Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com’s Prospect Pipeline is the fuckin’ guy who is the fuckin’ guy when it comes to prospects. So he was asked a good question in his inbox about the Toronto Blue Jays farm system in comparison to the Astros before they became the juggernaut they are in 2019.
You can read the article here, but what Mayo had to say was encouraging for Toronto.
In this week's Inbox, @JonathanMayo answers these questions:
🗣️ Next Top 100 prospect to #MLB?
📩 #BlueJays farm vs. #Astros?
📩 #Tigers' Skubal on Top 100?
📩 Players poised for 2020 breakout?https://t.co/N7gUJSmPAg pic.twitter.com/USMRtXbQyx
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 8, 2019
Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins recently said that the Blue Jays closely resemble the Astros from 2014 with the talent they have. How close do you see the Jays resemble the Astros from then with the young talent and upcoming prospects they have?
— Stephen D'Alesio (@StevieDAles97) August 7, 2019
Here is Mayo’s long-winded but strong answer:
The 2014 Astros went 70-92, finishing fourth in the NL West that year. But it was clear good times were on the way, and Houston was a Wild Card team the following season. That ’14 big league roster was full of 20-somethings, with a lineup led by a 24-year-old Jose Altuve, who won his first Silver Slugger that year, and rookie George Springer. A young rotation was topped by Dallas Keuchel, who would win the American League Cy Young Award in that Wild Card season.
Meanwhile, the farm system was topped by 2012 No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa and was ranked No. 8 in our Top 10 farm systems before the start of the 2015 season. It rose to as high as No. 3 on that list in our 2016 midseason ranking. Using that core in Houston and supplementing it with players called up from, and traded from, the farm system, allowed the Astros to win it all in 2017.
Let’s explore how the Blue Jays measure up.
Exciting young core at the big league? Check. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Danny Jansen and now Bo Bichette represent the future of this lineup, one that could wreak havoc in the AL East for a long time to come. The pitching isn’t quite the same as Houston’s in 2014, as there’s no Keuchel (maybe Sean Reid-Foley becomes that type, but not sure about that one). But there’s no question much of Toronto’s future offensively is up in the big leagues now.
Strong, up-and-coming farm system? Check. It came in at No. 10 on our recently revealed top 15 farm systems rankings and it ranked No. 5 in the 2018 midseason top 10 and 2019 preseason list. Even with Vlad Jr. graduating, there’s still talent. And while it can be argued they didn’t get enough in return from their trades, they did acquire top 10 organizational prospects in Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson to back up Nate Pearson, who is rapidly becoming one of the top pitching prospects in the game.
Obviously, the comparison will only hold up if Toronto can turn things around and reach the postseason, as Houston did. That might be a more daunting task in the AL East, but for now, I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Atkins was pretty on target.
So there you have it folks, the Blue Jays have a shot according to not only their GM Ross Atkins but also MLB.com’s lead prospects writer.