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When spring training games start this week most eyes will be on the pitching battles.  There are at least two starting pitcher jobs up for grabs and the bullpen has three vacancies.  If we expand our view to the Syracuse Chiefs the picture gets even more cloudy, by my count there are thirty-five pitchers battling for twenty-four jobs between the Blue Jays and the Chiefs.  Most readers are familiar with the major league battles but might not be aware of the AAA ones.

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Baseball Prospectus had their top 10 Blue Jay prospects listed today - and as a bonus it's a free article so everyone can read the entire profile. Snider ranked ahead of Lind, which I can't say I'm shocked at. Goldstein seems to value ceiling above most other things.

In other cool news, somewhat minor league related, over at the Hardball Times they announced that the good people that brought us will also be bringing us I imagine this will be quite helpful when looking at college prospects around draft time.

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Baseball America has confirmed that the Jays have added an affiliate in the Gulf Coast League.
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It is the middle of winter and minor league baseball news is almost non-existent.  Baseball America and John Sickels' prospect books are a month away from my mailbox so to keep me going I thought I would look at the Jays minor league system one more time.  This time I decided to put myself in JP Ricciardi's shoes and ask myself What help is likely coming from the system in the next couple of years?  Which prospects should I count on and which ones should I discount?
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Jeff Sackmann has distilled extremely useful statistics on minor league catchers from his website, and reported them in today's THT. First off, to have this information publicly available is a real stride forward.  For Jay fans, the news on Curtis Thigpen is not great.  76.1% of prospective basestealers succeeded in 92 attempts off Thigpen.  He did however throw well in the Arizona Fall League, and earned the start in the championship game over Landon Powell who has one of the stronger arms in the minors.
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John Sickels has been posting top 20 prospect lists over at his website. The Jays top 20 prospects list is his most recent one.  His summary:
The Blue Jays In One Sentence: Toronto has two outstanding bats, but the system drops off quickly after that, as the pitchers with the best stuff lack command, and the pitchers with the best command lack stuff.
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Chip Cannon was recognized as the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 Arizona Fall League today.  Cannon dominated the top 10 offensive lists in the league, and led the Phoenix Desert Dogs to the league championship.  Congratulations to a Box favourite.
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The Phoenix Desert Dogs went all the way this AFL season with Blue Jays farmhands playing a lead role. Chip Cannon, Kyle Yates, Curtis Thigpen, Ryan Klosterman, Dustin McGowan, Jordan DeJong and Tracy Thorpe all contributed to the Dogs' success. Shall we take a look at how some of them did, and how it affects their prospect status?

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Baseball America revealed their Top 30 Blue Jay prospects today.  There is a subscriber only chat at 2 pm.  Baseball America are higher on Ryan Patterson and Brandon Magee than Batters Box was and the big surprise is Balbino Fuenmayor at number 10.
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It's been a fine Arizona Fall League season so far for the Blue Jay farmhands playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, who lead the circuit with a 14-8 record. 
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Today Baseball America released the most up-to-date list of minor league free agents that I've found on the web. It's complete with some of our favourite names of the past few years, including Frank Menechino (??), Tom Wilson, Alberto Castillo, Gookie Dawkins, one of the Bobby Joneses, Tony Torcato, C.J. Nitkowski and Mac Suzuki.

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...Phoenix or Tucson.  The Arizona Fall League season got underway on Tuesday.  This year, the Jays have sent players to the Phoenix Desert Dogs, including Dustin McGowan, Curtis Thigpen, Chip Cannon and Ryan Klosterman. McGowan got the start yesterday and threw 3 pretty good innings but took the loss as the Dogs were shut out.  Cannon is 3-7 with a walk to start the season, and Klosterman reached base 3 of his first 4 plate trips. 

In early returns, scoring seems to be down in Arizona.  We will see if this continues.

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Not all prospects worth following can be found on our top 30 list. Some are rising, and others, once noteworthy, have to work to get it back. We have chosen five of each.
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Monday, we took a look at Prospects #30-#21 in the Blue Jay farm system. Yesterday, it was #20-#11. Now, we get to the part you've all been waiting for.

The top 10 classic rock songs of all time are...Never mind. There was not much debate among the minor league crew about the best of the best in the Jay system, with one exception. Who is the better Romero, Ricky or Davis? We enlisted ouija boards, oracles and Jordan Furlong to assist us in resolving this difficult question. We are pleased to advise that with their assistance, no wars were fought and no bones were broken as we came to a decision.

Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, Dustin McGowan and Brandon League, mainstays from last year's top 10 list, are no longer eligible due to major league service time.
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Yesterday, we looked at prospects #30-#21. We move on today to players who are more familiar.
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