If you’re a Jays fan you must be drenching yourself in urine out of uncontrollable excitement these days (probably too much). Brett Lawrie has energized his teammates and he’s making the media and fan base go ape. He might annihilate my initial predictions. Yesterday’s performance was man crush making material: clutch hitting, stealing bases, solid defence (that dual double play rundown he started was throw-your-TV-remote-off-the-balcony worthy). He’s not the only youngster that is making believers out of TO fans. Eric Thames (24 years old) has shaken off his batting woes and is back to driving the ball in the gaps and out of the park, Colby Rasmus (25 years old) hasn’t been tearing the cover off the ball (.220 avg), but has been making D in centre field look Devo easy, Henderson Alvarez (21 years old) makes his 2nd start tonight and is coming off a solid major league debut against Oakland. The top 3 in the starting rotation Romero (26 years old), Cecil (25 years old) and Morrow (27 years old) are solidifying themselves as solid front end of the rotation chuckers. Add all of these youngsters to vets like Bautista, Lind and Escobar and you have a pretty bright future indeed.
There are also future stars in the minors:
1) Travis d’Arnaud 22 years old: catcher, AA stats: .326, 17 HR, 61 RBI
If he can play some D he may give Arencibia a real push in the next few seasons. ETA: 2 years
2) Adeiny Hechavarria 22 years old: shortstop, AA and AAA combined: .242, 6 HR, 46 RBI
It’s not his bat that will make him $$$. His glove is said to be unreal and if he was in the bigs right now he’d be considered in the top tier in fielding. I wonder if the Jays would consider moving him to 2nd base in the minors to groom him to take over for Aaron Hill in the future. ETA: 2 years
3) Kyle Drabek 23 years old: starting pitcher, not going to list his AAA stats because they’re awful
He had a cup of coffee with the Jays earlier in the year and walked way too many batters to be effective. It looks like he continues to struggle with control in the minors. He has explosive stuff so expect to see him back in the bigs next year. ETA: probably will get a September call-up this year
4) Deck McGuire 20 years old: starting pitcher, A and AA combined: 3.06 ERA, 9-5, 121 k’s in 123 innings
11th overall pick in 2010, rising fast through minors. Big fastball, hard slider, front end of rotation type prospect. ETA: 2 years
5) Anthony Gose 21 years old: outfield, AA stats: .257, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 52 SB
As you can see his main attraction is his blazing speed. The Jays’ outfield is pretty crowded right now (Bautista, Rasmus, Thames, Snider). A trade or 2 might open up a spot for Gose at some point. ETA: 2 years
The Jays are trying to build a long term winning franchise by being stacked in every position in the minors. This is the only way they can hope to challenge the beasts of the east who can spend unlimited funds to reload their line-ups every year. If I had to predict, I’d say the Jays will be in playoff contention in 2 years, but will actually finally make it in 3 or 4 years.