Over the holidays, another Blue Jays top prospect list arrived: John Sickels’s from Minor League Ball. Sickels always has a unique take on prospects. He’s much more conservative than the “tools-heavy” talent evaluators and wants to see results before moving prospects up into the top ranks of his lists. He uses a grading system that you’d be well-advised to check out (it’s right there before his list).
The biggest thing to notice about the current group of Blue Jays’ prospects is that there are no “A-grade” prospects. There are a couple of players who (in my opinion) could end up as B+ or even A- grade prospects, ending up with significant careers in the major leagues but, as he notes, “much of their talent is very young and could improve quickly.”
Number 1 is no surprise as Anthony Alford gets another top spot in a list but number 2, Rowdy Tellez, is. Sickels is so high on Tellez’s bat that he thinks that it’s going to get him to the show no matter how limited his defense might be. Sickels also rates Richard Urena higher than any of the pitchers moving through the system. Obviously, he liked the somewhat surprising power that Urena provided last year but the lack of walks is a big concern.
Conner Greene is the highest pitcher at #4, again, not surprisingly while the rest of the Top 10 is more or less the same as the Baseball America list. Because Sickels goes into a Top 20, we have a better idea of what he thinks of the Blue Jays’ system beyond just the top 10.
Clinton Hollon and Angel Perdomo, a couple of highly regarded young pitchers open up the second ten. Hollon will miss the beginning of the 2016 season, finishing off his PED suspension (for a a stimulant) but, with a good year, could put himself into the Top 10 for 2017. Perdomo made it to Vancouver and was highly successful there and should get a chance to move up faster at the age of 22 in Lansing.
A lot of other players who have slid back in the rankings make up most of the rest of the list. Players like Mitch Nay, Dwight Smith, Jr., Andy Burns and Matt Dean all have the ability to do a lot in the coming year but have a flaw in their overall package. For Nay, it’s the fact that he hasn’t had the ability to turn his raw power into game power. Dean strikes out a lot and needs to prove that he can hit better pitching than at High-A. Burns would be well served finding some of his power that he left back in Double-A but he could still be a serviceable utility man with his current profile.
Sickels also likes Taylor Cole who has had a decent time in Double-A thus far but is getting older and needs to improve his command (and tendency to get hit hard when he leaves the ball up). Shane Dawson could be another sleeper while he also likes 2015 draftee Jose Espada about whom he says has a “higher upside than Cole or Dawson but further away.”
In all, Sickels stays conservative but he agrees that the cupboard isn’t completely bare. What do you think?
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