Prospect Round-Up: Top 10 Blue Jays Prospects at the Halfway Point

Brad LeClair@beerad87Correspondent IJune 28, 2010

ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 12:  U.S. Futures All-Star Kyle Drabek of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during the 2009 XM All-Star Futures Game at Busch Stadium on July 12, 2009 the in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Under the control of J.P. Ricciardi, the Toronto Blue Jays never really accomplished what he set out to do: make the playoffs under a five-year plan. Ricciardi opted to try the free-agent approach to winning, and he failed pretty badly.

AJ Burnett, who only stayed until his player option came. Frank Thomas, who was pretty washed up by this point in his career. BJ Ryan, who lost all control after Tommy John surgery. These guys were Ricciardi's undoings. 

Ricciardi, in a lot of baseball minds, was a decent drafter. He had some stumbling blocks early on, such as picking Russ Adams in the first round and at the time passing on Troy Tulowitzki by picking LHP Ricky Romero. Romero has since gone on to silence his critics this season and make that non-pick of Tulowitzki sting a little less. 

Last season, though, Ricciardi and management failed to sign a number of draft picks such as James Paxton, Jake Eliopoulos, and Jake Barrett. That may of been a blessing in disguise: Paxton was drafted 132nd overall by the Mariners (instead of in the second round by the Jays last year) and Eliopoulos went in the 15th round to the Dodgers.

To Ricciardi's credit, he did draft the likes of Ricky Romero, Aaron Hill, Shaun Marcum and Brett Cecil.

So here we go, counting down the Jays' top prospects. Numbers in parentheses represent where Baseball America had them ranked last season.

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10. RHP Asher Wojciechowski (unranked)

Team: Auburn DoubleDays (Rookie)

2010 Stats: 9 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 10 K's

It's early on, but his numbers are the best out of the drafted players this year. Deck McGuire still hasn't signed, so this guy has quickly became the Jays' best prospect so far from the 2010 draft who are currently playing in the Jays minor league system. At 6'4" 235 lbs, Asher is a dominating presence on the mound and his stuff has overmatched his competition in Auburn.

9. RHP Zach Stewart (1)

Team: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA) 

2010 Stats: 74.1 IP 72 H 36 ER 32 BB 62 K 4.36 ERA

He didn't have the greatest of years, but he's no slouch, either. I still believe in my gut he turns into the team's closer down the line, and to that I say, welcome. The Jays haven't had a reliable closer since the days of Billy Koch in his rookie year.

8. RHP Chad Jenkins (3)

Team: Dunedin Blue Jays (High A) and Lansing Lugnuts (Low A)

2010 Stats: 85 IP 94 H 35 ER 13 BB 67 K 3.69 ERA

For an older pitcher playing in low-A ball, you would think his numbers would be better than they were, but they weren't. That's why his stock fell from last year. His control has been pretty darn good, and the ERA is a nice stat. Recently, he earned a promotion to Dunedin where he earned his first quality start with the Jays.

7. RHP Henderson Alvarez (5)

Team: Dunedin Blue Jays (High A)

2010 Stats: 65.1 IP 74 H 22 ER 13 BB 47 K's 3.03 ERA

While he won't blow you away, his control is probably the best among Blue Jays prospect pitchers. He doesn't project to be a top-two starter, but his control and arm will earn him a starting pitching job eventually in the league. I haven't seen a lot on him, but his small stature reminds me a little bit of Ervin Santana and Pedro Martinez. Those would probably be some good comparisons for him.

6. C Carlos Perez (10)

Team: Auburn DoubleDays (Rookie)

2010 Stats: 1 HR 7 RBI .333 AVG .405 OBP .951 OPS

Finally, a Blue Jays positional player. Perez has been tearing it up to start the season this year. He is regarded as one of the Jays' better prospects, and his stats are showing why. 

5. OF Jake Marisnick  (Up 6)

Team: Gulf Coast Blue Jays (Gulf Coast League)

2010 Stats: 1 HR 4 RBI 3 SB 0 CS .364 AVG .444 OBP 1.051 OPS

Jake's game reminds me a lot of Grady Sizemore. His combination of size, speed, and developing power lend himself to that comparison. If the Jays end up getting a player that is similar to Sizemore, but someone who will hopefully hit for a better average, this may turn out to be one of Ricciardi's best-drafted players, especially considering where he ended up drafting him.

4. C Travis d'Arnaud (Unranked)

Team: Dunedin Blue Jays (High A)

2010 Stats: 5 HR 29 RBI 2 SB .339 OBP .436 SLG .775 OPS

The first of three prospects who came to Toronto in the Roy Halladay deal this summer. Travis is having a good start to the year. His calling card is his defence, and he's shown that off this year. His bat started off hot, cooled down, and, in the last five games, has returned once again. He is close to earning a promotion to AA New Hampshire.

3. RHP Kyle Drabek (Unranked)

Team: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)

2010 Stats: 91 IP 81 H 33 ER 41 BB 72 K 3.26 ERA

Kyle is having a pretty good year this year for adjusting to a new team. His BB/K ratio leaves something to be desired, but he's been very effective when he's started nonetheless. He's probably going to stay in New Hampshire for the year because the Pacific Coast League is where pitchers go to die for the most part. Look for him on the Blue Jays in 2011.

2. C JP Arencibia (2)

Team: Las Vegas 51's (AAA)

2010 Stats: 17 HR 44 RBI .303 AVG .346 OBP .581 SLG .927 OPS

JP Arencibia has really started to evolve into that power-hitting catching prospect that the Jays hoped for when they drafted him. Last year he battled eyesight problems and a kidney ailment, so his numbers suffered as a result. This year he's out to prove his critics wrong.

1. 1B/3B Brett Wallace (Unranked)

Team: Las Vegas 51's (AAA)

2010 Stats: 14 HR 42 RBI .301 AVG .358 OBP .505 SLG .863 OPS

Wallace was probably the best player the Jays got in the Halladay deal, and the Jays had to trade OF Micheal Taylor to actually get him. Wallace has enjoyed a powerful season with the 51's. He's threatening to push Lyle Overbay out of his starting position with the Jays. Jays fans, don't fret, that day is coming very soon.

Not Listed, but not Forgotten

Some prospects to not make the list, but I still feel are very good prospects include :

Darin Mastroianni, Brad Emaus, Michael McDade, Adeiny Hechavarria, AJ Jimenez, Ryan Goins, Kenny Wilson, Deck McGuire(unsigned), Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Tim Collins, Eric Thames and Moises Sierra.

Prospects who are falling fast out of the organization

Kevin Ahrens, Justin Jackson and David Cooper.

What are positions of strength : Obviously pitching and catching

Where We Need To Focus On Going Forward : A few more "toolsy" outfield prospects, some help up the middle of the infield and lastly a third baseman with some upside please. And you can't have too much pitching.

Thanks for reading, any thoughts? Players I missed? Players that should't be there?