|Jake Marisnick has just as high an upside|
as fellow speedster Anthony Gose
Last week, we at BTTN ranked and analyzed the Blue Jays top prospects, and released our Top 10 (http://bttn.blogspot.com/2011/01/bttn-top-10-jays-prospects-for-2011.html). As promised, here are our rankings of the Toronto Blue Jays Top 11-20 prospects.
11. J.P. Arencibia, C
Many readers have piped in to say that leaving Arencibia off our top ten must have been a mistake, but it wasn’t, I just can’t see him becoming an impact player at the big leagues. He just doesn’t have enough plate discipline and won’t hit for a high enough average to allow his on-base percentage to be adequate. He’ll probably still be good enough to warrant a starting role on some teams, but with Toronto’s multitude of high-upside catcher prospects, don’t expect him to be on the team in 2014.
12. Jake Marisnick, CF
Marisnick was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft, and 2010 was met with mixed results. After tearing up rookie ball (.373 OBP, .459 SLG, 14/1 SB/CS), he was promoted to Lansing where he dropped to a .298 OBP and .339 SLG. But, his walk rate remained solid (7.1%) and his defense remained excellent.
Marisnick is still only 19, so expect him to start the year in Lansing and perhaps earn a call-up to Dunedin if he plays well.
13. Chad Jenkins, SP
It’s hard to get too excited about Toronto’s 2009 first-round draft pick, Chad Jenkins. In his first pro season, split between Lansing and Dunedin, he only managed to strike out 6.7 per 9 IP, although his walk totals were low as well (2.0 BB/9). Jenkins was drafted with the assumption that he’d ascend through the minors quickly, yet he’s 23 and still hasn’t had a sniff of AA.
He’s probably not going to see the majors until 2012, if he ever does.
14. Adonis Cardona, SP
Overshadowed by the monstrous contract the Blue Jays gave to fellow international free agent Adeiny Hechavarria, Cardona was given $2.8 million in July. Most refer to him as the best pitcher to come out of Venezuela this year, and I’ve surely gotten excited over him. Cardona, only 17, apparently touches 94 with his fastball and has tons of room to add velocity as he ages.
15. Eric Thames, OF
Some call Thames a fringy prospect because he’s already 24 and likely isn’t going to get much better. While I must in part agree, it’s hard to look past the fact that he OPS’d .896 in AA with 27 home runs in only 496 at-bats, while showing solid plate discipline (8.73 BB%). He’ll never be a 4 WAR player, but I see no reason that he can’t be a positive player in the big leagues.
The minor league equivalency calculator shows that if Thames would have spent 2010 in the majors, he would have batted .242/.307/.413. Now, that’s not very good especially considering the position (corner OF) he plays, but with a bit of improvement, Thames could be a solid fourth outfielder good enough to warrant 300 at-bats.
16. Henderson Alvarez, SP
Any way you slice it, Henderson Alvarez had a disappointing 2010. Spending the whole year in Dunedin as a 20-year old, Alvarez could only manage 6.2 SO/9 while seeing his walk, hit, and home run totals rise sharply.
The Blue Jays plans for him in 2011 has yet to be announced, but don’t be surprised if he spends all of 2011 and 2012 in New Hampshire with an ETA of 2013.
17. Moises Sierra, OF
Sierra’s value and prospect status took a big hit in 2010 as he spent most of the season nursing multiple injuries and was only able to play in 20 games – and none above high-A Dunedin. Thus, Sierra couldn’t improve on his breakout 2009, in which he hit .292/.360/.399 split between Dunedin and eight games in New Hampshire.
He’s 22, so 2011 is now-or-never time for Moises. Hopefully he can, after starting in Dunedin, get a call-up to New Hampshire in May and hit the cover off the ball there. Speed and on-base skills are his strength, so his ultimate upside is to be the Blue Jays everyday right-fielder and two-hole hitter. If he realizes his full potential, expect Sierra to earn a September call-up in 2012 and start the 2013 season with the big-league club.
18. David Cooper, 1B
Cooper is the Blue Jays No. 1 draft pick from 2008, yet he hasn’t played quite like it and is a longshot from realizing his original potential. His overall numbers from 2010 in New Hampshire aren’t bad (.257/.327/.442 in 498 at-bats) and sure, he could still be a nice bench piece in the future or even scratch out a Lyle Overbay-like career. But the huge upside isn’t there anymore and in the AL East it’s necessary to have a .900+ OPS guy at first base to be a contender.
19. Dickie Thon, SS
Dickie Thon was the team’s 5th round draft pick in 2010 and was given a $1.5 million signing bonus, proof that Rogers is willing to go over-slot to acquire top talent in the draft. Thon is the son of the former all-star shortstop of the same name. He has good tools but it very raw and could be as many as 5 or 6 years away from the majors. He’s a solid defender with good speed (25 SB?), has potential for a .300+ average, but needs to work on his pitch recognition.
20. Marcus Knecht, OF
Marcus Knecht was Toronto’s third-round draft pick in the 2010 draft and is… Canadian! Knecht grew up in the GTA, and played well in Auburn after signing. His best tool is power, and could potentially be a .280 hitter in the majors. Knecht has above-average speed and seems to be a good kid – attitude won’t be a problem, something that gets overlooked often. ETA: 2013.