Over the last five years or so the Tampa Bay Rays began to show vast signs of improvement. All of a sudden this burst of young talent such as Carl Crawford, BJ Upton and Evan Longoria were in the big leagues and beating the likes of the Yankees and the Red Sox. All of this while having a payroll that is dwarfed in comparison. They used a plan of attack that was made to be sustainable. Acquire lots of young talent that could not just leave for free agency. Make them grow in the system together and become a well oiled machine.
Since Alex Anthopolous took over as the GM of the Blue Jays there as been a systematic change in the approach to how the Blue Jays fielded a team. In one of his first moves Alex traded Roy Halladay. In return the Jays got pitcher Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d'Arnaud and first baseman Brett Wallace. Not long after this Brett Wallace was traded to Houston for centre fielder Anthony Gose. With these trades Toronto had begun stocking the cupboards with young talent. Now with one of the more exciting teams in baseball the talent is beginning to burst to the major league level. Two of the players in the Halladay trade made it into the Top 100 MLB prospects of 2012. Here is some information on the prospects about to take that next step.
#25 - Travis d'Arnaud (Catcher): With the success of J.P Arencibia in the big leagues it is hard to imagine someone else playing catcher for the Blue Jays. However d'Arnaud is looked at as having more raw talent then the current starting catcher for the Jays and could be pushing for the starting job before too long. His above average arm allows for him to play the position well defensively. He also possesses a very quick bat that will provide him with power and average at the plate. He will most likely see some time at AAA Las Vegas this season and with a strong push could be seen in the big leagues this year.
#57 - Anthony Gose (Center Field): The one word you can use to describe Gose is simply FAST. This young man has shown he has the speed to run with anyone in the Majors. He has stolen 70+ bases twice in the minors which is an impressive feat in itself. He is looked at as over aggressive on the base paths however in his first season with the Jays he improved his success rate from 57% in 2010 to 82.4% in 2011. Gose is a five tool player. His speed allows him to catch up to any ball in the field and his arm is one of the best in the minors. He needs to improve his strikeout rate but he is learning to tap into his natural power and will provide some pop as well as some average. He will be an exciting player for Jays fans to watch. He will most likely see time at AAA this season.
#58 - Jake Marisnick (Outfield): Coming in on the list right behind Gose is another talented outfielder. Jake Marisnick emerged in 2011 as someone to watch for the Jays. He currently plays in center field but his power suits him more to the right field position. He has great speed which allows him to steal some bases as well as provide exceptional defence. He hits for average but the power game will come as he adjusts to each level. He played in Single A Lansing last season and should see a move up to AA New Hampshire this year. The outfield of the future looks bright with the likes of Gose and Marisnick patrolling the Rogers Center.
#95 - Noah Syndergaard (Pitcher): This kid is a strikeout machine. He struck out 29% of the batters he faced last season. Incredible numbers. He is a power pitcher. He has some zip on his fastball and a good power curveball. He is still developing a change-up that he will need if he wants to advance further. He is only 19 years old which may be the scary thing. As he develops he will get stronger and has the type of body you want to see out of a number one pitcher. He moved across a few Single A levels last season but I think we will see some of Noah at AA before this season is out. His projected arrival is 2014 but with strong performances we may be seeing this fireballer on the mound a lot sooner.
**All information provided by bluejays.com and MLB.com**