clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 Draft Preview: organizational RHP depth

For previous entries, see the 2017 Draft Storystream

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Having gone through the left-handed pitching, today is the right-handed side of the equation. Since there are a lot more RHP than LHP, it's split between starters and relievers (by current role, not necessarily future projected role). The preamble/background that follows is identical to previous entries, so those familiar can skip to the next section.

As in past years, for each grouping players are displayed on a chart 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 rhp sp

The organization is in pretty good shape here. The headliner is obviously having two frontline starters controlled for the foreseeable future (through 2020) in Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. And just maybe a third quality starter too in Joe Biagini (note: I realized when the graphic was done that given Biagini's lack of starts at the big league level, his dot should be further to the right, more in line with Bolsinger). I still haven't completely given up on the idea of Roberto Osuna as a potential starter, but barring actual starting this will be the last year I include him.

The next highlight is the upper level quartet of Greene, Reid-Foley, Harris and Zeuch. If the Jays can get two quality starters and a decent reliever out of them, they'd be doing very well, and with the above, you'd have the core of the 2018-2020 rotations. Justin Maese might not be too far beyond them either, and Francisco Rios could conceivably be a backend option.

Beyond that are some interesting wild cards. Rule 5 draftee Glenn Sparkman looks interesting, but it's possible he's not even in the organization six months from now. Since coming back from Tommy John surgery, Jordan Romano has been lights out. I think he ultimately profiles as a reliever, but he's succeeding as a starter. Likewise, Patrick Murphy might be in the same boat.

The weaknesses? There's not a lot of quality depth (as we're all too well aware). Injuries have been a factor here, as Taylor Cole and Jeremy Gabryszwski haven't pitched in 2017. There's also a lot fewer of the high upside/lower level lottery ticket prospects than in recent past.


2017 rhp rp

If the Jays end up selling later this summer and making some room in the bullpen, it will be interesting to see who along upper level organizational soldiers gets chances that haven't really been available on a contender the last couple years: John Stilson, Blake McFarland, Wil Browning foremost.

Justin Shafer and Chris Rowley are off to great starts in AA in their first seasons as full time relievers. Neither has huge stuff, but then neither did Casey Janssen. Their progress will be intriguing. Carlos Ramirez is the name to keep in mind, though he's been the last two years now. Zach Jackson has been somewhat disappointing since being drafted, but was one of the most dominant college pitchers two years ago. We'll see if he can regain that form.

Of course, there's the truism that most relievers are converted starters, so there's a number of names from the first chart who could figure in as relievers.

Removed from last year: Drew Hutchison (traded), Pat Venditte (traded), Brady Dragmire (waivers), Clinton Hollon (released), Lupe Chavez (traded/retired), Juan Meza (lack of performance)