Toronto Blue Jays 2009 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking via Baseball America (2009)
2009 (19) | 2008 (25) | 2007 (25) | 2006 (25) | 2005 (15) | 2004 (8)
Record of Major and Minor League Team(s)
MLB: [75 – 87] AL East
AAA: [71 – 73] Pacific Coast League
AA: [64 – 78] Eastern League
A+: [67 – 67] Florida League
A: [54 – 84] Midwest League
A(ss): [29 – 49] New York – Pennsylvania League
R: [30-28] Gulf League
The Run Down
The recent trade of Roy Halladay has made this piece a bit more interesting. Clearly, the Blue Jays are in “rebuilding” mode. They definitely received good talent in return, and especially [near] major league ready talent – namely Wallace and Drabek. With Adam Lind breaking out, Aaron Hill finally performing up to expectations, Travis Snider holding his own in the majors, Shawn Marcum set to return from injury (Tommy John), as is Dustin McGowan (bum shoulder and knee), the Blue Jays may be better than expected. However, there is a rather large “IF” on each of those players. Granted, the Jays have restricted mobility in the free agent market to improve their team, but there are a few players that may make an impact in the majors in 2010. Additionally, the 2009 starting rotation saw four rookies make large contributions (Romero, Cecil, Rzepczynski, and Richmond) and one that called up mid-season (Brad Mills) to keep your eyes on. (Important to note, none of the graduating rookie pitchers increased their innings pitched by more than 30 innings.) Even with that many rookies, replacing Halladay’s presence, innings and experience is going to be extremely difficult to find. Not wanting to compare, but the Blue Jays are going to be relying on youngsters much like the Florida Marlins do in 2010.
Players of Interest
Due to the recent trade, the rankings before a player, unless otherwise noted, are the Blue Jays rankings.
#2 (St.L) Brett Wallace | 1B/3B | AA/AAA | 22 | .293/.367/.455 | 532 AB | 26 2B | 20 HR | .162 ISO | 116:47 K:BB | .338 BABIP | 51.7 GB% | 19.6 LD% | 28.7 FB% | .9.4 IF/F
Traded again this year, Wallace’s defense is now coming into question. With Edwin Encarnacion manning third and Lyle Overbay manning first, I am not sure what the Jays plan for Wallace is going to be. Back in August, Scouting the Unknown article detailed his specifics out. Don’t be surprised to watch him play in left field (with Snider manning the other corner). Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play half a season at Triple-A first before a June call up.
#7 (PHI) Travis d’Arnaud | C | A | 20 | .255/.319/.419 | 482 AB | 38 2B | 13 HR | .164 ISO | 75:41 K:BB | .279 BABIP | .336 wOBA | 40.2 GB% | 14.5 LD% | 45.3 FB%
A fixture in the Halladay trade, d’Arnaud was the second rated catcher in the Phillies minors behind Lou Marson. D’Arnaud has a good arm, above average catching skills, a gap-power swing, and quoting Baseball America, “… could become trade fodder if he continues his offensive development [due to Marson].” Well, that’s exactly what he became. In his first full season, he played fairly well. His average is more like .275 with a normal BABIP, however, that doesn’t mean he’ll blast off next year. He’s good, just a few years away. Plus, the Jays have JP Arencibia …
#2 JP Arencibia | C | AAA | 23 | .236/.284/.444 | 466 AB | 32 2B | 21 HR | .208 ISO | 114:26 K:BB | .269 BABIP | .316 wOBA | 30.2 GB% | 17 LD% | 52.5 FB%
Arencibia was considered the catcher of the future, but with the d’Arnaud acquisition and the signing of John Buck, that may be in question. His slash line is destroyed by a low batting average on balls in play (.269), albeit he hit a ton of fly balls (52.5%). The power is legit, the strikeouts are scary and the lack of walks is more of a turn off than Joan Rivers. Playing the Pacific Coast League may have inflated his numbers a wee bit, however, expect to see him in the majors at some point in early summer 2010. Keep expectations in check, but if you need a catcher, plug him in and see what he can do. It’s worth a chance over anyone not named Mauer, McCann, or Martinez.
Brian Dopirak | 1B | AA/AAA | 25 | .316/.371/.549 | 546 AB | 42 2B | 27 HR | .232 ISO | 119:48 K:BB | .366 BABIP | 43.5 GB% | 21.1 LD% | 35.4 FB%
Not a sexy prospect by any means, Dopirak was acquired in 2008 from the Cubs where he couldn’t hit the moon if it was falling, exploded for the Jays. He was recently added to the 40-man roster, meaning no one could take him in the Rule-5 draft, which they easily could have. Not that first base is an extremely weak point for the Jays, but Overbay isn’t necessarily locked to keep his spot. Dopirak could provide some sneaky power in the Jays line-up in 2010.
#5 (PHI) Kyle Drabek | RHP | A+/AA | 21 | 8.5 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9 | 158 IP | 3.19 ERA | 3.26 FIP | 1.21 WHIP | .5 HR/9 | .305 BABIP | 43.6 GB% | 12 LD% | 39.4 FB%
It was either him or Dominic Brown (and possibly Happ, but don’t get me started) that the Jays could’ve received in the Halladay trade. Coming of Tommy John surgery in 2007, Drabek pitched his first full season in the minors (2008 he pitched in 54 innings). He possesses a low to mid 90’s fastball (top 95 mph), a sharp and biting curve, and a “work in progress” change-up. Due to the heavy influx of pitchers at the top end of the Jays system (Romero, Rzepczynski, Cecil, Richmond, David Purcey, Shawn Marcum and Dustin McGowan), Drabek wont be rushed. The earliest, June. Most likely, August/September.
Henderson Alvarez | RHP | A | 19 | 6.7 K/9 | 1.4 BB/9 | 124 1/3 IP | 3.47 ERA | 2.43 FIP | 1.13 WHIP | .1 HR/9 | .307 BABIP | 51.4 GB% | 10.4 LD% | 33.8 FB%
An extreme ground ball pitcher, Alvarez is the Jays top Venezuelan prospect. He has a low 90’s fastball that tops at 94, a slurve and an average at best change up. Considered to have a power arm, Alvarez still needs to harness some of his talent and not just “throw.” However, it seems like this year he has figured it out. Not a great strikeout pitcher, but his control is stellar. Look for him to reach Double-A in 2010 and possibly a September call up if he has no injuries.
#15(CIN) Zach Stewart | RHP | A+/AA/AAA | 22 | 8.0 K/9 | 2.7 | 105 IP | 1.89 ERA | 3.04 FIP | 1.31 WHIP | .334 BABIP | 53 GB% | 21 LD% | 20.1 FB%
A key component in the Scott Rolen trade, Stewart has a mid 90’s fastball (93-96 mph), a power slider and a “promising” change-up. His fastball has natural sink to it, laminated by his high ground-ball rate (53%). Not to many hitters put good wood on his pitches. I would imagine Stewart to start in Triple-A this year as he didn’t throw consistently at each stop (he played A+ and AA for the Reds).
#5 David Cooper | 1B | AA | 22 | .258/.340/.389 | 473 AB | 32 2B | 10 HR | .131 ISO | 95:59 K:BB | .302 BABIP | .335 wOBA | 42.4 GB% | 17.5 LD% | 40.1 FB%
Didn’t have a great year. However, he is the projected starting first baseman by 2012 according to Baseball America. Keep an eye on him, he’s a better hitter (strikezone/plate discpline) than his numbers lead one to believe.
Johermyn Chavez | LF | A | 20 | .283/.346/.474 | 22 2B | 21 HR | .191 ISO | 10/6 SB | 133:40 K:BB | .350 BABIP | .371 wOBA | 40.4 GB% | 10.3 LD% | 49.3 FB%
The low line-drive hitting percentage (10.3%) and high strikeouts (133) lead me to believe that he won’t repeat these type of numbers again in 2010 at High-A or Double-A. He is one of the Venezuelans I was talking about earlier, and he does have the potential and talent to prove my prediction wrong.
Darin Mastroianni | CF/LF | A+/AA | 23 | .297/.398/.364 | 478 AB | 21 2B | 1 HR | .067 ISO | 70/15 SB/CS | 83:76 K:BB | .335 BABIP | 50.2 GB% | 11.1 LD% | 38 FB%
No power to speak of here. Mastroianni is all speed, and it’s a good thing he keeps the ball on the ground too. If you’re a firm believer in SAGNOF, then Mastroianni may be someone you steal on the waivers if he gets called up in 2010. But that is a big IF.
Tim Collins | LHP | A+/AA | 19 | 13.5 K/9 | 4.1 BB/9 | 77 1/3 IP | 2.91 ERA | 2.34 FIP | 1.22 WHIP | .337 BABIP | 40 GB% | 16.2 LD% | 36.8 FB%
He hasn’t pitched many innings (150) in the minors in the last two years, but Collins is in the mold of a reliever. He should start at Double-A again this year. If he pitches well again in 2010, he could be a sneaky sleeper in 2011.
#14 Danny Farquhar | RHP | A+/AA | 22 | 10.6 K/9 | 5.9 BB/9 | 62 2/3 IP | 1.87 ERA | 3.17 FIP | 1.31 WHIP | .277 BABIP | 51.6 GB%| 12.3 LD% | 31.6 FB%
Yet another Blue Jays pitcher who works the ground balls (51.6%). I mention Farquhar because he has a killer last name and a deadly fastball that sits between 92 and 94 mph, an average curve, and a cutter – and that is just from a three-quarter slot. He also can throw a 89 to 91 mph fastball with tons of action and a “frisbee action” slider from a below-sidearm angle. Used as a starter in college, the Jays like what they see from him as a reliever. Farquhar could become Lord Farquaad of the Jays ‘pen by 2012, and a stellar mid-to-late relief role by 2011.