Blue Jays vs. Yankees: First Base Prospects

Continuing our comparisons between the Blue Jays and Yankees' farm systems, we take a look at the crop of first base prospects in each system. Which system is deeper? Which prospects have the most power? The highest ceilings? Take a look at this comparison between the two New York farm systems.

The Two Farm Systems: Neither farm system is flush with quality depth of bonafide big league first base prospects especially considering the offensive prowess that is needed to secure a power-hitting position like first base in the American League East, but both have a handful of 'what if' candidates worth watching.

Not a top prospect just yet because of the considerable work that is needed making more consistent contact, the player with the highest ceiling from either organization is Toronto's Art Charles. Standing 6-foot-6 and a rock-solid 230 pounds, the left-handed batter has light-tower power reminiscent of former Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado. Susceptible to good breaking pitches right now, however, he is a long way off from tapping his immense power potential.

The Yankees have their own version of Charles in the form of Dominican native Reymond Nunez. Like Charles, Nunez offers true plus power potential to all fields but he too has his fair share of troubles of handling better offspeed pitches. The right-handed hitter is not nearly as raw in that department, however, showing the ability to stay short with his swing a bit more consistently but still has more to prove going forward.

While both systems have the aforementioned sky-high ceiling players, the Blue Jays offer a bit more in safeness at the upper levels. Left-handed hitting David Cooper has seen some big league time already and he has shown an ability to hit for average, some power, and decent defense at first base. At just 6-foot-0, however, his power potential is a big question mark for such an offensively regarded position.

Blue Jays' switch-hitter Mike McDade offers a bit more in the projection department than Cooper and nearly as safe projection-wise. Not one to take many walks, he hit 37 doubles and 16 home runs for Double-A New Hampshire this year after hitting 21 home runs in the pitching-friendly Florida State League a season ago. Built like an NFL linebacker, he has a bit more power than he has shown thus far and represents the best proven first base prospect at the upper minor league levels in either system at the current time.

The Yankees have two first base prospects that have shown some real potential at the minor league level in Brandon Laird -- he of the 2010 Double-A Eastern League MVP award when he hit .293 with 21 home runs -- and Kyle Roller. Laird, a right-handed batter, hit just .260 with 16 home runs in his first full season at Triple-A this year and scouts question whether he has the kind of power potential to be a starting corner guy at the big league level.

Roller, like Toronto's McDade, is built like an NFL linebacker and hit a combined .287 with 31 doubles and 16 home runs between two A-ball levels in 2011. A left-handed batter, he too has question marks about his long-term power potential to be a starting big league first baseman but there's some ceiling here worth tracking.

Each organization has a lower-level third baseman right now with the necessary skillset to potentially be first baseman down the road in the form of Toronto's Seth Conner and New York's Tyler Austin. Both are very good hitters with good plate discipline, both have shown some long-term power potential, and both are primarily third baseman right now who have seen significant action at first base. Neither is a great defensive first baseman but both have offensive potential that make them quality prospects going forward. Austin has the better numbers thus far but Conner's plate discipline and patience are a bit further developed.

Toronto has another quality first base prospect in K.C. Hobson who, like Conner, has shown extremely impressive plate discipline but has yet to show the kind of in-game power potential that would allow him to be a bigger prospect just yet. The left-handed batter projects to hit for average and has shown good power in batting practice, but he has more to prove in game situations.

How Do They Compare In...

Power: From an overall depth standpoint at the position from top to bottom, the Yankees have a few more sluggers at first base than the Blue Jays do at the current time. However, that could quickly change should Art Charles make the necessary adjustments to shorten his swing and improve his pitch recognition. He has that kind of power potential. And while McDade is another quality power prospect for the Jays, the duo can't compare to the collective power potential of Laird, Nunez, Roller, and Austin. Advantage: Yankees

Hitting For Average: Laird, Austin, and Roller have shown they can hit for good average thus far in their careers, but from a projection standpoint the Blue Jays have a bit more to offer here depth-wise when you consider the plus plate discipline of Hobson, Conner, and Cooper. Throw in McDade who has shown an ability to get his average near .290 as well, the Jays have a bit more than the Yankees can offer average-wise. Advantage: Blue Jays

Defense: Neither farm system has an elite defensive first baseman at the current time. Toronto's Hobson has that kind of raw potential but still has some adjustments to make to get to that point, but Cooper and McDade have proven to be solid defensive first basemen too and the Yankees' best defensive first baseman, Kevin Mahoney, is more of a utility type prospect at this point. Advantage: Blue Jays.

Overall Potential: Just going on strict potential the Blue Jays have a bit more to offer simply because they have the lone first base prospect who truly possesses the kind of impact power potential to project as big league starting first baseman. While it is very true that Charles does have a considerable bust factor because, as noted, he has a long way to go towards tapping that potential, his ceiling is that of a Ryan Howard/Carlos Delgado type if everything falls into place and none of the other first base prospects from either system has that kind of potential. The other first base prospects, whether it be the Jays' Mike McDade or the Yankees' Tyler Austin, project as more average big league first base prospects. Advantage: Blue Jays.

Highest Ceilings: Art Charles (Blue Jays), Reymond Nunez (Yankees), Tyler Austin (Yankees), Mike McDade (Blue Jays), Seth Conner (Blue Jays)

Best Power: Art Charles (Blue Jays), Reymond Nunez (Yankees), Mike McDade (Blue Jays), Brandon Laird (Yankees), Tyler Austin (Yankees)

Best Average: David Cooper (Blue Jays), Tyler Austin (Yankees), Seth Conner (Blue Jays), K.C. Hobson (Blue Jays), Mike McDade (Blue Jays)

Best Defense: K.C. Hobson (Blue Jays), Kevin Mahoney (Yankees), David Cooper (Blue Jays), Mike McDade (Blue Jays), Kyle Roller (Yankees)


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThe Two Farm Systems: Neither farm system is flush with quality depth of bonafide big league first base prospects especially considering the offensive prowess that is needed to secure a power-hitting position like first base in the American League East, but both have a handful of 'what if' candidates worth watching.
\r\n
\r\nNot a top prospect just yet because of the considerable work that is needed making more consistent contact, the player with the highest ceiling from either organization is Toronto's Art Charles. Standing 6-foot-6 and a rock-solid 230 pounds, the left-handed batter has light-tower power reminiscent of former Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado. Susceptible to good breaking pitches right now, however, he is a long way off from tapping his immense power potential.
\r\n
\r\nThe Yankees have their own version of Charles in the form of Dominican native Reymond Nunez. Like Charles, Nunez offers true plus power potential to all fields but he too has his fair share of troubles of handling better offspeed pitches. The right-handed hitter is not nearly as raw in that department, however, showing the ability to stay short with his swing a bit more consistently but still has more to prove going forward.
\r\n
\r\nWhile both systems have the aforementioned sky-high ceiling players, the Blue Jays offer a bit more in safeness at the upper levels. Left-handed hitting David Cooper has seen some big league time already and he has shown an ability to hit for average, some power, and decent defense at first base. At just 6-foot-0, however, his power potential is a big question mark for such an offensively regarded position.
\r\n
\r\nBlue Jays' switch-hitter Mike McDade offers a bit more in the projection department than Cooper and nearly as safe projection-wise. Not one to take many walks, he hit 37 doubles and 16 home runs for Double-A New Hampshire this year after hitting 21 home runs in the pitching-friendly Florida State League a season ago. Built like an NFL linebacker, he has a bit more power than he has shown thus far and represents the best proven first base prospect at the upper minor league levels in either system at the current time.
\r\n
\r\nThe Yankees have two first base prospects that have shown some real potential at the minor league level in Brandon Laird -- he of the 2010 Double-A Eastern League MVP award when he hit .293 with 21 home runs -- and Kyle Roller. Laird, a right-handed batter, hit just .260 with 16 home runs in his first full season at Triple-A this year and scouts question whether he has the kind of power potential to be a starting corner guy at the big league level.
\r\n
\r\nRoller, like Toronto's McDade, is built like an NFL linebacker and hit a combined .287 with 31 doubles and 16 home runs between two A-ball levels in 2011. A left-handed batter, he too has question marks about his long-term power potential to be a starting big league first baseman but there's some ceiling here worth tracking.
\r\n
\r\nEach organization has a lower-level third baseman right now with the necessary skillset to potentially be first baseman down the road in the form of Toronto's Seth Conner and New York's Tyler Austin. Both are very good hitters with good plate discipline, both have shown some long-term power potential, and both are primarily third baseman right now who have seen significant action at first base. Neither is a great defensive first baseman but both have offensive potential that make them quality prospects going forward. Austin has the better numbers thus far but Conner's plate discipline and patience are a bit further developed.
\r\n
\r\nToronto has another quality first base prospect in K.C. Hobson who, like Conner, has shown extremely impressive plate discipline but has yet to show the kind of in-game power potential that would allow him to be a bigger prospect just yet. The left-handed batter projects to hit for average and has shown good power in batting practice, but he has more to prove in game situations.
\r\n
\r\nHow Do They Compare In...
\r\n
\r\nPower: From an overall depth standpoint at the position from top to bottom, the Yankees have a few more sluggers at first base than the Blue Jays do at the current time. However, that could quickly change should Art Charles make the necessary adjustments to shorten his swing and improve his pitch recognition. He has that kind of power potential. And while McDade is another quality power prospect for the Jays, the duo can't compare to the collective power potential of Laird, Nunez, Roller, and Austin. Advantage: Yankees
\r\n
\r\nHitting For Average: Laird, Austin, and Roller have shown they can hit for good average thus far in their careers, but from a projection standpoint the Blue Jays have a bit more to offer here depth-wise when you consider the plus plate discipline of Hobson, Conner, and Cooper. Throw in McDade who has shown an ability to get his average near .290 as well, the Jays have a bit more than the Yankees can offer average-wise. Advantage: Blue Jays
\r\n
\r\nDefense: Neither farm system has an elite defensive first baseman at the current time. Toronto's Hobson has that kind of raw potential but still has some adjustments to make to get to that point, but Cooper and McDade have proven to be solid defensive first basemen too and the Yankees' best defensive first baseman, Kevin Mahoney, is more of a utility type prospect at this point. Advantage: Blue Jays.
\r\n
\r\nOverall Potential: Just going on strict potential the Blue Jays have a bit more to offer simply because they have the lone first base prospect who truly possesses the kind of impact power potential to project as big league starting first baseman. While it is very true that Charles does have a considerable bust factor because, as noted, he has a long way to go towards tapping that potential, his ceiling is that of a Ryan Howard/Carlos Delgado type if everything falls into place and none of the other first base prospects from either system has that kind of potential. The other first base prospects, whether it be the Jays' Mike McDade or the Yankees' Tyler Austin, project as more average big league first base prospects. Advantage: Blue Jays.
\r\n
\r\nHighest Ceilings: Art Charles (Blue Jays), Reymond Nunez (Yankees), Tyler Austin (Yankees), Mike McDade (Blue Jays), Seth Conner (Blue Jays)
\r\n
\r\nBest Power: Art Charles (Blue Jays), Reymond Nunez (Yankees), Mike McDade (Blue Jays), Brandon Laird (Yankees), Tyler Austin (Yankees)
\r\n
\r\nBest Average: David Cooper (Blue Jays), Tyler Austin (Yankees), Seth Conner (Blue Jays), K.C. Hobson (Blue Jays), Mike McDade (Blue Jays)
\r\n
\r\nBest Defense: K.C. Hobson (Blue Jays), Kevin Mahoney (Yankees), David Cooper (Blue Jays), Mike McDade (Blue Jays), Kyle Roller (Yankees)
\r\n
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