A month into the 2012 season, the Blue Jays remain amongst the American League's top teams.
The team's young core has continued to develop early on in the season. The Jays have gotten stellar defence out of Colby Rasmus, highlight reel efforts on both sides from Brett Lawrie and run production out of J.P. Arencibia, despite an uninspiring batting average.
But the biggest story that has emerged to shape the Jays' future thus far in 2012 has been the big-league debut of 21-year-old Drew Hutchison. While his earned-run average and WHIP leave a lot to be desired, the young righty is yet to get hung with a loss. The Jays will likely have to keep trotting him out every fifth day and hope for him to learn as he goes with Dustin McGowan's health remaining a question mark.
Here's a look at some of the top names in the Jays' system through April.
Adeiny Hechavarria (SS, 22)
Signed as an International free agent from Cuba (04/13/10).
2012 stats: 27 GP / .283 BA / 1 HR / 19 RBI / .744 OPS (Las Vegas, AAA)
Future Outlook: After turning heads in Spring Training, Hechavarria has put up respectable numbers in Vegas. His defence at short remains exemplary and his RBI totals remain above where many might have expected them to be just one year ago. His grand slam on April 30 helped keep the 51s hot, amidst a streak of six wins in seven games.
Aaron Sanchez (RHP, 19)
Selected by Toronto in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
2012 stats: 3-0, 15 IP, 0.00 ERA, 20K, 0.867 WHIP (Lansing, A)
Future Outlook: There's something very, very special happening in Lansing right now and it involves a trio of ace-potential pitchers 20 years of age or younger. Sanchez has been splitting starts with lefty Justin Nicolino, and in five games the pair have combined for 30 innings without an earned run. Between the pair and fellow Lugnuts hurler Noah Syndergaard, the future is very bright. However, with the trio averaging just three innings per outing, Jays fans will need to be patient as they develop. Still, Sanchez's low-90s fastball and filthy curve have many scouts drooling. And just look at that stat line.
Travis d'Arnaud (C, 23)
Acquired from Philadelphia in exchange for Roy Halladay (12/16/09).
2012 stats: 24 AB / .283 BA / 2 HR / 11 RBI / .776 OPS (Las Vegas, AAA)
Future Outlook: While his stat line does not immediately seem impressive, d'Arnaud has performed admirably in making the jump from double- to triple-A ball. In fact, he's just starting to heat up, hitting .381 with a .997 OPS in his last 10 games (as of May 4). Arencibia's early-season struggles may have caused some concern from Jays fans, but his RBI totals keep him a valuable cog in the Jays offence, so there will be no rush on the team's part to promote d'Arnaud.
Anthony Gose (CF, 21)
Acquired from Houston in exchange for Brett Wallace (07/29/10).
2012 stats: 27 GP / .223 BA / 0 HR / 12 RBI / .609 OPS / 9-12 SB-A (Las Vegas, AAA)
Future Outlook: Gose has got to get on base more to be an effective part of the 51s' offence and, eventually, the Jays' future. Gose has struck out 36 times in just 27 games this season including recording multiple-strikeout games in five of his last 10 contests. Gose is always a threat to steal, but he can't be much of a threat if he keeps his on-base percentage at a mere .323.
Jake Marisnick (OF, 20)
Selected by Toronto in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
2012 stats: 26 GP / .259 BA / 3 HR / 14 RBI / .824 OPS (Dunedin, A+)
Future Outlook: Marisnick continues to be one of the true prizes of the Jays system for his five-tool potential. Marisnick's sluggish start to the year took a leap when he torched Lakeland pitching in the team's April 24-27 series, going 8-for-13. Thanks in large part to that outburst, he's hit .302 with a .952 OPS over his last 10 games.
Best of the Rest:
Justin Nicolino (LHP, 20) - Selected by Toronto in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
2012 stats: 0-0 / 15.0 IP / 0.00 ERA / 17 K / 0.933 WHIP (Lansing, A)
Noah Syndergaard (RHP, 19) – Selected by Toronto in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
2012 stats: 2-0 / 17.2 IP / 1.53 ERA / 25 K / 1.358 WHIP (Lansing, A)
A.J. Jimenez (C, 22) - Selected by Toronto in the ninth round of the 2008 MLB Draft.
2012 stats: 20 GP / .278 BA / 2 HR / 8 RBI / .731 OPS (New Hampshire, AA)
Asher Wojciechowski (RHP, 23) – Selected by Toronto in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
2012 stats: 1-0 / 23.1 IP / 3.09 ERA / 15 K / 1.157 WHIP (Dunedin, A+)