Ok, I’m going to make a confession. I’m a big chicken.
As many of you who read this blog may know, I’m also a staff writer over at Jays Journal and I’ve recently taken a position as co-editor of FanSided’s minor league blog, Grading on the Curve. In those capacities, I’ve been involved with helping to compile two Blue Jays top prospect lists.
It’s been an interesting process, as you heard on our Prospects Podcast last week but I’m going to reveal a little bit of insider information here. In the list that I submitted to Jays Journal, I had Marcus Stroman as my top prospect with Aaron Sanchez at #2. I flipped those two around when I did my top prospect list for Grading on the Curve.
Why? Maybe it was because I got scared. Maybe it was because I felt that, since Grading on the Curve isn’t my own personal blog, it should reflect the general consensus a bit more. Lately though, some other prospect watchers are reflecting my own thinking in upgrading Stroman to the top prospect status. Today, Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus tweeted the following:
We will be ranking Stroman ahead of Sanchez. RT @J_Smitty90 @ProfessorParks So…Stroman or Sanchez??
— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) December 3, 2013
So, Parks is coming around to the view that I’ve been having for a little while now. The Baseball Prospectus list should be out tomorrow, if you’re looking for it. I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over my flip-flop. I’m happy with the Grading on the Curve list which places some of the players who showed some really great upside when I saw them this summer a bit higher than some others and I do think that Sanchez’s upside is higher than Stroman’s . . . right now.
Marc Hulet of Fangraphs also came out with his Top 10 Blue Jays prospects today. There are a couple of fascinating placements of players that are pretty surprising (see the #3 prospect — I don’t necessarily disagree with how high he puts him but I’m not ready to do the same just yet). Another list came out from Fangraphs: Carson Cistulli looked at Steamer projections for what Blue Jays prospects would do if they made the major leagues this season.
This whole Top Prospects game is, of course, entirely subjective but it’s a fun way to get people talking about the minor league system. People are coming to the consensus that, while the Blue Jays don’t have a lot of young players who are close to major-league ready, there’s a lot of talent in the lower levels. Tao of Stieb has decided that he’s going to call this kind of depth “girth.”
Speaking of which, I will henceforth replace the term depth (i.e. bench depth, system depth, bullpen depth) with “girth”. #girth
— Tao of Stieb (@TaoofStieb) December 3, 2013
In the Jays’ case, there’s a girthy group of both position players and pitchers who are around 20 years old and will be testing their mettle in full-season ball in 2014. Some of these guys will rise to the challenge and some will struggle and, to me, watching the process is going to be one of the most fun things to do in 2014.
So tell us, whose Top Prospects list do you like? What do you look for in prospects? Who do think will take some big strides in 2014?