Draft Preview

Here is the most recent draft order as updated by Baseball America in mid-April.

1) Nationals
2) Mariners 3) Padres 4) Pirates 5) Orioles 6) Giants 7) Braves 8) Reds 9) Tigers 10) Nationals (compensation for failure to sign 2008 first round selection, Aaron Crow) 11) Rockies 12) Royals 13) Athletics 14) Rangers 15) Indians 16) Diamondbacks 17) Diamondbacks (compensation from Dodgers for Orlando Hudson) 18) Marlins 19) Cardinals 20) Blue Jays 21) Astros 22) Twins 23) White Sox 24) Angels (compensation from Mets for Francisco Rodriguez) 25) Angels (compensation from Yankees for Mark Teixeira) 26) Brewers 27) Mariners (compensation from Phillies for Raul Ibanez) 28) Red Sox 29) Yankees (compensation for failure to sign 2008 first round selection, Gerrit Cole) 30) Rays 31) Cubs 32) Rockies (compensation from Angels for Brian Fuentes)

Supplemental First-Round Picks
33. Mariners (compensation for loss of Raul Ibanez)
34. Rockies (compensation for loss of Brian Fuentes)
35. Diamondbacks (compensation for loss of Orlando Hudson)
36. Dodgers (compensation for loss of Derek Lowe)
37. Blue Jays (compensation for loss of AJ Burnett)
38. White Sox (compensation for loss of Orlando Cabrera)
39. Brewers (compensation for loss of CC Sabathia)
40. Angels (compensation for loss of Mark Teixeira)
41. Diamondbacks (compensation for loss of Juan Cruz)
42. Angels (compensation for loss of Francisco Rodriguez)
43. Reds (compensation for loss of Jeremy Affeldt)
44. Rangers (compensation for loss of Milton Bradley)
45. Diamondbacks (compensation for loss of Brandon Lyon)
46. Twins (compensation for loss of Dennys Reyes)
47. Brewers (compensation for loss of Brian Shouse)
48. Angels (compensation for loss of Jon Garland)
49. Pirates (for failure to sign 2008 second-rounder Tanner Scheppers)

Second-Round Changes
56. Dodgers (compensation from Braves for Derek Lowe)
60. Diamondbacks (compensation from Royals for Juan Cruz)
61. White Sox (compensation from Athletics for Orlando Cabrera)
73. Brewers (compensation from Yankees for CC Sabathia)
76. Yankees (for failure to sign 2008 second-rounder Scott Bittle)

Third-Round Changes
104. Blue Jays (compensation from Yankees for AJ Burnett)


The Jays do get compensation for losing AJ Burnett, which is great for an organization that needs to keep things cheap if possible. They end up with 5 picks in the first 3 rounds, which is bad. Draft predictions are hard to make, but I'll do my best to deduce who they won't get a chance to take, and therefore amplify who they very well may take.

The Top 10: There is an obvious #1 this year with Stephen Strasburg leading the way as the phenom of the draft, and the other top 10 contenders are predictable enough at this point. They are:

1- Stephen Strasburg, SP WAS

2- Grant Green, SS SEA (although they may opt for Ackley due to Triunfel's presence in the minors)

3- Dustin Ackley, 1B/OF SD (whether it's Green or Ackley, SD will draft a position player)

4- Tyler Matzek, SP PIT (the top HS SP in the draft)

5- Matt Purke, SP BAL

6- Donovan Tate, OF SF (could be their best OFer in a long, long time)

7- Zach Wheeler, SP ATL (ATL scouts love this kid)

8- Alex White, SP CIN (a slow start to the season has brought about questions about his ceiling)

9- Aaron Crow, SP DET (other teams will balk at his signing price, Detroit will pay whatever it takes)

10- Rich Poythress, 1B WAS (with WAS getting Strasburg with the #1, they'll want some pop in their lineup to make sure they can score some runs. Rich has more pop than any other College player in the draft)

With these guys off-the-board, the Jays are looking at a heard of SP or OF prospects leading the way for the remainder of the first round. Of these, and since the Jays have had slow progression from their HS drafted prospects, they are most likely aiming for one of these players with their first pick:

Rex Brothers, LHP - His stock has gone up extensively this season
Mike Leake, RHP
Mike Minor, LHP
Jacob Turner, RHP
Jared Mitchell, OF (has 5 tool talent)
Tim Wheeler, OF (also has 5 tool talent)
Kendall Volz, RHP

My opinion is that this draft is very heavy in SP talent, and since the Jays pick again at 37, they will most likely lean towards one of Mitchell or Wheeler if they are available. There is a serious lack of speed on the Jays throughout their system, and the opportunity to grab a 5-tool player will not pass them by easily. Having said that, I fully expect them to grab the best talent available regardless of position, but there will clearly be lots of SP talent left to select from with the 37th pick and in the second round. I guess we'll find out soon as draft day approaches!

Jays 3, KC 11 - April 29th Recap

Pitching: Well, we can only say that Tallet had a rough outing and may be tiring a bit from the change to starter. It's a little disconcerting that Cito allowed Tallet to stay in the game so long when the majority of the pen was fresh and ready to go. Instead, he was allowed to stay in for 10 runs over 11 hits and 3 walks, putting a big dent in the chances of the Jays winning after his 4 innings were completed. Shawn Camp, Jason Frasor, and Bill Murphy came on in relief and allowed 1 run overall (Camp) and only 4 hits over their 4 IP. During the early part of Tallet's outing, it seemed that Billy Butler really had his number while homering twice and driving in 2 more with a double. He was by far the hottest KC hitter with 4 hits, 4 runs, and 4 RBI, but Canadian Mark Teahen also did some damage with a 2-run shot over the fence.

Offense: The encouraging part for the offense was that they, unlike any other team that has faced KC starter Zach Greinke, were able to get 2 runs in off of him, driving his ERA up to a whopping 0.50 on the season! It doesn't seem like much, but had Roy Halladay been pitching for the Jays, there is a chance the outcome of the game could have been favorable. Aaron Hill and Rod Barajas had 2 hits a piece and Marco Scutaro continued to get on base with a hit and a walk, but it wasn't enough to get many runs home. Snider seems to be cooling off at the bottom of the lineup with another 0-4 night and is now hitting .259 on the season. Nobody can argue that he deserves to be moved up in the lineup until he performs at a higher level, and chances are he will sometime soon. The Jays could use more offense from Rios and Snider at this point.

Side Note: Isn't it odd that when your team loses to go 15-8 you are not as depressed as you would be if they were losing to go 8-15? It seems we are able to accept the lop-sided losses much more easily when our team is winning more often than not. Watching the game last nigth I had that exact feeling that said "oh well, at least they're still up front in the division and will get it back the next game." I only hope the Jays players never get that feeling because it could be very dangerous for our playoff chances indeed.

Next up: Brian Burres (0-1, 12.46) tries to redeem himself against Kyle Davies (1-1, 4.88). It's a 2:10 ET start.

The Affiliates - 29th April Recap

Lansing 2, Kane County 1
- Huggins proved my call for a HiA promotion is justified while he hurled 6 shutout innings of 1 hit ball while striking out 7 and walking only 1. Moody allowed the only run in relief and Yorman Mayora shut the door with a notable 2 inning save. It is notable because he struck out 5 of 7 hitters faced and only allowed one hit. Offensively, 2B Bryan Kervin was the only Lugnut with 2 hits while Pastornicky walked twice. The team was lucky enough to get a run through by a way of walks due to a bad outing by Kane County's Pedro Figueroa who walked 5 in only 3.2 innings. This is a big win over the league leaders for Lansing and could provide them with much needed confidence.

Dunedin 3, Clearwater 4
- The rebound from a horrible start continued for SP Ryan Page who lasted 6 innings while allowing all 4 Clearwater runs. The very encouraging part of his outing was that he walked none, and was bitten by way of 2 homers. Page only allowed 2 other hits in his outing and he was obviously throwing strikes. Magnuson came on in relief for 2 innings and struck out 2 while allowing 2 hits. Offensively, Mastroianni continued his hot start with a pair of hits and a stolen base, but ws also caught stealing once. 1B Manuel Rodriguez and converted SP Adam Loewen also had 2 hits a piece, and while Dunedin was able to outhit Clearwater, they did not do a great job of driving their baserunners in.

New Hampshire 5, New Britain 0
- Pitching wins baseball championships, everyone knows this, and luckily for the Jays their AA affiliate is just filled with pitching potential. Marc Rzepczynski had his strongest outing of the season against the Minnesota AA affiliate, but he only lasted 5 innings due to his high pitch count. During his 5 IP, he struck out 8, walked 4, and allowed 3 hits. He is still trying to strike every hitter out and I'd love to hear what the pitching coaches are telling him, but it's obvious he has the right stuff to pitch at a higher level. David Shinskie had a great relief outing pitching 3 scoreless innings while striking 3 out and allowing only one hit. Offensively, CF Adam Calderone and 1B Brian Dopirak provided some pop with a homer each which was ironically the 4th homer of the season for both of them. The team was able to get 11 hits overall, while 3B Brad Emaus and 2B Luis Sanchez stole a base a piece.

Las Vegas had the day off.


International Analysis: Gustavo Pierre - SS

The Jays signed Gustavo Pierre, a 16 yr old SS from the Dominican Republic in July of 2008 to a contract with a hefty $700,000 bonus.

The Jays needed another SS prospect in the system aside from Justin Jackson and are hoping they have a Jays version of Elvis Andrus on their hands. Pierre is currently 6'2" and 183 lbs, but at his age there is plenty of room for growth. If he does add on a lot of height or bulk up, he could be moved to 3B or the OF. He currently has plenty of speed, considered a plus runner by scouts, but there are concerns that he may not have a strong arm. He has hit for power thus far, but we'll see how that power translates this season when he plays for a DSL squad.

The Jays have had mixed results from their International signings and could use a break out performance to solidify and enhance their investments in Latin America. If Pierre and other can break out, the Jays may increase the number of signings they make and compete in an area they can use to help them catch up to the Yankees and Red Sox without breaking the bank in MLB Free Agency. Although the initial bonus may seem steep, how happy would the Jays be if they have an Elvis Andrus on their MLB squad at his salary and his age?

New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2009 - AA

As you climb the minors ladder towards the big club, you get a better sense of what is to come for the franchise. In their AA franchise, the Jays have more promising players than most recent years. A few are big surprises, and many are late round picks, which would indicate that maybe most of us Jays fans are in fact a little too hard on JP Ricciardi and his draft record. Here they are as they stand today in 2009.

Notable Pitchers

RHP Reidier Gonzalez - 5'9" 215 lbs - Born Nov 1st 1985 in Cuba
Drafted in 2005, 19th round, 566th overall out of St-Petersburg College
Thus far in 2009: 4 GP, 4 GS, 26.1 IP, 17 HA, 6 BB, 15 SO, 1.37 ERA
Analysis: one of many pitchers that could make the jump to the big club if necessary on this team, Reider can go deep into games and pitches to contact. He isn't overpowering, but gets the job done efficiently. His stature may question his longevity as a starter, but he has a very strong lower body which allows him to maintain the power he needs throughout long outings.

LHP Luis Perez - 6'0" 205 lbs - Born Jan 20th 1985 in the Dominican Republic
International Signing
Thus far in 2009: 4 GP, 4 GS, 22 IP, 14 HA, 10 BB, 20 SO, 2.45 ERA
Analysis: the second of a very strong SP lineup, Perez has walked too many batters early on and has not lasted as long into games as Gonzalez due to his inefficiency. However, his stuff is better and once he trusts it enough to pitch to contact, or for swing a miss, he will be a better pitcher. If injuries keep hurting the Jays, there is a chance Perez could see some MLB action this season and he is mature enough to handle the pressure.

RHP Fabio Castro - 5'7" 180 lbs - Born Jan 20th 1985 in the Dominican Republic
International Signing
Thus far in 2009: 4 GP, 4 GS, 21.2 IP, 15 HA, 3 BB, 24 SO, 0.83ERA
Analysis: the little train that could, that's how I feel about Castro. He shares a birthday with countryman Perez, but unlike him is unafraid to put the ball over the plate. His outstanding K to BB ratio is unlike any other SP in the organization and he has a lot of promise. Whether he is seen as durable enough to start for the Jays is unknown, but he sure has the stuff to help the big club out in any way he can. As we can see thus far, the AA Jays are not short on pitching talent.

RHP Marc Rzepczynski - 6'1" 205 lbs - Born Aug 29th 1985 in California
Drafted in 2007, in the 5th round, 175th overall out of the University of California
Thus far in 2009: 4 GP, 4 GS, 19.2 IP, 20 HA, 14 BB, 27 SO, 4.58 ERA
Analysis: if this is the worst pitching line of the AA SP squad, we'll take it! Marc has the stuff to SO as many guys as he wants, but he may want to watch Roy Halladay pitch. Marc walks too many batters because he tries to strike every one of them out! Roy gets more excited about a 1 or 2 pitch ground out than a strike out for a reason: it's more efficient and allows him to reach for more stuff when needed. Marc will move to AAA at some point this season and may have the best chance to become an MLB starter long term, but he needs to throw strikes, as many minors pitchers do.

RHP Randy Boone - 6'0" 200 lbs - Born Aug 6th 1984 in Texas
Drafted in 2007, in the 7th round, 235th overall out of the University of Texas
Thus far in 2009: 3 GP, 3 GS, 18.2 IP, 16 HA, 6 BB, 8 SO, 2.41 ERA
Analysis: the least likely to make the big club as a starter, and the oldest of the 5 AA SP, Randy is still effective enough to help the pen out at some point in the future. He is efficient in his outings, lasting 6+ innings on average, but struggles against lefties who hit over .300 against him. He still has room to grow and may be the first called up to AAA at some point this season to see if he can become the Jays version of Chris Jakubauskas.

RHP Leon Boyd- 6'5" 209 lbs - Born Aug 30th 1983 in the Netherland Antilles
International Signing
Thus far in 2009: 5 GP, 0 GS, 5.1 IP, 1 HA, 1 BB, 5SO, 0.00 ERA
Analysis: the Jays brought Leon on board after they saw his World Baseball Classic performance where he was thrown to the wolves on some occasions and helped the Netherlands out of some really tight spots. He earned 1 save and 1 win for his team and is seen as someone who can step up to the big club at any moment and help the Jays out if needed. The Jays have one of the best pens in MLB, so it may be a while before he gets that call, but he is a valuable asset to have when the season begins to wear down the pen.

Notable Hitters

1B Brian Dopirak - 6'4" 230 lbs - Born Dec 20th 1983 in Florida
Drafted in 2002, in the 2nd round, 56th overall by the Cubs via Mets
Thus far in 2009: 71AB, .324 AVG, 8 XBH, 3 HRs, 12 RBI, 0 SB, .364OBP, .521 SLG, .885OPS
Analysis: one of the older hitters on the team, Brian also has one of the most powerful strokes on the team. He hit 29 HRs last season between Dunedin and NH and could make the jump to AAA at some point this year. With Overbay and Millar ahead of him in the bigs, he may have to bide his time to get a shot at the bigs, but he's proving he can hit for average AND power this year, something that is hard for any club to resist.

C Brian Jeroloman - 6'1" 195 lbs - Born May 10th 1985 in New York
Drafted in 2006, in the 6th round, 180th overall out of the University of Florida
Thus far in 2009: 62 AB, .323AVG, 6 XBH, 1 HRs, 6 RBI, 0 SB, .382 OBP, .452 SLG, .834 OPS
Analysis: Arencibia is still seen as the C of the future for the Jays, but Jeroloman has shown his potential to become a starting C. He may lack some power but can develop enough as he matures to smack 6-10 Hrs in the bigs. He may end up backing up Arencibia one day and will most likely remain the entire season in AA unless Arencibia gets the call up from AAA.

2B/3B Bradley Emaus- 5'11" 210 lbs - Born Mar 28th 1986 in Michigan
Drafted in 2007, in the 11th round, 355th overall out of Tulane University
Thus far in 2009: 72AB, .278AVG, 6 XBH, 1 HRs, 6 RBI, 2 SB, .366 OBP, .389 SLG, .755 OPS
Analysis: the second coming of Aaron Hill, put a big giant star beside Emaus's name, because you will see him on the big club roster very soon. In 49 AB during spring training he hit .309 with 4 dingers and 10 XBH. Should injuries require it, he would be one of the first called up due to his versatility in being able to play all 4 infield positions. He may begin his career with the Jays as a super utility player, but he hits the ball with such authority that I have to believe he'll become a regular 2B or 3B at some point. He plays hard every single day and is a luxury for the Jays to have in the system.

1B David Cooper - 6'0" 200 lbs - Born Feb 12th 1987 in California
Drafted in 2008, in the 1st round, 17th overall out of the University of California
Thus far in 2009: 66AB, .242AVG, 5 XBH, 1 HRs, 6 RBI, 1 SB, .333 OBP, .348 SLG, .682 OPS
Analysis: David is one of the youngest players in AA and has the luxury of sharing time with and learning from Dopirak. They are sharing 1B/DH duties and the fact that David is starting out in AA shows the kind of talent the Jays believe he holds. He may be the future of the Jays at 1B as was shown in a short period last season when he hit .333 in 273 AB with 5 dingers. He'll need the entire year to adjust to AA pitching and to find his power stroke, but he should make the jump to AAA in 2010 and compete for a spot on the MLB roster sometime that season.

Overall, the strength of the AA New Hampshire franchise is in its pitching and they lead their conference in wins as a result with an 11-7 record. Should the hitting catch up to the hitting, this team could have a very successful season and provide much needed depth to an injury prone MLB roster. The AA affiliate shows the most promise of any affiliate for the Jays and chances are you will see many of these names on the big league score sheet sometime soon.

The Affiliates - 28th Arpil Recap

Lansing 5, West Michigan 2
- Anderson threw 4 inning while allowing 7 hits, so the bullpen really won this game for Lansing. McDade provided some pop with his second HR of the season.

Dunedin 11, Clearwater 7
- Marcus Walden threw 4 inning while allowing 7 hits (a trend), and the bullpen came through enough to allow for the win. Tolisano hit his first HR of the season, very encouraging, and Thames, Loewen, and Rodriguez carried the rest of the O.

New Hampshire 4, New Britain 6
- Anthony Slama shut the door on NH after a solid outing from Randy Boone. Boone threw 6 inning while allowing 4 ER and striking out 5. Zach Dials allowed the 2 winning runs to score in relief. The offense was steady but not explosion, with Emaus, Jerolman, Dopirak and Diaz getting 2 or more hits a piece.

Las Vegas 2, Sacramento 3
- Gio Gonzalez outdueled Bret Cecil in this one, but both had very similar pitching lines. Cecil allowed 3 runs over 6 innings while striking out 5 and walking 1. The offense just could not get much going against Gonzalez, with only Phillips, Ruiz and Campbell having any success whatsoever with 7 of the LV 10 hits between them.

Jays 8, KC 1 - April 28th Recap

Pitching: The Jays proved once again that there are many reasons for their hot start to the season, this time doing it with the gloves as well as the bats. The defense continues to excel, with Aaron Hill and Lyle Overbay completing a key double play to stop a KC rally. More impressive, however, was the continued strong pitching they received from Scott Richmond who is now 3-0 on the season. Richmond lasted 7 innings, allowing a rest for most of the bullpen, and threw 63 of 106 pitches for strikes. Carlson and League continued the unforgiving performance of the bullpen by shutting KC out for the 8th and 9th inning, only allowing 2 hits and striking out 3.

Offense: The Jays offense was effective as usual, with only Adam Lind not getting a hit out of the evening. Wells and Hill had the most successful nights with 3 hits a piece, and although the Jays did not get a homer, they did get 4 doubles and 14 hits overall, rolling over their lineup very nicely. I must say that Cito Gaston's consistent lineups have resulted in outstanding offensive performances from the majority of players, except one.

Alexis Rios continues to struggle and has not shown any power at all. It may be an illusion he creates to hide his frustration, but as a fan he seems to have no emotion at all whenever he strikes out or flies out. I don't want to overreact about his slumping start since this guy has the talent to break out and help the Jays win, but I do question the hustle and lack of emotion he has shown thus far. Rios hit over 30 HRs in AA before becoming a Jay, and last year he only hit 15 after hitting 24 in 2007. At 6'5" 215 lbs you would think the power would always be evident, but he seems to hit more line drives than anything else. The Jays biggest weakness in their minor league system is that they have absolutely nobody to push Rios to play better behind him. The nearest possibility of an outfielder with power, other than Jason Lane who had success this spring, is Chavez in LoA and he needs the time to develop. So, it would be stating the obvious that the Jays need Rios to perform, and will be that much better when he does.

If Rios begins to deliver on a consistent basis, this lineup will roll itself over so often that it will make opposing pitchers see their lineup like slot machine logos. It is unlikely that the entire offense can keep up the pace they're on for the entire season, so they will need Rios to carry the load at some point. Let's just hope he's ready for it when the time comes!

Next Up: The Jays season continues to roll, and tonight they attempt to win yet another series with another surprising pitcher in Brian Tallet going up against Mr. Zero ERA Zach Greinke. Let's see what our offense can do against this guy!!!


Week of 27th of April Minors Transactions

Players Added to the Jays 40-man roster:
RHP Brian Bullington - thus far with the Jays 3 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA
LHP Brian Burres -
thus far with the Jays 1 GS, 4.1 IP, 7 hits, 4 walks, 2 SO, 12.46 ERA

Players placed on the 7-day DL:
C Matt Liuzza - Dunedin
C Jon Talley - Lansing

Taken off the DL:
RHP Robert Ray - Las Vegas
1B Adam Loewen - Dunedin
2B John Tolisano - Dunedin
3B Mark Sobolewski - Lansing

New Signings
RHP David Miller

Dunedin Blue Jays 2009 - Class A Advanced

For those who may not know, Dunedin is about 26 miles away from Tampa Bay Florida. Unlike the big club, the Dunedin team currently sits last in their conference with a 6-11 record and are only 2-8 in their last 10. However, as with any baseball team, there is a lot to be cheerful about on the team.

Notable Pitchers

RHP Andrew Liebel
- 6'0" 195 lbs - Born Mar 22nd 1986 in California
Drafted in 2008, 3rd round, 95th overall out of Long Beach State University
Thus far in 2009: 4 GP, 4 GS, 18 IP, 22 HA, 5 BB, 11 SO, 7.00 ERA
Analysis: at 23 yrs old he is on pace for Class A Advanced, and his season seems to be getting better with each start. His latest start had him giving up only 3 runs over 6 innings which is encouraging. He has plenty of room to grow and will be given the time to do so at Dunedin.

RHP Brandon Magee- 6'4" 210 lbs - Born Jul 26th 1983 in Sheboygan
Drafted in 2006, 2nd round, 120th overall out of Bradley University
Thus far in 2009: 4 GP, 3 GS, 18 IP, 16 HA, 6 BB, 8 SO, 4.50 ERA
Analysis: at 25 yrs old he is older than usual for Class A Advanced and chances are his time has passed. He may eventually find a place in the pen as a specialist and may be pushed up to AA at some point to try it out on him. With so many other starters in the system making noise, it's unlikely that Brandon will get a chance to start at AA.

RHP Ryan Page - 6'1" 205 lbs - Born Sep 16th 1985 in Pennsylvania
Drafted in 2008, 20th round, 609th overall out of Liberty University
Thus far in 2009: 3 GP, 3 GS, 14 IP, 21 HA, 7 BB, 9 SO, 9.64 ERA
Analysis: just drafted in 2008, and obviously tested early, the outcome has been disappointing but expected. His second of 3 starts was by far the worst and he did rebound from it to have a mediocre start in his third start where he lasted 5 innings and gave up only 1 walk and 4 earned runs. Hopefully he'll continue to get better and he is still young enough to have an impact should he find his stuff.

RHP Marcus Walden- 5'10" 185 lbs - Born Sep 13th 1988 in California
Drafted in 2007, 9th round, 295th overall out of Fresno University
Thus far in 2009: 3 GP, 3 GS, 12.2 IP, 23 HA, 6 BB, 5 SO, 9.95 ERA
Analysis: the youngest and smallest of the SP on this team, it is obvious that the Jays believe they can push Marcus to another level. He did throw at Auburn last season with decent results of 51 SO in 60 IP while walking 20 and giving up 70 hits, but it isn't exactly a stellar season. Still, as with the other pitchers on this team, his third start was the best of the season and there is plenty of room for growth in his size and his game.

LHP Tim Collins - 5'7" 155 lbs - Born Aug 29th 1989 in Massachusetts
Signed by the Jays as a non-drafted FA on July 20, 2007
Thus far in 2009: 6 GP, 0 GS, 14 IP, 4 HA, 4 BB, 26 SO, 1.29 ERA
Analysis: when your Tim's size chances are you will not become a starter. This guy is lightning in a bottle and will be a great asset to the Jays pen at some point in the near future. He is extremely young, effective, and throws nothing but strikes without fear. Look for him to make a big jump at some point in 2009, but for now he is a great reason to keep checking the Dunedin stats sheets.

RHP Alan Farina - 5'11" 190 lbs - Born Aug 9th 1986 in Florida
Drafted in 2007, 3rd round 115th overall out of Clemson University
Thus far in 2009: 4 GP, 2 GS, 9.2 IP, 10 HA, 9 BB, 8 SO, 1.29 ERA
Analysis: Alan needs to trust his stuff the same way Tim does. He is walking a batter an inning and that's never a good sign. The Jays may decide to bring him along slowly, but he is expected to get better with time and experience. Expectations were high after his stellar season at Lansing last year where he threw 29 inning and struck out 37 with a 3.07 ERA. Chances are his mid season stats will be much better.

RHP Trystan Magnuson - 6'8" 210 lbs - Born Jun 6th 1985 in Vancouver
Drafted in 2007, 1st rd supplemental, 56th overall out of Louisville University
Thus far in 2009: 7 GP, 0 GS, 12.1 IP, 16 HA, 2 BB, 8 SO, 2.19 ERA
Analysis: the Jays seem to be stretching him out slowly as he pitched 3 innings in his last start, but at his tall and lanky size he can do either in a dominating fashion. Taller pitchers often have problems with control and consistency, but Trystan hasn't walked many batters this far so it seems he is confident and throwing strikes. Whether or not the Jays make him a starter remains to be seen, but he is yet another encouraging pitcher on the Dunedin staff.

Notable Hitters:

OF Darin Mastroianni - 5'11" 190 lbs - Born Aug 26th 1985 in Mount Kisco
Drafted in 2007, in the 16th round, 505th overall out of the University of Southern Indiana
Thus far in 2009: 59 AB, .339 AVG, 5 XBH, 0 HRs, 3 RBI, 12 SB, .451 OBP, .441 SLG, .891 OPS
Analysis: the Jays could use a true leadoff player like Darin, who was initially drafted as a 2nd baseman and therefore could be a key utility player down the road. He gets on base and knows how to steal. Chances are he will make it to AA at some point this season.

SS Justin Jackson - 5'11" 190 lbs - Born Dec 11th 1988 in Asheville
Drafted in 2007, in the 1st rd supplemental, 45th overall out of Roberson High School
Thus far in 2009: 67 AB, .149 AVG, 1 XBH, 0 HRs, 0 RBI, 4 SB, .250 OBP, .164 SLG, .414 OPS
Analysis: the Jays have extremely high hopes for Justin who is the only SS prospect in the system with a possibility of becoming a regular. That being said, he needs to start getting on base any way he can and prove that hi Lansing season of 2008 was no fluke. He is still very young, will only get better and should spend the entire season in Dunedin refining his offensive skills. He is still the future of the Jays at SS regardless of the slow start.

2B John Tolisano - 5'11" 190 lbs - Born Oct 7th 1988 in Florida
Drafted in 2007, in the 2nd round, 85th overall out of EsteroHigh School
Thus far in 2009: 24 AB, .167 AVG, 2 XBH, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 2 SB, .310 OBP, .250 SLG, .560 OPS
Analysis: another player taken out of high school, and another player struggling at the beginning of the season. The Jays are pushing their young middle infielders to progress through the system and thus far have seen growing pains. John has got to prove he can hit for average if he is to replace Aaron Hill one day and has disappointed offensively thus far in his young career.

3B Kevin Ahrens - 6'1" 195 lbs - Born Apr 26th 1989 in Texas
Drafted in 2007, in the 1st round, 17th overall out of Memorial High School
Thus far in 2009: 54AB, .148AVG, 3 XBH, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 1 SB, .233 OBP, .204 SLG, .437 OPS
Analysis: the third high school infielder on this list, Kevin drew comparisons to Chipper Jones when drafted in 2007. Well, needless to say that he hasn't shown that potential thus far and needs to do so soon. He is hitting lefties very well with a .400 average, but just can't hit righties with a .091 average. So it seems that Kevin needs to find himself as a hitter and more specifically learn how to hit righties if he is to become a regular.

OF Eric Thames - 6'0" 205 lbs - Born Nov 10th 1986 in California
Drafted in 2008, in the 7th round, 219th overall out of Pepperdine University
Thus far in 2009: 59 AB, .322 AVG, 7 XBH, 0 HRs, 16 RBI, 2 SB, .412 OBP, .475 SLG, .886 OPS
Analysis: well, it seems the OF is carrying the load of the offense on this team and may be doing so because they are coming out of University, while the younger guys are still finding their way. Ragardless, Eric has yet to show any power and has marginal speed, so although he is hitting for average, he needs to find his power stroke if he is going to advance through to the big club. He may find his way to AA at some point depending on needs in New Hampshire.

Overall, Dunedin has a very varried mix of talent but definitely has the potential to get better over time. The pitching seems to be coming around and their extremely young infield should get better as they gain experience. However, one can see why JP has always been reluctant to draft High School players since there are no guarantees and steeper learning curves. No minor leaguer enjoys coming up through an entire system of losing teams. Chances are JP will be drafting more college prospects in the future, just a hunch.


The Lansing Lugnuts 2009

If I'm going to cover the Jays in their entirety, I need to do it from the bottom up. Not only will this allow for thorough knowledge about the Jays to be gained, but it also enables us to know who we can expect to see in the future. The Lansing Lugnuts play in Class A ball and their website for future info is as follows: http://www.lansinglugnuts.com/

Notable SP on the squad:

RHP Ryan Koch - 6'4" 200 lbs - Born Oct 16th 1985 in Florida
Drafted in 2008, 36th round, 1089th overall out of Florida Southern College
Thus far in 2009: 3 GP, 2 GS, 15.1 IP, 20 HA, 5 BB, 9 SO, 7.04 ERA
Analysis: at 23 yrs old he is fairly old for Class A, but more concerning are his horrible start to the season stats.

RHP Charles Huggins - 6'0" 185 lbs - Born May 6th 1986 in California
Drafted in 2008, 23rd round, 699th overall out of University of California
Thus far in 2009: 3 GP, 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 11 HA, 2 BB, 17 SO, 2.45 ERA
Analysis: he is just about to turn 23, but unlike Koch his stats are something to build on. Being a lefty doesn't hurt and he seems poised to be tested in HiA at some point this season.

LHP John Anderson - 6'2" 200 lbs - Born Nov 9th 1988 in California
Drafter in 2008, 28th round, 849th overall out of Chabot
Thus far in 2009: 3 GP, 3 GS, 14.1 IP, 12 HA, 5 BB, 12 SO, 1.88 ERA
Analysis: now here is someone to get excited about on this staff. He is only 20 and putting out the lights early on in the season. Although his starts are short (less than 5 innings per outing), it seems that could simply be pitch count issues or a lack of efficiency, something that can be rectified either way.

RHP Jonas Cuotto - 6'0" 215 lbs - Born Sep 21st 1986 in Venezuela
International Signing
Thus far in 2009: 5 GP, 1 GS, 14 IP, 21 HA, 3 BB, 12 SO, 7.07 ERA
Analysis: turning 23 in September, it would seem that Jonas has a long ways to go before making it any higher. It seems he is very hittable thus far, but who can pass up a guy with Johnny Cueto name similarity?

RHP Henderson Alvarez - 6'0" 190 lbs - Born Apr 18th 1990 in Venezuela
International signing
Thus far in 2009: 3 GP, 3 GS, 13 IP, 17 HA, 0 BB, 10 SO, 4.15 ERA
Analysis: he just turned 19 and he is already proving to be fearless by putting the ball over the plate. The result has been no walks, and more hits. But the confidence it shows against older competition is very encouraging and it seems like he and Anderson may be able to jump up a level sometime this season.

Notable Hitters:

LF Johermyn Chavez - 6'3" 220 lbs - Born Jan 26th 1989 in Venezuela
International Signing
Thus far in 2009: 52 AB, .365 AVG, 9 XBH, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB, .393 OBP, .731 SLG, 1.124 OPS
Analysis: Chavez is finally showing the potential the Jays saw in him last season and he could be the highlight of their entire minors system this season (along with my favorite Brad Emaus). He is doing it all and should get tested by a promotion at some point this season. He is on perfect pace of progression at only 20 years of age.

3B Mark Sobolewski - 6'0" 190 lbs - Born Dec 24th 1989 in Florida
Drafted in 2008, in 4th round, 129th overall out of the University of Miami
Thus far in 2009: 15 AB, .333 AVG, 2 XBH, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .412 OBP, .467SLG, .878 OPS
Analysis: Mark has thus far been relieving Fuenmayor at 3B, but seems to be outplaying him as well. Both are very young, but Fuenmayor is seen as the more likely of the two to move up due to his size, strength, and overall potential. Still, Fuenmayor already has 5 errors at 3B and may be moved to 1B or the OF over time, leaving Mark an opening at 3B.

3B Balbino Fuenmayor - 6'3" 235 lbs - Born Nov 26th 1989 in Venezuela
International Signing
Thus far in 2009: 38 AB, .132 AVG, 1 XBH, 0 HRs, 3 RBI, 0 SB, .132 OBP, .158 SLG, .289 OPS
Analysis: He needs to start hitting, plain and simple. He can't blame his slow start on feeling out of place since he is one of many Venezuelans on the team (now we know where the Jays scouts hang out). He has disappointed thus far, but at his size and with the let down Kevin Ahrens has been thus far, the Jays may be very patient in hopes he becomes the power 3B they so desperately want him to be.

I will add more hitters to this list over time, but to be very honest they are not an impressive bunch and have little hope of progressing through the system. However, as can be noted by the drafting places, Baseball is unlike any other sport in terms of drafting length. When you get someone like Anderson out of the 28th round you know that the draft can be kind to your team late.

The team record thus far is reflective of the talent on board. They have had 19 games scheduled with 4 rain outs total, so only played 15 games. Of those games played they lost 12 of 15. The Jays seem to have some very real talent here in Anderson, Alvarez, and Chavez, but they may ultimately chose to move them up fairly quickly to give them a chance to win and build confidence as a result. As a Jays fan, it is encouraging that Toronto does have some very talented youth at Lansing.


Jays Top Prospects & Profiles

Overall Top 20 Jays Prospects (updated as of 23.12.09)
rank-player-position-expected level in 2010-age at beginning of 2010 season (April)
  1. Brett Wallace, 1B/3B (AAA) 23
  2. Kyle Drabek, SP (AA) 22
  3. Zach Stewart, SP (AAA) 23
  4. Chad Jenkins, SP (LoA) 22
  5. Henderson Alvarez, SP (HiA) 20
  6. Carlos Perez, C (LoA) 20
  7. Travis d'Arnaud, C (HiA) 20
  8. Brian Dopirak, 1B (MLB) 26
  9. JP Arencibia, C (AAA/MLB) 24
  10. Daniel Farquhar, RP (AAA/MLB) 23
  11. Brad Mills, SP (AAA) 25
  12. Michael McDade, 1B (AA) 20
  13. Jacob Marisnick, OF (LoA) 19
  14. Darin Mastroianni, OF (AA) 24
  15. Tim Collins, RP (AAA) 20
  16. Bobby Bell, SP (AA) 24
  17. Justin Jackson, SS (AA) 22
  18. Ryan Schimpf, 2B (HiA) 22
  19. Santiago Nessy, 1B (LoA) 18
  20. Gustavo Pierre, 3B (LoA) 19

The following is the my take on the Top 50 Jays Prospects by position, then in order of talent / ceiling.
For brief profiles and reasoning for ranking, look below the top 50 list. (list completed for C,1B - remaining will be updated soon)

1- Carlos Perez C
2- Travis d'Arnaud C
3- JP Arencibia C
4- Sean Ochinko C
5 - Brian Dopirak 1B
6 - Santiago Nessy 1B
7 - David Cooper 1B
8 - Michael McDade 1B
9- Ryan Schimpf 2B
10- John Tolisano 2B
11- Brad Emaus 2B/3B
12- Justin Jackson SS
13- Tyler Pastornicky SS
14- Mike McCoy SS
15- Gustavo Pierre 3B
16- Balbino Fuenmayor 3B
17- Bryson Namba 3B
18- Kevin Ahrens 3B
19- Jacob Marisnick OF
20- Darin Mastroianni OF
21- Moises SierraOF
22- Kristopher Hobson OF
23- Kenneth Wilson OF
24- Eric Thames OF
25- Kyle Drabek SP/RP
26- Zach Stewart SP/RP
27- Henderson Alvarez SP
28- Chad Jenkins SP
29- Carlos Pina SP
30- Bobby Bell SP
31- Luis Perez SP
32- Reidier Gonzalez SP
33- Joel Carreno SP
34- Brian Slover RP
35- Charles Huggins SP
36- Cesar Sanchez SP
37- Dave Sever SP
38- Kenny Rodriguez SP
39- Matt Fields SP
40- Egan Smith SP
41- Andrew Liebel SP
42- Daniel Farquhar RP
43- Tim Collins RP
44- Matthew Daly RP
45- Robert Ray SP/RP
46- Josh Roenicke RP
47- Trystan Magnuson RP
48- Shawn Griffith RP
49- Aaron Loup RP
50- Matthew Morgal RP

Jays Minors - Top 4 Catchers

For anyone who has watched the Yankees, Angels, Cardinals, White Sox, and Angels win their championships in recent years, it was obvious that the teams had talent throughout the organization that pushed them to the championship level. However, each of these teams also had something else in common: very strong catching. Whether we're talking Jorge Posada in NY, Jason Varitek in Boston, Mike Napoli in Los Angeles, AJ Pierzynski in Chicago, or Yadier Molina in St-Louis, they all had a major impact on their respective clubs. With guys like Matt Wieters, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, and Jesus Montero getting all the press in terms of catchers coming through the minors, the Jasy actually have a formidable foursome that can challenge the depth of any squad on terms of talent at the Catcher position. Here they are, in order of talent:

1. Carlos Perez: will be 20 yrs old in 2010
Carlos signed with the Jays in 2007 as an international FA ($700,000 bonus) and showed some maturity last season with the GCL Jays. He hit 11 doubles, 3 triples, and a homer in 141 ABs, while walking 16 times and only striking out 23 times. His OBP and AVG were respectable at .364 and .291 respectively. BA ranked Perez as the 6th best prospect in the GCL this past season and see him as the catcher of the future for the Jays if all things fall into place. They point out that his defense really shines (something that the other catchers in the system seem to lag behind on) as he threw out 49% of base stealers this season and has a 1.9 second pop-time. His height and weight (6'0" 195 lbs) would also lead me to believe that he is more likely to stay at the position than the other catching prospects the Jays have, even if he does add to that a little.

2. Sean Ochinko: will be 23 yrs old in 2010
Selected in the 11th round in the 2009 draft, Sean played well enough to be named a NYP All-Star at the mid-season point. Getting 188 AB in Auburn, Sean showed that he can handle the bat very well, smacking 6 homers, 20 doubles, and sporting a .324 average overall. His OBP was outstanding at .382 and he only struck out 26 times. He has manyCollege highlights that point to his leadership skills and ability to perform under pressure. Sean does have some experience at 1B, which leads me to believe that if Carlos really does take over the catcher position for the Jays for a long time period, Sean could become the 1B of the future (although Brian Dopirak may have something to say about that for the next couple of years.) Still, Sean is more likely to be ready to compete very soon and may begin the2010 season in HiA Dunedin or AA New Hampshire.

3. JP Arencibia: will be 24 yrs old during 2010 season
JP was selected 21st overall in 2007 by the Jays and climbed the ladder at an extremely quick pace, starting in HiA his first season in the minors. He followed up a great 2007 start with an even better 2008, splitting time between HiA and AA, accumulating 27 HRs and 105 RBI in the process with a decent .298 average. However, in 2009, JP took a step back and showed some holes in his swing. He hit .236 on the season and managed 21 homers. Some scouts doubt that he'll ever be able to hit for average, but his power is off the charts. This is the guy who beat Alex Rodriguez's home run record in High School. He did go through some injuries that slowed him down in 2009, so his "off-year" could be explainable, and he did finish the last 10 games with a .349 average and 6 dingers, so he could suprise many with a big league gig next year. Really, what do the Jays have to lose by letting him catch most of their games in 2010? It's not like Barajas will determine whether or not the Jays get into the playoffs, and they really need a power threat in the lineup. I love JP's bat and think it'll play well in the Dome, however, I also doubt JP will stay at catcher long term, which is why I ranked him 3rd on this list. Although he is 3rd, he is by far the #1 offensive catcher in the system and deserves more recognition than he's getting from minor league evaluators. He'll need to minimize his strike outs to do well against MLB pitching, but should hit for better average overall than Adam Dunn.

4. Yan Gomes: will be 23 yrs old in 2010
The Jays drafted Yan Gomes one round ahead of Ochinko in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. He's much bigger than the other catchers at 6'2" and 215 lbs, and unlike Ochinko who started his 2009 season in Auburn due to his signing date, Gomes was first sent to the GCL in order to get him some time behind the plate before the Auburn season started. Gomes is probably second defensively out of the Jays catching prospects, behind only Perez, and does have a good contact hitting approach. He hit .300 in 237 ABs in 2009, but only hit 2 homers and 23 doubles, less than Perez and Ochinko did in fewer ABs. He's a natural leader, hard worker, and should develop well as a result. Like Perez and Ochinko, how he handles the jump to AA and beyond will determine which one gets the prize of backing up or taking over from JP Arencibia. Regardless, I see a bright future for the Jays at the C position, and only hope that it would lead to some well deserved glory years for us Jays fans.

Jays Minors - Top 4 First Basemen

If we rewind the clock to 2007, before Brian Dopirak was obtained, the Jays minor league depth at 1B was non-existant. There was absolutely no light at the end of the dark tunnel to cover 1B. JP must of been thanking his lucky stars that Lyle Overbay never got injured, because there was nobody behind him to take the spot with any gusto.

Fast-forward to today and it's a completely different picture. Although half of the top four have yet to "prove" themselves in the minors, their ceilings are extremely high and the Jays may actually have an issue at some point when young players start knocking on MLB's door.

The top spot on this list is automatic, but the others are ranked in terms of ceilings.

1. Brian Dopirak : will be 27 in 2010
Brian deserved the same shot Randy Ruiz got last season based on his performance in AA and AAA. The Jays were very lucky that the Cubs were silly enough to release him outright in 2008, even though he was named their minor league player of the year just 4 years earlier. How much would they like to have him now that Derek Lee is getting a bit too expensive for their budget? Between AA and AAA, Brian his 27 HR in 546 AB all the while hitting .315. He is also playing winter ball this year in Venezuela and has 7 HRs in only 137 AB. His glove works very well at 1B and he is a lot more agile than his big body would indicate. He should get a fair shot at 1B if Overbay is dealt. If not, and this would be unfortunate, he will need to wait for a break and continue to waste time in the minors.

2. Santiago Nesi : will be 24 in 2010
Although the Jays signed Santiago while he was listed as a Catcher, there is little talk of keeping him at the position now that the Jays paid him a $750,000 bonus. Not only do they have better options at the position, but his arm is well below average and his defence isn't strong enough to keep him there. However, his bat would definitely play well at 1B, and he is a big guy at 6'2" 220 lbs. He is the best power hitting threat the Jays have in the system after JP Arencibia, and his stroke is more compact than JP's, meaning that he should be able to make more consistent contact without subtracting too much power. I'm very curious to see where the Jays start him in 2010 and can't wait to read about the results.

3. David Cooper : will be 23 in 2010
David was drafted 17th overall in the 2008 draft, and like many of the 2007-2008 draft picks he has struggled to get going ever since. Maybe it's the pressure, but between him, Justin Jackson, Kevin Ahrens, and others, there are many Jays prospects that are under performing thus far since being drafted in a high position. David spent 2009 in AA New Hampshire and hit 10 HR in 473 ABs while keeping a .253 average. The Jays are still hoping his learning curb starts to take off, so they sent him to the AFL this year, and the results were very similar. He hit 1 HR over 78 ABs and kept a lowly .231 average. He doesn't run well at all, doesn't hit as many extra base hits as other 1B in the system, and isn't very big at 6'0" and 200 lbs. I'm still holding onto his high ceiling for one more year, but if he doesn't add muscle and start driving the ball with authority in 2010, I'll be giving up on this once high on our list prospect.

4. Michael McDade : will be 21 in 2010
Michael is a sixth rounder from the 2007 draft and hails from Las Vegas. He is one big boy at 6'1" and 260 lbs, and drives the ball accordingly. He had 16 HRs in 406 ABs in his first full season at LoA Lansing, and more importantly had 46 extra base hits overall. He drives the ball with authority and swings a little too freely, but that should be addressed as he matures and gains more experience - instruction. He still has issues hitting LHP (.234) in comparison to RHP (.293), but did learn to hit it a bit more consistently in the second half of the season. He hit .277 on the season and really came on after the all-star break with a .296 average to go along with 8 of his 16 HRs. So he was able to maintain his power while hiking his average quite a bit. Out of all the Jays prospects, he ranks in my top 3 to watch in 2010 in terms of prospects that can make some serious breakthroughs and jump up the rankings. It all depends on how he does in HiA and whether he learns to hit LHP.

As I've said, the Jays finally have some real potential at 1B, something they haven't had since Carlos Delgado strolled through the system. I can't wait to see how they perform in 2010 and look forward to their progression through the minors, or in MLB in Dopirak's case.

Jays Minors - Top 4 Second Basemen

Now, this is where the Jays minors picture gets really murky. We have a combination of under performing players and just drafted players who did fairly well in a short period of time. First and foremost, nobody sticks out and screams top-prospect. All have decent defensive tools and can become average MLB starters if all falls into place for them. Whether one of these guys becomes a star or not is the real question, and the 2010 season will go a long way to answering that question as they move up the ladder, and as the Jays are forced to decide who gets which level of play. Regardless, this is one of the weakest areas of the Jays minors system, only behind the SS position. The following are the top 4!

1. Ryan Schimpf: will be 22 in 2010
Overtaking John Tolisano as the top 2B in the system is the Jays 2009 5th round draft pick, Ryan Schimpf. Ryan signed very early after the draft, with little fanfare, and played hard from the beginning. He spent most of the season at Aubrun and played extremely well against right handers, hitting .333 with all 3 of his HRs, and showed his youth against lefties, hitting .152 with no extra base hits in 33 ABs. However, it's the fact that he walked almost as often as he struck out (15/24) that stood out for Ryan and enabled him to get a total OBP of .381 in 2009 at such a young age. Depending on how he comes out of the gates in 2010, he could move up the ladder very quickly and surpass John at some point. He's a sturdy 5'9" and 185 lbs and plays better defence than John does. His 2009 stats are as follows:
133 AB, 39 hits, .293 average, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HRs, 14 RBI, 5 SBs

2. John Tolisano: will be 22 in 2010
Out of all of the Jays disappointing 2007 draft picks, I like John to turn it around the most. The 2007 second rounder played with a lot of heart in 2009, even if the results didn't match the effort. Regardless of the level John played at since he was drafted, he has maintained a very low batting average, which is the most troubling aspect of his progression. Whether it's his youth for his level of play, or the fact he tries too hard to "hurt" the ball and drive it out, John has to learn to hit for average if he wants to become a regular in MLB. He did so badly near the end of the year that the Jays decided against sending him to the AFL and decided to rest him instead. He may repeat HiA at Dunedin, but will likely get the move up to AA New Hampshire at some point in 2010. His calling card to the bigs is his intriguing combination of power and speed which both play well at 2B. His 2009 stats were:
401 AB, 93 hits, .232 average, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 12 HRs, 58 RBI, 5 SB

3. Brad Emaus: will be 24 years old in 2010
Brad was one of my favorite breakout candidates in 2009. He had an awesome spring training with the Jays, and took off like a bat out of hell once he started play in AA. However, he slowed down big time as the season wore on and ended up with very mediocre stats. His versatility in the infield may mean that Brad becomes a utility player for the Jays in 2010 or 2011. But, he does have the power and skills to become a starter if he works on being more consistent. His 2009 stats were as follows:
505 AB, 128 hits, .253 average, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 10 HRs, 67 RBI, 10 SBs

4. Oliver Dominguez : will be 21 years old in 2010
Oliver struggled a bit after his promotion from the DSL to the GCL, but he was only 20 years on in 2009 and still has plenty of time to develop. The tools are all there. His most telling stat in 2009 was the fact that he stole 13 bases without being caught once, indicating both how fast and smart he is on the bases. He should put on a little more weight as he gets older and bulks up, but currently sits at 5'9" and 156 lbs, not exactly a welter weight. With the 3 guys on this list ahead of him, Oliver will get time to develop at each level, and I expect he'll get a promotion to Lansing for 2010.
In 142 AB, he had 32 hits, a .225 average, 6 doubles, 3 HRs, and 13 SBs

Jays Minors - Top 4 Short Stops

Short Stop has been a sore spot of the Blue Jays ever since Tony Fernandez left. Marco Scutaro finally changed that in 2009, but is bound to leave us for 2010 as soon as the market settles itself out. Well, now that we know this, and we also know that the next 2 years will have a combination of Alex Gonzalez and John MacDonald manning the position (barring a trade), is there anyone coming up in the minors to take over in 2012 or beyond? Not anything worth writing home about, yet, but there is some upside there. It still remains the shallowest of positions for the Jays in terms of talent. Hopefully the pending Doc trade can help remedy that a little.

The top spot on this list is a little surprising because he's so weak offensively, but I placed him there only because I believe he is more advanced defensively than any of the others, and he also has a higher ceiling. Having said that, his performance since drafted is one of the most disappointing of any Blue Jays Prospect.

1. Justin Jackson: will be 22 in Dec 2010
Watching Justin go through our minors is pretty frightening. It puts into perspective just how bad our minors system is at the SS position. First, the positive is that he lowered his errors in 2009 from 26 in 2008 to 18. He has excellent range which probably affects how many errors he inherits due to his reach. Defense is definitely Justin's strong point. (he may be in luck, since the Jays seem to really like defensive SS!) He is being pushed through the minors levels by Jays brass even though he has difficulty adapting to each level offensively. In 2008, he was able to manage a decent 26 doubles and .340 OBP, but most of his other stats were sub par. He had a .236 average, struck out 154 times, was caught stealing 8 times in 25 tries, and hit 7 HRs. He was much worse in 2009. He hit .213 on the season, with only 12 doubles (although he had only 294 ABs), no HR, and a .321 OBP. The big questions for 2010 are these: will he begin to hit for average and shorten his stroke, and will he start the year in AA? Chances are the answers to those questions are no and yes. It wouldn't surprise me to see him continuing to struggle at the plate as they'll probably start him in AA, and he doesn't really have much of a chance to make the Jays until at least 2011 unless he is a real surprise breakout story.

2. Tyler Pastornicky : will be 21 in 2010
Consistency and grit are two words that come to mind when looking at Tyler's performance in 2009. He has done very well at young age between Lansing and Dunedin, totaling 57 stolen bases between the two levels. He is patient at the plate and doesn't strike out often, exemplified by the fact that he had 42 walks and 57 strike outs in 2009 and had a decent .336 OBP. At 5'11" and 170 lbs, Tyler won't win any strength contests, but he should get a little stronger as he gets older and does drive the ball fairly well. Chances are he will begin 2009 in HiA, with a chance to be promoted to AA if Justin Jackson moves up to AAA at some point in the season. He may have a chance to make the Jays in a utility role sometime in 2012.

3. Mike McCoy: will be 29 in 2010
Although he is too old to be a true prospect, he is still a candidate to take the spot at some point if injuries force the Jays to start him, and may be a real asset to them in 2010. Besides, there was really no other prominent SS to slide in here, so it forced my hand! He hit extremely well in AAA Colorado Springs in 2009 with a .309 average, 34 extra base hits, and a .405 OBP. He also stole 40 bases and was only caught 6 times. With the Jays lacking so much speed at the MLB level, I wouldn't be surprised to see them fit Mike in throughout the infield. He is sound defensively and has a good arm that plays at well at SS and 3B. chances are he'll get a chance to prove himself as a major leaguer in 2010 and it will be interesting to see if he can provide the Jays some much needed energy off the bench.

4.Ryan Goins: will be 22 in 2010
Mr. Goins was the second highest pick signed by the Jays in 2009 after being drafted in the 4th round of last summer's draft. He jumped around a ton after signing quickly, going from the GCL, to Auburn, to Lansing. He did fairly well in Auburn, holding up a .297 average and .349 OBP, but really lacks any power or speed thus far. He had 10 extra base hits in 191 ABs (9 doubles, 1 triple), and was caught stealing 4 times in 7 steal attempts. He is identical in size to Tyler P. but lacks the speed aspect that he brings to his game. He committed 10 errors in 2009 for a .948 fielding percentage total and may end up playing at 2B as he moves up the ladder. Chances are he'll being 2009 in Lansing.


Jays Minors - Top 4 Third Basemen

 The Jays have not had much strength at third base in the minors since they took Kelly Gruber in the 80s. For some reason, the club has scouted players the wrong way at the hot corner. I'm not sure who makes the suggestions for which 3rd basemen to draft in the organization - or whether that person was usually over ridden, but the Jays finally noticed this trend and did something about it in recent years. They spent some high picks and lots of International money on acquiring top-end third base prospects. So, has it worked? Well, here are the top 4.

1.Gustavo Pierre: will be 18 in Dec 2009
 Gustavo was one of the youngest GCL Blue Jays on the squad in 2009, but even at his young age he carries a lot of strength due to his size - 6'2" 185 lbs. He was one of the few big splashes the Jays have made in International signings and will hopefully prove himself a little more in 2010, but his 2009 season showed some promise nonetheless. He played 48 games in the GCL, has 18 extra base hits in 174 AB, stole 8 bases and maintained a low but okay average for his age of .259. Part of the problem with Pierre is his inability to hit left handed pitching, maintaining a lowly .195 average and only 2 extra base hits against them, compared to a .278 average against righties with 16 extra base hits. As with many young players, he needs to cut down on strike outs and to build his pitch recognition skills as proven by his 45 strike outs to only 3 walks, but this is something he will learn and be taught over time. He made 14 errors in 100 attempts while flipping from SS to 3B. Gustavo was taken as a SS, but his arm plays very well at third and his growth will make it unlikely that he can stick at SS. As he matures and progresses in the minors in 2010, Gustavo should improve and has the highest ceiling of all third basemen in the system. Expect to see him repeat the GCL and jump to Auburn or Lansing at some point in the season.

2. Balbino Fuenmayor: just turned 20 in November 2009
Balbino at 20 is the exact size that Gustavo is expected to be when he turns 20 - 6'3" and 235 lbs of strength and power. To put Pierre's stats above in perspective, Balbino had only 4 home runs over 2 full years in the GCL at the very same age that Pierre was in 2009 and will be in 2010 (17 and 18). So, if Pierre improves slightly in 2010, he will have outpaced the growth Balbino had at that age by a healthy margin. After struggling through 2 years in the GCL, with some growth in the second shown in average (.307) and extra base hits (19), he finally showed some true potential as a 19 year old at Lansing in 2009. While is average dipped to .263 and his OBP was unsatisfactory at .279, he showed some power with 32 extra base hits, 8 HRs, and 54 RBI in 435 AB. He fought for playing time at 1B and 3B much of the year with 1B Michael McDade and 3B Mark Sobolewski, but should get a full year under his belt at 3B in 2010. Interestingly, he made 12 errors at 3B and none at 1B, despite playing more time at 1B. However, intentions are to keep him at 3B and develop his defense. He may get a jump to Dunedin at some point, but he needs to work on his strike outs and OBP before he can be viewed as a potential regular.

3. Bryson Namba: will be 19 in January 2010
Bryson was drafted in the 12th round of the 2009 draft and didn't get many ABs in 2009, only 77. However, he proved that he can use his size (6'2" and 210 lbs) by hitting 4 HRs in that short span. He'll be splitting time between 1B and 3B with Gustavo Pierre unless one of the two makes the jump to Lansing in 2010. Bryson hails from Hawaii and played some C and most of the infield in high school, but he will be used as a 1B or 3B by the Jays. Obviously, making the switch from C to 3B isn't easy, and explains why Bryson made 9 errors in 38 attempts in 2009. But, with some practice and experience, his D should improve as he is agile enough to play the position and even has a little speed (for now). He should continue to grow a little and will add muscle to his frame, both of which bode well for his power numbers. He did walk 6 times in 77 AB in 2009, so he may have a little more patience at this point than either Balbino or Gustavo do. Bryson will be tested with a full year at 3B in 2010, and should remain in Lansing for the majority of the season.

4. Kevin Ahrens: will be 21 in April 2010
Selected 16th overall in the first round of the 2007 draft, he ties David Purcey as some of the most disappointing Jays minors in recent times. Since he's still young at only 21 years old in 2010, and playing at a high enough level for his age, I kept him on this list. But Kevin really needs to show the Jays he can hit, or he'll be passed very quickly by Balbino and Gustavo. In 377 AB he had a .215 average, only 23 extra base hits, 4 HR, a .282 OBP, and had 18 errors in 175 attempts at 3B. He's smaller than most Jays 3B prospects at 6'1" and 190 lbs, and may never develop the power expected at the position. When he was drafted in 2007, announcers and scouts were making comparisons of Kevin to Chipper Jones. It definitely doesn't look like that will ever come near fruition, but, Kevin could develop if he adds strength into a Lyle Overbay type 1B. That's about his ceiling in my humblest opinion. He'll most likely begin 2010 by repeating in HiA Dunedin until he can display the skills needed to make a jump to AA in 2011 or beyond.

Next up will be the top 12 outfielders.


A list of interviews with Jays minor league players will be added as they are completed.

Coming in 2010.

Blue Jays HOF - Facts

Best Toronto Blue Jays of All-Time (by position)
C - 
Ernie Whitt: 134 HR, .249 AVG, 938 hits, 534 RBI, 22 SB
1B - 
Carlos Delgado: 473 HR, .280 AVg, 1512 RBI, 2038 hits
2B - 
Roberto Alomar: 210 HR, .300 AVG, 1134 RBI, 2724 hits, 474 SB
SS - 
Tony Fernandez: 94 HR, .288 AVG, 844 RBI, 2276 hits, 246 SB
3B - 
Kelly Gruber: 117 HR, .259 HAVG, 443 RBI, 818 hits, 80 SB
LF - 
George Bell: 265 HR, .278 AVG, 1002 RBI, 1702 hits, 67 SB
CF - 
Vernon Wells: 192 HR, .280 AVG, 725 RBI, 1368 hits, 84 SB
RF - 
Joe Carter: 396 HR, .259 avg, 1445 RBI, 231 SB, 2184 hits
DH - 
John Olerud: 255 HR, .295 AVG, 1230 RBI, 2239 hits (had to be Johnny O, even if he was a 1B)

SP - 
Roy Halladay: 148 - 76, 3.43 ERA, 2046 IP, 1495 Ks, 455 BB, 49 CG, 15 SO
SP - 
Dave Stieb: 176 - 137, 3.44 ERA, 2895 IP, 1669 Ks, 1034 BB, 103 CG, 30 SO
SP - 
Jimmy Key: 186 - 117, 3.51 ERA, 2591 IP, 1538 Ks, 668 BB, 34 CG, 13 SO

RP - 
Tom Henke: 217 saves, 2.67 ERA, 789 IP, 861 Ks, 255 BB
RP - 
Duane Ward: 121 saves, 3.28 ERA, 666.2 IP, 679 Ks, 286 BB



Capacity: 49,539 for baseball
five levels: 100, 200, 300 Luxury Suites, 400 Luxury Suites, 500 level
49,808 Capacity for football (can you say Toronto Bills?)
55,000 for concerts
67,000 for other events
Concert Hall seats 10,000-25,000
Theatre seats 3,000 to 7,00
Surface: Turf


Rogers Centre, formerly known as SkyDome, is one of the world's most innovative and luxurious ballparks. It opened in June 1989 and was the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof. It also boasts a 348-room hotel attached to it, with 70 rooms overlooking the field. Although it changed names in February 2005, following its purchase by Rogers Communications, I and many others still consider it to be the Skydome.

Skydome received tons of praise and publicity when it opened in 1989 because of its retractable roof, various modern amenities and the hotel, but it is not that unique any more since other similar buildings have been built.  It still has the plus side of many bars and restaurants and sights of downtown Toronto within walking distance, it's still a cool place to see a game.



The "roof system features a series of 3 moveable panels and 1 stationary panel. Panels 2 and 3 slide on parallel rails while panel 1 slides on a circluar rail "tucking" underneath 2 and 3
-the roof operates on a system of steel tracks and 54 drive mechanisms called "bogies" and is powered by a series of DCmotors that generate over 750 horsepower
-roof area is 339,343 square feet or 31,525 square metres
-weight is 11,000 tons
-span at widest point- 674 feet or 209 metres
-height is 282 feet or 86 metres (from field level to highest point)
-covering is single PVC membrane on insulated acoustic steel deck
-100% of the field and 91% of the seating area is exposed with the roof open
-open/close time — 20 minutes (71 feet or 21 metres per minute)" 

- from www.rogerscentre .com/about/history.jsp


"-In 2005, the club purchased an integrated display and scoring system from Daktronics
-Main display in centre field is 33 feet high (10.0 metres) by 110 feet wide (33.6 metres).
-Colour outfield wall displays, left and right-centre field are 10 feet (3.05 metres) by 65 feet (19.8 metres).
-The full colour ribbon boards along the 300 level facing are four feet (1.2 metre) by 435 feet (132.6 metres)
-The scoreboard has highly versatile programming capabilities including the ability to display full colour commercials during events.
-The screen is one of the industry's leading with PROSTAR® VIDEOPLUS which utilizes state of the art led (light emitting diode) technology. This will provide excellent resolution, increased brightness and improved viewing angles.
-The majority of spectators have a great view of the scoreboard.
-Even those few fans who are sitting in sections beside the video board can still view the screen in addition to the coloured display boards on the outfield wall which measure 10ft high x 65ft /3 metres x 20 metres wide, and coloured display boards on the 300 level facing boards which measure approximately 4ft high x 435 ft/1.3 metres x 132.6 metres long on each side.
-Images can travel the entire 435 foot span of the screen.
-The video boards have the ability to work in tandem with one another or independent of one another."

- from www.rogerscentre .com/about/history.jsp

General Team History - Playoffs

1985 - Lost in playoffs to Kansas City
1989 - Lost in Playoffs to Oakland
1991 - AL East Champs: Lost AL Championship to the Twins
1992 - World Series Champions (beat Braves)
1993 - World Series Champions (beat Phillies)

Last 10 seasons

2009 - 75 W - 87 L, 28 GB $ 80,538,300 Payroll *JP Ricciardi is Fired
2008 - 86 W - 76 L, 11 GB $ 97,973,900 Payroll
2007 - 83 W - 79 L, 13 GB $ 81,942,800Payroll
2006 - 87 W - 75 L, 10 GB $ 71,915,000 Payroll
2005 - 80 W - 82 L, 15 GB $ 45,719,500 Payroll
2004 - 67 W - 94 L, 33.5 GB $ 50,017,000 Payroll
2003 - 86 W - 76 L, 15 GB $ 51,269,000 Payroll
2002 - 78 W - 84 L, 25.5 GB $ 76,864,333 Payroll
2001 - 80 W - 82 L, 16 GB * Year JP Ricciardi was Hired, first of many losing seasons $ 76,896,000 Payroll
2000 - 83 W - 79 L, 4.5 GB $ 46,363,332 Payroll

Attendance (remarkable for enduring so much losing)

2009 - TBD
2008 - 2,399,786 total ; 29,626 average
2007 - 2,360,648 total ; 29,143 average
2006 - 2,302,182 total ; 29,422 average
2005 - 1,977,949 total ; 24,724 average
2004 - 1,900,041 total ; 23,457 average
2003 - 1,799,458 total ; 22,219 average
2002 - 1,636,904 total ; 20,209 average
2001 - 1,895,236 total ; 23,690 average
2000 - 1,819,919 total ; 21,058 average

Top 5 draft picks Under JP

2001: 1.
Gabe Gross 2.Brandon League 3.Carlton Goodwin 4.Chris Sheffield 5.Micheal Rouse
2002: 1.Russ Adams 2.
Dave Bush 3. Justin Maureau 4.Adam Peterson 5.Chad Pleiness
1.Aaron Hill 2. Josh Banks 3.Shaun Marcum 4.Kurt Isenburg 5.Justin James
2004: 1.Zach Jackson 2.David Purcey 3.Curtis Thigpen 4.David Hill 
5.Adam Lind
1.Ricky Romero 2.Brian Pettway 3.Ryan Patterson 4.Eric Fowler 5.Josh Bell
1.Travis Snider 2.Brandon Magee 3.Luke Hopkins 4.Brian Jeroloman 5.John Baksh
2007: 1.Kevin Ahrens 2.JP Arencibia 
3.Bret Cecil 4.Justin Kackson 5.Trystan Magnuson
2008: 1.David Cooper 2.Kenneth Wilson 3.Andrew Liebel 4.Mark Sobolewski 5.Tyler Pastornicky
2009: (signed) 1.Chad Jenkins 2.Jacob Marisnick 3.Ryan Goins 4.Ryan Schimpf 5.Kris Hobson

***All this to say that JP didn't do the worst job drafting for his team, could be better, but could be a lot worse. I'll give him that. But, with no vision to support the guys that made it and how to put it all together in order to be like the Twins and Marlins of the small market area codes, he was useless to us nonetheless.

** Only no hitter in Blue Jays History: Dave Stieb vs Cleveland September 2nd 1990. Jays won 3-0.

** Only Cycle hitters in Blue Jays History: Kelly Gruber 16 Apr 1989, Jeff Frye 17 Aug 2001 1990

** Only time a Blue Jay was the MLB hitting champ in Blue Jays History: 1B John Olerud who hit .363 in 1993

** Only times a Blue Jay was the MLB Home Run Champ in Blue Jays History: OF Jesse Barfield who hit 40 HR in 1986, and 1B Fred McGriff who hit 36 HR in 1989

** Only times a Blue Jay was the MLB Strike Out Leader in Blue Jays History: Roger Clemens who struck out 292 batters in 1997 and again for striking out 271 batters in 1998, and AJ Burnett who struck out 231 batters in 2008

Hall of Famers that played on the Blue Jays for some time

Ricky Henderson - 1993
Paul Molitor - 1993-1995
Phil Niekro - 1987
Dave Winfield - 1992

Other Awards

MVP: George Bell - 1987
Cy Young: Roy Halladay 2003, Roger Clemens 1997-1998, Pat Hentgen 1996
Rookie of the Year: Eric Hinske 2002, Alfredo Griffin 1979
Manager of the Year:Bobby Cox 1985
Hank Aaron Award: Carlos Delgado 2000
ALCS MVP: Dave Stewart 1993, Roberto Alomar 1992
World Series MVP: Paul Molitor 1993, Pat Borders 1992
Gold Gloves: Orlando Hudson 2B 2005, Vernon Wells OF 2004-2005-2006, Shawn Green 1999, Devon White OF 1991-1992-1993-1994-1995, Roberto Alomar 2B 1991-1992-1993-1994-1995, Kelly Gruber 3B 1990, Jesse Barfield OF 1986-1987, Tony Fernandez 1986-1987-1988-1989
Sportsmen of the year: Pat Gillick/Cito Gaston 1993

Players on Current 40-Man Roster that were drafted by the Blue Jays or came up through their system

Roy Halladay
Bret Cecil
Marc Rzepczynski
Jesse Litsch
Dustin McGowan
Shaun Marcum
Ricky Romero
David Purcey
Scott Richmond
Scott Downs
Jason Frasor
Casey Janssen
Brian Wolfe
Jesse Carlson
Brandon League
Brad Mills
Luis Perez
Dick Hayhurst
Davis Romero
Bill Murphy

Aaron Hill
Vernon Wells
Travis Snider
Adam Lind

24/40 = 60%

Needless to say their internal focus seems to be pitching pitching pitching. I don't blame them after over spending on FAs like BJ Ryan and AJ Burnett!!! Although they could use a bit more balance overall.

** Only retired number in team history is Jackie Robinson's #42....this I find surprising. Henke and Stieb are prime candidates for this, as will Roy one day.