Diamonds in the MLB Rough

Ian HunterCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2010

Trying to discover the finest young talent in the major leagues is kind of like mining for diamonds: you have to sift through lot of crap to get to the good stuff.

When it comes to the 2010 Toronto Blue Jays roster, there are a few diamonds in the rough. Players like Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Travis Snider are going to make watching this team at least somewhat bearable.

Thanks to Justin at Beyond the Boxscore, you can check out how the 2009 Blue Jays starting lineup fared in the DiamondView Composite—a very cool visual aid that helps show how players stack up in four basic categories (fielding, on base, power and base-running).

Considering that over one-third of last year's Opening Day lineup has flown the nest, I decided to choose the young guns: Lind, Hill and Snider.


Just by quickly glancing over these composites, three things come immediately to mind:

  1. Hill is not as good a fielder as I thought he was.
  2. Lind is a much worse fielder than I thought he was.
  3. Out of the three, Snider is the most well-rounded player.

I don't expect Hill to be saving lives out there at second base, but for some reason I thought he performed much better on the field in 2009 than his numbers dictated. He  was nowhere near his incredible 2006 season where his UZR was a phenomenal 18.1 He dropped down to earth a little bit in 2009 with a -2.3 UZR.

As great a player as Lind is, looking at his DiamondView composite, it appears that manager Cito Gaston is grooming him into a one-trick pony. I don't claim to be a conditioning coach, but is Lind so far gone when it comes to fielding that he is a liability on the field? It certainly appears to be that way. Luckily, there are plenty of other teams who have below average fielders on the everyday roster.

Snider, on the other hand, provides quite a bit of  hope for the future. His defensive skill set is far superior to Lind's, and Snider is a little quicker on the base paths. Eighty-six games at the major league level is a small sample size to base the future on, but I think he has yet to find his power stride. In my mind, the sky's the limit for Snider.

If you're curious how the rest of the Blue Jays fared on the DiamondView Composites, make sure you check out the rest of the roster over at Beyond the Boxscore.

DiamondView Composites courtesy of Beyond the Boxscore.