After covering the outfield and infield positions for the Organizational All-Upside Team, we move to the pitchers portion. The Blue Jays are bursting at the seams with young high-ceiling pitchers in the low minor leagues, so this is a definite position of strength. For this piece three pitchers will be chosen, although you could list about 10 (or more) who are legitimately exciting arms that will be fun to follow through the minors. Without further ado:
Starter #1- Aaron Sanchez
The nearly consensus top prospect of the Blue Jays has to lead this rotation, doesn't he? The sky is the limit for Sanchez and the ceiling for the California native seems to be a solid number two starter in the major leagues. Inconsistency, delivery concerns, command, and control issues all pose a risk to the right hander actually coming close to reaching his ceiling, but the stuff is most definitely there. A 3.34 ERA in Dunedin in a year plagued by inconsistency isn't too alarming and the 21-year-old should get a shot in the higher levels of the minors in 2014.
See the delivery for yourself:
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Starter #2- Alberto Tirado
The flame-throwing Dominican pitched to a 1.68 ERA in Bluefield last season, before he had even turned 19. Spotty control led to a high walk rate, but the huge fastball isn't going away anytime soon, so it's up to the teenager to develop his secondary pitches in his changeup and slider. The upside is massive for a lanky kid throwing high-90's so it'll be exciting to see what comes of Tirado in the next few years.
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Starter #3- Jairo Labourt
Another 19-year-old Dominican who spent most of 2013 in Bluefield is Jairo Labourt. With a 1.92 ERA and a 2.4 BB/9 it's hard not to get excited about the potential of another stud young Blue Jays pitcher. As with Tirado, Labourt has to refine his slider and changeup, but the future looks bright for the two young Dominicans. As Woodman663 pointed out last year, Labourt has become an impressive groundball pitcher, so hopefully that keeps up in 2014.
There's numerous other pitchers who could have slotted into this list including Daniel Norris, Chase DeJong and even Marcus Stroman, who has nearly reached his ceiling. If the 2014 season doesn't work out well for the big league squad, fans can at least enjoy tracking the progress of the young pitchers working their way through the system. As an aside, there was no catcher selected for this All-Upside Team mainly because everyone knows what A.J. Jimenez brings to the table and it's time for him to go out there and show it.
Who would you folks have as your top three pitchers on the Organizational All-Upside Team?