Archive for the 'Prospect Reports' Category

Daniel Norris Makes Pro Debut

One of the most frequently asked questions for Toronto Blue Jays prospect watchers is when will prized left handed starter Daniel Norris make his professional debut?  Well, the rookie and short seasons have finally started and that is often where teams have their fresh draft picks start their big league dreams.

Daniel Norris, whom the Jays drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB draft (and went well over slot to get him signed) made his debut for the Bluefield Blue Jays in the Rookie Appalachian League and was pretty darn impressive. 

4 IP, 0 hits, 0 earned, 0 walks and 5 strikeouts.

Also making his debut was another highly touted Blue Jays prospect Joe Musgrove.  The big 6’5″ right handed pitcher is an imposing figure on the mound and was also impressive.

4 IP, 2 hits, 1 earned, 0 walks and 5 strikeouts.

A pair of 18-year old starting pitching propsects that will definitely be worth keeping an eye on going forward.  Be sure to check back here for the daily Blue Jays prospect report to keep tabs on all of the best Jays minor leaguers.

2012 MLB Draft – Blue Jays Draft Pitcher Matt Smoral With 50th Pick

50. TORONTO BLUE JAYS — Matt Smoral: LHP, Solon (Ohio) HS

Matt Smoral scouting report: Matt Smoral is a lefthanded pitcher out of Solon High School in Ohio. Baseball America has him ranked #24 on their most recent draft rankings. Keith Law has Smoral at #14 in his rankings. BA has Smoral at 6’7″, 225 lbs., while ESPN lists him at 6’8″, 230 lbs. Smoral went #24 at the Minor League Ball community mock draft. Smoral has a commitment to the University of North Carolina, if he doesn’t sign with the team that drafts him this summer.

Smoral is tall, left-handed, throws hard (most of the reports I’ve seen say he gets up to 94 mph), and has a good slider, and before the season, Baseball America had him expected to go in the top half of the first round. So why would he be available for the Rangers at #29? Well, Smoral broke his foot, which means that he pitched in only one regular season game this year, and BA says he isn’t supposed to pitch again until after the new signing deadline of July 13. That means he’s being drafted, in essence, off of his projectability and what he did prior to his senior year in high school.

Why would he be a fit for the Rangers? Well, he’s got upside, and he’s described as “athletic,” which is one of those buzzwords you hear about pitchers the Rangers are interested in. Yesterday, I said the lazy comp for Duane Underwood was Ranger 2010 supplemental first rounder Luke Jackson. Similarly, reading about Smoral brings to mind 2011 2nd rounder Will Lamb, another tall, athletic lefty with a big fastball and projectability.

2012 MLB Draft – Blue Jays Draft Pitcher Marcus Stroman With 22nd Pick

22. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (supplemental for failure to sign 2011 first-round pick Tyler Beede) — Marcus Stroman: RHP, Duke

Just 5-foot-9, Stroman still throws in the mid-90s and served as the Team USA closer last season. As a closer for Team USA, he didn’t allow a hit in 8 1/3 innings. At Duke he started, going 6-5 with a 2.39 ERA. He struck out 136 and had 26 walks in 98 innings, while putting up a 1.88 FIP for a 21-34 Duke squad. If he starts his pro career as a reliever, he could be the closest of any of this year’s draftees to the big leagues, much like Chris Sale in 2010. There are plenty of doubters about Stroman’s ability to start because of his size, but nobody doubts he can strike out big-league hitters. In addition to his fastball, he has a slider that’s considered a legitimate out pitch, to go along with a solid changeup.


College relievers always get looks in the early stages of the Draft if they are believed to be able to move quickly to the big leagues. Stroman has the chance to be the first of those closer types to go off the board.

Because of his size and electric arm, he gets Tom Gordon comparisions all the time. He throws his fastball consistently in the mid-90s with some pretty good tail when it’s down in the zone. He complements it with a power curve that has a nasty late break to it. His command isn’t fine, but he’s generally around the strike zone with both offerings.

As a short reliever, that might be all he needs at the next level. Stroman is coming off a dominant summer with USA Baseball, so scouts will be very curious to see how his junior season unfolds.

This pick was compensation for the Blue Jays failure to sign right handed high school pitcher Tyler Beede in the 2011 MLB draft.

2012 MLB Draft – Blue Jays Draft OF D.J. Davis With 17th Pick

17. TORONTO BLUE JAYS — D.J. Davis: OF, Wiggins (Miss.) HS

Speed is the calling card for the Mississippi outfielder, who some say is faster even than his fellow Mississippi product Billy Hamilton, who stole more than 100 bases for the Reds’ low-Class A team in Dayton last season. Unlike Hamilton, Davis is more than just a speedster. At 6-foot, 170 pounds, he has some power potential. A left-handed hitter, he also has the potential to hit for average. His arm is considered below average, but his speed more than makes up for that.

“One of the goals is to continue to add athletes to the system, athletes with upside; D.J. Davis has a very good left-handed swing, he’s an eight runner on the 2-8 scale, he’s got a chance to hit at the top of the lineup and play in the middle of the field,” Blue Jays amateur scouting director Andrew Tinnish said during a conference call. “Those are the things that attracted us to him.”

Blue Jays Minor League System Month In Review – April, 2012

It’s time for the monthly Toronto Blue Jays minor league system and prospect update.  Let’s take a look at how the top names in the system performed for the month of April.  All of the top rated prospects will be accounted for with a few exceptions, Daniel Norris, Jacob Anderson, Dwight Smith Jr, Joe Musgrove and Adonys Cardona are still in instructional league (rookie ball) and do not have registered stats yet this year.

Any player rated or mentioned in my top 15 prospect piece are in bold.

LoA – Lansing Lugnuts, Record 18-6, 1st place

(OF) Chris Hawkins 83 313 345 422 767 4 1 4 11
(C) Carlos Perez 70 271 342 414 756 6 0 8 10
(3B) Kellen Sweeney 71 197 313 254 567 2 0 11 11




Chris Hawkins has shown he can hit early in the season and Carlos Perez has recovered nicely from a slow start.  Kellen Sweeney has struggled immensely thus far though he batting eye has been solid (11 walks in 71 ABs). 

Justin Nicolino 15.0 12 0 2 17 0 0.00 0.93
Aaron Sanchez 15.0 5 0 8 20 0 0.00 0.87
Noah Syndergaard 14.2 11 3 7 20 1 1.84 1.23

Wow, what  a trio of starters.  The Jays are treating them with care as each are going only 3 or 4 innings each start but this might be the top threesome in the minor leagues right now.  Of the three Aaron Sanchez has impressed scouts the most but look at the stats of Justin Nicolino, so impressive. 

HiA – Dunedin Blue Jays, 18-7, 1st place

(OF) Jake Marisnick 100 270 362 500 862 8 3 9 18
(OF) Michael Crouse 72 167 265 264 529 5 0 10 25
(OF) Marcus Knecht 91 154 235 308 543 6 2 10 36

Jake Marisnick has recovered from a slow start and is showing a lot of confidence at the plate.  Look for him to continue improving in all aspects of his offensive approach.  I’d expect a promotion to Double-A sometime this season, which is always considered one of the toughest transitions in baseball.

John Stilson 17.2 15 4 8 15 0 2.04 1.30
Asher Wojciechowski 23.1 22 8 5 15 0 3.09 1.16
Sean Nolin 27.2 21 8 8 28 2 2.60 1.05

A lot of Blue Jays fans are eager to see what John Stilson can do if healthy and so far he has not disappointed.  Big Asher has come as advertised with the big fastball and solid control so far.  Sean Nolin has outperformed almost everyone this season even though he is not a highly regarded prospect, players can come out of nowhere all the time. 

Double-A – New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 11-13, 5th place

(1B) Mike McDade 84 298 375 369 744 3 1 11 19
(C) AJ Jimenez 75 280 316 413 730 2 2 3 10

A pretty weak overall lineup but catching prospect AJ Jimenez is still a guy the Jays are high on.  A lot of attention goes to Carlos Perez and Travis D’Arnaud but Jimenez still offers a solid all-around package.

Drew Hutchison 16.2 16 4 3 12 1 2.16 1.14
Chad Jenkins 27.2 31 17 8 12 5 5.53 1.41
Brett Cecil 12.1 20 10 4 11 1 7.30 1.95
Deck McGuire 26.1 36 21 6 18 6 7.18 1.59

 Drew Hutchison pitched well in the minor leagues and was summoned to the big leagues when the Jays needed an extra starter.  He has looked overmatched at times in the show, not unexpectedly.  Deck McGuire is off to a rotten start and his stock is definitely slipping.  Brett Cecil still appears lost and his stats show the result of that.

Triple-A – Las Vegas 51s, 10-15, 3rd place

(RF) Travis Snider 75 400 477 693 1.170 10 4 11 11
(C) Yan Gomes 81 358 381 556 937 10 2 3 13
(1B) David Cooper 94 319 396 489 886 11 1 12 11
(CF) Moises Sierra 89 292 370 472 842 4 4 9 21
(SS) Adeiny Hechavarria 106 311 357 443 800 9 1 8 25
(C) Travis D’Arnaud 85 282 354 424 778 6 2 8 16
(CF) Anthony Gose 102 216 298 284 583 3 0 11 33

Travis Snider is raking, Yan Gomes has continued hitting since his torrid spring and David Cooper has been solid.  The PCL and Las Vegas in general is an offensive haven and can inflate statistics which makes Anthony Gose’s rough start even more perplexing.  Adeiny Hechavarria continues to put up solid Triple-A stats and gets high praise for his glove work.

Joel Carreno 20.1 27 14 4 17 2 6.20 1.52

Aaron Sanchez Turning Heads

Toronto Blue Jays prized pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez is getting a lot of love from the scouting department and has gotten off to a great start in the Low-A minor league Jays affiliate.  Through 12 innings Sanchez has yet to give up an earned run and has struck out a ridiculous 17 batters while allowing only four hits.  The walk rate has been a bit high early on but he has truly been dominant.

12 ip, 4 h, 0 er, 8 bb – 17 k, 0.00 ERA, 2.37 FIP.

Here is what I wrote about him after ranking him 9th in the Blue Jays system:

Baseball America says Sanchez offers plenty of projection with his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame, and he has present stuff to go with it. His fast arm generates fastballs that sit in the low 90s and touch 95. He adds in a high-70s curveball that has crisp rotation when it’s on. He shows feel for a changeup, though it needs refinement. Sanchez’s numbers don’t jump out because his command has been inconsistent.

Possible front-line starter if everything goes right.

Fangraphs prospect guru Mike Newman recently took a couple reader questions with respect to the Blue Jays farm system and Aaron Sanchez in particular and had this to say:

Q: Toronto is stocked with good young arms. Which one do you think makes the Big Show first and which one has the higher upside?

A: I heard ridiculously good things about Aaron Sanchez.  Like how the heck did this guy last to the draft slot good things.

Q: Sanchez, Nicolino or Syndergaard?

A: From what a contact said: Sanchez, Syndergaard and Nicolino a distant third.

Q: What type of play will Anthony Gose be in the bigs?

A: Gold glove quality CF with some power, walks and elite SB’s.

Just in case you needed another reason to remain optimistic about the Blue Jays future and farm system, an arm (Sanchez) not as highly touted as others coming into this season is already pushing himself into a prominent role among the systems best.

Blue Jays Prospect Report – March 30, 2012

A couple notable performances from spring training action:

CF Anthony Gose, 0-3, 2 runs, 1BB, 4 SB (7) – including a steal of home!

SP Drew Hutchison, 4 ip, 4 h, 1 er, 1 BB – 2 K – 3.00 ERA

Jays Asst GM Discusses Gose, Norris, Beede

Gregor Chisholm had a chance to sit down with Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava and discussed some of the prospects making their way through the system, definitely worth a read.

Here are a few interesting quotes:

On centre fielder Anthony Gose:

“Last year was a year where we gave him some swing changes and we felt like wanted him to focus on the swing changes, not worry about the strikeouts, not worrying about bunting. We just turned him loose and let him go out there and get as many plate appearances as we could and just worry about hitting and getting his swing down. This year, the approach is to finish him off before he goes onto the big leagues at some point, we need to finish him off and that would be through a two-strike approach. If he puts some of those balls in play that were strikeouts then I think the numbers are really going to show and we’re also going to reintroduce bunting. That’s something he’s always been able to do since he was an amateur but we’re going to bring bunting back and we think that will also help as he gets closer to the big leagues.”

“We thought he was more than just a slap hitter. We thought that there was some power there and the ability to drive the ball and that’s why we made those swing changes. He worked his butt off to make them stick and hold and now we think he has a repeatable swing that allows him to get the most out of his ability, which at times is some power. I certainly wouldn’t classify him as a power hitter but he does have some power, he has power at times, but he’s definitely more than just a singles hitter. That’s what we’re seeing now.”

On the scouting opinions of Tyler Beede and Daniel Norris:

“Our scouts really like Norris, they really liked Beede, it’s hard to say. Norris is a guy that half our guys liked Norris better than Beede. Half our guys liked Beede. We were able to draft both and unfortunately we weren’t able to sign Beede but we’re glad to have the left hander.”

“He’s a gifted left-hander with a very good arm. He has an above-average fastball and he’ll show you an above-average breaking ball. We think he has the athleticism and we think he has a chance to be a quality Major League starter.”

Pretty incredible that Anthony Gose still found so much success at the plate given the Jays took away one of his best weapons as they did not want him to bunt all season.

Blue Jays Spent $7.57MM On International Free Agents in 2011

Baseball America has compiled estimates of each team’s international amateur signing bonus expenditures in 2011, excluding Cuban defectors and Japanese professionals. The estimates may include bonuses for prospects who have agreed to terms but are still pending official approval, such as Cardinals righthander Andres Serrano. They also include Mexican League transfers for prospects when those amounts are known, such as Blue Jays righthander Roberto Osuna ($1.5 million).

Here are the estimated 2011 dollar amounts spent on international prospects from the Baseball America website.  Note the “frugal” Blue Jays spent the second highest amount in baseball.  Further proof for fans that need convincing the Jays are serious about winning.  The Jays spend heavy in the draft and on the international market and this is going to start to pay dividends.

1. Rangers $12.83 million
2. Blue Jays $7.57 million
3. Royals $6.80 million
4. Mariners $6.67 million
5. Cubs $4.54 million
6. Pirates $4.09 million
7. Indians $3.58 million
8. Padres $3.48 million
9. Red Sox $3.25 million
10. Tigers $3.03 million
11. Yankees $2.93 million
12. Mets $2.86 million
13. Cardinals $2.63 million
14. Braves $2.60 million
15. Twins $2.31 million
16. Astros $2.12 million
17. Phillies $2.05 million
18. Reds $1.98 million
19. Giants $1.81 million
20. Rays $1.79 million
21. Brewers $1.63 million
22. Rockies $1.45 million
23. Marlins $1.38 million
24. Angels $1.35 million
25. Athletics $1.22 million
26. Nationals $1.12 million
27. Orioles $1.02 million
28. Diamondbacks $876,000
29. White Sox $778,500
30. Dodgers $177,000

Jake Marisnick or Anthony Gose?

If there are two players in the Toronto Blue Jays system who are destined to be perpetually linked it might be young outfield prospects Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick.  Both offer their own unique skill set and each have their strengths and weaknesses but let me pose a tough question – if forced, which one would you choose, Goose or Maverick?

Opinions have differed with some favouring the uber-athletic Gose with his tantalizing tools while some prefer the more polished skills of Marisnick.  The argument has been made before on countless prospect websites and fans alike so I thought we could dive in a little deeper and see just who is the superior prospect?

Anthony Gose is a lefty swinging (and throwing) athletic centre field prospect who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2nd round of the 2008 MLB draft.  He was taken as a young, raw high school kid who was also a promising pitching prospect at the time, armed with a 97-mph heater.  Gose had a desire to play every day and had lingering shoulder problems so he was drafted with the expectation of becoming a position player.

Continue reading ‘Jake Marisnick or Anthony Gose?’

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