Keith Law released his top 100 MLB prospect list and there are 3 Blue Jays on the list. I'm sure you all could guess who they are, Daniel Norris is #18, Dalton Pompey is #42 and Aaron Sanchez is #51. Norris and Pompey weren't on his list last year, Sanchez dropped from 30th.
About Norris Law says:
The Blue Jays have done an excellent job turning raw teenage pitchers into legitimate starting-pitcher prospects, whether for trade (Syndergaard) or their own uses, as in the case of Norris, who entered their system as an erratic arm-strength guy who needed major delivery help just to be able to throw strikes. On any given night, Norris can show you four average or better pitches, with a plus slider and changeup and the ability to touch the mid-90s (though at the risk of coming out of his delivery).
At 90-92, Norris can stay on line to the plate and maintains some fastball command, but when he humps up to try to throw harder he tends to land on the side of his foot and spin off, which is when he loses his command. He's athletic enough to be able to maintain a consistent delivery, and the raw stuff is certainly there -- he was fifth in the minors in strikeouts in 2014 -- for him to be a front-line major league starter.
Pompey will try to accomplish the Herculean task of going from low Class A to major league leadoff hitter inside of two years, no small feat for the 22-year-old Canadian prospect who came to pro ball without a tremendous amount of playing experience. Pompey has an extremely advanced approach at the plate for someone so young, combining excellent pitch recognition with the ability to know what pitches to take. He's a switch-hitter with a shorter, simpler swing from the left side, much more balanced but using his lower half less, while on the right side he gets a little longer but with more rotation, likely to make somewhat less contact but hit for more power when he does.
He's a plus runner with good instincts in center, and the Jays were impressed enough by his confidence and lack of panic (such as when he started out 3-for-36 in Double-A) that they were willing to promote him to the majors, his fourth level of the season, at the end of 2014. He needs to get stronger, but otherwise his bat and glove appear to be ready for the majors right now, with his eventual peak being that of a high-OBP, 40-steal leadoff hitter who plays plus defense in center field.
That's a pretty nice 'peak'.
Sanchez was filthy as a short reliever for the Jays at the end of the year, pumping 96-98 mph bat-breaking fastballs that hitters just pounded into the ground when they could hit them at all, throwing the occasional plus breaking ball just for kicks and leaving his changeup, itself not a bad pitch, in the minors. Sanchez has shortened his stride substantially in the past two years, and although it hasn't impacted his stuff, his command isn't what it once was and he's putting the health of his arm at unnecessary risk. The Blue Jays are working on trying to get his arm back up a tick so that his elbow isn't so low and so he can work downhill more by staying on top of the ball through his delivery, a process that coincidentally means lengthening his stride a little. (Two other notable prospects to have this problem in recent years: Tyler Skaggs, who blew out his elbow out after the Angels restored his old stride, and Taijuan Walker, who has had a few bouts of shoulder soreness since shortening his own stride.)
The Blue Jays believe he can be a starter, and they should, given his chance for three plus pitches. Sanchez has shown the capability to become a shutdown reliever, but that's a waste of his ultimate potential to pitch near the front of a rotation.
I agree that relieving is a waste of his potential, but I have a feeling that is what he is going to be doing this year.
There are a couple of former Jays on his list, Noah Syndergaard, who went to the Mets in the trade that got us R.A. Dickey, is one spot ahead of Norris at 17th and Franklin Barreto, who went to the A's in the trade that got us Josh Donaldson, is 95th.
Number 1 on his list is the Cubs' Kris Bryant and number 2 is Byron Buxton from the Twins.
Looking at the other AL East teams:
- Yankees have 2 players: Aaron Judge (23rd, OF) and Greg Bird (80th, 1B).
- Rays have 2 players: Justin O'Conner (78th, C) and Daniel Robertson (83rd, SS).
- Orioles have 2: Hunter Harvey (16th, RHP) and Dylan Bundy (26th, RHP).
- Red Sox have 5: Blake Swihart (10th, C), Henry Owens (20th, LHP), Eduardo Rodriguez (29th, LHP), Rafael Devers (55th, 3B) and Manuel Margot (70th, CF).