Keith Law has his top 100 prospects list out. A subscription is required.
The surprise is that Vlad Jr is not number one, he’s number 2. Fernando Tatis, Jr. is number. The reason for Vlad at number 2 is that Law feels he is likely to be a DH in the new future. I I don’t know that he’s wrong:
The knock on Baby Vlad is that he’s probably a DH in the long run. He’s enormous, and though he’s a good athlete for his size, he has gotten so big so quickly that it’s hard to imagine him at any position, let alone third base, where he isn’t quick enough on his feet to play now and brings only a plus arm to the table. If he looks like this at 19, he’s not going to be svelte at 23. Fortunately for him and the Blue Jays, he looks like a perennial .400 OBP guy who will hit 25-plus homers year in and year out, like a David Ortiz from the right side.
I’m ok with Vlad turning out to be David Ortiz. And maybe the Jays would be best off to plan for him to play first base now, other than, as Law says, his arm is a plus.
I remember thinking that Edwin Encanacion was just too big for third base, that he really just couldn’t move quick enough for the position and that his footwork was just not good enough.
I see Vlad is listed at 200 pounds, but I’m guessing he’s above that. I don’t think he’ll be a third baseman into his 30s but I think he’ll hit well enough that he can play third for a few years.
Bo Bichette is 13th on his list.
He mentions that Bo was the youngest player to spend the full season in the Eastern League, as the only one younger, Vlad, moved up to Triple A.
Bichette continues to show outstanding hand-eye coordination at the plate, which allows him to overcome some defects in his swing, including a bat wrap and generally busy hands, so his contact rate remains high. He led the league in at-bats but was just 26th in strikeouts, for a seasonal rate (K/PA) of just 17 percent. He’s an above-average runner with good instincts, and he tends to run the bases like something large is chasing him.
I like that line about ‘something large chasing him.
Keith notes that “unconventional approach and swing will catch up to him, but his hand-eye is so exceptional that I’d bet on him continuing to hit for average with a lot of doubles and triples.” And suggests he might be better off at second base in the long run, figuring he could be plus defender at second. And says he will be a fan favorite for his energy and confident style.
Nate Pearson is number 77.
Since Nate missed pretty much the entire season, it is tough to rank him. But Keith notes he that he throws an ‘easy 100’ and has the slider at 92. Keith says:
There’s a huge range of potential outcomes here, from set-up man to frontline starter, but the upside is definitely in there.
I think if Nate pitches a full season next year he’ll move a long way up the list.
Danny Jansen (because of Casey Janssen, I continuously put two S’s in his name) makes Keith’s ‘just missed out list’ at number 107. Keith feels he’s below average behind the plate but his bat is excellent for a catcher:
Jansen is an offense-first catcher whose receiving and framing are relative weak spots in his game and who has had a hard time staying healthy, going back to when Jays scout Wes Penick first drafted Jansen out of a Wisconsin high school. The good news is that when Jansen plays, he hits. He’s short to the ball with a lot of strength for power that I think will play out as above average if not plus, probably 18 to 22 homers a year with a catcher’s workload, and he has posted a .396 OBP in the minors over the past two seasons.
And he notes that Danny has never caught 100 games in any season and worries about his durability.
The nice part about the list is that, even though we should have 2 guys graduating off the list this season, Nate should move up the list next year and we have guys that might force their way onto next year’s list.
At FanGraphs community “juicyjensen” writes about the prospect breakout no one is talking about: Chavez Young.
Quick question: Who was the only prospect in baseball to record 50 extra-base hits and steal 40 bases in 2018? You guessed it: Chavez Young. Which prospect is rated as having the best defensive arm in the Blue Jays system by Baseball America, with 98 mph from the outfield recorded in high school? You guessed it again, Chavez Young. So how does a player like this go so under-the-radar? How does a 20-year-old in full-season ball who plays plus defense, hits third in his lineup, and had 50 extra-base hits and 40 steals not even make MLB Pipeline’s top 30 for the organization?
How? Well the Blue Jays have a lot of good prospects at the moment. Working on our 40-man list, it is the first time I’ve felt we could do a 50 man prospect list and not run out of good players. But Young does deserve some notice.
I got an email saying that Roberto Alomar was going to lead a group to the Blue Jays games in Seattle this year. From their press release:
Interested participants will receive the following as part of their standard package: • 2-night hotel stay (based on double occupancy) at the Sheraton Seattle. • Field Level Tickets to attend the Toronto vs. Seattle baseball games taking place in Seattle, August 23-25, 2019.
Additionally, participants can mix and mingle with Roberto Alomar and other Toronto Baseball Legends at a pregame tailgate party happening on Saturday August 24, 2019 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
“Dating back to my years as a player, Canadian fans have always supported Toronto very well when they have played in Seattle. I am looking forward to spending a few days with this passionate fan base and cheering on Toronto. I hope to see you there!” – Roberto Alomar, National Baseball Hall of Famer.
The cost? $899.99 US per person, which doesn’t include flights to and from Seattle but the release says you can add that in. I took a quick check on Expedia, the Sheraton is an expensive hotel, right now listing over $600 a night for those two nights (they know they will be packed with Jays fans.
Personally, I’d want to spend a few extra days in Seattle, two nights is not enough.
If you are interested in more information, their website is here.
If you haven’t been to Seattle for the Jays games, it is a ton of fun. They are basically home games for the Jays, with 20,000 plus Jays fans filling the park (and Jays fans home want to party). And Seattle is a great city to visit. There are great restaurants, many craft breweries and a lot of great tourist attractions. It is a nice city for walking, I don’t enjoy driving there, but the downtown area is great for walking. Last summer I think I took a cab twice, the rest of the time I walked.
I haven’t stayed at the Sheraton Hotel, but it is walking distance to the park and close enough to the waterfront. Or better you can walk towards the park, find somewhere nice to eat and continue on. There will be lot of Jays fans to drink with.