Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine

Baseball America publish their top ten prospects today, followed by a subscriber chat this afternoon.  Thanks are due to mylegacy who has reported the top ten from the actual paper which has already been mailed to subscribers. 



The top ten is as follows with the batters box ranking shown in brackets.

1. Travis Snider (1)
2. JP Arencibia (3)
3. Brett Cecil (2)
4. Justin Jackson (7)
5. David Cooper (4)
6. Kevin Ahrens (5)
7. Brad Mills (6)
8. Ricky Romero (9)
9. Marc Rzepczynski (10)
10. Brad Emaus (18)

In general the top lists are very similar with eight of the ten players separated by just one spot.  The exceptions were Justin Jackson and Brad Emaus/Scott Campbell.  Jackson played well for a nineteen year old in A ball and his defence is major league quality.  However Jackson, and Ahrens, struck out a lot this season but obviously BA are not too worried about this.  We will probably see some reasoning in the scouting report tomorrow.

Emaus and Campbell are similar players in many ways, both have good offensive reputations with defence being a question for both.  Emaus and Campbell each hit .302 this season with OPS over .800.  Campbell played at a higher level but Emaus is eighteen months younger.  For BA it looks like age trumped level but this will probably be questioned tomorrow.  Emaus probably has more of a power profile while Campbell is seen as a line drive hitter.

The verbiage in the scouting reports are fairly standard.  BA likes Arencibia's defense, they say he has really improved on blocking balls and cut down on passed balls, that was his weakness.  They repeat the durability question regarding Brett Cecil and suggest he might be headed to the bullpen.  The Blue Jays would say that Cecil's innings were controlled because this was his first full year of starting having been a reliever in college.  BA repeats the suggestion that David Cooper is not interested in defense.  Dick Scott in his end of year interview with Da Box claimed that Cooper had made a big improvement in defence in the instructional league.  Believe who you want to.  Brad Emaus gets the Ty Wiggington comparison.

Fall Leagues

In Arizona JP Arencibia is hitting .277 with good power.  Arencibia was reportedly asked to see more pitches in Arizona and it looks like he has done that a little.  Remember this is Arencibia's first full season so he is probably getting very tired by now.

Scott Campbell is hitting .267 in limited at-bats.  Campbell is playing mainly at third base, presumably to give him some flexibility for a utility role.

Ryan Patterson is hitting .250 in 60 at-bats but his OPS is only .683 as he has not shown much power.

All four pitchers have struggled in Arizona.  Kyle Ginley is the only starter and he has had good starts and bad starts.  The Jays sent him to Arizona to see better hitters so he could learn how to pitch and mix his pitches.  Hopefully his stuggles will teach him a lesson that he can use in 2009.

The three relievers, Zach Dials, Mike MacDonald and Daryl Harang have aos had good and bad appearances.  Of the three Dials' 5.28 ERA is the best.

In Hawaii Brad Emaus has continued to hit well, he is hitting .338 with an OPS of .957.  Eric Eiland has struggled hitting .073 in 41 at-bats.  It was a stretch to send Eiland to Hawaii but he needed playing time so his stats might not be a true indicator of the value of his time in Hawaii.  New Jay Adam Loewen is hitting .240 in only 25 at-bats.

Baseball America's Top Ten | 28 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
brent - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 08:57 AM EST (#194109) #

Ricky Romero is now under-rated. A lefty with three quality pitches is so valuable. I really liked the Jackson pick, but now he is getting too much love for being too far away. Until Cooper and Ahrens prove something at a higher level, they should be ranked lower. You have to wait until they hit double A to see if a player has the goods. From the 2008 draft, I really like the Kenneth Wilson pick for down the line. Remember if you didn't see the video of the Jays 2008 draftees, MLB's site still has the footage. http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2008/drafttracker.jsp?p=0&s=30&sc=pick_number&so=ascending&st=number&ft=TM&fv=tor

If anyone has footage from players in the minors, please link it :)

Mike Green - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 09:25 AM EST (#194111) #
Arencibia's OBP of .304 in the AFL is 8th among the everyday players on his club.  His slugging percentage of .518 is tied for 6th on his club among everyday players.   He needs a full year of work in the minors, so that he can at least have one productive high minors season, and from the sounds of things, mature as well.
Helpmates - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 09:52 AM EST (#194113) #

I really liked the Jackson pick, but now he is getting too much love for being too far away. Until Cooper and Ahrens prove something at a higher level, they should be ranked lower.

 

You do realized that Jackson is a year removed from high school...and you do realize Cooper hit a combined .333 in three different leauges.  Your concerns are perplexing to me.

John Northey - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 11:09 AM EST (#194115) #
JPA looks like someone who really needs that year in AAA before the majors and thankfully the Jays seem to be thinking the same way.  Jeroloman was given AAA time instead of JPA and I'm betting on a AAAA guy being signed to be either the ML backup or AAA emergency guy (depending on who impresses most in spring, AAAA guy/Jeroloman/Thigpen). 

As someone who loved watching Tony Fernandez reach and impress in the majors I'm hoping Jackson can do the same.  Tony had an extremely poor hitter blocking him in Alfredo Griffen while Jackson has John McDonald.  Lets hope the next part works out too :)

Denoit - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 11:38 AM EST (#194117) #

I like the way the projected 2010 lineup looks. The Rotation especially. Obviously its probably not going to look like that but the potential is there to be really really good.

Denoit - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 11:40 AM EST (#194118) #

2012

TJ Caino - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 01:59 PM EST (#194122) #

I love reading the minor league coverage! It's nice to see some differences on the lists. Just adds to the intrigue of different prospects.

 

Feel free to post comments, regardless of level of content: you might just get some discussion going, youneverknow.

 

2012! Oh boy, I will be old then...

mathesond - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 02:21 PM EST (#194124) #
Old then? Heck, I'm old now!

(Well, not really - but I'm getting there)

Mike Green - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 02:50 PM EST (#194125) #
There is a 1914-15 ballplayer who, according to BBRef, was known to everyone as King Lear. Shades of "King Leary".
John Northey - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 03:00 PM EST (#194128) #
The link for BA's Jays top 10. Figured others might want it.

Worth noting their top pick for the Jays over the years. 99 was Halladay, 00/01 was Wells, Phelps in 02, McGowan in 03, Rios in 04, League in 05, McGowan again in 06, Lind 07, Snider 08/09. Only Phelps is gone. For comparison the Rays have one out of baseball (1999), 1 with the Ranges (#1 3 years in a row in Hamilton), 1 with the Twins (#1 3 years in a row in Young), with 3 still in Tampa - Longoria, Upton, Baldelli. Plus their 09 guy of course.

The furthest back you can go (for free) on BA's site is 2004 (03/04 offseason) where the top 10 Jay prospects were League, Hill, Quiroz, Rosario, Purcey, Adams, McGowan, Jackson, Banks, Chacin. Not bad, League/Hill/Purcey/McGowan in the majors with the Jays, Quiroz/Adams/Banks/Chacin have all had time in the majors, some significant (Admas/Chacin one full year plus with the Jays). Not a great group, but not a dud one either. Gotta like Tampa's though from that offseason - 1. Delmon Young, of 2. Scott Kazmir, lhp 3. Joey Gathright, of 4. Jason Hammel, rhp 5. Reid Brignac, ss 6. James Houser, lhp 7. Elijah Dukes, of 8. Chad Orvella, rhp 9. Seth McClung, rhp 10. Wes Bankston, 1b/of
TamRa - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 03:20 PM EST (#194130) #
I really liked the Jackson pick, but now he is getting too much love for being too far away. Until Cooper and Ahrens prove something at a higher level, they should be ranked lower.

Not necessarily. Rankings are sometimes affected by the distribution of talent in the system. The "valley" among Jays prospects moves up every year and it's now at AA/AAA - where there are only a very few position players who are legitimate prospects.

It just so happens that outside the AAA rotation, there's not a lot of upper echelon guys in the high minors so that makes the list heavy with low-minors players.

Purely a matter of circumstance.




Denoit - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 04:10 PM EST (#194132) #
Jackson really might not be that far away. He will probably start the year in Dunedin, and if preforms well, its not out of the question he could see some time at AAA by the end of the year. There isn't anyone really blocking his path through the system. It all depends how quickly his batting comes around. His defence alone should get him playing time in the MLB.
brent - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 05:22 PM EST (#194133) #
What I meant is that the two toughest jumps in baseball are going to AA and going to the Majors. If you want a rank on purely potential upside, that's fine but label it as such. With Jackson, it's just that he is so young and is still adjusting to the minors. Just because everyone has watched Snider tear through the minors, doesn't mean every other low level prospect is a sure bet. Everyone at the Box has become much more optimistic about players in the farm system that are in the low levels this year. Cooper was also playing against younger competition- he was expected to hit well being labelled as an advanced bat and possessing few secondary skills. The proof will be in the AA pudding! Last, don't get me wrong- I do like these prospects, I just don't like the order ranking.
John Northey - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 06:08 PM EST (#194136) #
I'd agree that all prospects in A/Rookie ball should be taken with a big grain of salt.  Especially if they are in short season leagues.  Jackson and Aherns just spent their 2nd pro seasons in full season A ball, and while they didn't do horrid they weren't great either (around a 700 OPS for each).  Being 19 is a big plus, but also means the variability in their projections is sky high.

2009 will be a big year for the future of the Jays.  If Jackson/Aherns/Cooper and a few others keep doing well (ie: earn a trip to AA or AAA by August) then the Jays should be sitting pretty for the 2011-2014 window, when TB gets expensive (arbitration starts hitting big time) and Boston/NY have to deal with even more aging veterns who demand playing time (A-Rod/Jeter both getting up there by then while eating up to $50 million of NY's payroll, Drew/Ortiz on the wrong side of 32 already plus Wakefield has to act his age eventually) and hopefully some disappointment from their hot prospects (I can dream). 

We have lots of good quality starting to emerge.  Lets hope it holds on and becomes what we dream of and that JP doesn't panic and keeps as much of that youth here as possible.  Who knows, we might already be in the 2nd big 10 year 500+ stretch of the Jays history.  I know I liked how the last long 500+ stretch ended :)
Gerry - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 11:09 PM EST (#194141) #

Some comments from the BA chat:

Balbino Fuenmayor might have to move from third base to either left field or first base.

Antonio Jimenez profiles more like Jeroloman, strong defence, questionable bat.

sleeper suggestions were Moises Sierra, Eric Thames and Dustin Antolin

Glevin - Friday, November 14 2008 @ 11:09 PM EST (#194142) #
Not necessarily. Rankings are sometimes affected by the distribution of talent in the system. The "valley" among Jays prospects moves up every year and it's now at AA/AAA - where there are only a very few position players who are legitimate prospects.

I agree. Sure Jackson is not in the high minors, but there aren't the prospects higher in the system who have enough upside to rank ahead of him. I agree with John that 2009 is a huge year for the system. The guys who were in A ball are going to have to succeed in AA and the pitchers who were high in the system may well have to succeed in the majors. (not all of them of course).
TamRa - Saturday, November 15 2008 @ 12:35 AM EST (#194144) #
Balbino Fuenmayor might have to move from third base to either left field or first base.

JP said on one of the late-season JaysTalk WWJP sessions that Balbino would probably be moving to 1B next year. I hate to see them give up on the harder defensive position, but they might be seeing a bit of a traffic jam with Ahrens, Sobo, and Balbino kind of stumbling over each other in A ball.

Glevin - Saturday, November 15 2008 @ 01:24 AM EST (#194145) #
Also, John Sickles (Who has started doing his top-20 lists) had this to say about Arenicbia. " His power is obvious, as are
his issues with breaking balls. I thought his arm looked quite strong
and he is mobile for a big guy. My opinion hasn't changed...like the
power, worry about the batting average and OBP against good pitching."
CaramonLS - Saturday, November 15 2008 @ 12:34 PM EST (#194149) #
I like the way the projected 2010 lineup looks.

Keep in mind the 2008 projected lineup looked pretty good in 2004/2005 as well...
ayjackson - Saturday, November 15 2008 @ 12:37 PM EST (#194150) #

Campbell's AFL OBP is up to .433.  I think we're going to have some offensive depth at AAA for a change this year.  Campbell, Arencibia, Jeroloman, Snider (if he's down there), and even Dopirik and Patterson (if protected) could receive callups.  I think Dopirik and Patterson might have platoon potential for the Jays at 1B/LF/DH, depending on what happens in free agency.

As for Sickels, I like his site and enjoy his rankings, but I've always felt he's winging it a bit.  He has a good feel for projectability based on production, but then he goes on these little scouting trips  to get glimpses of players here and there and I'm not sure whether they help or hinder his process.

Gerry - Tuesday, November 18 2008 @ 10:56 AM EST (#194184) #
Baseball America's latest podcast reviews the top ten prospects in the AL East.  Tampa Bay has the top farm system in the AL East but John Manuel and JJ Cooper debate who has the second best system between Baltimore and Toronto.  They spend about five minutes on the Jays system and are generally complementary.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 18 2008 @ 11:05 AM EST (#194187) #
I think this is a solid top 10. It would be nice to have one or two more five-star players, but which team couldn't use a couple more blue-chip prospects? I might have flipped Jackson and Cooper in the rankings, based on their 2008 performances (despite the fact that plays a premium position well and the other plays 1B with an iron glove), but it seems about right otherwise. I wonder how close Tim Collins was to making the list.

I'm curious to see how Eric Thames performs in '09.
TamRa - Tuesday, November 18 2008 @ 11:03 PM EST (#194222) #
John Manuel and JJ Cooper debate who has the second best system between Baltimore and Toronto.  They spend about five minutes on the Jays system and are generally complementary.

I note with pleasure the lack of the word "Boston" in that sentence.

I'd be interested to hear from some subscription holder who could give us some highlights of the chat.

ayjackson - Tuesday, November 18 2008 @ 11:07 PM EST (#194223) #
The podcast on the AL East discussion is FREE.
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 19 2008 @ 10:32 AM EST (#194235) #
One thing to keep in mind about the top 10 is that it could be depleted quickly (especially if the Jays miss out on this year's crop of free agents, necessitating more big-league callups). By the end of 2009, Snider, Arencibia, Cecil and Romero could be on the parent team. An updated top 10 list could look something like:

Cooper
Jackson
Ahrens
Mills
Rzepczynski
Emaus
Campbell
Tolisano
Collins
Fuenmayor/Richmond/Jeroloman

This list will obviously be augmented by the 2009 draft (which could include two extra high picks), but it looks a lot thinner without Snider, Arencibia and Cecil.
wacker - Wednesday, November 19 2008 @ 06:48 PM EST (#194249) #
good list, i'd like to add a darkhorse, talley
Denoit - Thursday, November 20 2008 @ 11:50 AM EST (#194264) #

I have a feeling Mills will stick with the big guys before Romero. He seems to have things figured out in the minors. Although they will probably give Romero a chance first just because he is a bigger investment.

I wouldn't worry about the 2010 list, its a really long ways off. There is a draft to come (like you said) and there could be some suprises from the 08 draft that got off to a bad start. Personally I look at it as a positive. The top 10 list doesn't win games in the big leagues. The graduated players do. The System is in good shape, the last 3 drafts have been pretty good (07 was excellent) so if things continue the way they have there shouldn't be any worries.

John Northey - Thursday, November 20 2008 @ 12:56 PM EST (#194267) #
For those who worry about these lists, remember that leading in them does not mean success.  The Milwaukee Brewers were viewed as having either the best or almost the best farm system for years in the late 80's early 90's and they then went sub-500 from 93 until recently - the time frame that farm system should've been filling the ML roster.

Also of interest... Baseball America lists the top indy league prospects (ie: any ML team can sign them). 

#2 and #3 are both 1B/OF/DH's which the Jays could use some more depth with (Cooper and Dopirak were the only impressive 1B/DH's in the system although Kyle Phillips wasn't bad). #4 is a good hitting catcher with speed (how odd). Certainly worth a look after the success Scott Richmond had last year (5 starts, 107 ERA+ in majors).
Baseball America's Top Ten | 28 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.