While I await the start of today's double header featuring the debut of MLB vet Dave Bush, I've decided to have a look downward and see what's on the horizon as far as talent goes at the AA level.
The Jays have a bit of depth in AA, but I'm going to focus on the guys Baseball America tabbed in their top 30.
5. RHP Marcus Stroman.
Drafted 22 overall last June out of Dule, Stroman is on the fast track and was detailed near the end of 2012 by a suspension. Stroman could have a future as either a starter or reliever, with scouts mixed on his future because of his size. Despite being 5'9" Stroman can throw gas maxing out around 98 as a RP. He also features 2 sliders at different speeds and breaks and a solid change-up.
Once his suspension ends in May, we should see what his future holds. If he is sent to AA, it will mostly be as a RP, but if he goes to Dunedin, it could mean starting is the plan. Personally, I would hate to see a 1st round pick have his value hurt and would love to see what he can do as a SP.
7. RHP John Stilson
Stilson was a beast in the NCAA in 2010, but suffered a shoulder injury that lowered his stock into the 3rd round where the Jays pounced and took a $500,000 gamble. He debuted in 2012 and made it up to AA New Hampshire where he was used in a swing role starting 9 of his 17 games.
He hasn't appeared in a game yet so his role is not clear, but Stilson features a FB at 93-96 and a great change-up with big movement. He also throws a slurve type pitch which the effectiveness of will determine his eventual role.
11. C A.J. Jimenez
Another player with injury questions that cost him rounds in the draft, Jimenez had questions about his elbow that pushed him into the 9th round in 2008. He became the organizations best defensive catcher over the next 4 years until his elbow finally gave out, costing him his debut season in AA.
A.J. has actually hit pretty well too. Back to back .300 seasons in Lansing and Dunedin in 2010/2011 propelled him up the ranks. Now the organizations brightest catching prospect, he will look to continue his success at AA in 2013.
18. RHP Chad Jenkins
Jenkins actually made an appearance in the Majors last year even after not great performance in AA. He was actually pretty impressive in his limited time showing a nice sinker giving a lite hope that the former 20th overall pick can be a decent swing guy.
19. LHP Sean Nolin
A 6th round pick in 2010, Nolin has risen the ranks based on performance in Lansing and Dunedin in 2011/2012. He also showed up in AA and performed exceptionally well in his brief stint.
Nolin throws a FB that ranges 88-94, a high 80s 2-seamer, a solid change-up, and a curve/slider mix. He could continue to rise quickly and has a shot to see Toronto this season.
20. RHP Deck McGuire
Selected 11th overall in 2011, Deck was seen as a safe pick to rise up quickly and be a back end workhorse in Toronto's rotation. Well, things haven't exactly gone as planned. He got crushed in AA in 2012 leading the league in losses (15), HR allowed (22), runs (103) and earned runs (94).
He throws a sinker/slider combo which is solid and fringy change-up/curveball combo. He still has a shot to be a swing type in Toronto, but his future now looks more yo-yo like.
That's it for now. Time to watch some Bisons baseball. Go Herd!