It’s that time of the year. Over the last couple of weeks, several baseball sites have created lists attempting to rank the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. Since it’s impossible for anybody to truly dig as deep as you need to dig to understand every prospect in the game, it’s best to look at the diversity of the list if you want to get a gauge where you team stands. And well, for Blue Jays fans, things look pretty good.
Here’s a table showing which Toronto players appeared on the Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com, Keith Law, Fangraphs, and ZiPS prospects rankings:
Right away the thing that will probably jump out the most is how much the Fangraphs guys likes the Jays prospects, and how much lower they appear on the ZiPS list in relation to all the others. Perhaps that’s why Bo Bichette tweeted this yesterday afternoon.
Opinions over statistics— Bo Bichette (@19boknows) February 5, 2018
It’s easy to focus on Vlad and Bo for obvious reasons, but the sneaky promising news here for Jays fans is Alford, who ranks pretty consistently in the middle of all these top 100 lists. That’s a pretty high floor, and this is from a guy who can help the big league club in 2018. Couple him with the Granderson and Grichuk acquisitions and you may have yourself a quietly productive outfield after last year’s debacle.
But yeah, I know, you want to read the Vlad and Bo stuff. So here’s a couple of nuggets (some old, some new) gathered in the same place.
Baseball America on Vlad:
Hit: 80 | Power: 70 | Speed: 40 | Fielding: 40 | Arm: 55
We have a process at Baseball America, one perfected over more than 25 years of putting together Top 100 lists. Our writers each submit a top 150, we add up the points, see what it spits out and then we hash out the ranking.
Those combined 150s showed we had one of the toughest decisions at No. 1 we’ve ever had. Among the five members of our prospect team (Ben Badler, Matt Eddy, Kyle Glaser, Josh Norris and myself) the ballots led to a tie at No. 1 with Ronald Acuna and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. each receiving 745 points (out of a possible 750). Ohtani was one point behind at 744. Ohtani was first on two ballots, Acuna was first on two ballots and Guerrero was first on one.
So yeah, that’s pretty exciting. MLB.com adds this:
Much like his father, Vlad Jr. has an elite ability to barrel the ball from the right side of the plate and generates effortless plus raw power to all fields with his combination of bat speed, physical strength and hand-eye coordination. His plate discipline is also impressive, as he accrued more walks (76) than strikeouts (62) in 2017 to finish among the Minor League leaders in on-base percentage.
And finally, some thoughts from Fangraphs on Vlad:
Guerrero was identified as an elite talent for his age years before the Jays signed him at age 16, evident from a similar advanced feel for hitting and raw power of his father. Unlike his Hall of Fame father, Vlad Jr. has generally developed earlier — physically looking too big for third base as a teenager and polishing his tools at a very young stage. Whether Vlad Jr. settles as a fringey third baseman or a first basemen/designated hitter is up for debate, but his easy plus hit and power tools (with ceiling for more) are not and will make his ascent to the big leagues a quick one.
Here’s Baseball America’s tool rankings on Bo:
Hit: 70 | Power: 60 | Speed: 50 | Fielding: 45 | Arm: 60
Keith Law says this about him:
He’s a very hard worker and plays as if his hair is on fire, which might help him if he ever slumps ... which so far he hasn’t. He’s going to hit for enough average and OBP to be an above-average regular anywhere, probably with 15-20 homers at his peak; if he stays at short or works himself into plus defense at second, he’s a superstar.
Bichette was a well-known prospect in high school due to his bloodlines (father Dante and older brother, Yankees first-rounder Dante Jr.), his big tools (plus raw power), and his loud, max-effort swing. Many teams didn’t take him seriously as a top-two-rounds prospect, partly souring after his brother busted with a similar swing. That said, Bo has rare bat and body control along with good enough pitch selection to make his approach work, something his older brother did not. Bichette is playing shortstop now and likely will not at higher levels, with second base the most likely fit, but he has the tools to play any corner position and his bat profiles anywhere.
And finally, here’s why ZiPS has him significantly below the others:
While ZiPS sees Bichette as an eventual starter in the majors, the Florida State League is a long way from Toronto. We still have to see how good his batting average looks when he doesn’t have a .432 BABIP, as he does professionally, because that’s not sustainable in the majors. I can see a solid 2018 moving Bichette up very quickly, however, when ZiPS is more confident about the data.
As far as Pearson goes, scouts seem to agree his ceiling is pretty high. It’s just a matter of how likely he is to reach it at this point. Keith Law doesn’t get to in depth, but he does hint at this as he notes why he included him in his top 100:
The development of his repertoire will determine his future role, but his size, control, and arm speed give him a pretty high ceiling, and the Blue Jays might have caught themselves quite a fish with the 28th pick.
Finally, here’s what Fangraphs had to say on Danny Jansen. They were the only list to include him in the top 100:
Scouts’ opinions of Jansen were all over the map during the first few years of his career, but those have narrowed into the 45-to-55 range now. We’re buying that Jansen’s 2017, which included more walks than strikeouts across three levels of the minors, is a sign of real improvement, perhaps due to the new prescription frames he got before the season. He’s a fringe receiver with an above-average arm, which is fine, but he is difficult to strike out and should reach base plenty. He’s a near-ready everyday catcher.
Much like Alford, this provides reason to be cautiously optimistic about 2018.
Anyway, Happy Prospecting!