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The Kids Are Alright?

Hope everyone's doing well. I have been swamped with just recently buying a house and moving into it, and becoming mildly obsessed with the political races here in the states (an unfortunate side effect of living here in Washington), so it's a good thing news has been slow. But Many minor league top ten prospects lists were released in the past week, so let's take a look at them and compare them to our own list, compiled by Bluebird Banter's very own minor league guru, AChengy!

First, here's Bluebird Banter's Top 10, released not long after the season concluded:
1. Travis Snider, OF
2. Brett Cecil, LHP
3. Curtis Thigpen, C
4. Robinson Diaz, C
5. Yohermyn Chavez, OF
6. J.P. Arencibia, C
7. Ricky Romero, LHP
8. Kevin Ahrens, 3B/SS
9. Kyle Ginley, RHP
10. John Tolisano, 2B

A quick look, and you can see a few things: little or no talent (particularly pitching) in the high minors, lots of catchers, and very heavy on the 2007 draft class, with Tolisano, Cecil, Ahrens, and Arebencia represented. The Jays have to be happy with Cecil, but having him at number two says something considering he only began his professional career in 2007 and he was a closer in college who the Jays are trying to turn into a starter. Ahrens was a SS in high school and has played both SS and 3B so far in the Gulf Coast League, but everyone seems to believe he is destined for the hot corner.

Here's Minor League Baseball Analyst's Top 10, as compiled by Deric McKamey reported on the fantastic Batter's Box:
1. Travis Snider, OF
2. Brett Cecil, LHP
3. Kevin Ahrens, 3B/SS
4. John Tolisano, 2B
5. Eric Eiland, OF
6. Yohermyn Chavez, OF
7. JP Arencibia, C
8. Trystan Magnuson, RHP
9. Ricky Romero, LHP
10. Kyle Ginley, RHP

This list is similar to ours, except that it's even heavier on 2007 draftees (the same four and add Magnuson and Eiland to the list) and the compiler likes Ahrens and Tolisano more than our site does. Magnuson is an interesting inclusion as Deric seems very confident in him while no one else I have seen is projecting good things. Eiland is an athletic type who has a high ceiling but needs a lot of work. Good to see the Jays take a chance on that type of player. Curtis Thigpen is not on this list, but it's probable that he wasn't considered eligible.

Here's John Sickels of Minor League Ball and his take:
1. Travis Snider, OF
2. Brett Cecil, LHP
3. Kevin Ahrens, 3B,
4. J.P. Arencibia, C
5. John Tolisano, 2B
6. Justin Jackson, SS
7. Trystan Magnuson, RHP
8. Curtis Thigpen, C
9. Yohermyn Chavez, OF
10. Marc Rzepcynski, LHP

Sickels is quite pessimistic about the Jays' system in general, giving out only two B+ grades (to Snider and Cecil), and a B- to Ahrens. All other prospects were in the C/C+ range. Another 2007 draftee, Justin Jackson, makes this list, but Eiland does not. Also making Sickels' list is Bluebird Banter favorite Marc Rzepcynski (11 on our list).

Baseball Prospectus also released its top 10 this week:
1. Travis Snider, OF
2. Kevin Ahrens, 3B
3. Brett Cecil, LHP
4. John Tolisano, 2B
5. J.P. Arencibia, C
6. Justin Jackson, SS
7. Ricky Romero, LHP
8. Yohermyn Chavez, OF
9. Robinson Diaz, C
10. David Purcey, LHP

Magnuson was BP's number 11. Here we see more of the same, lots of 2007 draftees, and not a particularly high opinion of Thigpen (just missed the BP list) or Robinson Diaz, our two catchers closest to the majors. Former 1st round pick David Purcey makes his first appearance here (we have him at 12), and BP thinks rather highly of Justin Jackson as well.

Finally, Batters Box has their own list to round it out:
1. Travis Snider, OF
2. Brett Cecil, LHP
3. Kevin Ahrens, 3B
4. Robinzon Diaz, C
5. Yohermyn Chavez, OF
6. John Tolisano, 2B
7. Ricky Romero, LHP
8. David Purcey, LHP
9. Kyle Ginley, RHP
10. Mark Rzepcynski, RHP

Batters Box's list is similar to ours, except with Thigpen not eligible, a better opinion of Ahrens (but worse of Arencibia), and Purcey making the list.

It's pretty easy to see here who the consensus top 10 are, generally speaking. And I must say, it's not the prettiest picture. There's not a lot of talent at all in the high minors, and we seem light at most positions. The good news is that the 2007 class looks strong and deep. Without them, this would really be an ugly list. Former 1st rounders like Romero and Purcey have fallen off and appear on the bottom of the lists, if at all. This is a critical season for both of them - both must stay healthy and take a step forward. Purcey looked great in the Arizona Fall League and Romero had some good starts last season. But the bottom line is that there's not much help immediately on the way, although if Lind starts the season in the minors he could provide a big boost (Sickels rated him an A- last season, a very very high grade).

Of course, the shining light is Travis Snider (pictured above). Snider is big and strong, with a powerful left-handed bat and good patience. He tore up the Midwest league last season, ranking 1st in OPS and is likely the best Jays hitting prospect since Carlos Delgado. Of course, projectability is nothing if you don't produce, but Snider has absolutely mashed so far.

Let us know in the comments what y'all's thoughts on the Jays' system in general, and the experts' (and amateurs'!)take on it.

Finally, congrats to Goose Gossage for his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame! Jim Rice came exceptionally close and appears to be a lock for next year (though why I'm not quite sure), while Andre Dawson and a resurgent Bert Blyleven garnered reasonably high vote totals. Tim Raines was the only new eligible who even blipped the radar, and it will take some work (on the part of folks like me who strongly support his candidacy) to get him there.