Blue Jays: A look at homegrown talent: Baseball America

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Marcus Stroman
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Marcus Stroman /

Baseball America published an interesting article showing the major leaguers each team in the AL East has drafted. It revealed a fair bit about the Blue Jays’ current roster situation, and what’s to come in the future.

In order to have success in the big leagues a franchise has to take a lot of important steps, with perhaps the most important being building a solid foundation from within. Looking at our recent World Series winners, both the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs are prime examples, having all kinds of elite, affordable contributors. Supplement that with a few free agent agent pieces to round out the roster, and that’s generally the formula for success, give or take.

The Blue Jays have done a decent job of this over recent years, and we were treated to a specific look at how their draft picks have fared as big leaguers in a recent Baseball America article, published on Wednesday. The piece took a look at how each team in the AL East would look as a homegrown-only team, and how many solid MLB contributors each team had drafted and groomed.

There are a few things that stick out to me when I look at the list of Jays, and the writer, Kyle Glaser, captures a lot of my feelings in his blurb on their lineup, plus the extras. The article builds a roster out of the current MLB players brought up in the Blue Jays system, and then includes an extras section as well for those that didn’t make this fantasy team. Without further adieu, let’s have a look at Glaser’s list:

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Yan Gomes
1B Eric Thames
2B Ryan Goins
3B Ryan Schimpf
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
OF Jake Marisnick
OF Kevin Pillar
OF Anthony Alford
DH Adam Lind

SP Noah Syndergaard
SP Marcus Stroman
SP Aaron Sanchez
SP Kendall Graveman
SP Joe Musgrove
RP Roberto Osuna

Honorable MentionSam DysonBrett CecilDustin McGowanJeff HoffmanAnthony DeSclafaniDaniel NorrisMiguel Castro, Matt BoydJustin NicolinoRyan TeperaAaron LoupDanny FarquharDanny BarnesMarc RzepczynskiFranklin Barreto

He doesn’t build an entire bullpen here but you get the idea, and it’s interesting to look at the work the Blue Jays’ various front offices have done when compared to the other AL East teams.

The overwhelming thing that sticks out, which is also pointed out by Glaser, is that the Blue Jays have done a much better job on the pitching front. Elite names like Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Roberto Osuna, and more have become what most hoped they would, which is above average, big league starters. In Stroman/Sanchez/Syndergaard, you’ve arguably got three ace types, depending on health of course, and there’s plenty of other talent on the pitching front. It also conjures up dreams of what the three of them could have done together, but I digress.

On offence on the other hand, this would be a putrid lineup by big league standards, and I say that with all due respect to those listed. There are only a handful of current starters in the group, with Eric Thames as far and away the most productive hitter, and things fall off pretty quickly from there. The bulk of the heavy hitters for the Blue Jays’ offence have been acquired through trades or free agency, with the list including Jose Bautista (Pirates), Josh Donaldson (A’s), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies), Russell Martin (free agent), Devon Travis (Tigers), Justin Smoak (free agent), Steve Pearce (free agent) and more. They’ve used this route to bring in Yangervis Solarte, Randal Grichuk, and Aledmys Diaz this offseason as well, as their talented minor leaguers just aren’t quite ready for the next step.

Oddly enough, the system has flip-flopped in this respect in recent years, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of system that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins ultimately start building. Their minor league system is highlighted by the likes of Alford, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and many other offensive talents, but is arguably lacking on the pitching side of things. It appears they’ve hit on a late first rounder in Nate Pearson, and have others taking significant strikes like Ryan Borucki and T.J. Zeuch, but there’s plenty of work to be done in this area to be sure.

The interesting thing when it comes to pitching in the division, is that there isn’t a lot of homegrown talent on the other teams. There are examples like Luis Severino in New York, but most of the talent that was drafted and developed in the division has gone elsewhere, such as the revolving door than it the Tampa Bay Rays’ rotation. The Blue Jays may be lacking in a few areas compared to their division rivals, but on homegrown pitching talent still in house, I’d argue that they lead the pack.

Next: Blue Jays kept their word on Donaldson after all