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Blue Jays Player Development: Worst or Worstest?

Look around the league, and what do you see? Virtually every team has a fairly good, fairly young player they developed playing for them. The few that haven't have generally traded someone away pretty recently who they developed. But the Blue Jays- who have the Blue Jays developed of late? And let's be generous - and get a bigger sample - by going back all the way to players who had their rookie year in 2006.

Who have the Jays produced? Let's take a look down the list. It's pretty short. There's Adam Lind (5.3 WAR). And there's Lawrie (6.3 WAR), who doesn't count, having been drafted and largely developed by Milwaukee. And next... there's Yan Gomes, who put up a nice season last year after getting traded - everyone else is under 2 WAR, which is pretty amazing for eight years of farm system production. Some of the recent graduates could become valuable, but none look like they're on the cusp of greatness - or even averageness.

On the pitching side, it's not quite as depressing: there's Ricky Romero who put up 8.9 WAR, Casey Janssen (6.2 WAR), McGowan (5.9 WAR), Brett Cecil (4.5 WAR), Jesse Litsch (3.3 WAR) and Henderson Alvarez (3.2 WAR). Not quite as depressing perhaps, but still fairly depressing: nobody over ten WAR, two useful relievers, one guy we traded who may stick around the back of a rotation for a while, one guy who missed about 4 years due to injury, and the one guy who looked really useful has completely unravelled.

There is one more guy- the most valuable Jays product in the last eight years. I give you Shaun Marcum, who debuted in '05 and whose rookie season was '06, and who has put up 13 WAR in his career, 7.2 of which came with the Jays, plus we received Brett Lawrie when we traded Marcum.

While the Jays have done quite well turning others' castaways into gold of late (Bautista, Encarnacion), I challenge anyone to produce a team that has produced less talent from its farm system in the last eight years. The bigger questions are these: given our unsurpassed mediocrity in producing useful major leaguers, does our scouting and player development departments need to be completely overhauled? Have these past eight years been largely bad luck? What accounts for such horrible results?

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