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Friday Bantering: MLB Pipeline Top 30, signings

An old friend is back in the fold

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The big news yesterday was of course that the Bryce Harper saga did not roll into March, as he agreed to a record 13 year, $330-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Which actually strikes me as reasonable value for an elite hitter who should have plenty of his prime left, for whatever that’s worth.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays front office took some time away from creating media firestorms with lazily concocted narratives about the readiness of a certain prospect to do some last minute shopping of their own, albeit in a decidedly lower rent district. They agreed on terms to add two veteran arms into the mix for the 2019 team:

  • RHP Bud Norris on a minor league deal, with a $3-million salary if the makes the roster and $1.25-million in incentives
  • RHP Clay Buchholz on major league deal but pending a physical, with a $3-million salary (or thereabout) and $3-million more in incentives.

Neither of the two are probably going to be going fa favourites given some past transgressions, but both should bolster the 2019 team at a very modest cost and negligible risk. And maybe if they get very lucky turn them into something flipping them to contenders at the deadline.

That was actually not the end of the activity, as a familiar name popped up on the team’s transaction page. The Jays have apparently brought back infielder Andy Burns, who they drafted in the 11th round back in the 2011 draft. He played his way onto the prospect radar, before debuting in May 2016. It was the first of three very short stints, as he got into 10 games, only coming to the plate seven times.

The Blue Jays released him in January 2017 to allow him to pursue an opportunity in Korea, and he spent 2017 with Lotte of the KBO. In 973 plate appearances over the last two years, he hit .285/.345/.506, with 115 extra base hits making up for a poor K/BB ratio.

Burns has yet to record his first MLB hit, so maybe that’s something to look forward to in his second stint — though it’s pretty hard to see him getting much of an opportunity beyond very short term injury fill-ins.

FInally, MLB Pipeline rolled out their Top 30 Jays prospects yesterday, ranking the Jays as having the 5th best system, along with another distinction:

That jives with our assessment of the system, namely being very deep in addition to the impact talent at the top. Though realistically, they’re almost certainly being loose with how the scale is usually used: there’s almost certainly not 30 or more players one would project as likely to be 45 roles (fringe-average regular or better, basically 1.5+ WAR seasons). It’s more the case that those players could end up with that kind of potential if things go right. Most of course will not.

Nonetheless, to the extent whatever interpretation is being applied consistently, it’s good to see. I’m not going to go through the whole list (you’ll never guess who’s at the very top), for the most part there’s no surprises. Nothing sticks out as egregious, though I think CHavez Young is low at 23.

One thing to note is they too were very high on Bluefield catcher Gabriel Moreno, who checks in at #22, well ahead of 2017 second round Hagen Danner who didn’t place. I’ll be very interested to follow his progress — the offensive numbers were quite loud in the GCL but more solid in Bluefield, but there was no way to know what he looked like behind the plate (apparently quite promising),

The Jays play two games today, splitting their squad with one group heading to Disney to the play the Donaldson-less Atlanta Anthopouloses with Sean Reid-Foley starting, and the other hosting the Pirates behind Aaron Sanchez.