Quiet news day on the Blue Jays front so it seems like a good time to look back on the season a little bit. Earlier in the year there was a lot of question marks about the Blue Jays farm system and it seems they still exist for the most part. It remains to be seen how much damage the trades of last off-season did to the prospect depth of the Blue Jays, but there has definitely been a few bright spots this year. Here's a quick look at the well-known players who improved their stock this year.
The obvious candidate for the player who most improved his stock this year would be 2012 draftee Marcus Stroman. After coming back from his drug suspension he spent the whole year in New Hampshire refining his pitches and improving his command. In 111.2 innings pitched at the AA level this year, Stroman had a 3.30 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and a 2.2 BB/9. His FIP came in only slightly lower at 3.21 as his BABIP was a fair .300. All 20 of Stroman's appearances were starts and it seems that he will treated as a starting pitcher by the Blue Jays until he shows he'd be a better fit in the bullpen. As was featured on Bluebird Banter a couple days ago, he's impressed mightily in the Arizona Fall League and looks to break camp with the Blue Jays next season.
Here's the changeup that Stroman has been working on as his third pitch courtesy of Noah Sherman:
A.J. Jimenez worked around more injury problems this season appearing in 67 games across three levels of the minor leagues. The majority of his time was spent in AA New Hampshire where he started 40 games behind the plate and 10 at the DH position. His cumulative batting line was .287/.332/.406 with four home runs. Whether Jimenez can stay healthy and be anything more than a back-up catcher with a strong arm remains to be seen, but 2013 would definitely not be considered a step backwards.
Alberto Tirado leaped up Blue Jays top prospect lists this year with a strong season in Bluefield. In 12 appearances he had a 1.68 ERA with a 8.2 K/9. Tirado is a long way off from the majors as he is only 18-years-old, but the Dominican is definitely someone that Blue Jays fans should keep their eye on.
Seemingly unanimous prospect with the highest ceiling for the Blue Jays , Aaron Sanchez didn't have an amazing year, but his 3.34 ERA in 22 appearances at A+ Dunedin won't be too large of a blow to his stock going forward. Next season will be a big year for the 21-year-old to take the next step as he will likely end up in the high minors by the end of the season.
You can see a little bit of his spotty control in the video below:
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That's a quick roundup of the guys at the top of Blue Jays prospect lists, but there's also numerous lesser-known players that improved their stock by leaps and bounds in the 2013 season as well. Is there one that stands out as making the biggest strides this past year?