Recently, Keith Law ranked the Jays minor league system 25th in baseball. 25 out of 30 isn't really ideal. The system saw a great exodus last year at the trade deadline when Alex Anthopoulos traded away a dozen prospects. The trades were ultimately worth it, as the Jays made the playoffs for the first time since 1993. But, with almost all of the players acquired last year now gone it's easy to look at the depletion of the farm system as a bad thing. But, what's overlooked is that while the Jays saw the farm system depleted by trades they also retain a lot of young guys on the big league roster as well as having multiple guys still under multiple year contracts.
While the farm system isn't ideal maybe it's not as bad as it might initially seem. I have put together a potential roster for the team three years from now (the 2019 season). For the purposes of this exercise I worked under the assumption that the Jays didn't resign anyone, didn't pick up anyone in free agency, and didn't trade for anyone. This is a team built purely based on who is currently in the organization and will still be in 2019.
Russel Martin will be in the final year of his contract in 2019. It's a fair assumption that we will see a regression over the next few years but, unless we see something drastic happen, Martin should still be a quality defensive catcher and will have a group of backups who could provide a decent backup (or maybe take the starting job by this point). Jimenez would be 28 by that time and while he is no longer viewed as a top prospect he still has the potential to provide solid defense behind the plate if he can stay healthy.
If he can stay healthy Max Pentecost is also expected to make his big league debut by this point. The long term goal for the Jays is probably to have Pentecost as the starter by this point with Martin acting as a veteran leader/tutor. Other options include Dan Jansen who MLB.com has recently ranked as the Jays 20th prospect. He lacks the upside of Pentecost but has all the makings of a solid everyday catcher in the big leagues.
1B- Rowdy Tellez
2B- Devon Travis
3B- Mitch Nay/ Carl Wise
SS- Troy Tulowitzki
2019 would be the first year without Josh Donaldson. This means that the Jays would need to find someone to handle the hot corner. The Jays should have a few options by that time. The safest option would be Andy Burns who is expected to make the Jays roster at some point this year. But the Jays actually have two other guys who I think will be fighting for the job. Mitch Nay and Carl Wise actually have similar projections as both show raw power that could develop into good power hitters at the big league level.
As far as the rest of the infield, Colabello would still be with the Jays but I think by this time Rowdy Tellez will have found his way to the majors. Tellez broke out last year and showed he has the ability to hit for average and power. He should be in the majors by this point and should be a middle of the lineup bat for the Jays. The middle infield shouldn't change much over the next 5 years as both Tulowitzki and Devon Travis are going to be with the Jays still. There's no guarantee that Tulowitzki stays healthy but other guys who will be able to contribute by that time are Ryan Goins who is, at the very least, a top notch defensive player anywhere in the infield.
The aforementioned Andy Burns can play anywhere in the infield. Richard Urena will probably be in a position to compete for playing time by that point. He brings a good glove and surprising power. After looking at the infield over the next few years it's a fair assessment that the infield should be in good hands over the next few years.
LF- Dalton Pompey
CF- Kevin Pillar
RF- Anthony Alford
At least two of these guys will be a part of the Jays' plans in 2016. Alford shouldn't be far behind as he probably makes his debut by the end of this year or next year. There's a good chance that Jose Bautista won't be wearing a Jays' uniform in 2019 but that shouldn't worry people too much. The three of the outfielders listed should combine to be one of the best defensive outfields in baseball as they are all plus defensive players. Pompey and Alford are actually similar players as both are good defensive players who have a lot of upside at the plate. Alford should develop more power but both will be difficult for other teams on the bases. The Jays will also have DJ Davis, Roemon Fields, and Dwight Smith Jr. The first two are in a similar mold to Alford and Pompey and offer a lot of upside in the field and on the bases.
P- Marcus Stroman
P- Aaron Sanchez
P- Roberto Osuna
P- Connor Greene
P- Sean Reid- Foley
P- Jonathan Harris
This is easily the hardest section to predict as pitchers are constantly in flux. It's hard to know exactly where prospects fall in the starter vs bullpen discussion but we do know that the Jays have at least 3 pitchers who should still be on the team by then in Stroman, Sanchez, and Osuna. The next three are a little safer in their projections to the Major Leagues and stand a good chance to contribute as starters by then. Other players such as Chad Girodo and Brady Dragmire are in camp right now competing for spots in the bullpen. The Jays also have a few other high upside arms who could be ready to contribute by then such as Ryan Borucki, Tom Robson, and Ryan Bergen.
In the end, this is a tough exercise and we will surely see some of these guys fall short of expectations and other guys will exceed expectations. The Jays will resign guys and find other guys on the free agent market. But, the point remains that while the upper levels of the system are shallow the overall depth of the system might not be as bad as we think. The Jays are set for the next few years as they hold contracts or team control on a good portion of their team. Over the next few years we should start seeing the younger guys fill out the upper levels of the system. The Jays don't have a lot of upper level talent but they do have enough that I think the Jays should be in a position to continue competing for years to come.