Yesterday we discussed Keith Law ranking the Toronto Blue Jays farm system number three in baseball and today the full top 100 player list was released. Five players from the Jays made the cut and they are not all necessarily names that all the top prospect talent evaluators would agree upon. The top five was Anaheim OF Mike Trout, Tampa Bay SP Matt Moore, Washington OF Bryce Harper, Baltimore SS Manny Machado and Cardinals SP Shelby Miller.
Hard to disagree with that top five as most are highly rated across the board however I am surprised that Manny Machado ranked ahead of Jurickson Profar. Profar not only outperformed Machado, but he is also younger and by most scouting reports the only one likely to stick at shortstop long term. Machado is a fine player but I do not see any justification after Profar’s monster 2011 to rank behind any other infield prospect.
Surprisingly he even ranked Toronto’s Travis D’Arnaud ahead of Profar as the sixth best prospect in the game. D’Arnaud is the consensus number one prospect for the Blue Jays but I don’t necessarily see him as a top ten overall prospect just yet. He has had only one above average year at the plate and although 2011 was a monster season I think it is wise to take a wait and see approach with the young catcher for 2012.
Law ranked Toronto SP Drew Hutchison #42 and thought he had the makings of a solid number three type starter with the ceiling of a number two. He isn’t completely sold on his mechanics and feels his slight frame might make it difficult for him to be a 200+ innings pitched workhorse. Again, I like Hutchison but is he even the best pitcher in Toronto’s system?
Baseball prospectus gives him a 3-star ranking, Baseball America ranked him #9, and Fangraphs thought he was the fourth best prospect on the Jays overall. If I was going to be pick an arm from the Jays to make a top 100 list I would have to pick big lefty Daniel Norris ahead of Hutch. Norris is projectable, has big time stuff and is physically more impressive, plus a southpaw.
Next was toolsy outfielder Jake Marisnick ranked at #47, which I feel is a fair spot for him. Law notes what is becoming a common refrain for the young Marisnick, he is a hard worker willing to take the time to improve and make the necessary adjustments for success. He should make AA by year’s end and has the chance to be a major league regular, with a possible all-star season or two.
You can’t mention Marisnick without also discussing CF Anthony Gose, who ranked #59 on his list. Gose and Marisnick are basically neck and neck on most of the top websites with Gose ranking higher on BA, MLB and Fangraphs and Marisnick getting BP and Keith Law. Law said “he has made great strides in the 18 months since Toronto acquired him, and is young enough that forecasting additional growth for him makes sense.”
“His defense alone makes him a major leaguer,” Law says, “and even a modest improvement in the two-strike approach makes him a regular, with an All-Star ceiling.” It is hard to argue his placement and the rationale provided behind his ranking and outlook.
The last name is again another surprise for me as Jays SP prospect Aaron Sanchez ranked #96 to round out the five Blue Jays who made the top 100. Sanchez once drew comparisons to Orel Hershiser but his on field results have been pretty abysmal and 2011 was not exactly a season that inspires confidence in his long term outlook.
Law stated he wasn’t too concerned about the poor start to Sanchez’s career and notes after implementing an adjustment at Toronto’s instructions to keep his front side more closed, after which he produced much better results. He is high on the trio of starters (Sanchez, Justin Nicolino and Noah Syndergaard) that will start for Lansing (A) and feels all three could make the list next season.
Definitely a solid showing for the Blue Jays organization though I would have guessed Travis D’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Daniel Norris, Anthony Gose, Justin Nicolino and Drew Hutchison (in that order) would have all made the list. Perhaps Law doesn’t give as much weight to the recent crop of draft picks but most talent evaluators had Norris and Nicolino ahead of Sanchez.
Baseball America will be releasing their top 100 list soon.