Following up on the heels of the Fangraphs Top 10 prospect list for the Blue Jays organization last week, Baseball Prospectus released their slightly different list yesterday. The article can be found here, but is behind a paywall so you can only get a glimpse at the top 10 without a subscription.
Heading up the list is rising star Marcus Stroman, who Jason Parks seems to be a huge fan of. Parks slaps a '7' rating on his fastball, cutter, and potential slider, along with a '6' on his potential changeup. The strengths of Stroman touch on his wipeout slider and slicing cutter, with his movement making up for his lack of a big downhill plane. Obviously his weaknesses focus on his occasionally flat fastball and tendency to sometimes try and overthrow. The quote that sticks out for Stroman is:
If you focus too much on the height you are going to miss the realities of the overall profile. This is a starting pitcher.
The Baseball Prospectus rankings reverses the Fangraphs' top two by placing Aaron Sanchez in the second slot just below Stroman. Parks notes the life on Sanchez's fastball as well as his hard curve featured in the video below:
The weaknesses of Sanchez are well known around here including his up and down command and his inconsistent delivery. Sanchez may have the highest ceiling of the farm system, but he isn't close to the top floor yet.
Young pitcher Alberto Tirado made a jump up the BP list landing in the third spot this year, after ranking tenth last year. The fastball is Tirado's real strength and his loose delivery allows the Dominican to really let it fly, often reaching mid-90's with the pitch. As is common with a lot of young flamethrowers the delivery can get a little too loose leading to spotty release points and messy command. Tirado has a high ceiling, but like Sanchez, still has a lot of developing to do before reaching the majors.
This video of Tirado is ridiculous and should make every Blue Jays fan's mouth water:
Surging left-hander Daniel Norris ends up at #4 on both lists this year, with Parks liking his fastball and projectable stuff. He also slaps a late 2015 ETA on Norris, which is exciting for Blue Jays fans who are waiting for some of the young prospects to reach the majors sooner rather than later.
Well-talked about prospects Sean Nolin and A.J. Jimenez take up the fifth and sixth spots, with Parks possibly being slightly less reactive to Nolin's interesting major league debut than Hulet was over at Fangraphs. The left-handed pitcher is one of the lowest risk prospects in the system and should eventually develop into the back of the rotation starter that the Blue Jays expect him to be.
The first interesting ranking is young Venezuelan shortstop Franklin Barreto finding himself in the #7 spot. Parks is high on Barreto's hands and athletic ability, but doubts his ability to stick at shortstop through the minors. Barreto is a name to watch in the next few years for sure as he refines his raw tools and likely tries to find a permanent home at a different defensive position on the diamond.
The oozing tools of D.J. Davis slots him into the #8 spot, with Parks quite high on his ceiling saying:
...this is the type of developmental project that can pay huge dividends in a few years, as Davis has all-star level talent and five-tool potential.
Davis is another young player to watch in the next few years to see if he develops as the Blue Jays would hope or if he ends up as an athletic player that doesn't hit enough to keep his job.
Pitchers Chase DeJong and Dominican signee Jairo Labourt round out the list showing just how deep the short-season portion of their farm system is. Both pitchers project to be middle of the rotation starters with 2017 ETA's and could follow similar development paths to the big leagues as they fine tune their stuff in the lower levels of the minor league system. Labourt isn't one of the usual "sexy" names mentioned when talking about the Blue Jays prospects so it's exciting to see how highly Parks thinks of the lefty.
Notably, Roberto Osuna was left off the list and Parks explains that the Tommy John surgery has a lot to do with the omission writing:
While it’s quite common for arms to make a full-recovery after such a procedure, the ones that improve their chances are the ones with advanced makeup and work ethic, two things that some sources have questioned about Osuna in the past.
To round out his interesting list, Parks ranks Marcus Stroman ahead of Brett Lawrie as the top 25 and under talent, which shows just how well-regarded the small right-hander is becoming. There aren't many big surprises in the list and I feel this one lines up closer with my personal thoughts of the Blue Jays farm system than the Fangraphs one did (although that doesn't mean much). Since the majority of the Blue Jays top prospects are currently in the lower levels of the minors it isn't surprising to see a lot of varied rankings due to different writers having different opinions on the upsides of certain players.
That's a quick round-up of the list, but there's a lot more in-depth information about the prospects in the article so it wouldn't be a horrible idea to pay the cash and take a peek at what Parks has to say about Toronto's farm system. Baseball America will be the next big website to release their top 10 prospect list for the Blue Jays and as always you'll be able to find a summary of the list right here on Bluebird Banter.