Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs released his outstanding Top 200 Prospects List today and there were eight Blue Jays who appeared. Before continuing you should go read the list since it's a tremendous amount of content for free, which in my eyes is probably the most well-done list released all offseason. As a note, the rankings are done by tiers of future value on the 20-80 scale, so it is much more forward-looking than the others released around this time each year. With that in mind, it shouldn't be surprising that Jeff Hoffman appears very early on the list compared to his fellow Blue Jays prospects.
The first Toronto player on the list is our loveable lefty in Daniel Norris who finds himself at #17, which is in the 60 FV tier of players. The southpaw's fastball and curveball both get 60 FV grades, while his slider and changeup are still considered above-average. It's safe to say that McDaniel likes Norris a lot as he beats out fellow well-known pitching prospects such as Noah Syndergaard, Dylan Bundy, and Mark Appel.
The next player appearing on the list for the Blue Jays is at #67 in the 55 FV tier of players and is none other than 2014 draftee Jeff Hoffman. The nasty fastball gets a 70 FV grade on it, while the curveball gets a 65 with McDaniel raving about the bright future for the former East Carolina University player:
Even with the surgery taking Hoffman out of #1 overall pick contention, the Jays thought he wouldn’t get out of the top 5, so they were pleased to land him with the 9th overall pick. He drew comparisons to Adam Wainwright and Justin Verlander on the Cape, so if he regains that form, he could shoot to the top of this list in short order.
The Blue Jays start to come thick and fast in this tier as Aaron Sanchez is then found at #70 with similar fastball and curveball rankings to Hoffman. HIs breaking stuff is talked about as allowing him to have a future as a possible starter although as we know we have yet to really see him throw anything other than the fastball at the Major League level.
As his off-speed stuff has improved to give Sanchez at least mid-rotation stuff, the question remains if he fits better there or as a closer. Toronto’s #5 starter spot is still an open competition along with at least one bullpen slot, so Sanchez has the opportunity this year to prove where he fits.
Dalton Pompey is the first prospect in the 50 FV tier at #80 where if you like flashy players than you'll be disappointed but if you like solid regulars than you'll be pleased. His run tool is the highest rated but the tools are pretty average across the board which should al least provide stability to the Blue Jays outfield for years to come. Odds he starts in Triple-A are somewhere between nil to zilch though:
Pompey will start in Triple-A or the big leagues in 2015 and is the center fielder of the future, but the tools are more solid everyday than star material.
Also in the 50 FV tier is 2014 draftee Max Pentecost at #93 who McDaniel has apparently always been high on especially factoring in his likely ability to stick behind the plate:
I was the high guy on him much of the spring, with the industry catching up when Theo Epstein was spotted at a Pentecost game and rumors spread that he may go #4 overall. Pentecost ended up going #11 overall and has unusual tools for a catcher with a ridiculous amount of energy (watch the end of the linked video) and every tool solid average or better, though his line drive approach in games causes his raw power to play down right now.
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A slightly surprising ranking finds Roberto Osuna at the #119 ranking of the same tier as Pompey as McDaniel believes the hype is real and the Mexican could become quite a solid starting pitcher.
He’s now sitting 92-94 and hitting 97 mph, sitting a few ticks higher in short stints, with a slider and cutter that are both above average and the same changeup as before. The command hasn’t quite come back but that usually happens in year two or three after surgery, so Osuna could shoot up this list soon.
There's also a tier of 45+ FV players that round out the Top 200 and they include second baseman Devon Travis and RHP Sean Reid-Foley, although the upside on the two players is obviously a little different. The list is extremely informative and should provide Blue Jays fans some excitement as eight players place the team quite high based purely on number of prospects in the list. The downside is that the majority of the players are towards the back end of the FV rankings and only Daniel Norris was considered a 60 FV. It's also of note that the first six prospects on the Bluebird Banter list also appear on the FanGraphs list, while Osuna and Reid-Foley were #10 and #14 respectively.