Baseball America released it’s Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects (our own top prospect list will come out in January). Number 1 on the list? Vladimir Guerrero, who they spoke of in very glowing terms:
Guerrero does just about everything evaluators want to see in a teenage hitter. He has tremendous hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills, to the point he seems to have been born to hit. His special hands allow him to manipulate the barrel and square up pitches of all types. He has excellent strike-zone judgment for a 17-year-old, walking nearly as often as he struck out and showing an ability to lay off breaking balls that will be further tested at higher levels. He has tremendous raw power and showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields at an advanced rate for his age. Guerrero covers the plate well and should be an above-average hitter with 30-plus homer potential down the line. Some club officials have compared his overall offensive profile to that of Edwin Encarnacion, though with more speed, as he’s actually an average runner. Like Encarnacion, Guerrero has a chance to be a third baseman early in his career. Defense was rarely a focus of his as an amateur, and moving to third base from outfield has prompted Guerrero to work harder on all aspects of that side of the ball. He has improved his short-area quickness and arm strength the most. If he keeps working on his defense, he should have average range. Once owner of a below-average arm, he now flirts with a plus tool.
They also figure that he could make the Jays by age 20, which would be a quick rise through the system, since he turns 18 before the start of next season, he’d have to make the Jays during the 2019 season.
I’m hoping that Donaldson will still be with the team by then, but he might be ready for a move to first base by then.
The rest of the Top 10:
2. Anthony Alford
Alford had a tough year, with some injuries (including a concussion), but he’s having a great time in the AFL hitting .306/.344/.378 (in 9 games). It sounds like he’ll be a very good defensive center fielder.
3. Sean Reid Foley
Sean had a very good year split between Lansing and Dunedin. 2.81 ERA, with 38 walks and 130 strikeouts in 115 innings.
4. Conner Greene
Conner had a 2.90 ERA in Dunedin, in 15 starts, didn’t do quite as well in New Hampshire, 4.19 ERA in 12 starts. He gave out too many walks 71 in 146 innings and didn’t have great strikeout numbers, 99, but give him another shot at Double-A and I think he’ll do better.
5. Richard Urena
Also split time between Dunedin and New Hampshire. He hit .295/.335/.434 with 8 home runs. I like that he walked a bit more than he has in the past. Give him a year or two and he’ll be ready to take the shortstop job from Tulo.
6. Rowdy Tellez
I like guys with big time power. Tellez had 23 home runs, in 124 games, with the Fisher Cats. Add in a .297/.387/.530 line and he’s setting himself up to have a chance with the big league team at some point next year.
7. T.J. Zeuch
Our first round draft pick last year. Pitched in 3 levels, Gulf Coast League, Vancouver and Lansing. In 34 innings he allowed just 8 walks with 38 strikeouts. That’s a nice way to start a pro career.
8. Bo Bichette
Bichette was our second round pick last year. Another that had a great start to his pro career, hitting .427/.451/.732 with 4 home runs in 22 games in the Gulf Coast League.
9. Jon Harris
First round pick in 2015. Split time between Lansing and Dunedin. 2.71 ERA in 24 starts, 129 innings, allowed 111 hits, 38 walks and 99 strikeouts. Another one that could be a Jay in a couple years.
10. Justin Maese
Our third round pick in 2015. He split time between Vancouver and Lansing, had a 2.94 ERA with 79 hits, 15 walks and 64 strikeouts in 82 innings.
Baseball America also has a nice look at the Jays 2010 and 2011 draft (and it isn’t even sequestered behind a pay wall). About the 2011 draft they said:
Toronto exploited the old rules to hoard extra picks and had eight of the first 93 selections, and it took advantage. Pick 34 overall: Aaron Sanchez. Four picks later? Boom—Noah Syndergaard. Righty Asher Wojciechowski (No. 41 overall) and lefty Justin Nicolino (80) soon followed, as did fourth-rounder Sam Dyson and sixth-rounder Sean Nolin. Even later in the draft, the Blue Jays kept finding big leaguers, such as outfielder Dalton Pompey in the 16th round and even 35th-rounder Danny Barnes. Both have been on Jays’ playoff rosters.
And, if you missed it, Tao talks about his lingering frustration with the 2016 Jays season. I think this is fair:
As fans shift our gaze from the season just ended, and towards an offseason that can’t help but change the course of the franchise, you couldn’t blame us for wanting something more.
It’s hard to complain about a season that ends in the ALCS, but if that’s the end of the Bautista/Encarnacion era, we can be excused for wanting more.