Where has the excitement gone? Why are Blue Jays fans suddenly so divided about the future of their ballclub? What happened in the past 18 months? (Well, besides the big-league club tanking of course)
I was drawn to write my thoughts when, while reading through recent comments, I saw some opinions posted that reflected my own. Basically that we had fun through the 2012 season, looking forward to our prospects on the farm developing further and adding to the core talent on the major league roster.
Through the summer of 2012, the Jays deployed some clever marketing for a team that would finish in fourth place in the AL East with a 73-89 record (just beating out those pesky broken Red Sox). But somehow that was alright. We knew we weren't going to win it all in 2012. We knew we might not even have a .500 ball club (but sure would have been nice). What we also knew was that we had a bunch of studs with live arms down on the farm who would soon be knocking on the door. Mainly I refer to the trio who became known as the "Lansing 3" : Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, and Aaron Sanchez. The hype-machine was in full force.
Lansing, of course, is the Blue Jays' affiliate in the A-ball Midwest League. And, sadly, of those three pitchers, only Sanchez remains.
Now the comments I've read (and participated in as well) express a feeling that after losing big in 2013 and selling the upper farm to get there, we no longer have that same feeling of excitement for the future. Well that got me to thinking ....
That was two years ago that our top pitchers were all performing in A-ball. Present day 2014: Our top two pitching prospects, Sanchez and Marcus Stroman may see time together at Triple-A Buffalo. Now that is truly knocking on the door. If our precious "Lansing 3" had been the "New Hampshire 3" or the "Buffalo 3" we probably would have been even more excited, right?
And let's look at what's coming along in Lansing this year. We should expect to see Alberto Tirado, Chase Dejong, Jairo Labourt, Tom Robson and maybe a sniff of Roberto Osuna again.
My point is that if we were excited to have three studs knocking on the door in Lansing in 2012 - we actually have our studs walking through the threshold this year and a host of candidates hot on their heels. There is reason to be excited, I think we just need to take a closer look at where we were and where we're at now.