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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.

Graduating Prospects
#1- OF – Travis Snider; #3 – P – Brett Cecil; #8 – P – Ricky Romero; #9 – P – Marc Rzepczynski; #20 – P – Scott Richmond

Arizona Fall League Players -Phoenix Desert Dogs
Pitchers – Reidier Gonzalez, #15 Robert Ray
Hitters – (C) AJ Jimenez, (2B) #10 Brad Emaus, (OF) Adam Loewen

Players of Interest
Due to the recent trade, the rankings before a player, unless otherwise noted, are the Blue Jays rankings.

Hitters
#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.

Pitchers
#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).

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
#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.

Pitchers
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.

  1. Vazquez return to bronx – what is your outlook on him pitching in the wind tunnel – last year he gave up 10 homeruns in Turner Field

    Tony is upset about the yankees’s getteing Vazquez but us
    Yankee fans have to dish out $12.oo for a hot dog while tony only pays $6.00 for a Hot Dog

  2. Hey Tony if the Yankees sign Matt Holliday – Hot Dogs will go up to $14.00

  3. The trade allows Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes to remain in the bullpen. so that is a good thing

  4. guy caballero says:
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    Not a bad review. However, Daly made a cameo for the Blue Jays – the Dunedin Blue Jays; Mills’ cameo was mid-season, not September; and Alvarez’s changeup is his best pitch and it projects at least plus.

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @mrbaseball: I’ll be covering the Vazquez trade in tonight’s post.

  6. sean says:
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    Without Scutaro and Rios, any idea who is going to leadoff for the Jays? Alex Gonzalez? Vomit.

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: Overbay could work with his OBP, maybe Hill…. Can’t be Gonzalez. For everyone’s sake.

  8. Nick0rz says:
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    Wallace is going to be playing 1B, and will most likely start the year in AAA (as per Alex Anthopolous). Overbay is as good as gone at this point.

    Cito Gaston has also said that Bautista will be leading off. He has a good OBP, and decent power, but he’s useless against rightys.

  9. Stephen says:
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    @mrbaseball: That is definitely a good thing.

    @guy caballero: Yeah, I remember noticing that about Daly when doing the research, just missed it when writing the article up. My bad. In regards to Alvarez, and actually most of the technical information on the top prospects, Baseball America (2009) said that his Change-Up was decent. just not great. It could very well be that his change-up has improved a lot this year. And you are right that it projects to be a Plus-pitch, it just wasn’t there yet. Thanks for the corrections though. They’re much appreciated.

    Additionally, the acquisition of Morrow for League and Johermyn Chavez seems quite pricey for an injury prone pitcher. I know League doesn’t compare to Morrow in talent, but GM Jack Zduriencik (or other Seattle scouts) must see something in Chavez that they like. With this trade, I would put Chavez in the “Player of Interest,” even with the abundance of outfielders in the Mariners farm system. The trade of Gillies to the Phillies (from SEA) makes room for Chavez, albeit, Gillies was at High-A this year.

    @sean: Maybe Wells? Alex Gonzalez actually seeks plausible, but probably should hit in the bottom third of the lineup. However, like Nick said, Bautista will probably get the majority of the AB at the top of the order.

  10. Stephen says:
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    @Nick0rz: That was what I figured, but plans can change. Come June, Lyle Overbay may be wishing he played else where.

  11. Nick0rz says:
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    @Stephen: If he’s around in June, colour me pink. The Jays have so many guys who they could use instead of Overbay (Ruiz, Dopirak, Wallace, Lind, Snider etc), that it would be crazy to keep him around. Plus, the Jays have shown a willingness to pay for part of the contract, (see: Haladay, Roy), that a team may be willing to take him off the Jays hands.

    Great run down of the system though.

  12. Stephen says:
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    @Nick0rz: Thanks for the compliment. I could see Overbay being around until June to save arbitration years.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Nick0rz: Ah, Bautista… How could I forget him?

  14. Nick0rz says:
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    @Grey: I think the better question is, how could you remember him?

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Nick0rz: Hehe… Yeah, exactly.

  16. Steve says:
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    The Jays are full of guys that only get hot when your h2h opponent has them.

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Good to see the holiday season doesn’t dull your H2H bitterness. How’d the move go?

  18. Stephen says:
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    @Steve: Who? Lind, Halladay (pre-2010), Hill. Who else is going to do anything for the Jays?

  19. Steve says:
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    @Grey: And I tried so hard to make that comment generic. I really do need to let it go I guess.
    Move went fine – it’s great to finally be in. There are boxes everywhere though.

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Awesome, congrats… Not on your residual bitterness, but on your successful move.

  21. Steve says:
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    @Stephen: Ignore me – just the ravings of a demented madman.

    Guys like Overbay and Bautista seem to get hot for about one week a season – usually at a time that’s most inconvenient for me in an H2H league.

    It’s possible, though, that my perceptions have become a bit warped…

  22. Stephen says:
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    @Steve: True enough. Granted, I was assuming you were playing in a normal 12 team league, but you know what they say about assuming right?

  23. Steve says:
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    @Stephen: I’m through with H2H now, though. I’m hoping it will make me a better, more balanced person.

  24. Blue Jays acquired RHP Brandon Morrow from the Mariners

    is this a positive move or negative move for Morrow – or a push

    have him in dyanasty league

  25. Stephen says:
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    mrbaseball: I alluded to this trade earlier I’m the comments. the only way this is a push is if Morrow is finally healthy all year. League was a decent mlb reliever, Chavez could turn out like a Jermaine Dye, and Morrow has great talent (he was drafted ahead of Lincecum).

    What it does though is allows the Jays to have another decent starting option, even though that increases Morrows risk for reinjury. McGowan and Litsch are back no earlier than late June early September. I don’t want to rank/rate this trade right now for its like walking in the dark – you don’t actually know what’s going on.

  26. sean says:
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    @mrbaseball:
    Rogers Centre is actually a slightly better pitchers’ park than Safeco according to the 2009 park factors offered by ESPN, but Morrow will face more patient and potent lineups in the AL East.

    Obviously this deal will be incredibly tough to gauge until he proves whether or not he can give the Jays, or any team, 150 quality innings. He’s only 25, but he’s already battled serious injury and control issues.

    League is a very expendable piece and Chavez is only 21. There is some debate as to Chavez’s status; he hit well in low-A last year, but it was his second year there and “well” is a relative term. He hit a ton of bombs, but he only walked 7% of the time while striking out 27%. Again, this is low-A year two . . . not exactly inspiring a ton of confidence about skills translating to the bigs or even further along on the farm.

    As far as I can see, the Jays got Morrow for next to nothing.

  27. Stephen says:
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    @sean: Yes, it was Chavez’s second time in low-A, however, he was only 19 this year while playing. That is the same age Josh Vitters was in low-A. We all need to keep this trade in check until at least next year. Chavez has to chance and talent to provide major league teams with. Additionally, the likelihood of that is slim, as it is with most prospects.

  28. DrEasy says:
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    Morrow’s home/away splits are scary. I’m afraid he’ll bomb away from Safeco. I’m not touching him in any draft next year.

  29. Stephen says:
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    I also should have noted that Lou Marson was traded to the Indians in the Cliff Lee deal. The Phillies now have lost their top two rated catchers in the Lee and Roy Halladay trade. If I don’t mention this in the Phillies Minor League Review, someone remind me swiftly.

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