The Toronto Blue Jays have some very talented players in their organization. However they also have a lot of question marks. Of course Travis Snider leads the way as the organization’s top prospect, but after him things get a little foggy. After Snider the next four prospects (and a few after that) all have a very strong part of their game as well as a considerable weakness. While the skills are enough to get them to the Major Leagues, their weaknesses, if not improved, can hold them back from being a large contributor for the Blue Jays. But if they can work through them they will be big additions someday soon. Here’s a look at the Toronto Blue Jays’ top five prospects:
1.) Travis Snider
Position: Outfield | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #1
Bats: Left | Throws: Left | Height: 5-11 | Weight: 245
Scouting Report: Snider is best known for his powerful bat with the ability to hit it out of the park to all fields. His raw power is finally starting to translate more into home runs as his swing is becoming more fluid and his plate discipline is honed in. Fits the mold of a typical right fielder with good power, able to drive in runs and the weakness many hitters like him have in the form of too many strikeouts (has difficult time picking up breaking stuff from lefties). Snider is very athletic and while he has the bat to carry him in right field, there has been talk of him moving to first base. Snider also has been cursed with the injury bug thus far in his young career, but when healthy, he is a force in the lineup.
2.) Brett Cecil
Position: Pitcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #2
Bats: Right | Throws: Left | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 225
Scouting Report: While there is some debate on what role Cecil should play on a staff, the answer seems pretty clear that he is best fit to be the closer of the future for Toronto (or at least a very strong set-up man). Cecil has a decent fastball in the low-90’s which could use a little more velocity, however what makes him so special is his devastating slider. The slider (his out pitch) sits anywhere in the low to mid-80’s and is virtually unhittable to lefties. This is his money pitch that will get him to the Majors but he still needs a change-up to challenge righties as he currently doesn’t have something to challenge them. This may keep him from closing and at worst he will be a left handed specialist.
3.) David Cooper
Position: First Base | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Left | Throws: Left | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 210
Scouting Report: Cooper has a fantastic approach at the plate which allows him to be a consistent and productive hitter. His greatest asset is his plus power to all fields which he generates from a long and powerful swing. One thing you probably won’t see is a closet full of Gold Gloves in his closet by the end of his career. Cooper is an average first baseman who doesn’t have much range. But the Blue Jays, like anyone who would have drafted him, weren’t taking him for his defensive prowess as they wanted to get his big bat into their organization. He’ll hold his own at first as a pro and will be carried by that power.
4.) J.P. Arencibia
Position: Catcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #4
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 195
Scouting Report: Arencibia has received mixed reviews from many scouts regarding his glove. Some say he will be a fantastic catcher while others say he is horrible. As a former catcher I tend to be a little harder on catching prospects than most, but I would have to say his skills are a little below average and not as bad as some say (and are now better than my grading of him last year). While he’s very athletic behind the plate and has a rocket arm, he has trouble blocking pitches in the dirt and could use some improving on his game calling. He’s good enough to keep him back but what makes him so special is his bat. Arencibia has raw plus power but horrible plate discipline. He is too aggressive at the plate but if he can learn this and harness his power he will be a really good offensive catcher down the road.
5.) Justin Jackson
Position: Shortstop | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #5
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 175
Scouting Report: Jackson is a tough one to scout as he really hasn’t shown that much consistency to get excited about. He does have some raw skills that could be molded into something pretty good. Jackson has very good bat speed but his swings can be a little long and loopy at times causing some ugly contact. Doesn’t have good speed when he begins running but has good acceleration which will hamper him being a base stealer. Needs to get stronger and may move to third base due to a very strong arm. In fact, he has even done some relief pitching in the past so he always has that trick up his sleeve.
2008 Rankings: (1) Travis Snider, (2) Brett Cecil, (3) Kevin Aherns, (4) J.P. Arencibia, (5) Justin Jackson
By Matthew Whipps
“The Diamond Cutter“
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
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