Sickels releases his top Blue Jay prospects

Minor League guru John Sickels has just released his ranking of Blue Jay prospects. Here are the top 10:

1) Brett Wallace, 1B-3B, Grade B+
2) Zach Stewart, RHP, Grade B+
3) Kyle Drabek, RHP, Grade B+
4) Travis d'Arnaud, C, Grade B
5) Chad Jenkins, RHP, Grade B-
6) David Cooper, 1B, Grade B-
7) Josh Roenicke, RHP, Grade C+
8) Henderson Alvarez, RHP, Grade C+
9) Carlos Perez, C, Grade C+
10) Brad Mills, LHP, Grade C+

Take a look at his post for the complete top 20 list. He also adds brief comments on each player (full comments on every team availible in his yearly).

A few interesting notes: Sickels states that he likes Stewart's stuff a little better than Drabek's. The more I hear about Stewart, the more I'm really starting to get excited about the kid. Sickels also states, "A rotation of Drabek/Stewart/Jenkins could spin a lot of quality innings if everyone pans out." Now, just think of all the possible 4-5 guys.

On the League trade.

Sometimes brilliant, sometimes very frustrating reliever for a young sometimes brilliant, sometimes very frustrating starter; both are fireballers. Obviously, this deal is too heavily weighted in the Jays' favour to not have another player involved: a prospect. Consensus now seems to be that the prospect is Johermyn Chavez. Cringe. This doesn't sit well with me—although it does sit a lot better than the delusion of some Mariner fans believing that we'd actually deal Wallace, Snider, Stewart, or Lind. The nerve!—I was looking forward to Chavez: The kid is young, and he plays a position that seems to be a deep dark void in the organization.

Yeah yeah, he repeated Low-A last year. The kid was 20 years old and he put up decent numbers at the plate during his mulligan year: He posted a wOBA of .371, a ISO of .191, and a .346 OBP; the kid hits for decent power and gets on base. He could certainly improve on his 7.3% BB rate and 27% K rate. He's young and needs polishing—of course. But I'd certainly take a 20% K rate if his ISO was .200+. All in all, he's a RF/LF prospect. Enough said.

A quick look at Brandon Morrow. He's projected to be a number 3 guy. He's hard throwing: his fast ball sits at around 95mph. He's got control issues and sometimes has trouble with his curve. He spend time in both AAA and the MLB last year playing in 10 (starting all 10) and 26 (starting 10) games respectively. His numbers weren't spectacular with Seattle: His tRA was 5.54 (a tRA of 3.00 would be considered very good), and his xFIP was 4.89 (again an xFIP of 3.00 would be considered elite for a starter). He averaged a nice 8.14 K/9 in the MLB last year, but also recorded a 5.68 BB/9.

So, why Morrow. Simple: (i) He's major league ready and can eat innings; (ii) He does have potential; and (iii) We might one day see him as a setup/closer type in the bullpen. Personally, I still think hanging on to Chavez would have been better; there must have been another Hi-A prospect? Is the pantry that bare?

Mat at Blue Jays Daze postulates what the rotation could be like in 2010:

1 - Ricky Romero (25): stats for 2009, 29 GS, 178 IP, 141 Ks, 4.30 ERA, 1.522 Whip (14 IP in minors)

2 - Shaun Marcum (28): stats for 2009, did not pitch due to injury (15 IP in minors as rehab)

3 - Brett Cecil (22): stats for 2009, 17 GS, 93.1 IP, 69 Ks, 5.30 ERA, 1.650 Whip (49 IP in minors)

4 - Brandon Morrow (25): stats for 2009, 10 GS, 69.2 IP, 63 Ks, 4.39 ERA, 1.579 Whip (55 IP in minors)

5 - Marc Rzepczynski (24): stats for 2009, 11 GS, 61.1 IP, 60 Ks, 3.67 ERA, 1.321 Whip (88 IP in minors)

Zack Stewart could be ready to see some action next year, and look forward to Kyle Drabek in 2011. The above rotation also leaves Scott Richmond out, and he could find a good home in the pen—frankly, he's probably better there. Best case for Jesse Litch is July-August, which might be perfect timing when innings begin to be a problem for the young arms. And, of course, there's also the Dustin McGowan mystery. A little further down the line we also have Reidier Gonzalez and Luis Perez.

Hopefully the pitchers who are going to be established parts of moving forward will make a strong case by the 2012 season. In the meantime, won't it be fun to watch it all unfold?