Blue Jays can learn prospect lessons from Bautista, Smoak

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May 31, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Jose Bautista (19) waits in the on deck circle in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Minnesota Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With the calendar flipping to July, the Toronto Blue Jays have begun to take an inventory of their prospect portfolio. Rival GMs have, too. If the Blue Jays are going to make a push for the big arm that fans crave, it’s going to cost the organization several of their top young players.

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Baseball has become the great game of measurements, every possible facet being measured and analyzed, but the world of scouting and prospects remains volatile. We cannot place a number on a prospect like Dalton Pompey, or run their Minor League performance through an algorithm that tells us there is a 71.4% chance that he will produce an average 2.0 WAR at the next level.

This uncertainty causes a love affair with prospects, always fearing that they will hit their sky-high ceilings and haunt the team for the next decade. These hesitations come up whenever you mention the name “Jeff Hoffman” to a Blue Jays fan in trade talks. This July, the Blue Jays may need to accept that they are receiving a known commodity in exchange for assets whose potential talents are unpredictable and somewhat out of their control.

Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t need to look far to see both ends of this spectrum. In the Blue Jays lineup alone, Jose Bautista and Justin Smoak represent what happens, and often what fails to happen, in the world of prospects.

Next: Justin Smoak's long and humbling road