Alright. This may be a blanket statement but I'm just gonna go ahead and say that if you are a fan of any particular MLB organization, then you overvalue their prospects. It's just what we do.
Let's take a look at a Blue Jay specific example: J.P. Arencibia
He was selected in the 1st round, 21st overall, in the 2007 Amateur Draft. Entering the 2010 season, really smart people were writing shit like this about Arencibia. His supporters will quickly point out that he had 2 surgeries - one on his eyes and another on his kidney - which were clearly necessary and allowed him to regain his form.
He will be 25 years old when the 2011 season begins and it now appears like he will get a legit shot at cracking the active roster.
Here are his stats as a pro courtesy of Baseball Reference (notice the dip in 2009, then the resurgence in 2010)
|2008||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||126||537||510||70||152||36||0||27||105||0||0||18||101||.298||.322||.527||.850|
I went ahead and plugged those stellar 2010 numbers into the Minor League Equivalency calculator and this is what it spit out:
422 AB 53 R 101 H 29 2B 1 3B 23 HR 59 RBI 28 BB 92 SO .240 BA .291 OBP .474 SLG .765 OPS
This tool takes a body of work from a specific level in the Minors and converts it as though that body of work happened in the Majors. How accurate is it? Who knows.
Now, I'm not going to base an entire argument on this conversion but I think it helps to put things into perspective. A monster MVP type year in Las Vegas is not really worth getting all that worked up about.
Don't get me wrong, Arencibia clearly has power. And it looks like his power will play in the big leagues. Anyone who was lucky enough to watch his totally unreal MLB debut will tell you, he is ready.
What those same people won't tell you is he had just 1 hit for the rest of the year. Obviously he wasn't playing regularly and if I remember correctly when he did start, it always seemed to be against pretty good pitchers.
So what is it that I'm trying to say? Here goes:
J.P. Arencibia may end up being a serviceable Major League catcher someday. But it will be how he plays behind the dish that will ultimately determine that. And it's probably gonna take a while till we figure that out.
By the time we do a couple of our other prospects, most notably Travis d'Arnaud and Carlos Perez, will likely be ready to take their respective shots. I would put A.J. Jimenez in that conversation as well.
Let's throw those 3 players numbers at their respective levels into the mighty Minor League Equivalency Calculator and see what comes out.
Why the hell not?
Travis d'Arnaud, again courtesy of BR:
|2008||19||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A--A||64||267||239||33||73||18||1||6||30||1||2||23||39||.305||.367||.464||.831|
His injury shortened / 2 time All Star 2010 season in the pitcher friendly Florida State League had it happened in the big leagues, would have looked like this:
271 AB 23 R 52 H 15 2B 1 3B 4 HR 24 RBI 2 SB 1 CS 13 BB 70 SO .194 BA .239 OBP .296 SLG .535 OPS
A.J. Jimenez, BR:
|2010||20||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A+||72||301||271||36||81||22||0||5||55||17||4||18||61||.299||.340||.435||.775|
Midwest League to MLB conversation, which ends up being remarkably similar to d'Arnaud:
272 AB 19 R 58 H 14 2B 0 3B 2 HR 29 RBI 11 SB 5 CS 10 BB 66 SO .214 BA .246 OBP .290 SLG .536 OPS.
Unfortunately Carlos Perez only made it as far as the New York Penn League and the Minor League Equivalency calculator doesn't do short seasons.
These 3 young guys are all known as solid defensive catchers. But they all are at least 2 or 3 full seasons away from being seriously considered for the big leagues. Look for d'Arnaud to start in New Hampshire, Jimenez to stay in Dunedin and Perez to get the bulk of the reps in Lansing.
Point being catcher is clearly a position of strength for the organization.
Is J.P. Arencibia the most ready? For sure.
Is he the best we have? Maybe.
Will he bring back the greatest return in a trade? Most likely.
Will his value ever be higher? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm
That's the real question I want to address. Let's just say that J.P. gets his well deserved shot in the big leagues and he puts up numbers that are similar to what he is projected to do.
A .250 batting average with a .300 OBP and 20 homers with about 60 RBI. That would be if he got the lion's share of work behind the plate.
My question to you is this: Would his trade value increase or decrease after a season like that?
The floor is yours.....