Keegan Matheson wrote a piece (check it out) the other day which looked at the ramifications of losing inning eaters like Mark Buehrle and RA Dickey. The discussion in the comment section was very refreshing and touched on some topics near and dear to me…..prospects. The discussion quickly turned into a prospect name dropping session and possible lineup/rotations configurations we could dream about in 2016 and 2017.
I was impressed by our readers knowledge of the Jays system; however, I was discouraged by the lack of forward thinking. Sorry guys I mean no disrespect. Many of the comments centered around guys that appear on ‘Top Prospect’ lists but not beyond. I blame this on ‘Top Prospect’ lists themselves.
Years ago, before the advent of the ‘Top Prospect’ list, prospects were after thoughts when it came to making trades. Star players were traded for a hand full of guys you never heard of because there wasn’t the same minor league coverage back then. ‘Top Prospect’ lists make it easy for fans to forecast the arrival of young high ceiling prospects to their favorite team’s roster. They have become a great source of discussion and provide fans with something to look forward to when times are tough.
Unfortunately, theses lists also make it easy for fans to overvalue their teams top prospects. They make it easy to forget that baseball is the toughest of the major sports to predict what you’re getting in the draft. They tend to create too much hype around guys whose chances of becoming an all-star are the same as becoming a bust in Single-A.
The Toronto Blue Jays have had their share of ‘Top Prospects’ create excitement but were unable to deliver results, with Travis Snider being the most recent. My philosophy for building a winner has always centered around hoarding prospects and getting the system to the point it produces major league ready talent in Triple-A and Double-A to replace our own free-agents. I belief that we have reached that point….it would have been sooner had the JA Happ, Marlins, and RA Dickey trades not been made.
Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey, Matt Boyd, and Miguel Castro are members of Jays Journal’s top 20 Prospects for 2015 but they’re also prospects which have gained some major league in 2015. This experience increases their value as trade chips. I can understand the reluctance to part with them because of their ‘Top Prospects’ status but here is the funny thing about ‘Top Prospects’….ever team has them. Not all are created equal but every team has a No.1 prospect.
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If a team includes three of their top 10 prospects, three new players enter the fold and earn the title of ‘top 10 prospect’. The same situation will present itself if Norris is dealt, but fear not Blue Jay fans. Alex Anthopoulos has done a great job collecting arms through the draft and international free agency and has built a strong farm system. One that has the ability to replenishes itself.
Instead of pinning your hopes on Daniel Norris, you can pin them on Sean Reid-Foley or Clinton Hollon. Instead of anointing Dalton Pompey the future of Toronto’s outfield, you can look to Anthony Alford or Edward Olivares. Need a good Canadian kid to cheer for, how about Shane Dawson? He made the Mid-West All-Star team, he is on the Canadian Pan-Am team and is doesn’t have an infraspinatus muscle. If that doesn’t cut it for you than follow Tom Robson as he makes his way back from TJ surgery. You want an exciting SS well ow about Richard Urena and Yeltsin Gudino. It’s possible none of these prospects even make to Buffalo, but that’s the chance you take when dealing with prospects.
I guess the point that I am trying to make is that Alex has the bullets in the chamber and an extra magazine in his pocket to pull off several moves to improve this team. Prospects can be replaced. Farm systems can be rebuilt. The only question remains…..will he use his bullets to pick up an arm or two whose contract extends beyond 2015 to take Mark Buehrle, RA Dickey, and Marco Estrada turn in the 2016 rotation.