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Baseball America published their top ten prospects today and it looks a lot like the Batters Box top 10.  In addition the BA guys did an AL East podcast yesterday that had some Blue Jay related discussion.

 

There will also be a subscriber chat at 2pm today.  We will add some commentary here.



The one difference in content in the top 10's between BA and BB is that BA dropped Daniel Norris and included John Stilson.  Norris was discussed as part of the podcast.  The BA guys thought that Norris's record in the Appy League was too bad to include in a top 10.  They said the Appy league hitters aren't that good and if you can't do well against them you no longer deserve a top ranking.  The defense of Norris from Bluefield is that Norris was prone to the bad inning and that overall he pitched better than his record showed.  The Jays did give $2M to Norris so his performance next spring will be carefully watched.

The podcast was some somewhat downbeat on Jake Marisnick, yet they rated him higher than Batters Box at #2.  The question for Marisnick is the hit tool.  BA did say that the Jays were working with Marisnick to take a hitch out of his swing but BA still thinks there are a lot of moving parts in his swing and it needs to get shorter to the ball.

BA does rank Syndergaard ahead of Sanchez.  Mike Green will be happy.  BA notes that Syndergaard doesn't match Sanchez in stuff but is more polished.

The podcast also discussed Hechavarria.  Both of the BA podcasters preferred Hechavarria to Boston's Iglesias.  John Manual was comparing Hech to Cesar Izturis although he did say it was more of a Blue Jay specific comp but he though Hech might be better than that.

BA is very impressed with DJ Davis' speed but notes his arm is fringy.

As mentioned Stilson gets the #10 slot although BA projects he could end up in the bullpen.

The podcast led off the Blue Jay section with a discussion of Deck McGuire.  The commentary revolved around the comment of someone they consulted for this list "How was that guy ever a number one pick?"

More comments from the chat later today.

 

 

Some tid-bits from the chat:

There was no obvious #10 prospect, and #10 is a drop off from #9.  Norris, Smoral and Jimenez were mentioned as alternate #10's.

Marisnick ranked at #2, despite the hitting issues, because not many guys hit right away in AA.

DJ Davis is fast, but not super quick to steal a ton of bases.

Christian Lopes is the best 2B in the system, but Dwight Smith was given a look at 2B in instructional league.

Chris Hawkins needs to be more selective.

Ryan Borucki, 15th rounder this year, is a sleeper.

Deck McGuire has command problems.

Dwight Smith is the best of the 2011 drafted high school hitters, although Christian Lopes has been a nice surprise.

 

Baseball America Top 10 Prospects | 37 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 11:49 AM EST (#265241) #
The podcast led off the Blue Jay section with a discussion of Deck McGuire.  The commentary revolved around the comment of someone they consulted for this list "How was that guy ever a number one pick?"

I will freely admit that my understanding of what makes a collegiate pitcher likely to succeed isn't very good at all.  However, I had pretty much that reaction when McGuire was drafted when he was, in the first half of the first round.  I should be clear that I do not mean that he cannot become a decent enough major league pitcher; almost any pitcher drafted in the first two or three rounds can.  I just didn't see any reasonable possibility that he would become an ace, but apparently many scouts did. 
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 11:54 AM EST (#265243) #

The biggest thing that surprised me about BA's list was the inclusion of Stilson on the Top 10... with a reliever profile and the significant injury concern I find it hard to project him as a top prospect -- especially with some of the other talents in the system. I did talk to someone in the system and they really liked Stilson but I got the feeling they wouldn't be surprised if he ended up in relief. This is part of what he said: "I love Stilson's competitive fire. He's a winner. He's got good stuff and goes right after guys... Whatever role he ends up in, he'll do well."

Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 12:18 PM EST (#265244) #
Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but BA ranked McGuire the 7th-best draft prospect in 2010.

(Aaron Sanchez clocked in at 59, and Syndergaard was nowhere to be found.)
Denoit - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 12:33 PM EST (#265246) #
"I just didn't see any reasonable possibility that he would become an ace, but apparently many scouts did."


Just because a pitcher is drafted in the first round doesn't mean scouts think he will be an ace.



Mike Green - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 02:23 PM EST (#265249) #
If you draft a pitcher in the top half of the first round and you don't think he has some kind of a decent possibility of being an ace, you are probably making a mistake.  There are almost invariably better position player choices in that situation.  So, sure draft a Lincecum or Gooden or Ricky Romero or Mike Pelfry in the top half on the basis that you think he has some kind of chance to be an ace, but if the realistic upside is that of league average starter or slightly better, there are lots of these pitchers around and many of them go later in the draft. 

The position players in the 2010 draft who seemed to me to be obviously better than McGuire were Yasmani Grandal and Zach Cox.  It may have been a money issue...
Gerry - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 02:27 PM EST (#265250) #
I am adding some select chat tid-bits, or is that tim-bits, in the article above.
92-93 - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 03:10 PM EST (#265252) #
It would make no sense if it were a money issue considering what the Jays spent across the rest of the draft and in the international market.
TJ Caino - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 03:41 PM EST (#265253) #
"It would make no sense if it were a money issue considering what the Jays spent across the rest of the draft and in the international market."

Unless it came down to how best to allocate that budget.
hypobole - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 04:25 PM EST (#265254) #
McGuire was given a $2 million bonus, it was not a money issue. He was polished, with command of 3 pitches, and a higher probability of becoming a big league pitcher than anyone taken after him.

James Shields is not an ace, but knowing then what we know now, and he were available in the draft, don't you think he would go in the top half of the 1st round?

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 04:38 PM EST (#265255) #
...but you see that you don't know when you draft a player, and especially so for a pitcher, whether the pitcher will be healthy during the development time. The odds for pitchers generally is not great, and when the payoff is a league average pitcher or slightly above, it isn't worth a top half of first round pick.  Shields, by the way, was drafted in the 16th round. 
Moe - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 04:41 PM EST (#265256) #
I really don't like the revisionist history on McGuire. He was expected to go around No.10 because he was considered a polished pitcher who would reach the majors quickly and soak up innings -- a prototypical #3-4 guy. Not sexy, but valuable and worth a high pick because of the high probability. I don't think anyone here was excited about that pick but no one was upset and neither was BA.

Yes, Chris Sale worked out better (up to this point) but it's always easy to point to some player and say "he was available". And it is well too early to say that pick was a bust, McGuire could still develop into an innings eater with an ERA+ in the 90-100 range. Like it or not, if you draft at 10 and get someone like that, it's valuable and you did ok.

Gerry - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 04:53 PM EST (#265257) #
In their chat BA confirmed again that McGuire has MLB capable pitches.  He just can't command the ball and gets hit around.  Players are usually picked on tools, teams generally think they can tighten command after the player is drafted.
92-93 - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:02 PM EST (#265258) #
Moe, 2012: "I really don't like the revisionist history on McGuire. He was expected to go around No.10 because he was considered a polished pitcher who would reach the majors quickly and soak up innings -- a prototypical #3-4 guy. Not sexy, but valuable and worth a high pick because of the high probability. I don't think anyone here was excited about that pick but no one was upset and neither was BA."

Moe, 2010: "I don't really get why they'd take him. It's not like the Jays need another mid-rotation starter. Unless they don't really believe in any of the bats but I find it hard to believe that they don't like any of them as much as this kid. I have to say I'm a bit disappointed."
Moe - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:09 PM EST (#265259) #
Yes, I was disappointed. But if I have learned one thing over the past two years that mid-rotation starters are valuable and harder to come by than I would like.

And I also said back in 2010: "I agree McGuire (given his position) is my least favorite. However, short of taking a big gamble (e.g. Wilson), I'm not sure I have a much better idea -- especially given that I haven't seen any of these kids in person."

Moe - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:21 PM EST (#265260) #
And either way, me going from being disappointed (but not upset) to defending the Jays, is hardly the same as a professional evaluator going from ranking McGuire in the top 10 to "How was that guy ever a number one pick?". That I call revisionist history. All I said back then "do the Jays really need another mid-rotation guy" to "mid-rotation guys are valuable" (which I even said back then "hence he'd have a the least solid trade value").  But yes, please don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

Instead of discussing the choice of McGuire 2 years ago, we should be more concerned about AA's statement regarding the budget today. Now this is something where you might rightfully criticize them for.

greenfrog - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:24 PM EST (#265261) #
Fwiw, the player taken after McGuire, Yasmani Grandal, was the key prospect used by Cincinnati to acquire Latos. The next player selected was Chris Sale. Had the Jays selected one of those two players, it would have had the makings of a superlative draft. It still looks pretty darn good (Sanchez, Syndergaard, Nicolino, Nolin and others), but whoa, it could have been fantabulous.
92-93 - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:29 PM EST (#265262) #
"we should be more concerned about AA's statement regarding the budget today. Now this is something where you might rightfully criticize them for."

Trust me, I've been trying for years.
92-93 - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:32 PM EST (#265263) #
I'm not giving up on Deck McGuire based on one season. I learned my lesson with Romero, who came to MLB out of nowhere once everybody had decided he too was a bust and we should've taken Tulowitzki.
Moe - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:32 PM EST (#265264) #
Except in 2010 most of us talked about Cox and Josh Sale. Chris Sale and Grandal were mentioned but we were more interested in a player who has since been traded for middle relief pitching and a player who is currently suspended for taking testosterone.

hypobole - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 06:11 PM EST (#265265) #
Chris Sale was similar to Wojo, in that their deliveries would relegate them to the bullpen. Don Cooper managed to change Sale's delivery and he excelled as a starter last year. The Jays tried to change Wojo's delivery and the results were disastrous. (As an aside, for those who believe coaches are basically fungible, how many wins has Cooper been worth to the White Sox or Dave Duncan to the Cards?)

As far as Shields, yeah he was a mid-round pick, but even as a #3 type starter, there is not one team in MLB that couldn't use him in their rotation.

And as far as AA's comments, the payroll parameter and bottomless pit talk is getting tiresome considering he hasn't signed any FA who wasn't a 1 year discount in his 3 years as GM. Spend some real money for quality upgrades in the FA market first, then make those comments.

hypobole - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 06:14 PM EST (#265266) #
BTW, Grandal just received a 50 game suspension for elevated testosterone.
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 06:18 PM EST (#265267) #
I agree - it's really wimpy to be spending all this time trying to massage fans' expectations with the perpetual talk of parameters, "not a bottomless pit," etc. Enough with the lame preambles! Just get on with the job. This is starting to feel like the Ricciardi years all over again.
John Northey - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 09:02 AM EST (#265273) #
The JPR years were filled with budget promises, but they did eventually blow the wad on BJ Ryan and AJ Burnett and Frank Thomas. Still, outside of Ryan their contracts were nothing earth shattering vs what players in their groups made before.

So, what have the Jays spent and what should they spend?
Via http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/?page_id=142

In 2001 (Ash's last year) the Jays opening day payroll was $76,896,000 for a mediocre team (OK, all Jay teams are that since the early 90's). They finally spent more than that in 2007, peaking in 2008 at $97,973,900 with last year being $83,739,200 although that figures seems off as it appears to count Brandon Lyon and JA Happ's full contracts (net $7.8 million) which makes no sense as neither were here opening day. It also counts the $5.5 mil payed out to Mark Teahen.

Right now Baseball-Reference estimates the Jays 2013 payroll (with just the non-free agents kept) as being $85.1 million. That could leave them with $0 (if budgets are the same as in non-2008 seasons) or up to $12 million (to match peak budget). If you go by the 2001 payroll though and add just inflation to it (2%) you get $97,522,721. If you use 10% (what baseball salaries tend to jump by) you get $241,332,588. A more realistic figure though would be 5% which ends up at $138,094,168 or if you prefer, roughly the amount the Detroit Tigers spent - a team in a depressed market (would you want to live in/near Detroit?) with a smaller population to draw on than the Jays.

In a reasonable world the Jays would be in the Tigers ballpark for spending. If they were then they'd have just over $50 million available to spend this winter. Sigh... if only.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 09:19 AM EST (#265274) #
John, I'm glad you pointed this out. The smallness of the Jays' current budget really becomes evident when you take inflation into account. After inflation, the Jays' payrolls have actually decreased substantially over the last decade.

Meanwhile, Rogers' common shares have increased in value 557.47% over the last ten years.

Are people getting the picture yet?
Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 09:50 AM EST (#265275) #
2000 was, of course, the year of the huge leap in free agent salaries.  Many clubs had decreasing payrolls in the years that immediately followed.  Anyways, it is interesting that both Tampa and Baltimore had almost identical payrolls in 2012 as they had in 2000, whereas the Yankees and Red Sox had payrolls almost double. 

Going forward, with the Yankees and Red Sox wishing to get under the luxury tax threshold, there is a powerful incentive for the Jays to spend the $135 million or so that the Tigers do.  They are unlikely to get utterly blasted away financially by the richer franchises in the AL East, and of course, the presence of a second wild card helps.  On the other hand, a penny saved is a penny earned and the success of Oakland and Tampa points the way to a cheaper alternative.   

This is all too depressing. 

greenfrog - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 10:08 AM EST (#265276) #
Given their comparative markets, the Jays should have substantially bigger budgets than Tampa and Oakland.

Also, the loonie has been around par for the last couple of years, so the currency argument for a smaller payroll, to the extent that it was ever persuasive, would seem to be off the table.
hypobole - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 10:21 AM EST (#265277) #
Everyone keeps harping on the wealth of Rogers Corp, but the fact of the matter is all MLB franchises are owned by extremely wealthy entities, whether individuals, groups or corporations. There are occasionally aberrations such as the Wilpons or McCourts, but they are few and far between. The relative wealth of the owner in these situations makes little difference, what matters are the actual and potential revenue streams the ball club can generate.

If the wealthiest owners were the Rays and the poorest the Yankees, would their payrolls be flip-flopped? Of course not, because the Yankees have massively higher revenue streams than the Rays.

On the other hand, I agree 100% though the Jays could and should be spending more. We know they are not in the bottom 10 teams in revenue, yet their payroll has been bottom 10 for the past few years. The Jays are also probably the most volatile franchise, with few hardcore fans relative to market size, but a huge potential market if the club becomes a consistent contender.

The ownership group should trust their GM to make the moves needed to turn perennial contention into reality, even if it involves raising the payroll substantially. And if they don't, they should get a new GM.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 11:22 AM EST (#265278) #
If you look at the Jays' market from an attendance perspective, it is clearly top 10 and arguably top 5 (bearing in mind that the Bay area, Chicago and LA split it two ways).  If you look at it from the media perspective (TV/internet), it is top 3 and only clearly behind the Yankees (and this only because the Mets have been relatively ineffective). 
hypobole - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:39 PM EST (#265289) #
"If you look at the Jays' market from an attendance perspective, it is clearly top 10 and arguably top 5"

Exactly. Yet we were 23rd, 25th and 26th in attendance the past 3 years. Shows how few hardcore baseball fans are in the Toronto/GTA market. Yet Jays were also top 3 in AL attendance every year from 1985-95.

This is the fickleness that the Jays brain trust has to contend with. If they spend a bunch of money on long term contracts, but the team still doesn't contend, it could get ugly financially. Rogers has a risk aversion that a guy like Ilitch doesn't. Hence our predicament.
John Northey - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 02:26 PM EST (#265295) #
Of course, another way to look at it is, the Jays have never been lower than 12th out of 14 teams in the AL for attendance, and 12 happened just once (2010). 5 times they were 11th, and 5 times 10th. That vs 7 times in 1st, twice 2nd.

The payroll vs other teams appears to be a bit of a joke. $100 mil was spent in 2012 by clearly smaller markets Detroit, Minnesota, and Miami. The Jays never have spent that much. Others spending more included Baltimore, Seattle, Cincinnati, Washington, and Milwaukee.

The Jays were 10th in payroll and fans came out at the same level. Now, I don't advocate going up to Yankee levels but spending more would be smart.
Rich - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 02:50 PM EST (#265298) #
Rogers also paid far, far less than any other club has for its ballpark, all of $25 million if I'm not mistaken.  This is an enormous financial benefit to the club's profitability.  Sadly, I think the Jays are heading the way of the Leafs, where the club can make money even without winning.  Unfortunately there isn't the same level of support for a mediocre baseball team in this city as there is for a terrible hockey team. 

Actions speak louder than words and it is abundantly clear that Rogers puts profits ahead of winning and will continue to do so.  The team is not abhorrently cheap by any means but clearly won't make the same type of financial commitment to winning that many other clubs will.

Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 03:01 PM EST (#265300) #
Obviously there aren't the number of hardcore Jays fans as there are Cub fans, say.  "Fickleness" isn't a fair description though in light of the fact that the club hasn't made the playoffs in 20 years. 
uglyone - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:11 PM EST (#265304) #
I like the aggressive inclusion of Stilson. What he did at age 21 in his first pro year was very impressive, IMO. And we know he dropped off from being a pretty high draft pick mostly due to injury concerns. He struggled a bit at the very end of the year when apparently his arm started barking at him (7er in his last 6ip, but before that was more than holding his own as a 21yr old in AA, after having a very easy time as a 21yr old in A+.

And I agree about Norris - he was bad enough this year to drop him out of a top-10 despite his talent.
raptorsaddict - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 06:39 PM EST (#265319) #
Kind of off-topic, but this article at fangraphs made me wonder what Bauxites would consider giving up to get Dickey:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/r-a-dickey-the-markets-other-ace/

For me, it depends on whether you can do a "sign-and-trade" deal where you extend him or if it's only a one year deal. I'm thoroughly in the "Roll the Dice with Dickey" camp (all rights reserved). So, if the Jays are giving up prospects, I would like to see them get 4 years of control. Part of the structure of the contract could be tearing up his existing deal and giving him a front-end loaded contract this year (to get a lower overall price). I'm thinking 4/44, with 14, 12, 10, 8 (or the straight 11/per if he prefers).

As for prospects, it would be great to not give up one of the Lansing 3, but if forced I'd go Syndergaard, if only because the most recent stories I've read have talked about his lack of a secondary offering - I could change my mind and prefer they trade Nicolino tomorrow. Toss in, say, Marisnick and 2 lower-level prospects and perhaps a deal could be done. Or, if they wanted JP it could be Syndergaard + JP + filler.

Trying to win involves taking risks, and this is the type of situation where it might be possible to capitalize on the "fog of war" created by the unique circumstances of the pitcher in question to get an extremely high return on your investment. Of course, this is assuming his lack of UCL doesn't make his arm explode, although, even then, he might actually come back WAY better from TJ - who knows? Let me repeat: the man pitches in the major leagues with NO UCL in his throwing arm. What the $%^$#$? AND he's a knuckleballer who might be able to pitch for the next 11 seasons? Roll the dice AA, roll the dice!!!!!
Mike Green - Sunday, November 11 2012 @ 08:49 PM EST (#265384) #
Your brief Arizona Fall League stat report is here.  Kevin Pillar continues to rake.  Jake Marisnick has not been totally overmatched despite striking out more than 30% of the time.  Deck McGuire has been OK. 
TamRa - Monday, November 12 2012 @ 03:57 AM EST (#265385) #
I'd be just fine with acquiring Dickey. not at the expense of a Top 10 or 15 prospect of course, but if they would take something built around Seirra or Jimenez and a couple of lower-level guys  it would be a no-brainer.
Jake W - Monday, November 12 2012 @ 11:05 AM EST (#265389) #
I was just watching some clips of Nicolino, Sanchez and Syndergaard on YouTube. It's video of the three of them warming up in Lansing uniforms. There's a slow motion clip of Sanchez and it looks like he's got the inverted W (why is this not called the "M"?) in his delivery. When I was pausing Syndergaard's video it looks like he's got an inverted L in his delivery. I wonder if this will increase their risk of shoulder injury going forward. I couldn't see any inverted letters in Nicolino's delivery or that of Osuna.

I wonder if this makes AA think twice about trading Sanchez or Syndergaard.
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