1BJW 25 Man Roster Challenge

It's about that time to get the 25 Man Roster Challenge up and running again! This will be our 3rd annual competition and we have yet to have a clear winner decided. This is due in part to not having a kick ass tie breaker. That will hopefully change this time around.

The rules for the challenge are simple. All you are required to do is pick the 25 names that you think will be on the 2012 Opening Day Roster for your Toronto Blue Jays by midnight the day before the start of full camp workouts, which is February 24th. (So the deadline is actually Feb. 23 at 11:59) That's it. You can provide as much or as little explanation as you see fit. And you'll need to pick a tie breaker in the event there is one. More on that in a moment.

This years challenge will no doubt be a very competitive one if you choose to enter a ballot. This is a credit to the strength of the Blue Jays roster, meaning there is much fewer jobs up for grabs unlike previous seasons. We have a feeling that the winner will need to nail all 25 names AND the tie breaker which will be the teams Spring Training won loss record.

That's right, you heard us correct. The unmeaning-full silly season will now have some significance. From what we can tell, your Toronto Blue Jays will attempt to play 33 games this spring. That includes all the split squad games with the exception of the one against Team Canada on March 13th. Now as you all know some of these games might be rained out and won't be made up. It is also possible but not exactly probable that some of these games will end in a tie.

For your reference, here is the record of the last six spring campaigns:

2011 16-14
2010 12-13
2009 13-17
2008 13-16
2007 12-14
2006 12-18

It is our hope that a single winner will be crowned this time around based on this gong show of a tie breaker. Please note that if you do not select a tie breaker, we will not be hounding you to do so. In the event of a tie and you did not choose to include a tie breaker with your ballot, you will lose.

The prize will once again be the coveted limited edition Randy Knorr autographed 8x10 photo. Behold in all it's glory!

(Frame not included)

We do reserve the right to add additional prizes as we see fit. This will most likely depend on the number of entrants for this years challenge. We have a bunch of old school baseball cards just burning a hole in our pockets.....just saying.

A few things to consider while compiling your ballot:

It doesn't matter who plays where, only if they make the Opening Day roster.

Do we roll with a 4 man rotation to start the year? Maybe an 8 man bullpen? Or perhaps a short bench?

What do we do with the guys that are out of options? All of them would all have to be on the Opening Day roster or potentially be lost on waivers. Unless of course they start the year on the DL with an "injury".

The X factor this year appears to be Carlos Villaneuva. He is a valid candidate for both the rotation and the bullpen.

Who wins the LF battle between Travis Snider and Eric Thames? General Manager Silent Assassin Alex Anthopoulos has already gone on record as saying Thames has the inside track for the job. That was before he gained 20 pounds of pure muscle and worked out with a pitching coach to improve his throwing arm this off-season.

How about the utility infielder gig on the bench? As many as three players have a legit claim on the job. Could be an interesting little battle to watch develop. Maybe the decision is made to go with two of these players and Ben Fransisco gets bumped down to Vegas.

If after the deadline to submit your ballot a trade or signing happens there is nothing that can be done to change it. If this is the case - it has happened in the past - then we are all wrong together. Unless you somehow find a way to predict it.

If you want to play you have a 3 options on how to get your ballot in:

1: Send us an email: 1bluejaysway@gmail.com
2: Make a post on your blog, if you have one and send us a link
3: Add your ballot to the comments section of this post or the reminder post we'll do before the deadline

In the interests of full disclosure, we have included a complete list of most the players that are under contract for the 2012 season. Just for fun, we attempted to predict what level we think they will begin the year at. Consider it a guideline. The rosters are shown in age from oldest to youngest with left handed pitchers going first. It took a while to complete and we are positive you will disagree with some of the placements but we really don't want to hear it at this point. Short season teams were not included for our own sanity. If you truly think ours is that bad then you should check out this joke.

  • Players on the 40-man roster are indicated in BOLD.
  • # indicates player out of options. We don't know and have no real way of finding out if Oliver, Frasor or Cordero have any options left and we really don't think it matters much at this point. All of them have jobs on Opening Day in our eyes.
  • $ indicates rule 5 draft eligible. There could be more - Jon Diaz for example - but again this is only the players we've been able to confirm were Rule 5 eligible this winter.
  • * indicates left-handed batter
  • ** indicates switch-hitter
  •  % indicates non-roster invite to spring training
  • We used data from Baseball Reference for the league specific Minor League average ages and from FanGraphs for the elite and "old" ages noted below.

Toronto Blue Jays (MLB)

RF Jose Bautista 1980-10-19
2B Kelly Johnson* 1982-02-22
SS Yunel Escobar 1982-11-02
DH Edwin Encarnacion 1983-01-07
1B Adam Lind* 1983-07-17
C JP Arencibia 1986-01-05
CF Colby Rasmus* 1986-08-11
3B Brett Lawrie 1990-01-18

LF Eric Thames* 1986-11-10
LF Travis Snider* 1988-02-02


OF Rajai Davis# 1980-10-19
OF Ben Fransisco 1981-10-23
C Jeff Mathis# 1983-03-31

IN Omar Vizquel**% 1967-04-24
IN/OF Mike McCoy 1981-04-02
IN Luis Valbuena*# 1985-11-30

Starting Rotation

LHP Ricky Romero 1984-11-06
LHP Brett Cecil 1986-07-02
RHP Dustin McGowan# 1982-03-24
RHP Brandon Morrow 1984-07-26
RHP Henderson Alvarez 1990-04-18

LHP Aaron Laffey% 1985-04-15
RHP Carlos Villanueva 1983-11-28
RHP Kyle Drabek 1987-12-08


LHP Darren Oliver 1970-10-06
LHP Luis Perez# 1985-01-20
RHP Francisco Cordero 1975-05-11
RHP Jason Frasor 1977-08-09
RHP Casey Janssen 1981-09-17
RHP Sergio Santos# 1983-07-04

LHP Evan Crawford 1986-09-02
RHP Chad Beck 1985-01-17
RHP Jesse Litsch 1985-03-09
RHP Trystan Magnuson 1985-06-06
RHP Danny Farquhar 1987-02-17
RHP Joel Carreno 1987-03-07

Las Vegas 51's (AAA)

Pacific Coast League average ages in 2011: Hitters 26.9 Pitchers 27.1
Elite level prospects age: 22
"Old" for the level: 28

3B Kevin Howard* 1981-06-25
DH David Cooper* 1987-02-12
RF Moises Sierra 1988-09-24
C Travis d'Arnaud 1989-02-10
SS Adeiny Hechavarria 1989-04-15
1B Mike McDade** 1989-05-08
CF Anthony Gose*% 1990-08-10

This team will be stacked with position player prospects and will be an interesting one to follow. We have to wonder if loading up this team for a deep run in the playoffs is because the contract with the 51's is up at the end of this season. If this team does well, it will be a lot easier to get a coveted spot with a AAA affiliate in the International League.


IN Chris Woodward% 1976-06-27
OF Ricardo Nanita*% 1981-06-12
IN Brian Bocock% 1985-03-09
C Brian Jeroloman*% 1985-05-10
1B Koby Clemens 1986-12-04

Starting Rotation

LHP Willie Collazo 1979-11-07
LHP Bill Murphy 1981-05-09
RHP Nelson Figueroa% 1974-05-18
RHP Tim Redding 1978-02-12
RHP Randy Boone 1984-08-06


RHP Scott Richmond% 1979-08-30
RHP Jerry Gil% 1982-10-14
RHP Jim Hoey% 1982-12-30
RHP Garrett Mock% 1983-04-25
RHP Jesse Chavez% 1983-08-21
RHP Robert Coello% 1984-11-23
RHP Andrew Carpenter% 1985-05-18

Something just has to give here. It's great to have depth and all but once you factor in the guys who don't make the Opening Day 25 man roster, this pitching staff will be bursting at the seems. We guess some of them will be cut, some of them will be injured or some of them will be traded. We are thinking besides the guys protected by the 40 man roster that Hoey, Carpenter and Chavez will be tough to part with. Figueroa is a nice story.  


1B Gabe Jacobo 1987-04-14
RHP Javier Avendano 1990-11-06
C Hector Alvarez 1991-02-14

AAA portion of the Rule 5 guys. Each pick cost the club $12,000 and the players can't be demoted below Triple-A without first being offered back to their original team.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)

Eastern League average ages in 2011: Hitters 24.3 Pitchers 24.6
Elite level prospects age: 21
"Old" for the level: 26

SS Jon Diaz% 1985-04-10
LF Brian Van Kirk 1985-08-10
CF Brad McElroy* 1986-04-24
3B Mark Sobolewski 1986-12-24 (see injury details below)
RF Brad Glenn 1987-04-02
1B Yan Gomes% 1987-07-19
DH Sean Ochinko 1987-10-21
2B John Tolisano** 1988-10-07
C A.J. Jimenez% 1990-05-01


C/IN Kyle Phillips* 1984-04-03
OF Kenen Balli* 1985-01-25
OF Danny Perales* 1985-03-18
IN Ivan Contreras** 1987-01-03
IF/OF Justin Jackson$ 1988-12-11

There is a lot of versatility on this roster with over half the players being able to play multiple positions. Skipper Sal Fasano will have fun mixing and matching the lineup card all season.

Starting Rotation

RHP Ryan Tepera% 1987-11-03
RHP Chad Jenkins% 1987-12-22
RHP Asher Wojciechowski 1988-12-21
RHP Deck McGuire% 1989-06-23
RHP Drew Hutchison% 1990-08-22


LHP Aaron Loup 1987-12-19
RHP Bobby Korecky 1979-09-16
RHP Dumas Garcia 1983-07-07
RHP Yohan Pino 1983-12-26
RHP Clint Everts 1984-08-10
RHP Wes Etheridge 1984-08-12
RHP Ronald Uviedo 1986-10-07

All of these arms in the bullpen with the exception of maybe Loup could/should be pitching in AAA but since it's such a clusterfuck up there with respect to sheer numbers, we have them slated to pitch here. Ditto for Mr Wildcard.


RHP Vince Bongiovanni 1983-01-11

Dunedin Blue Jays (HiA)

Florida State League average age in 2011: Hitters 22.7 Pitchers 22.9
Elite level prospects age: 20
"Old" for the level: 24

DH Kevin Nolan 1987-12-13
SS Ryan Goins*% 1988-02-13
2B Ryan Schimpf* 1988-03-11
1B Jon Talley* 1989-02-18
3B Kevin Ahrens$ 1989-04-26
LF Marcus Knecht 1990-06-21
C Carlos Perez% 1990-10-27
RF Michael Crouse 1990-11-22
CF Jake Marisnick 1991-03-30


IN Matt Nuzzo 1987-03-18
C Jack Murphy* 1988-04-06
IN Oliver Dominguez**$ 1989-04-23
OF Kenny Wilson** 1990-01-30

Starting Rotation

LHP Egan Smith 1989-03-16
LHP Sean Nolin 1989-12-26
RHP Andrew Liebel$ 1986-03-22
RHP Casey Lawrence 1987-10-28
RHP Marcus Walden$ 1988-09-13


LHP Matt Wright 1987-05-07
RHP Matt Daly 1986-08-14
RHP Scott Gracey$ 1986-10-15
RHP Steve Turnbull 1986-11-25
RHP Casey Beck 1987-03-28
RHP Dustin Antolin 1989-08-09
RHP Danny Barnes 1989-10-21


RHP Anthony DeSclafani 1990-04-18
RHP John Stilson 1990-07-28

Both of these players were college picks from the 2011 Rule 4 draft. In keeping with the previous years philosophy (McGuire/Wojciechowski) we think they have a good chance to begin their pro careers at this level.

Lansing Lugnuts (LoA)

Midwest League average age in 2011: Hitters 21.6 Pitchers 21.8
Elite level prospects age: 19
"Old" for the level: 23

C Luis Hurtado 1988-11-04
LF Kevin Pillar 1989-01-04
CF Jon Jones 1989-08-02 
DH Balbino Fuenmayor 1989-11-26
2B Jonathon Berti 1990-01-22
SS Peter Mooney* 1990-08-19
RF Markus Brisker 1990-08-21
1B K.C. Hobson* 1990-08-22
3B Bryson Namba 1991-01-31


C Joe Bowen*$ 1987-09-25
OF Eli Boike* 1987-12-26
3B Andy Fermin* 1989-07-27
SS Garis Peña 1992-03-10

Starting Rotation

LHP Tyler Ybarra 1989-12-11
LHP Justin Nicolino 1991-11-22
RHP Ajay Meyer 1987-07-19
RHP Aaron Sanchez 1992-07-01
RHP Noah Syndergaard 1992-08-29


RHP Matt Fields 1986-07-10
RHP Shawn Griffith 1987-05-24
RHP Brandon Berl 1988-04-09
RHP Aleson Escalante 1988-08-29
RHP Dayton Marze 1989-01-01
RHP Tyler Powell 1989-02-16
RHP Drew Permission 1989-02-24

This level is a total crapshoot. We hit up our boy Jesse for his thoughts and this was the best we could come up with.

The Best Of The Rest

Position Players

C Aaron Munoz 1988-12-24
C Santiago Nessy 1992-12-08
1B Kevin Patterson* 1988-09-28
1B Art Charles* 1990-11-10
2B Jorge Vega-Rosado 1991-12-05
3B Kellen Sweeney* 1991-09-14
3B Matt Dean 1992-12-22
3B Gabriel Cenas 1993-10-16
SS Dickie Joe Thon 1991-11-16
SS Gustavo Pierre 1991-12-28
SS Shane Optiz* 1992-01-10
SS Christian Lopes 1992-10-01
SS Dawel Lugo
OF Nico Taylor 1990-02-09
OF Christopher Hawkins* 1991-08-17
OF Eric Arce* 1991-11-29
OF Dwight Smith Jr.* 1992-10-26
OF Jacob Anderson 1992-11-22
OF Dalton Pompey** 1992-12-11
OF Derrick Loveless* 1993-03-07
OF Wuilmer Becerra

Starting Pitchers

LHP David Rollins 1989-12-21
LHP Griffin Murphy 1991-01-16
LHP Mitchell Taylor 1992-05-11
LHP Daniel Norris 1993-04-25
LHP Jairo Labourt 1994-03-07
RHP Milciades Santana 1989-01-20
RHP Randall Thompson 1989-05-18
RHP Tucker Jensen 1989-08-03
RHP Kevin Comer 1992-08-01
RHP Deivy Estrada 1992-08-22
RHP Joe Musgrove 1992-12-04
RHP Jeremy Gabryszwski 1993-03-16
RHP Mark Biggs 1993-05-10
RHP Tom Robson 1993-06-27
RHP Adonys Cardona 1994-01-16
RHP Yeyfry Del Rosario 1994-04-27
RHP Greylor Conde 1994-06-25
RHP Roberto Osuna 1995-02-07


RHP Bryan Longpre 1987-07-13
RHP Jonathan Lucas 1987-12-12
RHP Brian Slover 1988-06-10
RHP Andrew Sikula 1988-12-21
RHP Eric Brown 1989-02-23
RHP Myles Duvall 1989-04-23
RHP Nicholas Purdy 1989-10-02
RHP Steven Romero 1990-08-02

Walking Wounded

RHP Alan Farina 1986-08-09
Tommy John July 2011
In the last week of March look for this guy to get placed on the 60 day DL thereby opening up a spot on the 40 man roster. (cough Vizquel or Laffey cough)

RHP Stephen Marek 1983-09-03
Tommy John May 2011
Recently signed to an Minor League contract, when he's able physically to pitch he should be in Vegas.

LHP John Anderson 1988-11-09
Tommy John July 2011
Check out the video of the exact moment in time when his elbow ligaments actually snap right here. Spoiler alert: it's not pretty

RHP Sam Dyson 1988-05-07
Tommy John Nov 2010
He should be just about ready to rock. Not sure if the team views him as a starter or a reliever at this point nor are we sure what level he would start at. If we had to guess, we'd say Dunedin.

3B Mark Sobolewski 1986-12-24
Skin Cancer Jan 2012
What was thought to be simply a mole or a pimple turned out to be melanoma. Get caught up to speed here. It's unknown whether he is able to get it going in a month or not but if he can play, he starts in New Hampshire.


Nearly Recovered, d'Arnaud Looks Forward

Back in October, we reported on a thumb injury that top Blue Jays prospect Travis d'Arnaud suffered while competing with Team USA. The reigning Eastern League Most Valuable Player felt a pop after "catching a ball wrong". The 22-year-old was soon diagnosed with a ligament tear in his thumb.

d'Arnaud, who was acquired from the Phillies in 2009 as part of the Roy Halladay trade, required surgery and has been rehabbing the repaired hand ever since, to get ready for the upcoming season.

According to the All-Star catcher he'll be ready for spring training and doesn't expect to miss a beat in 2012.

"My hand feels great," d'Arnaud said. "Rehab went well. I went to (the Sports Medicine Institute) in Anaheim, California and went for about two months of rehab. My thumb feels normal. Now, I just need to get accustomed to catching bullpens and such."

d'Arnaud was Philadelphia's supplemental first round draft choice (37th overall) in 2007.

En route to helping the Double A New Hampshire Fisher Cats lock down the EL championship, in 2011, d'Arnaud posted a .311 batting average with 33 doubles, 21 homeruns, 78 RBI and a league leading .542 slugging percentage.

The southern California native is already focused beyond recovery, as he's looking forward to having another big offensive year with hopes of more championship hardware.

"I'm feeling amazing and ready for the season to begin."


Follow us on Twitter by clicking HERE!


Name That Photo Contest!

It's about that time for our latest installment of the NTPC. I'm leaning towards: "I wish this fucking guy would stop calling me already!" (unless my name is John Daniels)

Alex Anthopoulos has acquired 38 players in total if you include that guy cash considerations we picked up on the 25th of May as a player. Roll by here and see for yourself.
  • Change the team to: Toronto Blue Jays
  • Change the transaction type to: Trade
  • Change the start date to: 10/03/2009
Have at it. The floor is yours.


Quotables: 1BJW's Top Soundbites of 2011

On a regular basis, we here at 1BlueJaysWay bring our readers exclusive interviews/features with various minor league players and organizational personnel. We've browsed through our Q&A's from the last season to bring you the ten best 1BJW interview quotes of the year.

Check out the teasers below and click each link to take in the full interview that we brought your way over the past year.

Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus talking about his transition, after joining Toronto via a mid-season trade: "It's been good. All the guys on the team are awesome. I like the staff...all the coaches are great. Just all the way around, it's definitely a different environment than St. Louis. You know, St. Louis is a little uptight, but (Toronto is) a little more fun. I have more fun going to the field everyday."

Highly ranked catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud discussing the depth at catcher in the Blue Jays' organization: "The (catching) in the Blue Jays organization is unbelievable...the best catching organization I've been in. Shoot, you look at every level and we've got top prospects. At Triple A they've got Jeroloman, here (at Double-A) we've got me and Yan (Gomes), at High A you've Jimenez, in Low A you've got Perez. Even in the GCL you've got Nessy. I mean, it's just unreal how good of catching prospects the Blue Jays have."

Pitching prospect Deck McGuire chatting about alumni of his college, Georgia Tech, helping to prepare him for his professional career: "Mark Teixeira always came back every year for a football game and he'd come in the locker room and we could just ask him questions. And a lot of the questions, even though he's a hitter and I'm a pitcher, it was just, 'What can you learn from a guy that does it for 162 games a year at the highest level?' And then there are guys like Matt Weiters, who handles a pitching staff as well as anybody in the big leagues at a young age. And he's a guy that's always accessible and you can ask him questions. And there are just a tons of guys, big leaguers, guys that have that time that are at the highest point in our profession that you can always come to with any kind of questions to help yourself get better."

Former 1st round draft pick Chad Jenkins talking about his impressions of New Hampshire as his home for the 2011 season: "It's awesome. I've never been in a place where the fans love the team so much. We have a great fan base up there. They show up, sunshine, rain, no matter what, they're there and they're cheering us on."

Outfield prospect and two-time minor league stolen base champion Anthony Gose answering a fan question about the improvements he made to reduce his caught stealing numbers: "(I just tried to) be smarter. Last year I came in real big-headed and cocky after the year I had before in Lakewood. Last year humbled me and basically just being smarter. I had it the whole time and I should have known this last year and not went through that trial and error process, but you know, I'll take the good with the bad and here I am and I'll just keep moving forward."

Jays minor league coach Danny Solano translating for top SS prospect Adeiny Hechavarria, as he discusses the opportunity to learn from rehabbing big leaguers like Rajai Davis, when they spend time in the minors: "He said he tries to learn from as far as what those guys are doing, and how they're disciplined, how those guys swing, how those guys act outside of the lines like in the clubhouse, how those guys have a routine every day. So he tries to see all those little things."

Double-A Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano talking about first baseman Mike McDade: "He's probably been our most consistent hitter. He just keeps improving daily. It's fun to see him get a little bit of notoriety, because he's kind of worked his way into prospecthood. He wasn't a highly touted guy, but he keeps producing every year."

Mid-Season All-Star Marcus Knecht on where he grew up: "Right in the city about 10 minutes north of downtown, north of the Rogers Centre."

On a rehab assignment  Jesse Litsch explains how he got the dream job of every little kid, that being a Big League bat boy: "One thing they gave me credentials to be in the clubhouse so they were always looking for me and they found me in the clubhouse so that's why they initially gave me the bat boy job."

All world catching prospect Carlos Perez gives us his thoughts on the weather in Lansing early in the season: "Yeah, here is too cold."

Some other great interviews we had this past year include Zach Stewart, Henderson Alvarez and hitting coach Justin Mashore.