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Baseball has its well-known major league seasonal cycle. The ballplayers arrive in Florida and Arizona in February while the snow (now often only remembered from Februarys past) is still on the ground here. They come north  in April with the spring, bloom in summer, and depart after a wished-for blaze of colour in autumn.

There is another longer cycle in baseball, that begins with the choosing of a player in the major league draft and which ends with his retirement from baseball 5, 10 or even 25 years later. For some, the game itself is slow, the pennant race is even slower, and the development cycle of a ballplayer unbearably so. For others, watching a ballplayer develop is a welcome respite from a world moving too fast for its own good. They retreat to their baseball garden to watch their prospects get chosen, grow and, with careful tending and a little luck, bloom like Alex Rios. With the draft upcoming next week, it is time for the baseball gardeners to assess what one already has and then turn over the soil where needed so that it is ready for our little perennial plants.

So, what are the home team's needs in the longer run?  Which spots in the garden are a little bare?


Of course, there must always be pitchers be coming up through the system.  It is though an area of strength in Toronto.  There are righthanders and lefthanders, power pitchers and control artists, starters and relievers, up and down the system. Depending on one's count, there are between 15 and 25 pitchers of interest, with many of them toiling away in the upper levels of the system..  That is a very healthy number.  A simple gentle replenishment, and nothing more, is in order.


With the departure of Guillermo Quiroz, there is one good catching prospect in the system, Curtis Thigpen, although Josh Bell may surprise.  That is at least one short of what the system should have.  Staying healthy is a major project for catchers, so it is always a good idea to have an extra one coming up.

Middle Infielders

The system is also somewhat thin in this area.  Ryan Klosterman, Jesus Gonzalez, Sean Shoffit and Wes Stone are interesting prospects further down in the system, and Ryan Roberts or Sergio Santos may surprise us and contribute, but there is definitely need for a  good middle infield prospect or two.


Ouch.  With the departure of Miguel Negron and the struggles of Yuber Rodriguez, this is definitely an area of immediate need especially in light of Vernon Wells' contract status.

Corner infielders

A third baseman would be very nice, as it does not seem likely that John Hattig will help much at third base, if needed, and there are few other realistic possibilities.  Chip Cannon and Joey Metropoulos are two interesting first basemen, and Adam Lind may end up there.

Corner outfielders

Ryan Patterson, Adam Lind, and perhaps Cory Patton and Brian Pettway, constitute a relative strength for the organization at this point.  There is generally a shortage of speed in the organization, but whether new speed is acquired through a corner outfielder or through some other position is purely a matter of choice.

Alas, some years, as with garden plants, the available players at a position of need are of inferior quality to those where there is less need. It is a delicate balancing act for the organization to take into account both the available talent and its own positional needs when making selections.  This year is, by all accounts, a poor draft year generally and for position players particularly.  There are unlikely to be too many prospects making quick jumps up the system, but rather slow steady growth is what one can hope for. 

Stay tuned next week, as Pistol provides us with his draft day analysis.  This year Pistol will also be following the Auburn Doubledays, where many of the top prospects will go, after the draft.

Planting the garden | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
VGeras - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#148212) #

So who does everyone thing the Jays will select?

Mike Forbes - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#148214) #
I've been hearing the Jays linked to Wake Forest 3B Matt Antonelli alot in the past weeks and they've never been ones to throw up smoke screens when it comes to the draft.
Mudie - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#148216) #

If the Blue Jay do not take Matt Antonelli at 14 for what ever reason they will probably take a college pitcher, ether Joba Chamberlain or Max Scherzer could be available. Chamberlain would be available because of a triceps injury he had, and Scherzer because of some biceps tendinitis. Good pitchers but they have had minor injuries this year (if you can call an injury to a pitchers arm minor), witch has pushed them down on most teams depth charts.

VGeras - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#148217) # has a live blog on the draft with live updates and currently have the jays taking antonelli
Mudie - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#148220) #

Well so does in there mock draft, but half of these analysts don't know any more about who is taking who then we do. So put your faith were you want and hope the jays draft the player you think is the best, because there is not much more you can do then that.

VGeras - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#148224) #
Mlb has the Jays selecting Chamberlain
Mudie - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#148225) #

That show you how much stock I put in there information, I must have fallen asleep during their preview show and dreamed they agreed with me.

joemayo - Saturday, June 03 2006 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#148232) # says that Scherzer is being advised by Scott Boras.  Another reason (to go along with the injury history) to pass him up on draft day.  I do like the thought of a guy who "works comfortably in the 93-95 range and can easily pump fastballs in the 97-99 range..." and has good control (24:2 K:BB rate in the summer of '05).  but, the injury reports might be enough to scare off the Jays.

Antonelli seems like the typical JP non-pitcher pick (ex/ Adams, Hill); solid university athlete who doesn't wow you in any one category but could have a decent ML career.  He's an "on base freak" as the saying goes and doesn't strike out much either (7th among all collegiate hitters with 57 walks as a sophomore and only 38 K's in 232 at bats).  I like this (possible) pick, but if JP's going to go with a solid, but unspectacular IF, I think I'd rather risk taking someone like Scherzer (if JP can sign him) or Chamberlain.  Assuming they're still around at #14 that is...

Pistol - Sunday, June 04 2006 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#148243) #
In terms of need I don't think the Jays are so strong or so weak in any area that they need to focus much on that. 

I'd be really surprised if Scherzer is available.  He's back from his injury and pitching well again.

As for Boras, I think it's an oversimplification to make a knee jerk 'don't take that guy because Boras represents him' decision.  The first drafted player signed last year was a HS pitcher (Pawelek) who Boras represented.

Elliot's column today suggested the same names we've all seen in one place or another:  Antonelli, Huff, Rowell, and Snider.  Either everyone has the same exact sources which may or may not be correct or those are the players they really are interested in.

John Sickels posted his top 30 over at his website yesterday.

Flex - Sunday, June 04 2006 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#148246) #
Inside the Dome suggests the Jays think they have a shot at Tim Lincecum, he of the slender frame, whole-body delivery and big-time strikeout totals. He'd been projected high, but apparently scouts are suddenly worried about his lack of size. Like a month ago they thought he was bigger or something and then rubbed their eyes and saw he was only 6 feet 175 pounds.

Pistol - Sunday, June 04 2006 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#148249) #
The weekly BP radio show said that if Lincecum were to fall he wouldn't make it past both the O's and Reds at #8 and #9.  I imagine the Jays would select him pretty quick if he were there.
Sanjay - Sunday, June 04 2006 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#148253) #
Notre Dame Wide Receiver Jeff Samardzija also throws a mean Mid-90 fastball.  He's a Top 20 Collegiate Baseball Propspect and a Top 10 NFL Draft prospect for the 2007 Draft.  He's a candidate to be a very good 2-sport player, Pat Forde has a great article on him
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