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Bonus Thursday! Your intrepid minor-league crew is back with even more cool features on the Blue Jays farm system.

Jonny German has assembled a nifty Organizational Depth Chart, which gives an early glimpse of the expected rosters for the Jays’ four full-season farm teams. Meanwhile, the whole crew collaborated on a list we call “Rising and Falling”: players who aren’t on the Top 30 List, but who are either rising towards it or falling away from it. Gerry McDonald wrote the summaries for the rising stars, while yours truly penned the tales of the less fortunate.

Depth Chart

To help visualize the current state of the Blue Jay farm system, here's a table showing where we expect players to start the 2006 season (should they still be Toronto property at that time). This includes many players who did not make our Top 30 prospects list, but leaves out those valuable organizational soldiers whose role is to help create a winning atmosphere for others on their way to the Show.

Not everyone here has a strong chance of making it all the way, or of being more than a bench player if they do get to the bigs, but they all warrant some attention from Blue Jay fans with an eye to the future. Not all the spots are filled, of course, since there will be further promotions, minor-league free-agent signings and so forth, while some spots will be filled with your aforementioned soldiers.

Pos	AAA Syracuse	AA New Hamp	High-A Dunedin	Low-A Lansing

SP	Dustin McGowan	Casey Janssen	Aaron Wideman	Eric Fowler
SP	Josh Banks 	David Purcey	Chi-hung Cheng	Jesse Litsch
SP	Shaun Marcum	Davis Romero	Kyle Yates 	Kristian Bell
SP	Vince Perkins	Ismael Ramirez	Po-Hsuan Keng	Reidier Gonzalez
SP	Zach Jackson	Kurt Isenberg	Ricky Romero	Robert Ray
Rel	Frank Rosario	Justin James	               	Adrian Martin
Rel	Jamie Vermilyea	               	               	Paul Phillips
Rel	Lee Gronkiewicz	               	               	               
Rel	Ryan Houston	               	               	               
Rel	Steve Andrade	               	               	               
Rel	Tracy Thorpe	               	               	               
C 	               	Curtis Thigpen	Robinzon Diaz	Jonathan Jaspe
1B	John Hattig	Chip Cannon	Joe Metropoulos	Paul Franko
2B	Ryan Roberts	               	               	               
SS	               	               	Ryan Klosterman	Jesus Gonzalez
3B	Rob Cosby  	               	Chris Snavely	               
CF	Miguel Negron	               	Ryan Patterson	Yuber Rodriquez
LF	J-F Griffin	Adam Lind  	Cory Patton	Jacob Butler
RF	               	Ron Davenport	Brian Pettway	Zach Kalter
  • McGowan and Marcum may start the season in Toronto
  • Guillermo Quiroz and Chad Gaudin are out of options and will have to stay in Toronto or pass through waivers
  • Brandon League may start the season in Syracuse
  • Scott Downs is arbitration-eligible. He may be non-tendered and then re-signed to a minor-league deal and sent to Syracuse
  • While not the only Rule 5 draft eligibles, the following players are at some risk of being drafted if they are not protected: Josh Banks, Rob Cosby, Robinzon Diaz, Lee Gronkiewicz, Kurt Isenberg, Shaun Marcum, Ryan Roberts, Davis Romero, Jamie Vermilyea.

Rising & Falling

Five Rising

Eric Fowler, LHP, 3/18/83
4-2, 3.05, 15 G, 10 GS, 56 IP, 42 H, 29 BB, 55 K, 1 HR

When Eric Fowler was selected in the fifth round this past June, some Bauxites were surprised by the choice. But Scouting Director Jon Lalonde was confident that Fowler was a good pick, and the lefty did not disappoint, rising to be the #1 pitcher in Auburn. Fowler had a 3.05 ERA and held opponents to a .202 batting average, and could be just the latest in a long line of left-handed pitching prospects in the Jays organization.

A.J. Wideman, LHP, 6/8/85
7-10, 4.91, 27 GS, 143 IP, 135 H, 38 BB, 121 K, 21 HR

Aaron (A.J.) Wideman had a nice season in Lansing after the Jays picked him up in a trade with the Nationals (remember Tyrell Godwin? He put together a nice season for AAA New Orleans). Wideman, from Mississauga, arrived with the reputation of soft-throwing lefty, but he more than held his own as a 19-year-old in Lansing, posting a 4.75 ERA and allowing less than a hit per inning (and a 7.6 K/9 rate). The homers are an issue, obviously, but effective teenage southpaws are welcome in any organization.

Wesley Stone, 2B, 4/16/87
162 AB, .272/.362/.333, 7 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 22 BB, 62 K

The youngest player we’ve profiled by far, Wesley Stone is a rarity: a high-school draftee by the Blue Jays. Stone started well for the P-Jays, hitting a remarkable .438 in June and a solid .302 in July before fading down the stretch. Originally a shortstop, Stone has been converted to second base and will get some more help in the instructional league. He’ll probably stay in short-season ball next season, but he’s off to an excellent start for a high-school player.

Ryan Klosterman, SS, 5/28/82
452 AB, .241/.337/.403, 26 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 69 RBI, 30 SB, 4 CS, 62 BB, 99 K

At first glance, the casual fan could overlook Klosterman, thanks to his .241 batting average. But when you look deeper, you find that Klosterman is an excellent fielder, has good speed (30/34 in stolen base attempts), will take a walk (62 this year, jumping his OBP by 100 points), and has some pop for a shortstop (26 doubles and 13 home runs). If Klosterman can start to make better contact, he could take a jump up the prospect charts.

Po-Hsuan Keng, RHP, 10/15/84
5-5, 5.08, 28 G, 10 GS, 79 IP, 98 H, 12 HR, 21 BB, 54 K

Po-Hsuan Keng gets lost in the shadow of his fellow countryman, Chi-Hung Cheng. Keng was playing in his first North American season as a 20-year-old, and a cultural change of that magnitude can’t be dismissed. Keng throws harder than his fellow Taiwanese pitcher,and moved between the bullpen and the rotation in Lansing. He finished the year with his best start: four hits, one walk, eight Ks, over six innings. He’s worth keeping an eye on.

Five Falling

Raul Tablado, 3B, 3/3/82
New Hampshire
363 AB, .201/.253/.284, 13 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 22 BB, 128 K

There are declines, and there are plummets. The first sign of trouble for Tablado, who held down solid positions on both the Baseball America and Batter’s Box Top 30 Prospect lists at the start of the season, was when he was suspended for an infraction of baseball’s banned substances policy. The roof then fell in with this truly dismal campaign. Are the two connected? If Tablado isn’t with the organization this time next year, that would be a pretty good sign.

Vito Chiaravalotti, 1B, 10/26/80
New Hampshire
148 AB, .236/.312/.351, 8 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 15 BB, 32 K
146 AB, .212/.304/.356, 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 18 BB, 39 K

It seems safe to say that no player in the organization has as many Bauxites rooting for him as Big Vito Chiaravalotti. But the former NY-Penn League Triple Crown winner battled both injuries and poor performance in a terrible 2005 – his production stayed steadily bad even after his demotion to Dunedin. Big Vito had his doubters even after the Triple Crown campaign, and the chorus of naysaying has only grown louder. He needs a healthy, powerful season to climb back onto the prospect radar.

Leance Soto, 3B, 6/13/85
137 AB, .153/.228/.277, 5 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 69 K

Admittedly, it’s a little unfair to put a player in the “Falling” category when he’s just making his professional baseball debut. But we decided to include Soto for two reasons: one, the high expectations associated with him (he signed for $675,000, which is second- or third-round money), and two, his truly abysmal performance with Rookie-League Pulaski. There are bad debuts, and then there are 497 OPS seasons with 24 errors in 42 games. Soto will almost certainly improve, but for the moment, his star is dormant.

John Hattig, 1B, 2/27/80
95 AB, .316/.384/.421, 7 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 10 BB, 16 K

If you’re wondering who the 31st man on our Top 30 chart was, look no further. Hattig, acquired from Boston for the nearly forgotten Terry Adams two seasons ago, deserves a better spot than this: injuries ruined his 2005 campaign. Had he been healthy, he might have produced a line similar to what John-Ford Griffin posted for Syracuse this year. Hattig still profiles as a backup corner infielder in the big leagues, but that’s not chopped liver. He might get one more shot with the organization next spring.

Carlo Cota, 2B, 9/18/80
New Hampshire
144 AB, .250/.299/.375, 8 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 9 BB, 45 K
276 AB, .304/.372/.500, 20 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 358 RBI, 28 BB, 65 K

Another member of the Dunedin Class of ’04 that flunked out of the New Hampshire Class of ’05, Cota struggled considerably with the AA Fisher Cats before being sent back down to the Florida State League. But he was a solid offensive force for the D-Jays, and there are signs that he can be at least a capable organizational soldier at the A-ball level for as long as he’d like the job. With Ryan Roberts’ inevitable promotion to Syracuse, he might yet get another crack at second base in New Hampshire.

Rising, Falling & Depth Chart | 6 comments | Create New Account
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Jordan - Thursday, September 29 2005 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#129185) #
I should add that there was no shortage of other candidates for the Rising and Falling lists, but we had to limit ourselves to ten in total. I'd be interested in hear Bauxites' suggestions regarding who else might have made this list, as well as who you think deserved to be included in the Top 30 who was not.
Mylegacy - Thursday, September 29 2005 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#129197) #
Keng is interesting. Really he should be a level or two below Chen but is being rushed because of language/integration issues.

I have high hopes for both Thorpe and Houston. I'm also intrigued by Klosterman. I friend of mine saw him play and was impressed, said he looked like a ballplayer. But then if I chew tobacco, spit and scratch my crotch enough I do too.
Pistol - Thursday, September 29 2005 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#129205) #
Jason Arnold has fallen. He along with Tablado are almost certain to be taken off the 40 man roster.

infielddad - Thursday, September 29 2005 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#129209) #
In terms of your Dunedin projections, Chris Snavely is working primarily to learn first base in Fall instrux and Ken Joyce suggested that move plus his versatility to play the outfield is key to his future. He played sparingly at 3rd in Lansing after Mid May and when he went to the outfield his batting average also skyrocketed.
Putting Cory Patton and Pettaway at Dunedin over Aaron Mathews and Eric Neilsen seems like quite a stretch. Cory struggled mightily in Lansing and seemed to tail off toward the end in Auburn. Matthews played very well after his June call up and Neilsen had a solid if not spectacular season in Lansing is very well liked in the organization it seems.
Ryan Klosterman performed very well after mid June. Shortened his swing considerably to be more direct to the ball but did not give up any power.
Marc Hulet - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#129290) #
I just wanted to bring something up, which came to mind when I saw the Batter's Box top 30 prospects. McGowan will not technically be a rookie in 2006. Although he will likely end the season with less than 50 innings pitched, he has exceeded baseball's rookie limit of 45 games on the active roster in 2005, having been recalled at the end of July.
Brandon League is in the same boat because if memory serves he has also pitched less than 50 big league innings but has been on the major league roster for more than 45 days.
TamRa - Saturday, October 01 2005 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#129387) #
I wonder if someone who knows more than me would like to take a stab at positioning Hattig on the continuim that runs from Tom Evans to Casey Blake (i.e the pseduo-corener prospect that can't stick to the guy who eventually carves out a major league career for himself)
Rising, Falling & Depth Chart | 6 comments | Create New Account
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