30 Teams in 30 Days: Toronto Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects

Blue Jays

1. Brett Wallace, 1B – The Blue Jays drafted Wallace out of high school in 2005, but he passed to play at Arizona State. He’s ended up in Toronto after he was traded for Michael Taylor. Wallace will fit well, as Lyle Overbay is in his last year of his contract and Wallace is a better profile for first base. He can hit for power and decent average. He can take a walk and doesn’t strike out a lot, like most first basemen. He was a third baseman in college, but scout don’t like his body for the position; he’s built like Jim Thome, who also started at third before his move to first.

2. Kyle Drabek, P – Drabek, son of former big leaguer Doug Drabek, is close to being ready. He’s got a mid-90s fastball and a top notch curve. He’s also working on a change up that could be an above average offering. He’s a Tommy John survivor and has shown no issues with control. His main concern right now is building up his durability. If he can have a strong showing in the minors and be healthy, he’ll be up by September.

3. Zach Stewart, P – There are questions about Stewart’s role in the Majors – starter or reliever. He’s got 3 pitches (low-90s fastball, slider, change-up) that are all average, with the change being the weakest of the 3. He needs to work on control a bit, as he’s looked shaky with each promotion last year. His K-rate did improve with each move though (6.80 to 7.54 to 10.52). He’s a groundball pitcher, which makes him a valuable starter, possibly a #3 man.

4. Travis D’Arnaud, C – D’Arnaud had a good year at Lo-A in 2009. His batting average was a little low, but it due to bad luck (.279 BABIP vs .255 BA). He’s got a solid approach and good walk and strikeout rates; those could change as he climbs through the minors. He’s solid defensively, but needs to work on getting base runners out (23% thrown out last year). He’s got time to work on that, as he won’t be ready for at least 2 years.

5. Chad Jenkins, P – Jenkins, drafted in 2009, is big framed pitcher that doesn’t have a fire-ball arm. His fast ball sits around 90, but had good sink to it. His other pitches are solid as well (slider and change-up). He’s got the endurance to eat innings and gets groundballs. He’ll end up a #3 starter at best. He’ll make his pro debut this year, most likely at Hi-A.

6. Brad Mills, P – Mills won’t blow you away, but he’s got the pitches to be a back of the rotation starter. His fastball tops out at 90 and normally sits in the high-80s. He’s got a plus change-up and an average curveball. He made 2 starts for the Blue Jays in 2009, and neither were amazing. He looked like he didn’t have confidence in his fastball and curve, which caused him to lose control of them. He’ll need to work on that before he’ll get another shot.

7. David Cooper, 1B – Cooper had a down year, as he couldn’t hit for average or power in Double A. He can make contact and take a pitch, but he doesn’t look like he could push Brett Wallace out of the way for the first base job. Some scouts compare him to Lyle Overbay for his approach and limited power. He’ll probably top out at Triple A this year, with a possible MLB debut in September.

8. Josh Roenicke, P – This is his make or break year, as he’s 27 and almost too old for a prospect. He’s got closer stuff – a high-90s fastball and great slider – and should be a regular in the bullpen. He gets strike outs, but has had control problems in the past. He’s not a groundball pitcher, so he could be prone to give up a couple of homers. I expect that he’ll be up with the Jays all season.

9. Brad Emaus, 2B – Emaus has good tools, but none that stick out as great. He can hit for decent power and average, he’s can swipe a few bases, and has good plate discipline. He saw a slight decline in his stats as he moved up to Double A, but his BABIP dropped which may have been bad luck. His defense is at least average, so he’ll be a solid major leaguer when he’s ready. He’ll start the season in Double A and should be up with Triple A by the end of the year.

10. J.P. Arencibia, C – Arencibia is going to have to work to be the catcher for Toronto. He’s stalled in Triple A this past year, as his bat took the year off (.236/.284/.444). He’s capable of hitting for good power, but needs to lower his strikeouts and increase his walks. Part of his 2009 problems were a kidney issue and astigmatism; both problems resulted in off-season surgery. His defense has improved, but he’ll be nothing more than an average defensive catcher. That makes his bat that much more important; if he improves this year, he could be catching in Canada in 2011.

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