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There has been a lot of talk about how great the Jays minor league system is and how many top prospects there are. Naturally we are all getting excited but what have the top Jay prospects done in the past?

At you can see the top 100 from Baseball America's P.O.V. from 1990 to 2011. This is as good a source as any to use, especially given they have had a solid reputation the entire time. I'll check up to 2006 as that allows the players to have had time to either succeed (like Halladay) or not (like Eddie Zosky).

3. John Olerud, 1b/lhp, HOVG player in the end, near MVP a couple of times
49. Glenallen Hill, of, solid platoon guy just reached 500 PA once but 1162 games in majors with 112 OPS+
51. Alex Sanchez, rhp, major flop (11 2/3 IP)
75. Derek Bell, of, very talented but major attitude issues was a regular for awhile for other teams

22. Eddie Zosky, ss, flop
25. Mark Whiten, of, hit 4 HR in a game, ML regular for awhile
38. Steve Karsay, rhp, traded for Rickey Henderson in 1993, decent reliever for a while
53. Marcus Moore, rhp, 76 ERA+ in under 100 IP
69. Mike Timlin, rhp, long career, got final out in 1992
92. William Suero, 2b, 34 ML PA

15. Derek Bell, of, returns to top prospect status
46. Nigel Wilson, of, first pick in expansion draft is his one claim to fame
62. Alex Gonzalez, ss, all defensive shortstop - not the A-Gon who was here recently
67. Carlos Delgado, c, we all know him
70. Howard Battle, 3b, 43 ML PA
82. Eddie Zosky, ss, another flop

4. Carlos Delgado, c, Oh yeah
27. Alex Gonzalez, ss, see above
47. Shawn Green, of, all-star
55. Steve Karsay, rhp, this was the year he was traded
75. Jose Pett, rhp, 16 year old hot international prospect who flopped (out of baseball before 25)

4. Alex Gonzalez, ss, ahead of Delgado? What were they on?
5. Carlos Delgado, c, see above
10. Jose Silva, rhp, had some years but never much
28. Shawn Green, of, we know
66. D. J. Boston, 1b, never made it, over 5000 PA in minors
99. Paul Spoljaric, lhp, solid reliever

6. Shawn Green, of, again
8. Alex Gonzalez, ss, again
33. Jose Silva, rhp, again
72. Shannon Stewart, of, all-star OFer
77. Angel Martinez, c, solid backup catcher
100. Chris Carpenter, rhp, Cy Young

40. Marty Janzen, rhp, ugh-now there was a flop
46. Shannon Stewart, of, again
82. Chris Carpenter, rhp, again
93. Jose Pett, rhp, again

23. Roy Halladay, rhp, wow
28. Chris Carpenter, rhp, wow
57. Shannon Stewart, of, all-star
67. Kelvim Escobar, rhp, solid
74. Billy Koch, rhp, closer 

38. Roy Halladay, rhp, nuff said
52. Vernon Wells, of, near MVP a couple of times
99. Kevin Witt, 1b, actually had 424 PA in majors

12. Roy Halladay, rhp, after his near no-no
33. Billy Koch, rhp, solid closer for awhile
67. Felipe Lopez, ss, had a few good years
69. Vernon Wells, of, still in minors

4. Vernon Wells, of, boy were we excited at this stage
38. Felipe Lopez, ss, anxious to have him reach
67. Cesar Izturis, ss, actually was in an all-star game & had over 4000 ML PA

12. Vernon Wells, of, wondering why he wasn't getting a shot
32. Felipe Lopez, ss, 3rd year on lists
99. Joe Lawrence, c, 1 season in majors at 2B

36. Josh Phelps, c, cover boy of Baseball Prospectus
70. Jayson Werth, c, $127 million man
75. Gabe Gross, of, solid backup
81. Orlando Hudson, 2b, all star
98. Dustin McGowan, rhp, still here

36. Dustin McGowan, rhp, healthy we hope
94. Jayson Werth, of/c, moved to where he belonged
97. Jason Arnold, rhp, oh yeah, him

6. Alexis Rios of, he was a 2 time all-star
18. Dustin McGowan rhp, still in minors
35. Guillermo Quiroz c, boy did we think he'd be great
72. Gabe Gross of, returns to list
87. Francisco Rosario rhp, 49 ML innings
96. Aaron Hill ss, looked so good at first

64. Aaron Hill, ss, in majors to stay this season
69. Brandon League, rhp, now a solid closer
79. Guillermo Quiroz, c, playing time in 7 seasons despite a 44 OPS+

48. Dustin McGowan, rhp, still a prospect
87. Ricky Romero, lhp, worked out nicely

39. Adam Lind, of, silver slugger in '09
53. Travis Snider, of, sigh

11. Travis Snider of, was looking really good

6. Travis Snider, of, desperate to get him here at this point
43. J.P. Arencibia, c, everyday catcher
72. Brett Cecil, lhp, one solid season so far

2010: all 3 via Halladay trade
25. Kyle Drabek, rhp, much too soon to know
27. Brett Wallace, 3b/1b, likewise
81. Travis d'Arnaud, c, ditto

29. Kyle Drabek, rhp, no longer qualified I think
36. Travis d'Arnaud, c, really good
40. Brett Lawrie, 2b, WOW
95. Deck McGuire, rhp, we'll see

Quite a few guys over the 16 years listed here and I think we know what kind of career all but Dustin McGowan have ended up with (we hope he still becomes a success) for the pre-2007 crowd.

Listed multiple times...
4: Alex Gonzalez, Vernon Wells, Dustin McGowan
3: Carlos Delgado, Chris Carpenter, Felipe Lopez, Roy Halladay, Shannon Stewart, Shawn Green
2: Aaron Hill, Billy Koch, Derek Bell, Eddie Zosky, Gabe Gross, Guillermo Quiroz, Jayson Werth, Jose Pett, Jose Silva, Steve Karsay

No question the 3 & 4 timers all had a lot of success. McGowan is the only one of that crew not to get to an all-star game (yet). The 2 timers had 4 unqualified successes (Hill, Koch, Bell, Werth), 2 solid role players (Gross, Karsay) and 4 cup of coffee guys at best (Zosky, Quiroz, Pett, Silva).

The singletons (24 of them) saw a range from 9 who were all-stars or very solid careers (Alexis Rios, Brandon League, Cesar Izturis, John Olerud, Kelvim Escobar, Mark Whiten, Mike Timlin, Orlando Hudson and Ricky Romero) to 4 very useful ML'ers (Angel/Sandy Martinez, Glenallen Hill, Josh Phelps, Paul Spoljaric) to the 11 who never did anything in the majors.

Thus 43 made the B-A top 100 over 17 years. Of those 43 21 were no doubt successes (all-stars or very long careers), another 7 had solid careers leaving 15 who didn't do much of anything.

What about guys who made the top 20? There aren't too many of them here, just 15 cases involving 11 players. Jose Silva is the only 'flop' in the group with Snider and McGowan the next worst but both still have lots of hope. The remaining 8 are all all-stars with one potential HOF'er (Halladay) two very near ones (Olerud & Delgado) and a guy who got the Jays only $100+ million contract (Wells).

Just 4 ranked in the bottom 20 pre-2007 - Orlando Hudson, Eddie Zosky, Chris Carpenter, and Ricky Romero - three all-stars and Zosky.

No question, making that top 100 does skyrocket your odds of success. Nearly 1/2 the Jays on it over that long stretch have made the all-star team or had long careers or both. Still, 35% had no success at all. So the Baseball America list does live up to the rep - guys there either flame out (Zosky, Pett, etc.) or are stars (Halladay, Carpenter, etc.).

For comparison to this year, the record is 6 Jays in the top 100. They did this in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, and 2004. Certainly seems Gillick didn't leave a stripped down system for Ash does it? Of course, pre-98 it was easier as there were fewer teams (just 26 in 91/92 - in 93 the Rockies and Marlins had minor league teams but not a ML one, then 28 up until 1997 when you see the Rays and Diamondbacks appear on the lists). Average of 3.1 prospects per year under JPR (02-09), 4.0 under Ash (95-01), and 5.4 under Gillick (90-94). Just 3.5 so far over 10/11 for AA but this year should up that average - 5 would tie him with Ash, but it would take 9 to come close to Gillick's average. Of course, AA should have a few more years to build that average.

So last years list with 4 guys should see 1-2 flop and 2 all-stars. Lawrie I suspect is one of the all-stars and most betting at home would go for d'Arnaud at this point but McGuire is certainly looking promising. Drabek has the early lead on who will flop.
Jays Top Prospects Over Time | 15 comments | Create New Account
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John Northey - Friday, January 27 2012 @ 11:57 PM EST (#251287) #
Of note: for the AL East competition you get 7 top 100's for the Rays in 3 of the past 4 years, 6 last year for the Yankees, and 3-4-3 for the Red Sox after a 7 in 2008.
Mick Doherty - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 12:39 AM EST (#251288) #

Ohhh, that class of '97! If every year could be like that, there'd be lots more than two flags flying in Toronto ...

P.S. John really nice work here!

hypobole - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 01:24 AM EST (#251290) #
Just curious - who is the best player that came up through the Jays minor league system in that time period who never appeared on a Top 100 list? Shaun Marcum (not surprisingly) never made the lists. Michael Young never made a top 100 list, but he also spent time in the Rangers minor league system. Who am I missing?
smcs - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 03:00 AM EST (#251291) #
Just curious - who is the best player that came up through the Jays minor league system in that time period who never appeared on a Top 100 list?

Reed Johnson?
TamRa - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 04:03 AM EST (#251292) #
"Just curious - who is the best player that came up through the Jays minor league system in that time period who never appeared on a Top 100 list? Shaun Marcum (not surprisingly) never made the lists. Michael Young never made a top 100 list, but he also spent time in the Rangers minor league system. Who am I missing?"

Ranked by B-R WAR, among hitters that would be Kelly Gruber (14) r if you don't like him because he's Rule 5, then Manny Lee (5.7)

Among pitchers:

Marcum - 9.7
Williams - 9.2
Stottlemyre - 9.0

So it comes down to whether you count Gruber, if not Marcum is the guy.
John Northey - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 10:58 AM EST (#251298) #
I'd say the best to not make these lists is easily Jeff Kent who is a probable hall of fame member.
TamRa - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 12:31 PM EST (#251300) #
well yeah, I was just looking at the stats for the Jays. Kent trumps Young though, I'm not sure what other significant players (unlisted) had a lot of success elsewhere.
Matthew E - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 12:34 PM EST (#251301) #
Yeah, but a lot of those guys are pre-1990, right? Gruber, Stottlemyre...
baagcur - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 01:33 PM EST (#251302) #
Interesting to see that McGowan pre-dates Rios on the list.

We still harbour hopes that the former is about to embark on the most productive stage of his career. The latter's might be over with a negative WAR over the past 4 years if it was not for a little matter of $26m owing
Ryan Day - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 02:27 PM EST (#251304) #
It's interesting to see the ups and downs of even the more successful prospects. Halladay was hot stuff and was rushed through the system despite deteriorating control, completely imploded in the majors, and was demoted again before becoming the machine he is now.

Romero made the list after being drafted and pitching a mere 32 innings, then disappeared from the list despite later emerging as a very successful MLB pitcher.

Halladay was an example of having great stuff despite lacklustre statistical results, but Romero was almost the opposite - he clearly figured something out mid-way through 2008, even if his numbers might not have been considered statistically significant.
John Northey - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 02:57 PM EST (#251305) #
Just checked my baseball library and found Baseball America's Almanac from 1989 (the last year they didn't do a top 100 for).

Organizations of the year from 82 to 88...
Oakland, Mets, Mets, Brewers, Brewers, Brewers, Expos
The Mets clearly were that good (Gooden, Strawberry, etc) and Oakland had a few of their 1988 WS team in the minors then. But the Brewers? Boy did they not develop those prospects like they should've. The Expos did build a great team but 1994 ended that dream :(

Jays on B-A All-Star teams...
AAA: none
AA: Alex Sanchez (RHP)
A: Derek Bell (OF), Luis Sojo (SS), Jimmy Rogers (RHP)

Odds are those 4 would've either been on a top 100 or close to it if they did one then. Bell was a regular for 8 seasons, Sojo has at least 3 WS rings, and 2 flops.

Also noticed that Cecil Fielder won a winter league batting title just before being shipped to Japan. would've been nice to have him at DH during the late 80's and 90's but then 'Winfield wants noise' and the Molitor stretch wouldn't have happened and we might not have those two WS titles. Or the Jays might have 5 WS titles.
Ryan Day - Saturday, January 28 2012 @ 06:08 PM EST (#251306) #
Ah, now I remember how frustrating Alex Gonzalez was. Good tools, nice minor league numbers, a decent MLB debut at 22... and then he never got any better. He just put up the same numbers, year after year, for his entire career.

Amazingly and frustratingly consistent.
gnor - Sunday, January 29 2012 @ 08:11 AM EST (#251311) #
Ricky may have disappeared because he suffered a lot of shoulder and elbow problems in 2006-07, and when he came back the next year, he had significant control problems. In 2009 Spring Training, he was pretty well out of the running, but Brad Arnsberg convinced Cito to let him stay, and he won a job on the rotation.
gnor - Sunday, January 29 2012 @ 08:28 AM EST (#251312) #
It is sad to think that without the Halladay trade, The Jays would have been zeroed out in 2010. It's a good indication of what AA had to start with. There is still only one Blue Jays draft pick on the list in 2010-11, but we have to remember that the system is only half full yet. It is only just this year that AA's high ceiling picks are beginning to show up in AAA, with the bulk of them just into their 20s, and playing in AA and lower.
Pat Gillick's lists were amazing, but he had 15 years to build a farm system.

sam - Sunday, January 29 2012 @ 12:39 PM EST (#251318) #
Brad Arnsberg deserves a lot of praise for how he developed Toronto pitchers over the years. With that being said, the penchant for serious injury amongst his pitchers was always disturbingly high.

Knock on wood here, but since Bruce Walton has become pitching coach I don't think we've had a starter go down with a serious arm/shoulder injury.
Jays Top Prospects Over Time | 15 comments | Create New Account
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