All-Time Jays Prospects

Friday, February 19 2021 @ 10:30 PM EST

Contributed by: John Northey

We're all wondering about prospects as the Jays have made trades, promoted guys, have a lot in the top 100 right now.  So lets look at some history.  Baseball America has been doing Jay top 10 lists for prospects since 1983, top 100's for MLB since 1990 roughly.  So I thought lets do a summary of them.  I thought about others -'s (2012 and up), Baseball Prospectus (2007 and up) but BA's was easiest to find and actually has guys whose careers have ended for sure so more useful for this purpose.

Took a lot more work than I expected - when I was younger this stuff seemed to go quicker.  Probably just I was more foolish and without kids.  Still couldn't find most of the 1998 list (missing 7 of them - couldn't find them online although the rest were easy to find at The Baseball Cube). EDIT: added the rest of 1998 via Sportsnet - thanks mendocino

The most common #1 guy was Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 3 times, tied with Sil Campusano and Roy Halladay.  2 timers were Tony Fernandez, Aaron Sanchez, Nate Pearson, Travis Snider, Dustin McGowan, Vernon Wells, and Derek Bell.

Most frequent guys on the top 10 : 5 times: Aaron Sanchez, Brandon League, Dustin McGowan, Francisco Del Rosario, and Kevin Witt.  Guess being on these lists a lot isn't a good sign (hanging around in the minors for too long)

Guys who produced ...
So for top 10's out of 383 player seasons - 197 unique players we got 1 HOF'er (so far), 3 near HOF'ers, and 3 more fringe HOF'ers.  So 7 who are near impossible to get unless you develop them normally (Jays traded for McGriff back when the Yankees were run horribly) or 3.5%.  20+ WAR players I put in the 'star' category (again hard to get for less than an arm and a leg, unless you develop them) and there are 19 of those (including the HOF levels) = 6.0%.  10+'s are solid - add 10 more to get it up to 14.7%.  1-9.9 WAR suggests they at least had some value, 46 more there = 75 or 38%.  Under 1 WAR and I'm going 'what was the point' - for the sub 1 WAR guys we get 74 = 37.5%, the 'total waste' are the guys who couldn't even get a September call up - 48 of them = 24.4%.  So 1 in 4 top 10 guys will never get up it seems, while another 37.5% will produce nearly nothing = 61.9% of top 10's who will be forgotten by all but their families and weirdo's like us who obsess on these things.  Some of those - 13 or 6.5% still have a shot - so even if all of them make it then over half of the top 10's fail to do anything of note.

Who of our top 10's was dumped too soon?  IE: was traded and made the Jays regret it (or released like David Wells was).
Not as bad as it could've been.  No one reached the level of HOF elsewhere - only Jeff Kent came close but was never on a top 10 list surprisingly - 54.1 WAR elsewhere vs the 1.3 here, but he was the price of getting David Cone in 1992 so we all could live with it.

1983 to 1999
Rank 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
1 Tony Fernandez Tony Fernandez Fred McGriff Sil Campusano Sil Campusano Sil Campusano Derek Bell John Olerud Mark Whiten Derek Bell Carlos Delgado Alex Gonzalez Shawn Green Shannon Stewart Roy Halladay Roy Halladay Roy Halladay
2 John Cerutti Fred McGriff Matt Williams Santiago Garcia Todd Stottlemyre Junior Felix Alex Sanchez Derek Bell Eddie Zosky Alex Gonzalez Alex Gonzalez Carlos Delgado Alex Gonzalez Marty Janzen Chris Carpenter Vernon Wells Billy Koch
3 Augie Schmidt Alexis Infante Santiago Garcia Steve Davis Santiago Garcia David Wells Junior Felix Eddie Zosky Steve Karsay Nigel Wilson Shawn Green Jose Silva Jose Silva Chris Carpenter Shannon Stewart Kevin Witt Felipe Lopez
4 Jeff Reynolds Matt Williams Kelly Gruber Kelly Gruber Matt Stark Francisco Cabrera Luis Sojo Glenallen Hill Mike Timlin Howard Battle Steve Karsay Shawn Green Shannon Stewart Jose Pett Kelvim Escobar Tom Evans Kevin Witt
5 Fred McGriff Stan Clarke Mike Sharperson Mike Sharperson Jeff Musselman Alex Sanchez Mark Whiten Alex Sanchez Ed Sprague Carlos Delgado Jose Pett DJ Boston Sandy Martinez Jose Silva Billy Koch Anthony Sanders Vernon Wells
6 Stan Clarke Augie Schmidt Glenallen Hill Otis Green Rob Ducey Todd Stottlemyre Dennis Jones Nate Cromwell Carlos Delgado Eddie Zosky Howard Battle Paul Spoljaric Chris Carpenter Roy Halladay Kevin Witt Andy Thompson Clayton Andrews
7 Bill Pinkham Jimmy Key Alexis Infante Fred McGriff Glenallen Hill Steve Cummings Steve Cummings Ed Sprague Marcus Moore Pat Hentgen Paul Spoljaric Sandy Martinez Jose Pett Ryan Jones Anthony Sanders Billy Koch Tom Davey
8 Ron Shepherd Dave Shipanoff Jack McKnight Glenallen Hill Nelson Liriano Kevin Batiste Jimmy Rogers Greg O'Halloran William Suero Steve Karsay Aaron Small Adam Meinershagen Edwin Hurtado Tom Evans Joe Young Brent Abernathy Joe Lawrence
9 Matt Williams Otis Green David Wells Norm Tonucci Mike Sharperson Greg Myers Francisco Cabrera Randy Knorr Denis Boucher Ricky Trlicek Brent Bowers Shannon Stewart Chris Stynes Felipe Crespo Ryan Jones Gary Glover Peter Tucci
10 Geno Petralli Matt Stark Kevin Sliwinski Matt Stark Earl Sanders Mark Whiten Denis Boucher Luis Sojo Pat Hentgen Felipe Crespo Rob Butler Lee Daniels Howard Battle Kevin Witt Tom Evans Joe Lawrence Tom Evans

2000 to today
Rank 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
1 Vernon Wells Vernon Wells Josh Phelps Dustin McGowan Alex Rios Brandon League Dustin McGowan Adam Lind Travis Snider Travis Snider Zach Stewart Kyle Drabek Travis D'Arnaud Aaron Sanchez Aaron Sanchez Daniel Norris Anthony Alford Vladimir Guerrero Jr Vladimir Guerrero Jr Vladimir Guerrero Jr Nate Pearson Nate Pearson
2 Felipe Lopez Felipe Lopez Gabe Gross Jayson Werth Dustin McGowan Aaron Hill Ricky Romero Travis Snider Brett Cecil JP Arencibia JP Arencibia Deck McGuire Anthony Gose Roberto Osuna Marcus Stroman Aaron Sanchez Conner Greene Anthony Alford Bo Bichette Bo Bichette Jordan Groshans Austin Martin
3 Cesar Izturis Cesar Izturis Jayson Werth Kevin Cash Guillermo Quiroz Guillermo Quiroz David Purcey Ricky Romero Kevin Ahrens Brett Cecil Chad Jenkins Anthony Gose Jake Marisnick Marcus Stroman DJ Davis Jeff Hoffman Vladimir Guerrero Sean Reid-Foley Anthony Alford Danny Jansen Simeon Woods Richardson Jordan Groshans
4 Michael Young Joe Lawrence Dustin McGowan Francisco Rosario Gabe Gross Francisco Rosario Adam Lind Ryan Patterson JP Arencibia Justin Jackson David Cooper Travis D'Arnaud Daniel Norris DJ Davis Mitch Nay Dalton Pompey Richard Urena Conner Greene Nate Pearson Eric Pardinho Alejandro Kirk Simeon Woods-Richardson
5 Josh Phelps Bob File Orlando Hudson Brandon League Francisco Rosario David Purcey Josh Banks Curtis Thigpen Ricky Romero David Cooper Henderson Alvarez Zach Stewart Justin Nicolino John Stilson Franklin Barreto Franklin Barreto Sean Reid-Foley Richard Urena Lourdes Gurriel Jordan Groshans Alek Manoah Alejandro Kirk
6 Gary Glover Chuck Kegley Eric Hinske Alex Rios Aaron Hill Russ Adams Casey Janssen Francisco Rosario Justin Jackson Kevin Ahrens Jake Marisnick Asher Wojciechowski Aaron Sanchez Daniel Norris Daniel Norris Max Pentecost Jon Harris Rowdy Tellez Eric Pardinho Nate Pearson Orelvis Martinez Orelvis Martinez
7 Brent Abernathy Brian Cardwell Brandon League Russ Adams David Bush Dustin McGowan Brandon League Brandon Magee John Tolisano Brad Mills Josh Roenicke JP Arencibia Noah Syndergaard Matt Smoral Roberto Osuna Roberto Osuna Rowdy Tellez T.J. Zeuch Danny Jansen Kevin Smith Gabriel Moreno Alek Manoah
8 Andy Thompson Pasqual Coco Alex Rios Vinnie Chulk Vince Perkins Zach Jackson Francisco Rosario Jesse Litsch Curtis Thigpen Ricky Romero Brad Mills Carlos Perez Deck McGuire Anthony Alford Alberto Tirado Richard Urena Max Pentecost Bo Bichette Logan Warmoth Sean Reid-Foley Miguel Hiraldo Gabriel Moreno
9 Kevin Witt Jay Gibbons Kevin Cash Gabe Gross Russ Adams Josh Banks Curtis Thigpen David Purcey David Purcey Marc Rzepczynski Justin Jackson Aaron Sanchez Drew Hutchison AJ Jimenez Dawel Lugo Miguel Castro Justin Maese Jon Harris Richard Urena Cavan Biggio Anthony Kay Adam Kloffenstein
10 John Sneed Matt Ford Tyrell Godwin Guillermo Quiroz Brandon League Gustavo Chacin Vince Perkins Balbino Fuenmayor Ryan Patterson Brad Emaus Carlos Perez Jake Marisnick Asher Wojciechowski Tyler Gonzales Sean Nolin Sean Reid-Foley DJ Davis Justin Maese Ryan Borucki Miguel Hiraldo Adam Kloffenstein Miguel Hiraldo

So what about guys in the top 100's? A much shorter list (as you can imagine).
Miscellaneous Top 100 Blue Jay Facts.
Something you can see from that summary is you don't need to drain your system to have a strong run - you don't get stronger than 1983-1993 which ended with 2 WS titles where top quality prospects were traded (like Jeff Kent) to get over the top yet the Jays had tons of talent still coming.  But the 2006-2008 stretch was bad, then 2013-2016, but right now things are on the upswing (top 2 for quantity of top 100's ever in the past 3 years).  Top 10's are very high quality but 2 dud's in Snider & Silva and one 'meh' in Alex Gonzalez (11 WAR lifetime, no All-Star games, no Gold Gloves).