So I decided to run through our organization depth chart from Las Vegas all the way down to the Gulf Coast, and below are the players I think had the best season. Age, prospect status, and league do not affect my decision; it is based purely on which player was better this year, not who I think will be the better prospect or have the better career.Catcher: Travis d'Arnaud
We all know he is very excellent defensively, but he passed the double-A test with flying colors as he hit .311/.371/.542 in his first taste of the level. Would be surprised if he doesn't begin 2012 in Vegas as the starting catcher.
First Base: David Cooper
He absolutely crushed the competition, posting a .364/.439/.535 line to go with 51 doubles and 96 RBIs. His K/BB ratio was also very good at 43/67.
Second Base: Daniel Arcila
This was a tough choice, especially knowing how weak we are with second basemen, but I ended up going with Appy-Leaguer Daniel Arcila. While he only posted a .243/.329/.481 line, he seems to have some pop in his bat, with half of his hits going for extra bases (10 doubles, 5 triples, and 10 home runs on 51 total hits).
Third Base: Brett Lawrie
Well, he's up in the majors now but I think he also played enough in Vegas to qualify. What else can I say about Lawrie? Like Arcila, about half of his hits are going for extra bases, and he has a good K/BB ratio, but unlike Arcila, he's got some good speed on the basepaths too.
Shortstop: Kevin Nolan
It was tough to decide if he should be eligible or not, since he played all over the infield and outfield, but in the end I gave him the nod over my other two candidates - Peter Mooney and Jorge Vega-Rosado. Splitting his season between Lansing and Dunedin, Nolan hit .291/.381/.432 and showed good doubles power with 26 two-baggers on the season. His K/BB ratio also looks real good at 47/36.
Outfield: Eric Arce, Jake Marisnick, Brian Van Kirk
We had a LOT of outfielders put up good numbers this season, but I ended up going with this trio after a LOT of thought. Arce hit .267/.427/.587 on the season, mostly in the GCL. He has a lot of extra-base hits and his K/BB ratio is a nice 52/40. Marisnick hit .320/.392/.496 with Lansing this season, and he's one of the better hitting prospects in the system. He looks like he could develop into an above-average five-tool player one day. Van Kirk, a 25-year-old repeating class A-advanced, hit .292/.380/.499 in Dunedin to go with 21 doubles, 17 homers, and 50 walks.
Right-handed starter: Nestor Molina
Molina gets the nod over a handful of other pitchers that could have easily taken this spot. In 23 starts spanning 130 innings, Molina struck out 148 batters while walking a miniscule 16. His WHIP (0.997) and OBA (.234) look really good as well. I look forward to seeing him in a Blue Jays' uniform in the near future.
Left-handed starter: Justin Nicolino
With not a lot of lefty starters in the system, Nicolino gets the nod over Mitchell Taylor. Pitching most of his season in Vancouver before getting promoted to Lansing at the end of the season, he allowed a mere 39 hits and 9 earned runs over 61 innings, striking out 73 and limiting opposing batters to a .181 average in the process.
Relief pitcher: Danny Barnes
Barnes, not a pitcher that everybody has heard of, quietly dominated with Lansing this season. In 66 innings, he posted a neat 2.32 ERA with very nice peripherals - 0.970 WHIP, .184 OBA, 13.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 99/20 K/B. The 21-year-old also picked up a baker's dozen of saves on the side.