After seemingly only finishing the 2013 top prospect list yesterday (we were very late this year) the crack, and expanded, Jays Journal staff have pulled up their socks and gotten together to create the 2014 top thirty.
This year’s process has been slightly different in that, instead of whistling and looking the other way while colleague Kyle did all the heavy lifting, five JJ staffers submitted lists. To combine those five lists, points were handed out based on positioning, so if the prospect was ranked first on any of the lists he received thirty points and so on down to one point for being thirtieth. Opinions did not diverge much in the top five (nor would you have expected them too) but after that, names started popping up all over the place.
It definitely provided for some interesting discussion. Resident prospect-ologist colleague Kyle is ‘all about the tools and upside. There are guys in the system like Stilson or Pillar who are in Triple-A, but their ceilings (MAYBE second division LFer and setup guy) are so utterly uninspiring that I just can’t justify ranking them highly.’
Whereas minor league aficionado, creator of BlueJaysFromAway, JaysJournal staffer, GradingOnTheCurve editor, and all ’round workaholic Jay Blue is ‘more of a “what have done for me lately” type. Guys who are showing even major league-backup/reliever type skills at the higher minor league levels get more points in my book. In general, I guess I go with “safer” picks than the guys who has gobs of potential but haven’t proven that they can convert that potential‘
I probably slot somewhere in the middle, having rated Sean Nolin quite high as truly believe he has the stuff to be a mid to back end starter, while penalizing John Stilson for his high-leverage reliever ceiling. Hypocritical I suppose, but the Jays are currently loaded with relievers, while starting pitching is a bit of an issue. I also have a propensity to be higher than I probably should be on prospects who have seen time in Vancouver due to my affiliation with the Canadians.
However you look at it, it was fun doing the research and hopefully the readers offer their opinions as we make our way through the list.
Speaking of which, we genuinely believe all thirty pieces will get done prior to the full-season minor league opening days in early April. To whet appetites though, we are going to run through a few honourable mentions first. The guys that may have made our individual lists, but when all was added up, didn’t make the final thirty.
This provides a forum for the writers to argue their particular prospects case, and has the added bonus of hopefully seeing us through the winter meetings. Where, and I truly hate to say this, there is a pretty good chance one ore more of the top thirty will be suiting up for a different organization next year.