09/06/12 10:00 AM ET
Blue Jays place seven in Top 100 Prospects list
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
The Blue Jays moved into the Top 5 in overall points when the latest round of prospects rankings were released by MLB.com on Thursday.
Toronto now has seven players listed among the Top 100 prospects in baseball. That's an increase of three since the start of the season. Those who were previously on the list have seen their overall rankings continue to climb, as well.
Catcher Travis d'Arnaud (No. 12), outfielder Jake Marisnick (No. 39), right-hander Aaron Sanchez (No. 44), outfielder Anthony Gose (No. 46), right-hander Noah Syndergaard (No. 91), left-hander Justin Nicolino (No. 94) and left-hander Daniel Norris (No. 100) all cracked MLB.com's list.
The seven ranked players are more than any other team in baseball, with San Diego and Pittsburgh tying for second with six each. But there are still four teams ranked above the Blue Jays in the overall standings, thanks to higher-ranked prospects who gain more points.
Gose is the one prospect on the Blue Jays' list who has already made his Major League debut. He has displayed well-above-average range in the outfield and blistering speed on the basepaths, but is still trying to figure things out at the plate.
The 22-year-old got his first opportunity in July, when right fielder Jose Bautista suffered a serious wrist injury. Gose proceeded to hit just .183 with a pair of RBIs in 28 games but has since rejoined the club as a September call-up.
The results haven't necessarily been there, but the learning process is ongoing and the biggest adjustment will come with an improved ability to hit a curveball.
"He's so young, and he was having his best year as a pro player in Vegas," Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava said. "It's good that he came up here and he got to see what the league's about. He got to see the pitching and how they try to attack you. He's a fast learner and I think he'll be better for having gone through this.
"I think he found out that Major League pitchers will attack different things and they're always making adjustments. Until you show you can handle a certain pitch, I think you're going to see a lot of it. He makes his adjustment, they'll make their adjustments and it's a cat-and-mouse game."
blue jays' top prospects
MLB.com also released its updated Top 20 prospect rankings for each individual team on Thursday. Right-hander Roberto Osuna saw the biggest jump by sliding into the No. 9 spot, after not cracking the Top 20 earlier this year.
The drastic climb comes after Osuna enjoyed an impressive season with Bluefield of the Appalachian League and Class A Vancouver. The 17-year-old Osuna posted a 2.27 ERA between the two teams while striking out 49 in 43 2/3 innings of work.
The Top 20 saw the departure of catcher Carlos Perez, right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, right-hander Joe Musgrove and right-hander Kevin Comer. All four players were dealt to Houston in July as part of a 10-player trade for starter J.A. Happ, right-hander Brandon Lyon and right-hander David Carpenter.
Catcher A.J. Jimenez saw the biggest drop this season among players that remain in the system. He began the year at No. 14, but has since moved into the No. 20 slot after suffering a right elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery earlier in the season.
Right-hander Deck McGuire also dropped three spots following a disappointing season with Double-A New Hampshire. McGuire was expected to join the Blue Jays at some point this season, but instead struggled in the Eastern League by going 5-15 with a 5.88 ERA in 144 innings.
It was a major setback for the 11th overall selection of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and like most young pitchers, the lack of success can be directly tied to location.
"Command is probably the biggest thing," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "Velocity is the same, stuff is the same, but again, balls up in the zone, not hitting his spots. When he starts throwing more quality strikes, the results will follow.
"They're also going to continue to work on things. It's not like the walk rate is incredibly high, but again, if you're not hitting your spot, it could still be a strike, but if it's in the middle of the plate, it's going to get hit."
Minor League rumblings
Anthopoulos on the prospect who has taken the biggest step forward this year: "Sean Nolin. We [recently] called him up to New Hampshire. In Dunedin he had great stats. [Assistant GM] Andrew Tinnish did a great job taking him in the sixth round [in 2010]. I know Dana Brown really pounded for him in the Draft room. He was his gut-feeling guy and he did a great job with him.
[Nolin's] been up to 95 from the left side, throws a lot of strikes, has a deceptive delivery and guys don't get good swings on his fastball, a bit like Happ in that respect.
LaCava on what infield prospect Adeiny Hechavarria has shown during his time in the big leagues: "I think he's had some good swings. I think, at times, he had good at-bats. I don't think he chased as much as a lot of young kids do when they first get here. I thought he handled himself well. Obviously the batting average doesn't say that but I think he'll be better having gone through all of that."
LaCava on top prospect d'Arnaud, who suffered a knee injury earlier this year, which ended his season: "The trainers say he's doing fine. He's progressing. He's actually gone home to California and he'll continue his rehab out there. Not sure yet [about Arizona Fall League]. We'll see how he is, medically."