Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (15) | 2013 (22) | 2012 (5) | 2011 (4) | 2010 (19)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [83-79] AL East
AAA: [77-66] International League – Buffalo
AA: [66-76] Eastern League – New Hampshire
A+: [77-61] Florida State League – Dunedin
A: [62-77] Midwest League – Lansing
A(ss): [46-30] Northwest League – Vancouver
Toronto saw the rise of both Marcus Stroman and Dalton Pompey in 2014, and both are going to be factors in 2015 fantasy leagues. In addition to Stroman, the Jays have two stud pitching prospects on the farm in Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez. Both have already seen time in the major leagues and should be on the radar for 2015 as well. This was a fun system to write up, since it has intriguing fantasy prospects from top to bottom. The major league club got a big boost when it acquired Josh Donaldson from the Athletics for three prospects, including shortstop Franklin Barreto. Barreto would have been an easy top five in this system, but Donaldson should be a fantasy beast in that lineup at the Rogers Centre.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Dalton Pompey, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
Pompey gets the #1 spot thanks to his proximity and ability to contribute in multiple fantasy categories. The 22-year-old rocketed through three levels of the minors in 2014 before getting a cup of coffee with the big club in September. Now, it looks like Pompey will get a real shot at the starting center field job in Toronto for 2015. He’s got enough pop to hit double-digit homers, but his best tool is his speed which could translate into 25-30 steals at the major league level. Slot that into a solid Blue Jay lineup in a home park that favors hitters and you’ve got the formula for a top fantasy prospect that’s relevant even in redraft formats.
2. Daniel Norris, LHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015
Like Pompey, Norris is going to get his chance soon and could even slot into the fifth rotation spot to start the year. On traditional lists Sanchez seems to get the nod, but Norris is a better bet to remain a starter so he gets the edge in this fantasy top ten. Rogers Centre isn’t exactly a pitcher’s paradise, but we had the same fears with Stroman and he did just fine in his rookie campaign. All four of Norris’s pitches grade as average or better. He put up a 38/8 K/BB ratio in 22.1 Triple-A innings in 2014 before pitching a few MLB relief innings in September. Norris is a nice late-round flier in 2015 fantasy drafts.
3. Aaron Sanchez, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
Sanchez is similar to Norris in that he is close to the majors and should see ample MLB time in 2015. There’s a little more bullpen risk than Norris though and current depth charts have Sanchez slated to start the year in a setup role out of the bullpen. The 22-year-old righty is going to carry fantasy value either way, since he has the stuff to be a good closer or a #2/#3 starter if he reaches his full potential. In 33 MLB innings last season, Sanchez posted a 1.09 ERA with 27 strikeouts and nine walks (a 2.5 BB/9 rate). He should be on the radar in all formats (even redrafts) this spring.
4. Jeff Hoffman, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
The Blue Jays selected Hoffman ninth overall in the 2014 draft despite him needing Tommy John surgery. The injury will set his timeline back, but his upside is a frontline starter. The Orioles recently kicked the tires on Hoffman in exchange for Dan Duquette and I’d like to think the Blue Jays wouldn’t even consider it. In first-year player drafts this winter, Hoffman should be one of the first arms off the board despite the injury. Once he’s back on the mound his stock should rise quickly.
5. Devon Travis, 2B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Travis came over from the Tigers in the Anthony Gose trade this offseason. The Tigers had begun transitioning Travis to the outfield, but the Blue Jays need him more at the keystone. He’s close to MLB ready despite core muscle surgery this fall, and with only Maicer Izturis ahead on the 2B depth chart, a polished Travis should be getting MLB at bats shortly. That’s different from a Polish Travis, who should be getting another shipment of pierogies and sausages shortly. There’s no one standout tool, but he does a little of everything well and put up good numbers in Double-A as a 23-year-old. He’s a worthwhile play in AL-only leagues this year.
6. Max Pentecost, C | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017
Catching prospects aren’t always a great bet. They take a while to cook and many times their value is inflated on traditional lists thanks to their tools on defense. In fantasy we just don’t care about a catcher’s defense – sorry, Austin Hedges. Pentecost was selected 11th overall in the 2014 draft and is more fantasy relevant than the average backstop thanks to a hit tool that already grades above average. How the power develops will be something to watch, but it’s not a stretch for him to get to double-digit homers in a park like Toronto’s. On the flip side, it’s going to be about three years before he gets there.
7. Dwight Smith, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Smith won’t appear on your traditional top tens, but there’s a lot to like here from a fantasy perspective. The 22-year-old had a breakout in 2014, raising his slugging percentage by 65 points and swatting five more homers than he had in 2013. He led the pitching-friendly Florida State League in OPS, runs scored, and extra-base hits as a 21-year-old last year. Smith is behind Pompey on the center field depth chart, but could find a role in left field. He also took some reps at second base in the AFL, so there’s added versatility there. The pretty walk and strikeout percentages are what catch your eye in his stat line. There’s a good approach at the plate and he didn’t have to sacrifice that approach to get to the increase in power. In fact, his strikeout rate dropped about 4% while his walk rate remained the same.
8. D.J. Davis, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
D.J. Davis is on the ones and twos and he’s mixing double-plus speed with a .213 batting average. Whoop! The obvious red flag here is the 20 times he was caught stealing, but that can trend in the right direction with more coaching and experience. The bigger issue is the strikeout rate and hit tool in general. Both are going to have to show more signs of life if Davis is going to be fantasy relevant. The good news is that 2014 was just his first full season and he was still young for the MWL. The former first-round pick deserves a mulligan if you’re a dynasty league owner.
9. Jairo Labourt, LHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Labourt is a lefty with a #3 starter ceiling and a low-90s sinker. Both his fastball and slider are graded as plus pitches, and he put up some really nice numbers in the Northwest League at 20 years old. He led the league in both batting average against (.188) and strikeouts per nine (10.4). In 71 innings there he also never allowed a home run. This is an exciting prospect that really wasn’t on a lot of radars coming into the season. In one competitive 20-team dynasty I participate in, he is still sitting in free agency. Now’s a good time to scoop him before he puts up good numbers at higher levels.
10. Dawel Lugo, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Lugo may eventually move off of shortstop, especially with Richard Urena’s superior defense, but he has enough bat to warrant a spot in this fantasy top ten. Lugo was a J2 signing back in 2011, and has steadily progressed through the first few levels of the minors. 2014 was his first full season of pro ball, and he spent the entirety of it in the Midwest League as a 19-year-old. He’s held his own thus far, but it will take some more time to see what kind of power he has in his bat. I’d take a wait-and-see approach in most dynasty formats for the time being.