A few notes:
Below, you'll see my list and an explanation of why I've put them there.
You'll notice that the list (as are most Jays prospect lists) is very heavy on pitchers. The Jays' system really doesn't have a lot of elite position players, and just about all of them have question marks beside their names.
I tend to favour prospects that are closer to the majors. The Jays have a lot of potential (especially in position players) in the lower levels, but some (like Jacob Anderson) haven't put together enough quality performances in pro-ball to warrant inclusion or a higher position on the list. Players who have shown improvement (K.C. Hobson) have definitely gotten more consideration than those who either haven't shown much at the levels of the minors or haven't done well despite what scouts say about their tools.
Another thing that I consider is age/level relationship. A younger player who does well at a higher level will get more consideration than an older one who dominates a lower level. This why a guy like Taylor Cole isn't on the list.
I'll probably revise the list after I come back from spring training. I plan to catch as many minor league workouts and games as I can while I'm down in Dunedin.
1. Aaron Sanchez: Age* 20, Highest Level: A Lansing. Sanchez is the consensus number 1 guy for everyone. A guy who showed dominance in full season ball who projects to be a top 2 starter if he reaches his potential. Anticipated 2013 Level: A+ Dunedin
2. Roberto Osuna: Age 18, Highest Level: S A Vancouver. Osuna is also universally ranked highly in the Jays' depleted minor league system. His youth and ability to dominate against older players combined with the maturity of his stuff and his pitching approach makes him a guy who could move through the system fairly quickly. Anticipated 2013 Level: A Lansing - Piggybacked to begin the season.
3. Marcus Stroman: Age 21, Highest Level: AA New Hampshire. Stroman ranks high on this list for two reasons. One is that most scouts agree that his stuff is almost major league ready, and two, the Blue Jays have expressed their desire to stretch him out to start. With an infectious, positive attitude and a tireless work ethic, I have a feeling that Stroman will make the majors by mid-way through 2014. Anticipated 2013 Level: A+ Dunedin/AA New Hampshire.
4. Sean Nolin: Age 23, Highest Level: AA New Hampshire. With a strong showing in Spring Training, he could be jumping up the depth charts and be seen as a guy who can contribute to the ML club this year or next (at least out of the bullpen). He was wildly successful last year as a starter and, from what I've seen from his scouting reports, has a fairly solid floor of a bullpen guy in the majors with a ceiling as a Ricky Romero-type starter. Anticipated 2013 Level: AA New Hampshire.
5. D.J. Davis: Age 18, Highest Level: S A Vancouver. Davis's strong stats through the 2 lowest levels of the Jays organization (GCL and Bluefield) combined with his outstanding tools puts him here. He's shown great speed, good defense, and even a bit of power in his brief minor league career. Anticipated 2013 Level: S A Vancouver.
6. Daniel Norris: Age 19, Highest Level: S A Vancouver. I'm ranking Norrish this high due to the consensus that his stuff is far beyond what he actually did last year. As mentioned in my discussion of him, his peripherals were far better than the ugly numbers of his ERA, but I'd like to see Norris translate his stuff into better results on the field before I put him into the top 5. With a strong year in 2013, he could very well jump up much higher next year. Anticipated 2013 Level: S A Vancouver or piggybacking at Lansing.
7. A.J. Jimenez: Age 22, Highest Level: AA New Hampshire. I like catchers. It's the hardest defensive position to play and if you can have a guy with outstanding defense, he'll get consideration from me every day. Jimenez had a great season in 2011 in Dunedin and had a slow (but not bad) start before needing Tommy John surgery. If he can show that he can hit again, he's fairly close to the majors (and now on the 40-man roster), which means he could end up backing up (or even usurping) J.P. Arencibia within 2-3 years.
8. John Stilson: Age 22, Highest Level: AA New Hampshire. Stilson had far better stats at Dunedin than New Hampshire and projects to be a bullpen arm, hurting his ranking on this list. Anticipated 2013 Level: AA New Hampshire.
9. Matthew Smoral: Age 19, Highest Level: Did not play. Guys rave about him. They say he could be a starter. Many scouts have him ranked much higher than 9th. I'll wait until I see some more out of him. Anticipated 2013 Level: R+ Bluefield.
10. Santiago Nessy: Age 20, Highest Level: S A Vancouver. Nessy has continually improved with the bat, showing more power in Bluefield in 2012. Scouts think that he's got more in the tank to go along with solid defensive skills. Anticipated 2013 Level: S A Vancouver.
11. Christian Lopes: Age 20, Highest Level: S A Vancouver. Lopes has been getting a lot of love this off-season and his strong 2012 mostly at Bluefield is responsible for that. Some say that if he keeps it up, he could be the Jays answer to a lack of 2B in the system. Anticipated 2013 Level: A Lansing.
12. Adonys Cardona: Age, 19, Highest Level: R GCL Dunedin. Cardona gets a higher place mainly because scouts love his stuff. He numbers weren’t all bad, but he really needs to show more in 2013. Anticipated 2013 Level: R+ Bluefield.
13. Alberto Tirado: Age: 18, Highest Level: R+ Bluefield. Tirado had a very strong year and has risen up the rankings by many scouts and pundits. He even held his own in his first appearances in higher level ball in Bluefield. Anticipated 2013 Level: R+ Bluefield or S A Vancouver.
14. Chase DeJong: Age 19, Highest Level: R GCL Dunedin. DeJong is this low, mainly because he’s still working through the lowest minor league levels. If he has the same success this year as he had in his first exposure to pro ball in 2012, he’ll be jumping up the list. Anticipated 2013 Level: R+ Bluefield or S A Vancouver (I have my money on Vancouver).
15. Deck McGuire: Age 23, Highest Level: AA New Hampshire. Deck gets credit for his very strong 2011 while losing credit for his crappy 2012. I’m not quite ready to write him off just yet, and his proximity to the majors helps him get on this list. Anticipated 2013 Level: AA New Hampshire.
16. Daniel (Danny) Barnes: Age 23, Highest level: A+ Dunedin. Barnes was a dominant closer coming out of the bullpen in Dunedin. He’ll probably never be higher than 16 on any of my lists because he is already a bullpen arm, meaning if he fails to make the bigs as a reliever, he has nowhere to go. He makes the list because fellow bullpen arm Griffin Murphy is much lower in the system. Anticipated 2013 Level: AA New Hampshire.
17. Kevin Pillar: Age 24, Highest Level: A+ Dunedin. Pillar is a feel good story and deserves to be on this list mainly because he has show the ability to hit at some of the higher minor league levels. His skills translate well to that of a 4th outfielder, and if he can make a Major League career as a 4th outfielder, that’s a pretty good job by the Jays’ player development staff (as well as Pillar). Anticipated 2013 Level: AA New Hampshire.
18. K.C. Hobson: Age 22, Highest Level: A Lansing. Hobson’s inclusion in this list comes entirely from his huge year over year improvement between 2011 and 2012. He almost doubled his extra-base hit totals from the year before (also at Lansing, and with almost exactly the same number of at bats). To stay on the list, Hobson is going to have to show that he can turn some of the doubles into HRs (tough to do in Dunedin) while continuing his upward trajectory at a higher level. Anticipated 2013 Level: A+ Dunedin.
19. Javier Avendano: Age 22, Highest Level: A Lansing. Avendano was dominant last year, whether it was coming out of the bullpen in Lansing, or starting in Vancouver. He’s a little older and needs to start for the full year this year for the Jays to see what they’re going to have with him. Anticipated 2013 Level: A Lansing.
20. Anthony Alford: Age 19, Highest Level: R GCL Dunedin. Alford is ranked this low because of the doubts of whether he’ll even stay with baseball. If he continues to pursue his football dreams, this crazy athlete with great upside won’t even come close to reaching his potential. If he makes baseball his primary sport, he could jump up this list quickly. Anticipated 2013 level: R+ Bluefield.
*Age is the player's age on Opening Day.