Really, there isn't much chance of the Jays being competitive this year, and they may be better next, but the sights need to be set long term. J.P. Ricciardi left the Jays farm system in shambles. A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay have left in consecutive years, so the pitching staff is a mess. Kevin Gregg was signed to close, which says all you need to know about the bullpen. Vernon Wells makes 20M a season for another 4 years and is soon going to have to be moved to left field.
There are some reasons for hope though. The Troy Glaus and Roy Halladay trades have started to bring back in some prospects. New GM Alex Anthonopolous seems to have a real plan based on filling the system with high upside talent. He has more than doubled the Jays scouting department to the point where they now have the largest scouting staff in the league. This week, the Jays were able to sign Cuban Adeinis Hechavarria to a contract, giving them a possible SS/CF of the future. The Jays also have 10 picks in the first 3 rounds in the upcoming draft, including 4 firsts (their own, comp for not signing last years, comp for Scuatro and a sandwich pick for Barajas) and have committed to going over the structured amounts to ensure they actually sign their picks this time.
There was a very good article on the Jays by Jayson Stark here
Here's my detailed look at the Jays positionally
C: This season - John Buck/Jose Molina (total disaster, who cares)
J.P. Arencibia - Highly touted, 2007 1st rounder had a bad, injury-plagued season last year, having a very good spring, could be a part of the future.
Travis D'Arnaud - Part of the Halladay trade, said to project as an everyday catcher, '07 Phillies 1st rounder
Carlos Perez - Only 20, signed a couple years ago out of Venezuala. Huge potential, great defensively, great arm, hit .300 in rookie ball, walks a lot, impact would be way down the road, as he's still in low minors.
1B: This season - Lyle Overbay (because they couldn't get anyone to take him off their hands)
Brett Wallace - Key piece in Halladay trade, won't neccesarily be a slugger, but if he can hit .300, with 25 HR's and an OBP over .375 or so, he can fill this role for a long time. Probably will be a younger, better version of Overbay.
Brian Dopirak - former highly regarded prospect slugged .549 in AA. His bat may earn him a spot as a future 1B/DH, he's already 26 though.
David Cooper - '08 1st rounder was bad last year but has power and shouldn't be written off yet.
2B: This season - Aaron Hill
Long Term: Aaron Hill. I don't know if he'll repeat last season's great numbers, but he has legit power and is good defensively up the middle. In spring training he's been taking a lot more walks, if he could increase his OBP, it could offset the likely fall back to the 25 HR range.
SS: This season: Alex Gonzalez/John MacDonald - Lots of defense, no offense here.
Long Term: Adeinis Hechavarria? This is a weak spot in the organization, which is why they were willing to go out and spend 10 million dollars on the Cuban defector. He's going to start in AA, and who knows if he develops into a major leaguer or not, but he's the Jays best hope here. Tyler Pastornicky is the only other legitimate hope in the system.
3B: This season: Edwin Encarnacion/Jose Bautista
Long term: ? Encarnacion could prove he belongs here, or could be gone after this season. Wallace could still play 3rd, if Dopirak/Lind/Ruiz/Cooper ended up at 1st for their bats, but the Jays are pushing Wallace as a first basemen down the road. Bautista is a solid utility guy for this season who will play a lot between 3B, OF and DH.
OF: This season: Vernon Wells/Adam Lind/Jose Bautista/Travis Snider/Joey Gathright
Long Term: Wells is here because they can't get rid of him. He's declined defensively 2 or 3 seasons in a row and he won't be able to play CF by the time the Jays are competitive. One of Lind or Snider will play the other corner. Probably Snider, with Lind as the DH. Snider is still very young, and he may start this year in AAA, with Gathright serving as the 4th outfielder. An outfield of Lind/Snider/Wells (which will likely happen at some point), will be an absolute disaster defensively.
DH: This season: Randy Ruiz - career 909 ops in minors, .320 with 106 RBI in 114 games in AAA last year. Then 10HR's in September with the Jays. Killing the ball again in the spring, they'll have to keep him up and give him AB's.
Long term: This is likely where Adam Lind ends up, because of his weaknesses in the field. They also have Brian Dopirak, who is a younger version of Ruiz, in that he ripped up AAA, but really can't be anything but a DH.
Starting Pitching: This season: Shawn Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Marc Repcyznski, Brian Tallet - Marcum has basically locked down the #1 spot. 2-4 should all be as above. Dustin McGowan has been coming back strong and will likely be the 5th starter (or better) as soon as he's healthy but may start out on the DL.
Kyle Drabek - Halladay trade - likely highest upside on this list. Mid 90s fastball, better curveball. Depending on the source, either he or Wallace is considered the Jays best prospect (thanks Doc).
Shawn Marcum - looks all the way back, was looking like a solid 2/3 before major injury.
Ricky Romero - strong rookie season last year
Brandon Morrow - was signed to be a starter
Dustin McGowan - former first rounder/#1 prospect, looks like he'll be back this year.
Zack Stewart (Glaus trade) - another strong prospect. Curised all the way to AAA last year, needs a full year in AAA to get his IP's up.
Chad Jenkins - '09 1st rounder, will start in low minors as all Jays prospects do, but will likely move up quickly.
Marc Repcyznski - Had a good start to his MLB career last year, I don't think he's a long term answer, mainly because he never makes it past the 6th.
Jesse Litsch - pitched well for the Jays, doesn't have great stuff but gets it done, major injury right now.
Edited by Northern Voice, 27 August 2015 - 09:44 AM.