2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: Toronto Blue Jays

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The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Toronto Blue Jays.

The prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2014. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore

Chicago
(10/31)

Houston
(11/18)

Atlanta
(12/5)

Chicago
(12/23)

Arizona
(1/9)

Boston

Cleveland
(11/4)

Los Angeles
(11/21)

Miami
(12/9)

Cincinnati
(12/26)

Colorado
(1/13)

New York

Detroit
(11/7)

Oakland
(11/25)

New York
(12/12)

Milwaukee
(12/30)

Los Angeles
(1/16)

Tampa Bay

Kansas City
(11/11)

Seattle
(11/28)

Philadelphia
(12/16)

Pittsburgh
(1/2)

San Diego
(1/20)

Toronto
(10/28)

Minnesota
(11/14)

Texas
(12/2)

Washington
(12/19)

St. Louis
(1/6)

San Francisco
(1/23)

Organizational Overview
By Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)

The Blue Jays ended the 2012 season with what was viewed by many as the deepest farm system in the minor leagues. The organization used that depth to make the two biggest trades of the 2012-2013 offseason, pushing their chips to the center of the table to make a run at the playoffs and possibly more. So the team packaged prospects Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, and Anthony DeSciafini along with 3 major leaguers to the Marlins and received Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and three other major leaguers. GM Alex Anthopolous wasn't done then though either, as he acquired the reigning Cy Young award winner, R.A. Dickey, from the Mets later on. That came at a very stiff price, as the Jays sent their top two prospects (Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard) back to the Mets in return.

Unfortunately, the season did not go as originally hoped, as injuries and ineffectiveness derailed the Blue Jays' goal of a division title, and eventually led the team to a last place finish. While the strategy of using all those assets in the minors to improve the major league team was a good one, it did not work out in the way they had wished, and left the system that much weaker in the process. The top prospect on last year's list still in the system (Aaron Sanchez) struggled somewhat this season, and perhaps a bit unfairly, gets knocked for not pitching as well as quickly as former teammate Noah Syndergaard has for the Mets.

The draft was expected to help the team to restock the system at least partially, as the struggles of the 2012 season led the team to a top 10 draft pick. The team drafted Phil Bickford with that pick, who opted to go Cal State Fullerton rather than sign with the team. As a result, the Jays were the only team to fail to sign their first rounder this year. Despite losing the nearly $3 million in draft pool money with that pick, they were still able to get two players that were widely viewed as tough signs in Rowdy Tellez and Jake Brentz to sign on the dotted line.

Overall, the system is in a state of flux right now. As we had our discussions regarding the prospects in the system, the general consensus we seemed to arrive at was that there were so many question marks surrounding these prospects. Can Marcus Stroman stay in the rotation long-term despite the concerns about his size? Can Aaron Sanchez reach the ceiling he has shown to be possible, or will he end up closer to the back end of a rotation? Even as you move down our list, we made mention as a group of nearly 15 prospects for the back end of our top 10.

This system could look absolutely amazing next year if some of these prospects take the steps forward that are believed possible, and having two of the top 11 picks in next year's draft is also going to provide even more talent. However, if we see another year of mediocre seasons from some of the top prospects in the organization, the farm may not be able to assist the Jays in their quest to compete in the AL East.

2013 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time prior to September 1st of this year.

Munenori Kawasaki (SS - At Bats), Todd Redmond (P - Innings Pitched), Aaron Loup (P - Innings Pitched), Juan Perez (P - Service Time), Chad Jenkins (P - Service Time), Neil Wagner (P - Service Time), Jeremy Jeffress (P - Innings Pitched)

Major League Opportunities in 2014

By Jason Hunt(@jasonsbaseball)

The Blue Jays have a large portion of their current roster under contract for the 2014 season, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't positions where they could look to upgrade on their current options. Within the lineup, both catcher and second base could have potential upgrades, as J.P. Arencibia and Maicer Izturis both struggled at the plate this year. The in-house options aren't exactly great, as Josh Thole and Ryan Goins are the most ready options at those positions. It would not surprise me if instead they went to try and sign players at those positions, or failing that, make a trade. Super-sub outfielder Rajai Davis is a free agent this year, and seems like he could be in line for a starting job somewhere else. Davis leaving seems the most likely way for Anthony Gose to get somewhat regular playing time, but it's hard to see him unseating one of the current outfielders for a starting job without an injury.

The starting rotation provides more opportunities, as Josh Johnson is eligible for free agency. With R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Brandon Morrow under contract through 2015, there remain two rotation spots which could potentially be open for competition. However, with J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond, Ricky Romero, Sean Nolin (and even possibly Marcus Stroman) all potentially vying for those spots, it's not clear yet who could have the most value for fantasy owners. This doesn't even take into account the possibility that the team goes out in the free agent market, which is a definite possibility as well. Lurking still at this point is the main piece in return from the Roy Halladay trade, pitcher Kyle Drabek, and he could potentially be in the mix for one of those spots as well.

In the bullpen, Darren Oliver is eligible for free agency, and after last year's attempt to force a trade to Texas I would imagine he will not be returning to Toronto. Casey Janssen could be a free agent if the Jays don't pick up his club option at $4 million, which seems like a no-brainer for the team. In general, the roster for 2014 is pretty well set at most positions, and unless they make a trade involving one of these players, it's not likely we see a lot of turnover in the Majors.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

By Andrew Ball(@andrewball)

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors prior to September 1st.

#1 Marcus Stroman (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

9

0

3.30

1.13

129

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

111.67

1.05

1.15

5.9%

28.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

AA

Following an impressive junior year at Duke, the Blue Jays' drafted Stroman 22nd overall in the 2012 draft, making him the first Blue Devil ever selected in the first round. Signed quickly, Stroman reached Double-A in his debut before testing positive for a stimulant and earning a 50-game suspension to finish his season. In 2013, he headed back to New Hampshire where he shoved for five months, closing the campaign with a 3.30 ERA and fanning 129 in 111.2 innings.

The success doesn't really come as a surprise - the righty is extremely athletic (he was a prospect as a shortstop in high school) with unbelievable arm speed. His repertoire compares favorably to other top arms in the minors. The fastball seems to explode out of his hand, consistently in the mid-90's and touching 98 in shorter spurts with riding life. And his secondary pitches are just as good, if not better. He throws both a slider and a cutter; the slider has quality two-plane break at 83-86 mph, and the cutter is harder, 88-90 with late, biting action. Both are bat missers and legitimate weapons against hitters from both sides. Lagging behind is a low 80's changup, but even that may turn into an average fourth pitch with good separation and some sink.

Stroman has just one discernible concern in his profile - he's 5-foot-9. If he stood 6-foot-2 instead, we would be talking about one of the premiere pitching prospects in the game, but instead the debate rages on regarding his ultimate big league role. Those that side reliever think that he lacks the necessary plane to avoid homers, especially when facing a lineup multiple times. To their point, Stroman allowed 13 home runs in the Eastern League this year, a relatively high total for his limited innings.

It should be known that among our group, there was a general sense of uneasiness projecting Stroman in the rotation long term, and the consensus did not rank him in the top spot. It doesn't feel great ranking a 5-foot-9 pitcher this highly, but I do think he stays in the rotation, and the stuff, the moxie, and the athleticism makes him at least a solid number three with an upside for more.

If nothing else persuades you, check out Stroman's twitter feed once in a while and you will see that he is nothing but motivated to prove that he can start at the big league level. That's the confidence it takes to succeed against hitters at the highest level, and it may just help him overcome his physical limitations. If not, he will be a dynamite reliever so the floor is exponentially higher than most pitching prospects. Look for the Jays to send him to Triple-A Buffalo to begin 2014 with a promotion to Toronto in his near future.

#2 Aaron Sanchez (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

4

0

3.34

1.20

75

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

86.1

0.42

2.33

11.1%

20.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

A-

If you're a bit of a dreamer, Aaron Sanchez is a prospect after your heart. He has a prototypical starter's build with excellent projection, and some of the best stuff in all of the minor leagues. Almost regardless of the day, Sanchez features an electric fastball, working in the plus range and touching the upper 90's at times. His arm speed is phenomenal and scouts note that the velocity is effortless, as if he's just playing catch at 96 mph. Sanchez also throws two offspeed pitches, a curveball and a changeup, that both profile as future plus pitches. The hook is better at present, a real downer thrown in the upper 70's with tight rotation and late bite, but the change is coming along nicely as well, showing late fade and average deception.

The knock on Sanchez is his command, or more aptly, his lack of command. The right-hander has walked nearly 12% of the batters he has faced in pro ball, and while supporters are quick to point out he cut his walks by nearly 3% in 2013, it came at the expense of his strikeouts. Reports from the Arizona Fall League ($) point out that his delivery has regressed in the past few years, with a much shorter stride and a more upright finish. That's led to too many fastballs up in the zone and shaky command of all three pitches -- while simultaneously putting him at more risk for arm injuries. Toronto will look to correct those flaws heading into next season, something that shouldn't be terribly difficult for an athletic pitcher like Sanchez, but it's definitely not what you want to hear about a top arm.

As Jason pointed out above, almost unfairly Sanchez is compared to former rotation-mate Noah Syndergaard, which hurt him this past year if only because Syndergaard solidified himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the game in 2013. For Sanchez, 2013 should also be viewed as an encouraging year. Toronto aggressively sent him to Hi-A as a 20-year-old and he more than held his head above water against older competition with a 3.34 ERA. Sure, his strikeouts dropped, but the stuff remained there, and as he improves his command and matures there's little doubt that he will miss bats in bunches.

If his command becomes even average, Sanchez will be a force, a championship-caliber number two with low ratios and gaudy strikeout totals. If it doesn't, he still has the chance to be a frustrating back-end starter a la Edwin Jackson or a dominant bullpen arm. It's yet to be seen if Toronto will continue the aggressive path and push him Double-A as a 21-year-old, but if they do he may be in line for a promotion after the All-Star break.

#3 Franklin Barreto (SS)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.276

34

4

26

10

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

252

0.343

0.482

6.0%

22.2%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016)

Rk

Barreto put himself on scout's radars with an impressive international career as a Venezuelan amateur that included MVP awards in the Pan American tournaments in 2008 and 2010, capping it all off by blasting two home runs against Team USA in the 2011 16U World Championships. When the 2012 July 2 international signing period opened, Barreto was considered the top talent on the market, eventually agreeing to terms with Toronto for $1.45 million. In 2013, the Jays sent him to the Gulf Coast League where he hit .299 with a league-best .522 slugging percentage as one of the youngest players in the league.

Like Stroman, Barreto stands just 5-foot-9, but he has surprising strength thanks to his lightning fast hands and powerful forearms. He'll never be a 30 homer threat, but he could very well hit 15-20 a year in his prime. Despite a low walk total in his debut, he earns praise for his recognition skills and his hit tool regularly is graded as a future 60 or 65. Best of all, Barreto is a well-above average runner, clocking times in the 3.7-3.8 range down to first base on digs, outstanding numbers for a right-handed hitter. Although he will need to improve his jumps and timing to improve on the 62.5% success rate he had on the bases, 40+ steals a season is a distinct possibility.

Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot of work for him to stick at shortstop. His athleticism and speed are unquestioned, but his arm strength is just average and he's pretty rough at the position. In the GCL, he struggled with his footwork and actions, committing 19 errors in just 42 games. If short doesn't work out, Barreto will still stay up the middle either at second base or in centerfield. At this point Barreto is almost all ceiling, so it's easy to fall in love with the dream that he becomes another Rafael Furcal or Shane Victorino, and forget how much can still go wrong. Regardless, even if Toronto pushes him it will likely be at least four years before he's ready to make any sort of impact in the big leagues.

#4 Roberto Osuna (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

3

0

5.56

1.19

51

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

42.1

1.28

1.08

6.3%

29.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

After pitching in the Mexican League as a 16-year-old, Toronto signed Osuna for $1.5 million to bring him stateside. Despite making just nine starts in his affiliated debut, the righty turned some heads with a 2.27 ERA and a 27.2% strikeout rate against much older competition. His 2013 season was cut short due to a tear in his UCL, making his already up-and-down results even tougher to gauge. Prior to the injury, the Jays assigned him to Lo-A Lansing where he finished with 39 hits allowed, 11 walks, and 51 strikeouts allowed in 42.1 innings. As good as those numbers seem, he also posted a 5.53 ERA, though as Jason Hunt pointed out earlier in the year, most of the damage came in his last three starts after the injury, where he allowed 17 earned runs and 6 walks in just 9 frames.

Assuming he returns healthy, Osuna is an exciting yet difficult prospect to project. He's been really young for his levels thus far, but physically he doesn't appear to have any maturing left to do. He's already 230 pounds, and some worry that weight may be an issue for him down the road. That said, his physically maturity shouldn't take away from his approach or his arsenal. Osuna attacks hitters with three potential plus offerings, a mid-90's fastball, a curveball with excellent depth, and a split-changeup that gets swings and misses with sharp vertical drop. Just how good he can be is still being determined because, when healthy, he's yet to face hitters that challenge him. Once he returns from his injury we'll gain a better understanding of his ceiling, but along with Stroman and Sanchez, Osuna gives the Jays a trio of quality pitching prospects.

#5 (Ryan) Rowdy Tellez (1B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.234

10

2

20

1

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

141

0.319

0.371

10.6%

18.4%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2017)

Rk

Typically, 30th round picks from the previous year's draft don't show up on top-10 lists, but Rowdy Tellez isn't the typical 30th rounder. Ranked 59th on the Baseball America pre-draft rankings, Tellez fell due to signability concerns and a strong commitment to USC. It appeared unlikely that the Jays would sign him, but when negotiations with first-round pick Phil Bickford ultimately fell apart, Toronto gave $850,000 to Tellez to add the power-hitting lefty to their system.

Already filled out, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds, Tellez has worked hard to keep himself in good shape and moves quite well for his size. In his debut, he played first base exclusively, but he did play some outfield as an amateur and he could potentially play left field should the need be desperate enough.

What sets him apart, though, is his power and feel for hitting. As an amateur, Tellez won the Perfect Game National Showcase home run derby, defeating Indians' first round pick Clint Frazier. His raw power is easily a plus tool, and while he does most of his damage to the pull side, he drives the ball with authority to all fields. He also has an advanced approach, showing a patient, but not passive, demeanor at the plate. His numbers in the GCL leave a lot to be desired, but encouragingly he kept his strikeout rate below 20%, walked more than 10% of the time, and he got better as the season went along.

His season already fits into the small sample size category, but removing his first nine games, Tellez hit a much more respectable .271/.330/.438. He also found his way onto the final BA hot-sheet of the year after going 10 for 24 with five extra-base hits. In a system lacking high-end position players, Tellez may be the best bet to be an impact bat when he gets to the show. He should make his full season debut as a 19-year-old in 2014.

20130218_jla_ah6_133.0
Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

#6 Sean Nolin (LHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

9

0

3.22

1.30

116

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

111.66

0.64

1

7.9%

25.5%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

24

L/L

On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Remaining)

AA, AAA, MLB

Sean Nolin has made pitching in the minor leagues look relatively easy over the past three seasons, pitching himself all the way from the Midwest League to Toronto. He may not have the upside of the pitchers above him on the list, but there is a lot to like about the lefty. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, he has a big, sturdy frame that will hold up to the rigors of taking the ball every fifth day. He also has sound, repeatable mechanics and a high IQ on the mound. T

he problem is that Nolin is more crafty than dominating, drawing comparisons to a left-handed Jason Jennings. He pitches off his fastball, an average to above-average pitch that ranges from 88-94, sitting 90-91 in most outings, which works thanks to natural arm-side run and plus command of the heater. His best secondary pitch is a circle-changeup thrown with nearly identical arm speed and he also blends in a slider and a curveball. All three look to be average offerings, but none is a true out pitch. Still, the results to this point have been rather impressive. For his minor league career, Nolin has a 2.78 ERA and he's struck out 25.8% of batters while walking just 7.1%, and his numbers showed no discernible decline in the upper levels.

With polish, pitchability, and a deep arsenal, Nolin is almost the exact opposite of Aaron Sanchez, and he may have the highest floor among players on this list. He has the upside of a Mark Buehrle-type workhorse, though his command will need to be elite to reach that. More realistically, Nolin should develop into a number-four starter for the Jays, and he'll enter spring training with a chance to win a rotation spot in 2014.

#7 Alberto Tirado (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

3

0

1.68

1.27

44

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

48.1

0.19

1.33

9.7%

21.3%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

Rk

Tirado was one of 12 international free agents that inked six-figure deals with the Blue Jays in 2011, signing for $300,000. Since coming stateside, he's pitched extremely well, with a 2.27 ERA, 80 strikeouts, and just 37 walks in 91.1 innings in short-season ball over the past two years. When he was signed, his fastball topped out at 91-92 mph, but now he sits 91-94 and touches 96-97. The velocity looks effortless, stemming from a fast and loose right arm. For a teenager, he controls and commands his fastball well, especially down in the zone. His slider is still a work in progress, though some have called it a potential 70-grade offering. Tirado also throws a changeup, but both secondary pitches are immature right now. As they improve and become more consistent weapons, his strikeouts should increase.

There is some concern with Tirado regarding his size and durability. He's generously listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds and he's hasn't even topped the 50-inning mark or pitched in a full season league yet. For that reason, it's tough to rank him higher on this list, but it's easy to understand the buzz. He should make his full season debut in 2014, and with continued development of his secondary stuff, the Jays could have a top-of-the rotation starter on their hands.

#8 Daniel Norris (LHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

2

0

3.97

1.44

100

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

90.67

0.60

1.32

11.5%

25.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

L/L

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A, A+

Considered the top high school southpaw available in the 2011 draft, Norris was snatched up by the Jays in the second round and signed for $2 million. After signing late, Norris didn't pitch professionally in 2011, but the reputation he gained as an amateur snuck him into the back half of some top-100 lists heading into the season.

Norris spent the majority of 2012 in the Appalachian League, also making two starts in the Northwest League, with dreadful results. He finished the year with an ugly 8.44 ERA across the two levels, and opposing hitters batted .320 off of him. Toronto said all the right things, crediting the down year to changes in his delivery and arm slot and an emphasis on developing his secondary pitches, but his prospect star dimmed significantly during that year.

Last season, Norris looked much closer to the pitcher Toronto thought they had drafted. He spent almost the entire season in Low-A Lansing, ending the year with a much more respectable 4.20 ERA. Moreover, his FIP of 3.45 and 26.1% strikeout rate suggest that he pitched even better than that. At his best, Norris deploys a low-90's fastball that touches 96 mph, a curveball that flashes plus, and a changeup.

His demeanor, size, and stuff all look like that of a frontline starter, but he will need to be much more consistent and improve both his control and command to ever come close to that ceiling. One point in his favor is his athleticism, which was a big part of his improvement in 2013 with cleaner mechanics and a truer arm slot from start to start. After 2012, Norris still has a long road to rebuilding his status as a prospect, but last year was a step in the right direction.

#9 Chase DeJong (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

2

0

3.05

1.21

66

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

56

0.32

0.62

4.3%

28.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

L/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

Rk

Like Norris, DeJong was a second round pick in the 2012 draft, though his results have been much, much better to this point. Over the past two seasons, DeJong has a 2.78 ERA with an 81/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 68.0 innings pitched. Those numbers scream "ace" in flashing neon lights, but that's not quite the case for the righty. DeJong does have an excellent build, 6-foot-4 with room to fill out, but he gets better marks for his feel for pitching than his pure stuff. He has an average fastball, 89-93, which he spots well to both sides of the plate, an overhand curveball that could turn into a plus pitch, and a changeup with similar upside, though neither is particularly close in the present.

As he moves up he may have a problem with his arm action -- DeJong has a bit of a one-piece arm and it allows hitters to get a good, long look at the ball out of his hand. -- but it hasn't hurt him yet. Reports say that he did a better job repeating his delivery and landing soft on his front side this year, encouraging signs for his future command. DeJong doesn't match the excitement of some of the other arms in this system, but don't sleep on him because he has a chance to be a quality big leaguer. He'll join Tirado in Lansing's rotation next year.

#10 D.J. Davis (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.240

35

6

25

13

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

258

0.323

0.418

10.1%

29.5%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

L/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016)

Rk

Loaded with picks in the 2012 draft, the Blue Jays used their first choice to select high school outfielder D.J. Davis 17th overall. He signed quickly for $1.75 million, allowing him to play 55 games between Bluefield and Vancouver. Between them he hit .250/.355/.386 with 5 home runs and 25 steals, a solid debut for the outfielder. In 2013 he went back to Bluefield and posted an identical .741 OPS, but he struck out in nearly 30% of his at bats and his steals cut in half.

Davis has an extremely loud tool set and the physical abilities to be a star, but it's going to take some work. On the physical side, he's a premium athlete, an 80 runner with strength and elite bat speed. Davis is so fast that some claim he'd beat Billy Hamilton in a foot race, and if he can get on base enough he'll create havoc on the bases. Of course that's a big if. He doesn't recognize spin out of the hand, and he swings through far too many pitches.

Honestly, it's unlikely that the bat is ever good enough for him to truly be an impact player, but skill sets like his are rare enough that you wait a long time before moving on. If history is any indication, we should worry about Davis considering that only two high school players from Mississippi have ever reached the big leagues, and neither played more than 100 games in their careers. He's got a lot of work to do to ever approach his ceiling, and he'll begin that quest in Lansing in 2014.

Other Interesting Prospects
By Andrew Ball (@andrew_ball)

Matt Smoral, LHP - A broken foot kept Smoral from going in the first round of the 2012 draft, but Toronto kept him away from a North Carolina commitment with a $2 million bonus. A very large human at 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, Smoral is still learning to control his body and his delivery, leading to atrocious numbers in the Gulf Coast League. Still, the size and the potential for a plus fastball/slider combo make him an intriguing prospect to follow.

Richard Urena, SS - A left-handed hitting shortstop from the Dominican, Urena hit .296/.381/.403 and swiped 9 bags in the Dominican summer league. He probably won't even play in a full season league until 2015, but he may bolt up this list in future years.

For more on the Blue Jays, be sure to check out SBNation's Bluebird Banter . For more on the minor leagues and prospects in general, check out SBNation's Minor League Ball.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects.
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Andrew Ball is a contributing writer for Beyond the Box Score and Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Matt Mattingly is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
Fangraphs
Bluebird Banter
Vimeo
Youtube

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