Ever since the 2015 trade deadline when Alex Anthopoulos moved 11 of Toronto’s pitching prospects, Blue Jay fans have had to listen to people drone on about how poor their farm system is.
Considering that the Blue Jays are acquiring skilled players like Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz in exchange for their 18th (Edward Olivares) and 28th (J.B. Woodman) ranked prospects, I’d say Toronto’s farm system is far deeper than it gets credit for. In addition to building a deep enough prospect pool that allows them to make such moves, Ross Atkins has also been very shrewd when it comes to acquiring prospects.
In exchange for two quality big league infielders, Atkins parted with three prospects that likely wouldn’t have even factored in to the future plans of this ball club. With young outfielders such as Anthony Alford, Teoscar Hernandez, Dwight Smith, Dalton Pompey, and Joshua Palacios, Toronto could afford to move outfield prospects Woodman and Olivares.
Give Atkins credit, because whether he’s trading for or trading away prospects, at the time of these trades he always seems to be getting the better of the deal. Atkins is a very frugal general manager when it comes to dealing prospects, and in the relatively short time he’s been with the Blue Jays, he’s managed to acquire via trade a list of prospects that includes Reese McGuire, Thomas Pannone, Samad Taylor, Harold Ramirez, and Teoscar Hernandez. Not bad considering that all Atkins had to part with to acquire all these players was Drew Hutchison and pending free agents Francisco Liriano and Joe Smith.
One of the biggest mistakes a GM can make is not understanding the value of a particular prospect. Whether it be a team giving away prospects for too little or giving up too much to acquire them. Atkins on the other hand has a real knack for finding prospects at a bargain. Its been a long time since a successful Blue Jays squad was built on the strength of its farm system, but if Atkins continues as he has been, in a few short years Toronto should be a very serious contender again. And it’ll be in large part due to how effective he was when it came to moving and acquiring prospects.