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Prospect Lists

With free agent signings on the wane and spring training still weeks away, people are focusing their attention on the minor leagues. Baseball America continues to publish a top ten list for each organization, while Bryan Smith from baseballanalysts.com has posted his top 75 prospects for 2006.

Here are BA's top 10 Blue Jays prospects for 2006:

  1. Dustin McGowan, rhp (2004 rank: 7)
  2. Ricky Romero, lhp
  3. David Purcey, lhp (2004 rank: 5)
  4. Adam Lind, of/1b
  5. Josh Banks, rhp (2004 rank: 9)
  6. Casey Janssen, rhp
  7. Brandon League, rhp (2004 rank: 1)
  8. Francisco Rosario, rhp (2004 rank: 4)
  9. Curtis Thigpen, c
  10. Vince Perkins, rhp
Of the ten players listed, eight are pitchers and seven were drafted out of college. Of the three who didn't attend college, only one of them (League) joined the organization during J.P. Ricciardi's tenure. Evidently, Ricciardi has chosen to build the farm system through pitching and amateur experience. As a result, the farm system has decent depth but very few high-impact players. I'm by no means implying that players drafted out of college cannot become stars, but they're much safer bets to make it to the majors than players drafted straight out of high school. As a result, the Blue Jays have often chosen to draft a player who's likely to become a decent major leaguer (i.e. Russ Adams) rather than someone with a higher ceiling but also greater chance of failure (i.e. Scott Kazmir, drafted out of high school by the Mets just one spot after Adams in the 2002 amateur draft).

Prospect on the rise: Adam Lind

Lind was chosen in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2004 amateur draft. He more than held his own in Dunedin (A), and many experts are very optimistic about his future. Bryan Smith from The Baseball Analysts recently ranked him 61st on his list of the 75 best prospects for 2006. Here's what he had to say about him:

Introduction: Not to sound like a used car salesman, but Lind is the breakout prospect that I have the most faith in. I found him very early in the season, before his red-hot July, and noticed how few of his extra-base hits were going over the wall. I blamed it on Dunedin, and wrote somewhere that he could correct that problem in 2006. He started to correct it at the end of the season, showing hitting skills that were unmatched in the FSL. It's probably dangerous to start throwing around Paul Molitor comparisons, but for some reason, that's what I see when looking at Lind.

Skillset/Future: More than anything else, the problem with Lind will be determining a position. Third base is thrown out, now leaving a decision between first, left and DH. For some reason, oftentimes it's the latter that would be the best option for the team. However, for what problems Lind has athletically, he makes up for it offensively. Adam's contact skills are among the minors best, and his sweet swing should also help him become an annual .300 hitter. Besides that, he's very inconsistent, as extra base hits and walks tend to come in bunches. If, like I'm predicting, Lind adds a little power and a little endurance, he could be the minors best pure hitter in under one season.

That's quite high praise, but Lind is still young and must prove that he can handle upper-level competition. However, considering Shea Hillenbrand is a year away from hitting the free agent market, there won't be any impediments obstructing his path should he fulfill his potential.

Prospect on the decline: Brandon League

Without a doubt, League was the most underachieving Blue Jays prospect of the past year. Touted as a potential bullpen anchor, he fell apart last season. To make matters worse, none of the stats he accumulated in '05 indicate a quick recovery. I wrote more on League in a past post, which can be read by clicking here.

A while back, Batter's Box released their list of the top 30 Blue Jays prospects. Zach Jackson was still a member of the organization at the time, so he appears on it. A detailed writeup and career statistical totals are included for each prospect.