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John Sickels weighs in on the Jays top 20 prospects. Having just 3 players in the Bs is really low.

A few thoughts:

* I would have thought Snider was an easy A- grade, but I suppose there's some caution given that he's only played in Low A (plus the AFL this offseason).

* Brett Cecil got an optimistic B+ grade which is good for a non-first rounder who hasn't played above the NY-Penn League.

* He doesn't appear too optimistic about either Thigpen or Diaz at catcher.

* Romero and Purcey have both drop in grades over the past couple years. While it's expected, it's still odd to see a couple first rounders at C grades.
Sickels Blue Jay Prospect Rankings | 24 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 11:46 AM EST (#178527) #
I am feeling mighty lonely about Joel Collins, but my heart is true!  I still say that he is the best catching prospect in the system.

A couple of the grades are a bit harsh (Purcey and Snider), but the overall assessment of the system is pretty fair, in light of the weak talent base in the upper levels.

GregJP - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 12:06 PM EST (#178528) #
Cecil with the same grade (B+) as Snider is shocking to me.  I was expecting.....

Snider  A-
Cecil  B

lexomatic - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 12:53 PM EST (#178530) #

i'm surprised Snider was not an A-. especially when you have Mcutcheon from the Pirates with A-. the onyl reason i coudl see would be that one touched AA (though Mcutcheon was not great statistically)

I imagine that ranking will cause a stir. It might be a case of Bat = A, defense = DH reducing the grade.

lexomatic - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 01:01 PM EST (#178531) #
parrot11 - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 01:09 PM EST (#178532) #
I too was surprised that Snider didn't get an A-, but looking back on the rankings for the other teams, he has been much more stringent on giving out A-'s to prospects (with the notable exception of Jed Lowrie, Wieters, and possibly Ellsebury too). He didn't give Adam Jones, Homer Bailey, and other possibly deserving candidates. Personally I would rather he be too tough with the grades than too loose (which is what I felt he had become the last couple of years).
HollywoodHartman - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 01:32 PM EST (#178533) #
I've been waiting for that list for over a week (checking the site every hour or so.) Now that it's here I'm rather disapointed. Not in John's work, which is phenominal, but in our farm system. How bad is it really? Bottom 5?
GregJP - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 02:04 PM EST (#178535) #
How bad is it really? Bottom 5?

Definitely.  6 of the top 7 are from the 2007 draft, so that's a good sign for the future, but the rest other than Snider make for probably one of the 3 worst systems in all of baseball.

It's to the point that I don't really discuss our system on minor league sites because it's so laughably putrid.
smcs - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 02:12 PM EST (#178536) #
Was Balbino Fuenmayor considered for these lists, or has his stock fallen that much?
Gerry - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 02:26 PM EST (#178537) #

BA will probably indicate where the Jays rank on Friday but it is probably around number 25.  Most observers like the Jays 2007 draft but all of those players haven't played above short-season ball.  If those 2007 draftees have good 2008 seasons then the Jays could jump up significantly by this time next year.  That is a big IF.

Balbino was eligible but he didn't have a good 2007, there is still hope for him as he is young.

CeeBee - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 02:57 PM EST (#178538) #
I'm surprised Snider didn't get at least an A- considering some of the A's on other teams lists. I can see the drop off after 3 and until next years crop does something in full season ball  it's probably justified. I still think the Jays system isn't as bad as it's made out to be but it certainly isn't very good either. I guess we can all hope that the class of 07 turns out to be a great draft and it will probably be J.P.'s defining moment as the Blue Jays GM unless they win a world series while he's here.
Ozzieball - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 04:03 PM EST (#178541) #
Sickels actually dropped his rating of Snider from last year, which was an A-. BP's list is a whole lot better.
GregJP - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 04:04 PM EST (#178542) #
I still think the Jays system isn't as bad as it's made out to be...

Why?  Every single minor league site and BA feels that they are.   I guess that makes you a dreaded "homer"  :)

Just bugging you.  Yankees and Red Sox fans are worse.  (I think)
parrot11 - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 04:23 PM EST (#178544) #

Sickels actually dropped his rating of Snider from last year, which was an A-. BP's list is a whole lot better.

Snider actually got a B+ last year. It was Lind that got the A-.

ayjackson - Tuesday, January 08 2008 @ 04:42 PM EST (#178546) #
Snider did originally get an A- last year, but it was revised to a B+.  I guess he didn't do anything this year to cause him to move it back to A-.  (Slugging 40 points higher than any other hitter in his league doesn't qualify.)
TamRa - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 05:18 AM EST (#178592) #
I think the thing about how bad the Jays system is requires a definition of terms. As i see it, it's not that our top 10 or 15 is WAY worse than the average top 10 or's that once you get past the top layer of players who actually have major league potential, there  is a massive drop off to the next teir. the guys in our system who are not prospects, are not even projectaboe as decent AAA players....they are just WEAK.

or so it seems.

Is that what the people who are criticizing our system mean? or do they actually mean that rank for rank, our #9 (for instance) is dramaticlly worse than the average #9 or whatever?

Pistol - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 10:41 AM EST (#178595) #
As i see it, it's not that our top 10 or 15 is WAY worse than the average top 10 or 15

No, it's pretty bad at the top.  Just simplistically, look at how many players get a B- or higher from Sickels.  The Jays have 3.

The Pirates have 4, including an A-, and he called it a horrible system.

Baltimore 11
Philly 4
Arizona 8 (even after trading for Haren)
White Sox 4
Oakland 11
Brewers 6
Seattle 7
Yankees 8
Marlins 10
Red Sox 12 (including 3 As)
Padres 9
Tigers 3 (but they also just traded a lot for Renteria, Willis and Cabrera)
Reds 11 (including 3 As)
Angels 7
Astros 7
Mets 9
Rangers 13

So there's a good cross section from an unbiased source.

You could say the drafts haven't been good enough, but has the development staff been good enough?  I don't know that there's anyway to differentiate between the two, but it's probably too simple to say there's been bad drafts.  It's not like Purcey, Romero, and Adams were seen as players that weren't first rounders.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 11:00 AM EST (#178596) #
Drafting essentially nothing but college players from 2002-05 is a big part of it.  Most teams have high-school drafts from 2003-04 working there way up.  In the Jays' case, they are all here (Hill, Bush, Marcum, Lind).

I would have Purcey as a B- after his AFL performance.  I don't think that Sickels adequately accounted for the 2007 AFL in connection with both Purcey and Snider.  I would also have Joel Collins as a B, but I am alone on an island on that one...

TamRa - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 02:17 PM EST (#178607) #

Meh. Maybe. I'm just not that enamoured with Sickels....i like some skilled insight but  I saved his list from 2 years ago and I see  a LOT of mediocre to bad players with B- or better ratings and a fair amount of good players with lower grades.

For instance, Tyler Clippard was a B- and Jessie Listch was a C+, CJ Henry was a  B-, Fausto Carmona was a C+, Andy Marte is an A while Kelly Shoppach is a C+, Ben Zobrist is a B-, Rick Ankiel is a C, Joel Guzman was an A- and James Looney was a C+, Josh Barfield was a B, Jeremy Accardo was a C+

On that two year old list, the Jays have 8 players at B- or higher, the Yankees had seven. Of that top 20, the Jays have put 7 players in the majors (eight if you count Davis Romero's cup of coffee which i don't) and the Yanks have put three (and only one of those significant).
Unless I'm missing some players, only two teams in the majors (Boston and Arizona) have put more players (8 each) out of that years top 20 in the majors, though 15 teams had more players B- or higher than they Jays did.

Far be it for me to totally dismiss expert opinion (and that is NOT sarcasm ) but I'm skeptical. I'm VERY skeptical of the "common knowledge" that Romero and Purcey are "failed picks" and skeptical overall that our best players are significantly worse than the average set of top players.

OTOH, I have no problem admitting our supporting cast in the minors is shamefully weak, especially on offense.

ayjackson - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 04:25 PM EST (#178609) #

Jeff Niemann received a B, while his classmate Purcey, received a C.  Has their development been all that different.  Both struggled to stay healthy recently and both struggled to achieve promising results.  Niemann's season at AAA was nothing to write home about - except that he was healthy.  He gave up 9.89 H/9.  His K/BB ratio was healthy though at 2.67.  In 84 innings at AA and AFL this year, Purcey gave up 8.57 H/9 and had a K/BB ratio of 3.20.

As for Romero, he has dropped a full grade in Sickels book.  It seems all due to injuries to me.  He was pitching in dicomfort most of the time and his control suffered.  He didn't used to have command problems.  Sickels' cites ratio issues in Romero's drop.  That seems due in no small part to injuries to me.  While the year was a bit of a dud for Romero, he did show some bullpen promise in limited exposure in Scotsdale.


ayjackson - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 04:46 PM EST (#178610) #

All grades are Extremely Preliminary and subject to change

  1. Travis Snider, OF, Grade A
  2. Brett Cecil, LHP, Grade B+
  3. Kevin Ahrens, 3B, Grade B-
  4. J.P. Arencibia, C, Grade B
  5. John Tolisano, 2B, Grade B
  6. Justin Jackson, SS, Grade C+
  7. Trystan Magnuson, RHP, Grade C+
  8. Curtis Thigpen, C, Grade C+
  9. Yohermyn Chavez, OF, Grade B-
  10. Marc Rzepcynski, LHP, Grade C+
  11. Ricky Romero, LHP, Grade C+
  12. Ryan Patterson, OF, Grade C
  13. Robinzon Diaz, C, Grade C+
  14. Eric Eiland, Grade C+
  15. Brad Mills, RHP, Grade C
  16. David Purcey, LHP, Grade C+
  17. Brandon Magee, RHP, Grade C
  18. Alan Farina, RHP, Grade C+
  19. Brian Jeroloman, C, Grade C
  20. Kyle Ginley, RHP, Grade C

HollywoodHartman - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 05:46 PM EST (#178611) #
What list is that?
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 07:26 PM EST (#178613) #
You could say the drafts haven't been good enough, but has the development staff been good enough?  I don't know that there's anyway to differentiate between the two, but it's probably too simple to say there's been bad drafts. 

It's probably impossible to really tell, but I'd tend to think that the success the Jays have enjoyed with some of their lower draftees suggests otherwise. At the same time, there's obviously no one-size-fits-all coaching solution; what works for Jesse Litsch may not work for Ricky Romero, and what works for Adam Lind may not translate to Ryan Patterson.

And let's face it: Romero and Purcey's progress has been slowed by injuries and control problems, and it's not like they're the only pitchers to suffer from those afflictions. Sometimes pitchers just don't pan out, and it's hardly a problem exclusive to the Jays; just look at some of Purcey's draft mates from 2004: Humber, Niemann, and Diamond have all disappointed to some extent. From 2005, neither Pelfrey nor Townsend have been particularly impressive, at least by first-round standards.

It's also too early to write off players after one bad season. Romero will be just 23 this season. Purcey is older, but he's still a hard-throwing, 6'5" lefty who made significant improvements to his control this year, even while injured.
There can be far too much of a "what have you done for me lately" emphasis on prospect evaluation that gets people excited about players who've never played a professional game and makes them dump on players who've actually played at higher levels, even if they've struggled along the way.
ayjackson - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 08:01 PM EST (#178614) #
What list is that?   Great question.  I thought I had included some comments on my behalf.  I just put in what I thought the grades should be based on keeping abreast of Sickels and his grades.  My two cents, I guess.
John Northey - Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 09:22 PM EST (#178615) #
It is interesting looking at drafts. One easy/fun way is to look at how many guys have made it to the majors from a draft.

The 2002 1st round had 41 picks (including sandwich round...yummy). Of those 41 the Jays had just one pick, Russ Adams, who we all know had one full season plus some time in two others and was followed by Scott Kazmir to JP's regret. Based on B-R we have 24 of those 41 making it to the majors so far. Out of the top 20 though just 3 haven't made it yet. The #3 pick (Cincinatti), Chris Gruler, who never made it past A ball and didn't play in '05 or '07. The #5 pick (Montreal) Chris Everts who has yet to get past A+ (4-10 4.81 ERA last year mixed between the pen and starting). The #20 pick (Twins) Denard Span who has reached AAA but is an outfielder who hasn't gone over 700 in OPS in AA or AAA yet. Two of these 3 were high school pitchers, just like Kazmir, while the other was a high school outfielder. Just a reminder that high school pitchers are real crapshoots and while Kazmir worked out (for his second team) he could easily have burnt out like the two who were part of the top 5 picks. Also, picks 26-33 have yet to get ML meal money as well.

So the Reds have 11 top notch prospects but with a bit more skill in '02 it could've been even better (just two guys from that draft for them have reached the majors, neither getting over 150 AB's, both hitters one of whom is Joey Votto who looks very good at 1B and is Canadian).

System strength is a good thing, but analysts are wrong as often as they are right. Remember in the late 80's the Brewers were #1 year in year out but never made the playoffs and actually spent over a decade sub-500 after those ratings were coming out.
Sickels Blue Jay Prospect Rankings | 24 comments | Create New Account
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