The Braves hired Alex Anthopoulos from the Dodgers to be the new general manager. It’s a move that I felt strongly about, as he had been the guy I wanted all along- weeks prior to Anthopoulos being linked to the job.
This article takes a look at why I liked Anthopoulos from the start, breaking down all of the moves that took place under him.
2002-2003(postseason) Montreal Expos scouting coordinator
2003-2005 Toronto Blue Jays
2005(postseason)-2009(postseason) Toronto Blue Jays assistant general manager
2009(postseason)-2015(postseason) Toronto Blue Jays general manager
2016-2017(postseason) Los Angeles Dodgers VP baseball operations
Blue Jays History
2009: 75-87 (pre-Anthopoulos as GM)
2015: 93-69, ALCS appearance
2016: 89-73, ALCS appearance (post-Anthopoulos)
Blue Jays State for Anthopoulos Era
The Blue Jays group that Anthopoulos inherited was led by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, a pair of bargain acquisitions that he had a hand in as the team’s assistant general manager under JP Ricciardi. However neither of them played a big part in the 2009 season. Instead here is the composition of the 2009 Jays team that Anthopoulos took over after the season.
Many think he prefers to build with sluggers, but I’m taking a wait and see approach because his two biggest sluggers there were bargain bin additions. Some may point to Josh Donaldson, but he’s an all around player and a guy they needed, while Troy Tulowitzki was influenced by dumping the Jose Reyes contract. Anthopoulos has gone after some sluggers, but he’s also shown interest in other types of hitters. His slugger preference may be real, but it may be overstated a bit as well.
The centerpiece of the team was the soon to be traded Roy Halladay along with the soon to break down Ricky Romero. The rest of the rotation featured Brian Tallet, Scott Richmond, and Brett Cecil along with Marc Rzepczynski, showing how bad things were considering half of those guys are relievers and the other half may not be guys you even recognize. The bullpen was made up of the likes of Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp, Brandon League, and Jesse Carlson, and while it was an adequate group it was far from a good group and lacked a true closer.
The top hitters were Adam Lind and Aaron Hill, who both hit at least .285 with 35 homers and 100 RBI in 2009- though neither would repeat that. Vernon Wells(along with his bad contract) and Alex Rios were the other key pieces, but that is all. The rest of the 2009 lineup was made up of aging guys like Rod Barajas, Lyle Overbay, Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, and 21 year old former top prospect/bust Travis Snider.
His farm system was in a similar spot. Looking at John Sickels pre-2010 Blue Jays top prospect list and subtracting the guys that Anthopoulos added that offseason, the top prospects were bleak. The top three prospects Anthopoulos inherited were Zach Stewart, Chad Jenkins, and David Cooper. He did inherit Henderson Alvarez, Jake Marisnick, Carlos Perez(the catcher), Ryan Goins, Yan Gomes, and Ryan Schimpf as JP Ricciardi focused on drafting polished college guys and they then failed to sign their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks from 2009.
One thing most people know about Alex Anthopoulos is that he is an aggressive trader. He’s a guy not afraid to pursue the big ticket trade target, and he’s willing to also surrender some of his prospect talent to get a deal done. He's also shown a willingness to trade away a big time player and find ways to maximize his return as the two part Roy Halladay deal will show.
12/16/2009 the Blue Jays ship superstar pitcher Roy Halladay to the Phillies in exchange for Michael Taylor, Kyle Drabek, and Travis d'Arnaud. The Jays didn't have much choice but to trade Halladay, a pitcher on the other side of 30 for a team that finished in 4th place and desperately needed to build up it's farm system. This trade featured the return of top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek and top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud along with Michael Taylor(more on him next). Injuries to his arm destroyed Drabek's once very promising career, while d'Arnaud was a key piece to the trade that brought them the reigning Cy Young winner a couple years later when it was time to build the team back up.
12/16/2009 the Blue Jays moved the just acquired Michael Taylor to the A's for Brett Wallace. This move may not have worked out for either team, but Anthopoulos showed creativity to take a highly regarded prospect he didn't love in the Halladay deal, then to flip him to a third team for a prospect he liked better.
12/23/2009 the Blue Jays traded Brandon League and Johermyn Chavez to the Mariners for Brandon Morrow. The Jays managed to send a solid, but not special reliever and a prospect to the Mariners to get Morrow- a talented pitcher who has battled injuries and inconsistency in his career, but has shown some flashes of promise at times.
4/14/2010 the Blue Jays receive Fred Lewis from the Giants as part of a conditional deal. Lewis came for free and was a decent player for the team in 2010.
7/14/2010 the Blue Jays send Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins, and Tyler Pastornicky to the Braves for Yunel Escobar and JoJo Reyes. The 2010 shortstop swap gave the Jays more offense and the Braves better defense in a deal both sides likely have similar feelings about.
7/29/2010 the Blue Jays send Brett Wallace to the Astros for Anthony Gose. Wallace was moved about seven months after being acquired for the toolsy, high upside Gose. This trade probably slightly favors the Jays, but is pretty much neutral.
11/17/2010 the Blue Jays send Danny Farquhar and Trystan Magnuson to the A’s for Rajai Davis. Another trade where the Jays move a reliever and a non-premium prospect, this time to get a guy fresh off a 50 steal season. Davis didn't quite play up to his 2010 numbers in Toronto, but he did give three adequate years.
12/6/2010 the Blue Jays send Shaun Marcum to the Brewers in exchange for Brett Lawrie. Marcum, who missed all of 2009, rebounded with a solid 2010 and pitched one good year with the Brewers, while Lawrie flashed potential with the Jays and was dealt as part of a much bigger deal a little further down the road. This trade was a key deal for the Jays because Lawrie helped them land one of their cornerstones.
1/21/2011 the Blue Jays send Vernon Wells and cash to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. This was huge as getting out of some money from the final four years of Wells' large contract brought the Jays Mike Napoli(for a short time anyway).
1/25/2011 the Blue Jays send Mike Napoli to the Rangers for Frank Francisco and cash. Francisco had a solid year in the Jays bullpen, but Napoli hit 77 homers over the next three seasons between Texas and Boston.
7/27/2011 the Blue Jays send Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, Corey Patterson, and Edwin Jackson to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, Trevor Miller, Brian Tallet, and PJ Walters. Dotel was signed on a one year deal prior to that season, and trading him and Rzepczynski to land Colby Rasmus was a deal in the Jays favor even though Rasmus never fully reached his potential.
7/20/2012 the Blue Jays send Joe Musgrove, Carlos Perez, Asher Wojciechowski and others to Astros for JA Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter. This trade likely looked good at this time, and Happ was serviceable for a few years while Lyon had a strong season, but Musgrove has recovered from his injuries to become a quality big leaguer. This trade swings in the Astros favor in time if Musgrove can stay healthy, but it's not a bad trade.
7/31/2012 the Blue Jays send Eric Thames to the Mariners for Steve Delabar. Delabar was solid in 2012 for the Jays, while he pitched so well in 2013 that he became an All Star despite not being a closer. Thames hadn't done much until returning from Japan this past season.
11/3/2012 the Blue Jays send Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes to the Indians for Esmil Rogers. The Jays acquired a guy who didn't do a ton and ended up moving on a catcher who could have helped them- though to be fair they were loaded with catching prospects.
11/19/2012 the Blue Jays send Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, and Justin Nicolino to the Marlins for Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio, and Josh Johnson. The first of the two post-2012 trades that really stick out as memorable for Anthopoulos. He shipped a number of prospects to the Marlins in exchange for some very talented, but very highly paid players as the Marlins were looking to shed salary. Johnson became a $14M sunk cost, but Buck had an All Star season, and Bonifacio is the guy he's known to be. Buehrle went on to finish his career with three more solid, consistent seasons. Reyes was up and down in Toronto before he was eventually dealt(more on that later). This trade helped the Jays become a contender again as Buehrle was a key cog, and Reyes helped to acquire another key piece.
12/17/2012 the Blue Jays send Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, John Buck, and Wuilmer Becerra to the Mets for reigning Cy Young winner RA Dickey and his personal catcher, Josh Thole. This deal is often criticized by many as the biggest mistake of Anthopoulos' career, but this was the right move at the time even though it didn't work as hoped. Dickey had just won the Cy Young after a great three year stretch and the Jays were a frontline pitcher away from competing(or so they thought)- so the Jays moved a very promising prospect who was a pitcher that just spent the previous season in Low A. Syndergaard has gone on to become one of the best in the game when healthy while RA Dickey was more of a workhorse than an ace, but this was the right deal to make at the time for the team and the right price to pay- a Low A pitcher led package.
11/1/2014 the Blue Jays send Adam Lind to the Brewers for Marco Estrada. Lind was an extra piece as a one dimensional slugger in a lineup filled with sluggers, and he was traded for a pitcher who received Cy Young votes in 2015 and an All Star selection in 2016. This worked out great for the Jays.
11/12/2014 the Blue Jays send Anthony Gose to the Tigers for Devon Travis. This trade couldn't have worked out better for the Jays, as Gose still hasn't reached his potential and has become a reliever, while Travis is a promising second baseman who hasn't even entered his prime yet. A nice win for the Jays.
11/28/2014 the Blue Jays send Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Franklin Barreto to the A's for Josh Donaldson. This is an absolute home run. Donaldson won the 2015 MVP and finished fourth in the voting in 2016, and should get some votes again in 2017. He became a Jay for a #4 starter and a promising young hitter likely to have to move off shortstop, as Lawrie spent last year out of baseball and Nolin has never lived up to his potential.
12/3/2014 the Blue Jays send JA Happ to the Mariners for Michael Saunders. Happ was a serviceable pitcher at the time, but not more, while Saunders basically missed all of 2015 before becoming an All Star for the first time in 2016. The Jays win this deal by a little.
7/27/2015 the Blue Jays send Jose Reyes, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco to the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins. The Jays dumped an expensive and injury prone Reyes for the cost of Jeff Hoffman and some other prospects and got another expensive but injury prone shortstop in Tulo. Tulo has shown flashes at times in Toronto, but he's been a disappointment overall and has at least three years and $58M left on his contract. This one was about neutral at the moment, but if Hoffman can break through or Tulo rebounds this grade could change.
7/30/2015 the Blue Jays traded Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt to the Tigers for David Price. Price was a pure rental who was dominant in 11 starts down the stretch and helped the Jays get back into the postseason. Norris was a top prospect, but he and Boyd have been inconsistent in Detroit. This was a big win for the Jays as they made the postseason run they wanted.
7/31/2015 the Blue Jays send Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado to the Phillies for Ben Revere. Revere hit .319 down the stretch for the Jays and only cost them a pair of lower tier prospects.
7/31/2015 the Blue Jays traded Nick Wells, Jake Brentz, and Rob Rasmussen to the Mariners for Mark Lowe. Mark Lowe's 23 relief appearances down the stretch were huge for the 2015 Blue Jays, and he cost them very little in return.
8/8/2015 the Blue Jays trade Dawel Lugo to the Diamondbacks for Cliff Pennington and cash. This one hurts as Pennigton gave 92 plate appearances that were well below average and cost an infield prospect who has started to show why he was a fairly highly regarded international free agent.
9/13/2015 the Blue Jays send Jack Murphy to the Dodgers for Darwin Barney. Barney cost almost nothing and has been a reliable contributor to the 2016 Jays.
The Blue Jays had some big wins in trades, moves like the Donaldson, Estrada, Travis, and Price deals along with the smaller wins like the Marlins deal, the Delabar and the Saunders deals. The only times they really lost on a trade were the deal where they moved a guy they didn't really need in Mike Napoli, and a second tier prospect who has emerged with his new team in the Pennington deal. There were also plenty of smaller deals which worked out well. Anthopoulos has shown a willingness to make deals, and usually comes out ahead in trades.
The Dickey/Syndergaard trade will always be questioned, but it was the right move at the right time and how many times does that prospect go from Low A pitcher to superstar?
Octavio Dotel was signed at 1 year at $3.5M in 2011. Dotel was solid, but he really contributed in what he helped bring in when he was traded to the Cardinals.
Darren Oliver was signed for 1 year at $4.5M in 2012. Oliver went out and pitched to a 2.06 ERA over 62 appearances in what was a great deal.
Francisco Cordero was signed for 1 year at $4.5M in 2012. This deal worked out poorly as Cordero had a horrible year out of the Jays pen.
Maicer Izturis was signed for 3 years at $9M in 2013. Izturis saw his production slip the year before he signed with the Jays, and really struggled in 2013 to the point he only played 11 games over the final two years of this contract. Luckily at $3M a year this wasn't a large mistake.
Melky Cabrera was signed for 2 years at $16M in 2013. Cabrera was awful in 2013, the year after his All Star breakout and PED suspension with the Giants, but he rebounded with a very good season in 2014.
Dioner Navarro was signed for 2 years at $8M in 2014. Navarro was coming off a career year in his contract year, and was a more than serviceable starting catcher in 2014 before becoming an adequate backup in 2015.
Russell Martin was signed for 5 years at $82M in 2015. Three years in and Martin has an All Star selection along with a pair of 20 homer seasons. His production dropped to 13 homers in 91 games this year, and he will be a catcher at the ages of 35 and 36 with a total of $40M still owed to him, so while this looks solid now there is still plenty of risk involved.
Justin Smoak was signed for 1 year at $1M in 2015. Smoak was a bargain bin free agent, and he was a great find. Upon signing he had a career year with 18 homers and a .768 OPS in 2015. His numbers dropped in 2016, but then this season he produced an All Star season with 38 homers.
Anthopoulos has all of two bad deals on his books, and both of them aren't really that bad. The Francisco Cordero deal was a one year deal, so that was a minimal impact deal, while Maicer Izturis only cost $3M a year for three years. Anthopoulos hit a home run with the signings of Justin Smoak, Darren Oliver, and even Octavio Dotel, while the risk across the board was minimal. Anthopoulos rarely chased big free agents, and outside of Russell Martin and to a lesser extent Melky Cabrera, he avoided signing anyone with more than $10M on the total contract.
Alex Anthopoulos has signed a bunch of key players to contract extensions. I'm going to look at all of the significant ones to see how he spends his team's money.
Adam Lind got 4 years at $18M prior to 2010. This deal didn't work as hoped, but it was a smart deal given that Lind hit .305 with 35 homers in 2009 during his age 25 season. Lind never produced like that again, but the $4.5M average annual value was not a bad contract.
Ricky Romero got 5 years at $30.1M during 2010. This looked to be a great deal as Romero, a former top draft pick, had reached his first All Star game in 2011 at the age of 26. However Romero broke down in 2012, and following the 2012 season he only made four more career appearances at the big league level.
Jose Bautista got 5 years at $65M prior to 2011. This ended up being a great deal, but it was one with huge risk involved as Joey Bats came from no where to hit 54 homers in 2010. He had nothing on his resume that suggested he was for real prior to 2010, but he made this a bargain deal by reaching the All Star Game in each of those five seasons and becoming the face of the franchise.
Brandon Morrow got 3 years at $21M prior to 2012. Morrow was coming off a career year in 2011 during his age-26 season , even though the year was more solid than good. Morrow was at times dominant in 21 starts during an injury shortened 2012 season, but he really struggled with performance and injury during the final two years of this deal.
Edwin Encarnacion got 3 years at $29M during 2012. Just like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion was a contract with a lot of risk but a huge bargain for the team in the end. Encarnacion posted a .787 OPS in back to back years in 2010 and 2011, and was in the middle of a breakout 42 homer season at the age of 29. Encarnacion hadn't yet hit all of those 42 homers, but still got paid- though unlike Bautista his resume had hinted there was more in the tank prior to his breakout.
RA Dickey got 2 years at $25M prior to 2013. A no brainer for the reigning Cy Young winner that you just made a blockbuster deal to acquire.
JA Happ got 2 years at $8.9M prior to 2013. This was a fair deal as Happ was more serviceable than good in 2013 and 2014, and injuries limited him to just 250 combined innings during this contract.
Anthopoulos has shown a willingness to take a risk on contract extensions, and Bautista and Encarnacion being bargains really helped Toronto's ability to spend money in other places since their two franchise cornerstones were both on such team friendly deals. Only two deals failed to work out, and Ricky Romero's breakdown two years after the deal was signed wasn't predictable. The Brandon Morrow deal is really the only mark against him, and that wasn't an awful deal, as Morrow did really have a big year in 2012.
Waivers/Minor League Free Agents
Here is a look at how Alex Anthopoulos has added bargain bin players to his group, something the former Braves front office was good at.
Chris Colabello was a 2015 waiver claim who hit 15 homers with a .886 OPS in 360 plate appearances. PEDs helped, but the guy did make an impact.
Justin Smoak was actually initially a waiver claim by Anthopoulos, so he fits into two categories and has been a huge success for the Jays.
Vladimir Guerrero Sr- the first time I've ever needed to refer to him as Sr- was a minor league free agent in 2012. He never played in Toronto, and his attempt to keep his career going lasted all of 12 minor league games, but it can't be forgotten that this relationship with Guerrero may have helped the Jays sign Vladdy Jr in 2015.
Ezequiel Carrera was a minor league free agent prior to 2015, and he has gone on to play 323 games with the team over the past three seasons.
Carlos Villanueva was purchased from the Brewers for 2011 and made 29 starts along with 42 relief appearances during a solid two year stretch.
Anthopoulos hasn't picked up a ton of true bargain basement additions through minor league free agency and waivers, but Smoak and Colabello have made a real impact, while Carrera was a guy who averages over 100 games a year, and Guerrero may have had a hidden impact for the team.
I’m going to go year by year 2010 through 2015 and look at everyone picked in the first three rounds as well as any significant picks after that point.
His 2010 and 2011 drafts are different than today’s drafts and definitely couldn’t be pulled off in the current draft system. That’s because it was easy to accumulate compensation picks(more on that later), as well as because draft pool penalties weren’t in place at the time. The Jays had more picks and spent more money than we can see today.
First Round-Deck McGuire, Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Asher Wojciechowski
Second Round-Griffin Murphy, Kellen Sweeney, Justin Nicolino
Third Round-Chris Hawkins, Marcus Knecht
Other Picks-Sam Dyson(4), Sean Nolin(6), Dalton Pompey(16), and Kris Bryant(18 Did Not Sign)
This would go down as an all time draft if they signed Kris Bryant out of high school(he was a good prospect but not elite at this time) to go with a collection of arms including two of the most talented arms in the game today.
First Round-Tyler Beede(Did Not Sign), Jacob Anderson, Joe Musgrove, Dwight Smith Jr, Kevin Comer
Second Round-Daniel Norris, Jeremy Gabryszwski
Third Round-John Stilson
Other-Anthony DeSclafani(6), Luke Weaver(19 Did Not Sign), Aaron Nola(22 Did Not Sign), Kevin Pillar(32)
Although the Jays couldn’t get their top pick signed(he was a Vanderbilt commit), drafting Joe Musgrove, Daniel Norris, Anthony DeSclafani, and Kevin Pillar in the same draft was huge. Anthopoulos also took another pair of guys he couldn’t sign that would have made this a very special draft- Weaver and Nola.
First Round-DJ Davis, Marcus Stroman, Matt Smoral, Mitch Nay, Tyler Gonzales
Second Round-Chase De Jong
Third Round-Anthony Alford
Other-Ryan Borucki(15), Jon Harris(33 Did Not Sign)
This is the first draft Anthopoulos had in the current system, and he still hit a home run. It was this draft where we really saw his like of toolsy, upside hitters like Anthony Alford and DJ Davis- Davis being yet another example of Mississippi prep hitters who haven’t succeeded as pros. Yet Anthopoulos came away with Marcus Stroman, Alford, Chase De Jong, and current prospect Ryan Borucki. Jon Harris becomes yet another later pick not to sign that would be a first round pick in the future.
First Round-Phil Bickford(Did Not Sign)
Second Round-Clinton Hollon
Third Round-Patrick Murphy
Other-Matt Boyd(6), Conner Greene(7), Kendall Graveman(8), Chad Girodo(9), Danny Jansen(16), Eric Lauer(17 Did Not Sign), Rowdy Tellez(30), Dane Dunning(34 Did Not Sign)
The Jays failed to sign their first round pick yet again, though there were some different circumstances this time around. The pitching talent here is very strong with Kendall Graveman, Matt Boyd, and prospect Conner Greene, plus prospect catcher Danny Jansen and slugger Rowdy Tellez. Eric Lauer and Dane Dunning continue the streak of late picks who didn't sign only to become first round picks later on.
First Round-Jeff Hoffman, Max Pentecost
Second Round-Sean Reid-Foley
Third Round-Nick Wells
Other-Jordan Romano(10), Tanner Houck(12 Did Not Sign), Drew Lugbauer(21 Did Not Sign)
In one of his weaker drafts Anthopoulos took a chance on a pitcher recently off Tommy John surgery in Jeff Hoffman, and that worked out very well. Max Pentecost and Sean Reid-Foley, along with Jordan Romano are still prospects. Tanner Houck keeps the streak of future first round picks alive. Anthopoulos did take a chance on current Brave prospect Drew Lugbauer out of high school.
First Round-Jon Harris
Second Round-Brady Singer(Did Not Sign)
Third Round-Justin Maese
I didn't love the Jon Harris pick at the time, but the Jays did after they drafted and failed to sign him out of high school. His stock is down, but it's too soon to write him off. Justin Maese is still a prospect in the Jays system, while Connor Panas had a second half surge to get him on the radar. The Jays also drafted a bunch of college relievers with a chance to succeed, guys like Danny Young and Jackson McClelland. This is the only Anthopoulos led draft to not take someone in the 9th round or later that failed to sign and later go on to become a first round pick- an extremely impressive streak in talent evaluations. While the streak died, second round pick Brady Singer is in the mix for the #1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Singer not signing was purely related to something the Jays saw in his physical after drafting him. Singer hasn't been hurt at Florida, but that failed physical could come back to play into the 2018 draft.
Alex Anthopoulos couldn't do a much better job of drafting than what he did. The pitchers he landed- Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Stroman, Hoffman, and Graveman could form a very formidable big league rotation on their own right now, and there are still others in big league rotations or still in the minors. He wasn't quite as lucky with bats, but Alford is a top prospect, while Jansen and Pentecost are still on the way up. And then there's the streak of future first round picks which shows what an eye for talent he and the scouting team he assembled had.
International Free Agents
Alex Anthopoulos has shown a willingness to spend big on international free agents. Not only in terms of overall team spending, but also in terms of spending on premium priced prospects. Here's a rundown of all of the bigger signings he's made as well as other guys who have been success stories.
Adeiny Hechavarria received a $10M bonus as a Cuban shortstop. He was nearly 21 at the time of his signing, which is why he got as much as he did. The bat hasn't developed as hoped, but he's a very good fielding shortstop.
Adonys Cardona was a 16 year old Venezuelan pitcher who received $2.8M back in 2010. He has not worked out, but this was Anthopoulos' first splash signing of a 16 year old, and that helped open other doors for him.
Wuilmer Becerra was a significant prospect out of Venezuela in 2011 that the Jays signed. He was a part of the RA Dickey trade.
Roberto Osuna signed back in 2011 out of Mexico. The Jays talented reliever was a big signing, and although he struggled at times this year he is still a success story.
Dawel Lugo is an infielder signed in 2011 that was since traded to Arizona and has started to come on as a hitter.
Franklin Barreto was arguably the top prospect in the 2012 international class, and a huge addition by the Jays. He was dealt in the Josh Donaldson trade, but this was a significant addition.
Richard Urena is another shortstop signed in 2012 as a Top 10 player in the class, and unlike Barreto is still with the Jays. He currently ranks as a Top 10 prospect in the system.
Yeltsin Gudino was signed in 2013 as a Top 15 international prospect, and the middle infielder has been slow to move up the system.
Bryan Lizardo was a Top 25 international signing in 2013, but the third baseman hasn't had much success to this point.
Edward Oliveras was signed in 2014 and is still in the system, after a strong showing in Low A this past season.
Juan Meza was one of the Top 15 prospects in 2014, and the pitcher is still in the system today even though he hasn't truly emerged yet.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr was a key signing by the Jays in 2015, and has become either the #1 or #2 prospect in all of baseball, depending on if you prefer his bat or the all around skills of Ronald Acuna.
Anthopoulos managed to sign some big ticket free agents. Vladdy Jr looks to be a future star, Franklin Barreto is a top prospect, Wuilmer Becerra helped land a frontline starter, Roberto Osuna was an All Star, and Adeiny Hechavarria is a big league shortstop. Then there are still guys in the system that can pan out, guys like Richard Urena, Juan Meza, and Edward Oliveras. International signings are a crapshoot to bet on 16 year old kids, but Anthopoulos has done well here.
Anthopoulos is a great hire. He’s taken a team without a future, collected prospects to build arguably the top system in the game, then managed to build a back to back ALCS appearance team. He’s the perfect guy for the Braves, as the 2012 Blue Jays are similar to today’s Braves.
Anthopoulos is aggressive, not afraid to make a big move, and values upside, three reasons why I like him. Of course this is in addition to his ability to collect talent and the way he values amateur talent- it was the way the Blue Jays were collecting extra compensation draft choices through free agents and trades under Anthopoulos that led to MLB first tightening up how compensation picks are handed out back in 2012(prior to the more recent change to help players who were having a difficult time signing with a team), not to mention being able to land some very highly thought of international signings like Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Franklin Barreto, and even Adonys Cardona.
He’s also a guy who will use both analytics and traditional scouting- he doubled the size of the Jays scouting department.
Basically I don’t think there was anyone better to finish off the rebuild that started under the previous regime, as Anthopoulos is a very good GM that is able to handle all aspects of his job.