchez
  6. Drew Hutchison
  7. Sean Nolin
  8. DJ Davis
  9. Roberto Osuna
  10. Kyle Drabek

Toronto’s farm system has been loaded for the past several years, but now Alex Anthopoulos and the Jays’ front office can boast a wealth of talent at or close to the highest level. Trading Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, and Henderson Alvarez stung, but the juice was worth the squeeze; Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and Emilio Bonifacio provide enough of a jolt to make the club extremely competitive in 2013 and beyond.

Despite the mega-trade, the Blue Jays have a powerful group of talented young players. Lawrie is one of the most exciting youngsters in the game. D’Arnaud, and Gose have big upside and should see chances to tap into that upside in Toronto very soon. Syndergaard and Sanchez could force their way into the top of the rotation down the line. Hutchinson and Drabek had Tommy John surgery in 2012, but both have the stuff to fit in big league rotations long-term. Toronto’s process seems to be working; the team has turned minor leaguers into major leaguers and continues to restock the farm with high upside talent (Norris, Stroman, Smoral, Tirado). AA and the Jays are a legitimate and scary organization.  –Hudson Belinsky

A Parting Thought: The Jays have more legit pitching prospects than should be legally allowed, even after trimming off some prospect meat for use in recent trades. 

Last year's Blue Jays rankings

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Great article, a couple of new names I hadn't heard of. Where would Rasmus and Arencibia fit in the under-25 list if they weren't, you know, 26? :)
Arencibia wouldn't have made my U25 list. Rasmus is an interesting one; I'd put him at #5. I still believe in the tools.
I see you still have Kyle Drabek on your Top Under-25 list, what do you expect from him coming off his second Tommy John Surgery?
Drabek's enormously talented. That said, command is usually the last thing to come back after TJ and this isn't his first surgery. Assuming the velocity comes back, it's still going to be a long road to reaching the ceiling that made him (at the time) the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade.
Just a heads up - the third to last paragraph (first under top 10 talents under 25) lists Henderson Alvarez twice. Great article, love the work.
Is there another system that is even close to this? Even with graduations and some under-performances, this system is unreal!
Very impressive system. Top tier despite the trades. Not sure of their ultimate rank yet, but they will be in the discussion for top system.
Who on this list is going to the Mets for R. A. Dickey? Surely one of Syndegard /Sanchez? And just how does Dickey pitch without that ligament, anyway?
I highly doubt that Sanchez/Syndergaard get traded, much less for Dickey. They are well on their way to elite status in the prospect world.
Do you think Arencibia + Nolin would be enough?
Mets need a catcher, but Arencibia isn't really all that good. Best guess would be Gose and another close to MLB-ready prospect. Nolin fits, and the Mets have no left-handed starting pitching either.
What's the status on Adonis Cardona? Too far away from the bigs?
Secondary stuff has a long way to go.
Great. How am I supposed to get any work done today when I can't get up from my desk for fear of embarrassment?
Interesting list. Just wondering where you would have placed Justin Nicolino on this list? Behind Syndergaard and Sanchez?
Yes. Top 100 prospect, but not in the same tier as Sanchez/Syndergaard
That picture of Marcus Stroman is an easy 6. Needed lasers in the background to grade higher.

Unrelated, "body red flags" needs to enter the pickup artist lexicon.
I think "body red flags" are non-existent in the PUA lexicon actually. They'll go 20-80, it's all good.
With a picture like that, I'll definitely keep an eye on Stroman... Even if he doesn't work out at Relief Pitcher, my fantasy league has a Prom King slot.

Parks, let's get some more non-baseball pictures while we're at it. I want to see Matt Smoral in a party hat, Roberto Osuna in a clown suit, etc.
Looks like 3 jays in the top 101?
At least....
When you refer to a pitching prospect as "high ceiling" how does that correspond to rotation numbers? Is major league average considered a high ceiling? Is a #3 ceiling a high ceiling or is that phrase reserved for potential #2s and top of the rotation guys only?
While a number three starter should be considered a high ceiling, that term is usually reserved for the tier above that, players that profile near the top of a rotation (1/2).
Jason, any thoughts on Anthony Alford? Lots of raw tools, perhaps one of the best athletes in the Jays system. If he chooses baseball over football, which might happen given recent events, where would you rank him? Top 20?
I'm cautious of players that turn their full attention to baseball at this stage of the game. I think it puts them behind the developmental curve, and if baseball instincts aren't already present, they are unlikely to arrive. I love toolsy athletes, but without a feel for the game, they are long shots to develop.
Alford just got released by his university football program (, so choosing baseball over football just got more likely.
Is your listing of Stroman as a reliever based on info that's come out that I missed? I.e. has AA has definitely said he won't start?
I believe Stroman has always been a pen arm and was drafted as such. He would have been up with the team last September if not for his suspension. The explosiveness here screams late inning relief.
He was used exclusively as a reliever during his A and AA ball stints after signing, averaging just over an inning per appearance (15 games).
That probably has a lot more to do with managing his workload after he pitched for Duke than it does wiith signaling what the Jays long term plan for him is. Wacha was used in the same way I believe. Maybe the pen is the most likely destination for Stroman, but I don't see why the Jays wouldn't give him an opportunity to start first
The Jays used Stroman exclusively as a reliever after he signed. Having scouted him as an amateur I thought he'd be just fine as a starter, but you could see the concerns. He struggled to hold velocity (when I saw him), but another organization may have tried to develop him as a starter. The stuff was enough to be a middle-of-the-rotation arm, IMO.

By the way, people are going to love Stroman when he's in the big leagues. His energy on the mound made him a lot of fun to scout.
Let's name all the sub 5'9'' right-handed starters with fringe changeups who had success in the majors. I'll start.....
I'm drawing a blank.
Is there any concern about the lack of hitting talent in the top 10?
If you look at the Jays' roster they're set at 1B, 3B, SS, LF, RF, and C (given D'Arnaud) for at least the next 2 years.

On top of that Rasmus/Gose provide cover/trade bait in CF. The only area of immediate need is DH (assuming Izturis/Bonifacio are a decent stopgap at 2B).

The failure of the lower level position prospects to develop is disappointing, but not as relevant to the current squad. With the young arms they have, if a need arises, they can presumably flip pitching talent for hitting.
Why would there be? Their major league lineup is relatively young and is pretty well set. There aren't going to be too many places that a young hitter can step in and play anyways. Pitching is where they need the help and fortunately, is where their farm system is deepest.
Quick question, when you say "Plus FB" or "Plus CH", what does this mean in comparison to the numerical system? Does it just mean that it's still an unknown? That it could be a 6 or a 7 and time will tell?
2/8 scale:

2: Poor
3: Well below-average
4: Below-average
5: Average
6: Above-average (Plus)
7: Well above-average (Plus-plus)
8: Elite
Now that Stroman smile is Greg Golson-esque. Pure 80.
Great, great write-up.
Two lower level position player prospects of whom much was expected last season, Chris Hawkins and Jacob Anderson, both disappointed. Of the two, which do you (any of you prospect hounds) believe still has it in him to rise above and reclaim his previous prospect status.
Also, whither AJ Jimenez? Without the injury, would he have cracked the top-10?
I saw Chris Hawkins take BP last few days not impressed with the bat. I would not imagine he cracks the top 10 again. I have not seen Jake Anderson or AJ Jimenez play yet. Scouts rave about Jimenez's defense, but I believe he's slides into more of a backup catcher profile.
I saw Chris Hawkins take BP last few days not impressed with the bat. I would not imagine he cracks the top 10 again. I have not seen Jake Anderson or AJ Jimenez play yet. Scouts rave about Jimenez's defense, but I believe he's slides into more of a backup catcher profile.