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2017 Draft Preview: organizational LHP depth

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As outlined yesterday, the first chunk of the 2017 draft coverage will be taking stock of the system as it exists now, starting today with left-handed pitching. More so than other sports, MLB teams usually draft the best player on their board regardless of positional need due to the longer timelines in development, so this exercise doesn't have a lot of direct relevance in terms of illuminating where the Jays may focus.

As in past years, this will be done by displaying players on a chart for each grouping according to both major league upside and experience level (an approximate proxy for risk). This is not an exact science, so take the positioning with a grain of salt, but it looks something like this:


Keep in mind that "reasonable upside" is not the same as likely or base case projection, and most players at the lower levels won't come anywhere close it. Basically, if the player's development goes well, this is what he could become. And conversely, it's not an absolute ceiling either and there is potential for upside surprise. For example, the command improvement by Aaron Sanchez last year.

For the purposes of this exercise, I'm including not only players with rookie eligibility, but also players ~25 or under contributing or established at the major league level with 3+ years service time to give a better sense of the total organizational depth. As a general rule of thumb, I've kept players included last year for comparative purposes even if they wouldn't otherwise be in the top tier of prospects.

2017 depth lhp

No part of the farm system has taken as big a hit the last couple years as the left-handed pitching. The Jays are lacking in true top prospects, though Ryan Borucki touches the mid-90s and has three quality pitches to make it as a starting pitcher. Can he stay healthy though? Angel Perdomo is the next significant name, and if you like him maybe has enough raw stuff to make up for poor command and stick as a backend starter, but I expect he'll be a reliever.

Beyond that, things are pretty thin. Tim Mayza had a good looking spring training, and throwing 95+ could be a solid reliever but needs further steps forward. Matt Dermody and Chad Girodo are, or have recently been, on the 40-man roster, but appear to be mostly depth options. Alonzo Gonzalez and Jose Fernandez merit mention as lefties who can pitch up to the mid-90s, but neither has shown the requisite command/control to figure as significant pieces. University of Florida draftees Danny Young and Kirby Snead could be future LOOGY types. Shane Dawson is a low velo junkballer who has done alright at low-A, but MLB hitters tend to eat them up (think Brad Mills).

The 2016 draft did little to rebuild the lost depth. Travis Hosterman is an interesting arm, and the only real lottery ticket in the system. My sleeper is Luke Gillingham, who has a couple years of military service to complete but had a lot of collegiate success as Navy's ace.

Subtracted from last year: Travis Bergen (injured), Colton Turner (traded), Juliandry Higuera (mediocre in rookie ball).