Just a little something for all you New Year's Day hangover sufferers out there ... an assessment of Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin from Baseball America. If BA were releasing their Blue Jays Top 10 today, they say these guys would rank #5 and #6 behind McGowan, Cash, Werth and Rosario -- which I felt was a pretty insane ranking at the time, and still do. I think, as the high-ceiling pitcher closest to the majors, Arnold merits a Top Three ranking at the minimum, certainly ahead of McGowan and a still-recovering Rosario.
The BA report says that Arnold's fastball tops out at 91, but the accounts we've seen over the last month or so indicate that Arnold has abandoned the Mayor McCheese diet and can safely be expected to add a few mph to his heater. The more I read about Arnold, the more I like him, and there's nothing in this report to change that feeling. Now that I think of it, whatever happened to Mayor McCheese, anyway? McDonald's pretty much cleared out him and Officer Mac, not to mention those little Fries Guys. You can't keep non-tendering spokescharacters like that and expect to keep the youth market.
The link to the John-Ford Griffin analysis is password-protected, but I'm going to hope that BA will forgive me this incursion into the subscriber-only portion of the site:
John-Ford Griffin, of
Age: 23. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Drafted: Florida State, 2001 (1st round). Signed by: Scott Pleis (Yankees).
Background: After the three-team trade that brought him from the Yankees, Griffin played two games in Double-A before being sidelined by a hand injury for the rest of the season. Heís a prolific hitter, having batted .400 in each of his three seasons at Florida State. Seminoles coach Mike Martin called him the best hitter in the programís history. [Editor's Note: this includes one J.D. Drew.]
Strengths: Griffin generates tremendous bat speed and has the makings of an outstanding hitter. While he has just 13 homers in 151 pro games, the Aís believe he has longball strength and will increase his power production as he matures.
Weaknesses: Griffin had surgery on his throwing arm after his sophomore year at Florida State and has not regained his arm strength. He has worked diligently, but it remains below-average. He could be limited to left field, moved to first base or even stuck as a DH.
The Future: Griffin will return to Double-A, where he played just 20 games in 2002. He should be among the first players to reach the majors from the 2001 draft.
Griffin, as faithful readers know, has yet to win me over, despite excellent arguments from BA, Kent and others. I'm just contrary, basically. No doubt the Player To Be Named Much Later will eventually show up and tear the cover off the ball for Toronto, and I would happily eat my words in that event. Nonetheless, he's sufficiently late in arriving that he's starting to attain purely hypothetical status. The whole thing reminds me of this great Dilbert cartoon, in which the boss instructs Dilbert to get Griffin's signature on a proposal.
"Do you mean Ted Griffin in Accounting, or the mythical beast with the lower body of a lion and upper body of a eagle?" asks Dilbert.
"Whichever is harder," the boss replies.