Top 39 Prospects: Toronto Blue Jays

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Toronto Blue Jays. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been altered begin by telling you so. For the others, the blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside the org than within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there. Lastly, in effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both in lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher.

For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to resolve language in Nate Pearson’s blurb that conflicted with his FV.

Blue Jays Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Nate Pearson 24.4 MLB SP 2021 60
2 Austin Martin 21.8 R CF 2022 55
3 Simeon Woods Richardson 20.3 A+ SP 2023 50
4 Alejandro Kirk 22.2 MLB C 2022 50
5 Jordan Groshans 21.2 A 3B 2023 50
6 Orelvis Martinez 19.2 R SS 2023 50
7 Gabriel Moreno 20.9 A C 2022 50
8 Alek Manoah 23.0 A- SP 2022 45+
9 Miguel Hiraldo 20.4 A 3B 2022 45
10 CJ Van Eyk 22.4 R SP 2023 40+
11 Rikelvin De Castro 18.0 R SS 2024 40+
12 Julian Merryweather 29.3 MLB SIRP 2021 40+
13 Adam Kloffenstein 20.4 A- SP 2023 40
14 Kevin Smith 24.5 AA SS 2021 40
15 Estiven Machado 18.3 R 2B 2024 40
16 Eric Pardinho 20.0 A SP 2022 40
17 Joey Murray 24.3 AA MIRP 2022 40
18 Leonardo Jimenez 19.7 A SS 2022 40
19 Manuel Beltre 16.6 R SS 2021 40
20 Riley Adams 24.6 AA C 2021 40
21 Jackson Rees 26.5 A+ SIRP 2021 40
22 Dasan Brown 19.3 R CF 2024 40
23 Otto Lopez 22.3 A 2B 2021 40
24 Trent Palmer 21.8 R MIRP 2024 40
25 Will Robertson 23.1 A- RF 2023 40
26 Javier D’Orazio 19.1 R C 2023 35+
27 Yosver Zululeta 23.0 R SIRP 2023 35+
28 Sem Robberse 19.3 R SP 2024 35+
29 Patrick Murphy 25.6 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
30 T.J. Zeuch 25.5 MLB SP 2021 35+
31 Chavez Young 23.5 A+ CF 2021 35+
32 Nick Frasso 22.3 R SP 2024 35+
33 Yennsy Diaz 24.2 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
34 Hobie Harris 27.6 AA SIRP 2021 35+
35 Curtis Taylor 25.5 AA MIRP 2021 35+
36 Tanner Morris 23.4 A- LF 2023 35+
37 Hector Perez 24.6 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
38 Roither Hernandez 22.9 R SIRP 2021 35+
39 Naswell Paulino 20.8 A SIRP 2023 35+
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60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Central Florida JC (FL) (TOR)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 245 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 65/70 45/45 40/55 45/50 95-100 / 102

After a healthy 2019, albeit one during which he was asked to work just four innings per start, Pearson once again had an injury hiccup in 2020. This time his malady, described as right elbow tightness, was actually arm-related after he had previously dealt with an intercostal strain and a fractured ulna caused by a comebacker. The Blue Jays shut him down for about a month, and when Pearson returned he did so as a reliever. Upon coming back, his fastball velocity was not only intact but he threw harder than he did as a starter before he was shut down (he averaged 99 mph after “only” throwing 96 as a starter). After just one post-injury regular season outing, Pearson came out of the bullpen in the final game of Toronto’s Wild Card round loss to the Rays, and absolutely paved over Tampa Bay hitters who had just shelled Hyun Jin Ryu. The question the industry hoped Pearson would answer in 2020 was, “Can this guy hold upper-90s cheese all year, every fifth day, as a starter?” I think the answer to that is probably no, and I also think that based on how difficult it’s been for him to build a starter’s inning count in the minors, Pearson might spend his first couple of big league seasons in some kind of truncated starter’s role or as a multi-inning relief weapon.

But he does have front-end stuff in his fastball and mid-80s slider, which is often a 70 on the scale. Pearson also walked a bunch of hitters during his 2020 debut but his in-zone location rate was about the big league average, and he pretty consistently executes his fastball and slider where they should be located, so I think it’s unlikely he moves to the ‘pen for command-related reasons. He also has a curveball and changeup that round out the starter-worthy repertoire, though he’s never really been able to throw that curveball for strikes and I’d speculate that the changeup ends up as the tertiary pitch here. His changeup flashes plus but his feel for locating it consistently isn’t great, and I think that pitch needs to develop if he’s going to max out as a starter. Because FV is a WAR-based prediction and Pearson’s innings are likely to be somewhat limited early in his career, perhaps I should have kept his FV in the 55 tier even though he returned from the elbow injury with his usual velocity. But I’m 60’ing him here because of his high-end outcomes, which I think also include a truly elite relief possibility. There’s a chance Toronto eventually does with him what the Reds did with Aroldis Chapman, where the team is competitive and Pearson is thriving in a relief role, so they just leave him there. (Alternate site, MLB)

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Vanderbilt (TOR)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 45/50 35/50 50/50 35/45 45

This is a good time to remind readers that present hit tool grades are standardized. Martin’s performance, especially late during his 2019 sophomore season, put him at or near the top of the 2020 draft class. He slashed .392/.486/.604 that year and, similar to but perhaps not as emphatically as Adley Rutchsman the year before, asserted himself as his draft class’ top college hitter. Then Martin came out for the shortened 2020 campaign and though his numbers (against mostly non-conference pitching) were strong, he did not look elite from an eyeball scouting perspective. He wasn’t running as well as he had the year before, and he had issues throwing the ball from third to first base, necessitating a move to center field. The industry didn’t have much time to assess his routes and instincts there before the shutdown, and his average early-season speed created some skepticism. During his career at Vanderbilt, Martin mostly played third (61 games), but also saw time in center (25 games, half of those as a freshman), and at first (22) and both middle infield spots (14). He continued playing all over the field during his post-draft time at the Blue Jays’ alternate site. The low-end pre-draft opinions of Martin feared he’d end up in left field and that he’d be without enough power to support an everyday profile there. I think he’s likely to play a couple different positions at a passable level, at least one up the middle (either second or center), and the portion of his offense that drove his amateur stock, namely his elite plate discipline and feel for contact, will carry him to production on par with an above-average regular, à la Ben Zobrist. Martin’s swing decisions are fantastic, and the combination of selectivity and his gorgeous, natural swing loft give him an excellent chance of hitting for some power despite middling raw juice. (Alternate site)

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Kempner HS (TX) (NYM)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/50 55/60 40/55 90-94 / 97

Woods Richardson’s velocity was down at the alternate site, though from talking with a source outside the org, his pitch data indicates it was trending back up as his time there went on. Regardless, he was sitting 90-92 as opposed to the 92-94, touch 97 from the year before, and I slid him back a spot on this list because of it, though I didn’t change his FV in any way. In an alternate universe the thing I’d have hoped to glean from Woods Richardson’s 2020 season was whether he had improved his ability to spin his four-seamer with better seam uniformity, something he struggled with the last time FanGraphs captured his pitches on Slowmie, our high speed camera. SWR works with both four- and two-seam variants, and also has the screwball action changeup that’s now en vogue and a curveball that has good shape thanks to his arm slot but lacks power. An athletic two-way high schooler, Woods Richardson was lauded a little extra because he’s so competitive and works about as fast as any pitcher in the minors. There’s still a viable three-pitch mix here but I’d like to see the velocity bounce back in 2021. (Alternate site)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Mexico (TOR)
Age 22.2 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 265 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 50/50 40/45 20/20 40/40 45

Kirk has several elite statistical indicators, both in his surface-level on-field performance and in the background TrackMan data from his 2019 minor league campaign (in addition to what I have over on The Board, a source tells me his expected stats based on quality of contact are very similar to his 2019 Hi-A slash line of .288/.395/.446), and eyeball scouts acknowledge he’s a terrific offensive player.

But there is skepticism surrounding his long-term athletic viability because Kirk is a very husky guy (listed at 5-foot-8, 265) without a body comp precedent in baseball, or arguably across all of pro sports. Because Christian Vazquez is listed at 5-foot-9, 205 (which is either an embarassing oversight or an intentional lie), the closest measurable comp to Kirk is José Molina at 5-foot-10, 250, but that’s from when Molina was nearly 40-years-old, whereas Kirk is only 22. It’s very difficult to anticipate what might happen to his frame as he enters his mid-20s, when many other players are thickening up as they reach maturity. All of this creates doubt surrounding whether or not Kirk can catch right now and/or long-term. But because he made his major league debut in 2020, we’ve gotten to see him do it a handful of times, and for a lot of different pitchers, at the big-league level. Kirk’s receiving and framing are okay. He catches on one knee even with runners on base, which makes him especially good at framing balls toward the bottom of the zone. He sets his target then lets his glove hand go slack and works back to the ball as it heads home, which magnifies issues with visual presentation to umpires when his pitcher misses his spot. In general, Kirk just has a slow-moving glove and doesn’t catch pitches at the top of the zone as cleanly as the softy sinkers at the bottom, and I wonder if he’ll have more obvious issues catching power arms, though he did fine in two outings as Robbie Ray’s backstop. Kirk’s legs set up as wide as they can go when he’s in his modified crouch so he can try to block balls without actually having to move his whole body laterally, and it actually works okay. He’s not a great thrower despite an average arm because he’s so slow out of his crouch, and sometimes he’ll throw from one knee to circumvent this.

My visual evaluation is that he’s a passable defender, not a good one, and I think the Jays deep stable of catchers will dictate that he DHs sometimes and catches at others. The more 1B/DH Kirk has to play during his years of team control, the less valuable he’ll be. He has an all-fields, doubles-oriented approach that prioritizes contact and walks, which I think is great for a catcher but won’t be at first. He’s an everyday big league catcher right now, but he may have an abnormally early decline phase. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Magnolia HS (TX) (TOR)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/70 35/60 55/50 45/50 60

Groshans hasn’t played in an actual game since May of 2019 because plantar fasciitis ended his first full pro season prematurely and kept him from baseball activities until the start of 2020. Then he went to the alternate site, which was certainly a huge leap in pitcher quality compared to what he faced in Low-A, but he was also seeing the same group of arms over and over again, and there’s no way of knowing how that impacted the performance reflected in data shared with other teams. The nearly two-year layoff hasn’t caused me to downgrade Groshans so much as he has just been passed by hitters in whom I have a higher degree of confidence. The tools package here, arguably a Josh Donaldson starter kit with similar swing mechanics, still gives Groshans a pretty huge ceiling if he can actually hit like he did for the first month of 2019. He’s a big-framed, well-made athlete with enough arm strength and mobility that some teams thought he could be tried at shortstop in pro ball. Part of that is because his arm strength might enable him to hide some of what he lacks in lateral range, and he did moonlight at shortstop at the alt site. I think he ends up as a power-hitting third baseman but the risk profile here has gone up due to the layoff. (Alternate site)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/60 25/50 45/40 30/45 55

Martinez was one of the most explosive talents in the 2018 July 2 class, getting the second highest bonus at $3.5 million, behind only 22-year-old Marlins center fielder Víctor Víctor Mesa. At the time, he ranked (at least here at FG) behind a number of players in his class because of concerns about his contact skills, and those concerns remain due to wild variation in the way Martinez’s lower half works during his swing. His footwork is all over the place and he takes a lot of ugly hacks. But the bat speed, and Martinez’s ability to rotate, is pretty special and rare for a potential middle infielder. He projects to have at least 60 raw power, and he should stick somewhere in the infield, but this is a kid with a high-variance hit tool who is therefore high-variance. (Alternate site for a couple weeks, Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 45/50 30/45 45/40 40/45 50

Lansing is the most hitter-friendly park in the Midwest League and it aided Moreno’s 2019 power output. You can’t fake an 11% strikeout rate, though, which was especially impressive considering he made that much contact as a teenager in full-season ball. Even though he is young, I thought it was unlikely Moreno would develop much more raw power, both because catching takes such a physical toll on the body that it often dilutes offensive production, and because Moreno is a smaller-framed young man. But his max exit velos at the 2020 alt site were up above what they were in 2019, which appears to be the result of added mass rather than a swing alteration. It’s an encouraging sign and part of a pretty impressive 2020 for Moreono during which he was seen on alt site video, during instructs, and then later in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he hit .373/.471/.508. I think the length of his year is as close as any catching prospect has come to being forced to replicate an actual full season behind the dish in 2020. Defensively, he catches on one knee until there are runners on or there are two strikes, then sets up really wide in his crouch regardless of the pitch coming, which prevents runners from being able to signal pitch type to the hitter. He can sometimes be preoccupied with framing and whiff on a pitch he should be able to handle, but he’s a capable if unspectacular defender and framer. Even with the little extra juice, Moreno’s offensive profile is still all about hand-eye/bat-to-ball, punching airborne contact to all fields. He does enough of that to project as an everyday catcher. The Jays were compelled to add him to their 40-man this offseason, and he’s one of five catchers they have rostered, making Moreno a potential trade chip if the competitive Blue Jays want to add to their roster. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional league, Venezuelan Winter League)

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from West Virginia (TOR)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/70 40/50 35/50 94-97 / 98

Manoah is a big-bodied late bloomer from South Florida who wasn’t a top notch recruit out of high school, but developed into an elite prospect throughout his sophomore year in Morgantown. Once softer and relatively unathletic, he’s transformed himself from a high-effort relief type into a potential workhorse mid-rotation starter.

Manoah still leads with his fastball/slider combo, and remains hulking and somewhat stiff-looking. That power fastball/slider approach to pitching and the Sal Romano body comp creates an air of bullpen risk, but that was the case with Nate Pearson once upon a time, and isn’t anymore. Manoah can back foot his slider against lefties and his changeup flashed average in college, so he has a foundation of platoon-fighting weapons at his disposal, and changeup development was the focal point of his alternate site activity. He showed no ill effects from a big innings increase from 2018 to 2019 and was still 93-96 with his heater late in the summer after he signed; he continued to pitch in the mid-90s during the summer of 2020. Changeup and command consistency will reinforce the mid-rotation forecast, which is currently a right-tail outcome rather than the likeliest one, making those the things to look for when he pitches in 2021. (Alternate site)

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 50/55 25/50 50/40 40/45 55

After his dominant 2018 in the DSL, the Blue Jays pushed the physically mature Hiraldo right past the GCL and sent him to the Appy League at age 18; there he hit .300/.348/.481 with 28 extra-base hits in 56 games. He has a short, high-effort swing, and his hands load high and take a curt, direct path to the ball with plus bat speed that Hiraldo generates with effort and violence. It’s a swing-happy, pull-heavy approach to contact that would ideally become more polished, but there’s rare bat speed and vertical plate coverage here, so Hiraldo has a talent-based shot to both hit and hit for power. Like Moreno, he also had a fairly relevant uptick in his high-end exit velocities in the Fall, on par with what Riley Adams was capable of in 2019, now tied for the highest in the system.

Hiraldo is stocky and strong in general, let alone for his age, and even though he’s playing lots of shortstop right now, I think he’ll end up as a shift-aided second or third baseman at physical maturity. He has physical ability to profile every day in that sort of role but the approach needs to develop. (Fall Instructional League)

40+ FV Prospects

10. CJ Van Eyk, SP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Florida State (TOR)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/50 50/55 30/45 91-94 / 96

I’ve added Van Eyk’s pre-draft pitch data to The Board, but because Toronto’s Fall rookie camp is more about org/pro assimilation and less about on-field development, there’s nothing about his pre-draft report to update. Van Eyk flashes three plus pitches, but rarely all at the same time, and his control comes and goes. There’s mid-rotation upside here if everything comes together consistently. What scouts think of Van Eyk has depended on when they’ve seen him. Late in 2019, he put on some clinics against Georgia and NC State and again in his first start of 2020, which put him in the Day 1 mix, but in other games he’ll walk four or five guys and look like a reliever. You might attribute this to a lack of balance in the lower half that could improve with strength and flexibility. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 18.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 30/45 20/35 60/55 45/60 55

No change here as de Castro was part of the rookie camp group (along with Van Eyk) that was less focused on playing scoutable games. All of de Castro’s defensive attributes (his range, footwork, hands, and actions) are fantastic, and he has a chance to be a spectacular, athletic defensive shortstop at maturity. All of what he ends up doing with the bat depends on how his body develops. Right now, like most fresh-faced prospects about to embark on their first pro season, de Castro has room on the frame for 20 or 30 pounds. His swing has a good foundation from both a mechanical and timing standpoint, but he has to get stronger or that’s not going to matter very much. There’s plenty of time for that, though, and a chance for an everyday role if it happens. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 5th Round, 2014 from Oklahoma Baptist (CLE)
Age 29.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 50/50 45/45 60/60 45/45 96-98 / 99

Merryweather was once one of those anonymous, strike-throwing Cleveland prospects who had a dramatic uptick in stuff a little later in pro ball. For Merryweather that meant mid-90s heat, a good changeup and curveball, and a breakout 2017 during which he nearly reached the majors. Then he needed surgery before the 2018 season began, was traded that year as part of the Josh Donaldson rental deal, and wasn’t back until late in 2019 as a reliever, when he looked ready to make an immediate bullpen impact, sitting 95-97 (up from 93-96) with his fastball in the Arizona Fall League. He threw harder still when the 2020 season finally rolled around, parked at 96-99 and touching 100. Toward the very end of the season he was once again shut down with elbow tendinitis. It’s concerning that over the last several years, Merryweather has been healthy and pitching in games for just a few weeks. But he has knockout backend bullpen stuff right now, and for a lot of prospects in this and other systems, that would be a great outcome. He’s prominently represented here, despite his age, because of that. It’s also worth noting a fourth option year has been imposed upon Merryweather due to his injury history, which isn’t great for him but certainly buoys his trade value a little bit because teams value roster flexibility. (Alternate site, MLB)

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Magnolia HS (TX) (TOR)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 243 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 40/45 40/50 30/50 88-92 / 94

After the shutdown, Kloffenstein didn’t quite make the alt site cut and instead threw bullpens and later received permission to pitch in the independent Constellation Energy League in Texas (Brett Eibner and Fernando Rodney were signed out of that league) for one of the two Sugar Land teams. The Blue Jays were able to monitor his progress via a crude stream and, as Gil Kim told our own David Laurila some months ago, pitch data generated at his games and in some of his side sessions. There his fastball generally sat about 93-94 with sink. Still just 19-years-old for much of 2020, Kloffenstein filled out pretty fast, maybe a little too much, but he looked a little leaner during the summer. In the past Kloffenstein has shown two different (but not especially distinct) breaking balls and a changeup, but the sinker and slider are clearly at the forefront of the profile right now and mostly what he worked with in 2020. The mean projection is somewhere on the sinker/slider Blake Treinen reliever and a grounder-getting No. 4 or 5 starter line. I’ve made no change to Kloffenstein’s FV here. (Constellation Energy League)

14. Kevin Smith, SS
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Maryland (TOR)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 55/55 45/50 55/55 40/45 55

No changes here as Smith, now 24, was at the alt site all season. He projects as a power hitting infield role player with a low OBP. Though not remotely similar to him as a prospect, Smith projects to produce similarly to Freddy Galvis on offense. He has above-average raw power and speed, a rare combo at short, with the thump created by really explosive, lift-friendly hitting hands. But Smith’s grooved swing limits his ability to make contact. He’ll hit for power but be a low average, low OBP middle infielder without the excellent glove work of Galvis, who has been a 45-grade big leaguer. (Alternate site)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 18.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 30/40 20/30 55/55 45/60 50

No change here as, like de Castro, Machado was part of the rookie camp contingent rather than the group subject to traditional instructs. Machado is a very flashy, very compact middle infielder with precocious barrel feel for a young hitter, let alone one who switch-hits. The contact ability and defense may need to carry the whole profile because Machado is a smaller-framed player. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Brazil (TOR)
Age 20.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 45/50 50/55 45/50 35/55 90-93 / 94

Famous at 15 thanks to his World Baseball Classic performance, Pardinho later signed with much fanfare, garnering the second largest bonus among his class’ pitching peers, behind only Shohei Ohtani. At that time, he was more present stuff (he was into the mid-90s at the WBC, which is why he went viral) than physical projection, an atypical look for the J2 market. Based on this, Toronto pushed him to an affiliate quickly, and he pitched at Bluefield as a 17-year-old in 2018, his first pro summer. He dealt with injuries throughout 2019 and his stuff was very average, with the fastball resting in the 90-93 range. He had elbow soreness during the spring of that year, pitched in Extended for a while, got to Lansing late, made seven starts, then was shut down in mid-August. His elbow barked at him again last spring and he had Tommy John in mid-February of 2020. What made Pardinho appealing as an amateur — his polish and potential to move quickly — is now gone after the two years impacted by injury, and it’s been a while since his stuff was exciting. What his body and stuff look like coming out of rehab could wildly alter his standing in the prospect landscape in either direction. (TJ rehab)

17. Joey Murray, MIRP
Drafted: 8th Round, 2018 from Kent State (TOR)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 50/55 40/45 40/45 88-91 / 93

A high spin rate, backspinning axis and flat approach angle give Murray’s fastball big time carry in the zone, and it sneaks past hitters even though it only sits in the 88-91 range and tops out at 92-93. It enabled him to reach the upper-levels of the minors in just one year, and he finished 2019 having made eight good starts at Double-A, then was part of the Jays’ alt site contingent in 2020. He showed a little bit of a velocity bump there, further bolstering confidence that his fastball will play against big league hitters even though it isn’t that hard. He can pair the fastball with both breaking balls, and he throws a lot of strikes, but not with enough precision to start in my opinion. I’m skeptical of it working in a rotation, and instead think Murray will end up working in a long relief role. (Alternate site)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Panama (TOR)
Age 19.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/45 20/30 50/50 45/55 55

Early during his pro career Jimenez stood out because of his instincts and on-field makeup, but most visual evaluations of him were skeptical of his sleight frame and lack of power. That was the case all the way through 2019 when Jimenez hit an empty, BABIP-aided .298 in the Appy League. But still just shy of 20-years-old, Jimenez has gotten pretty buff and looked much stronger in the Fall. He still profiles as a high-probability utility man right now because even though he’s gotten stronger, he isn’t an explosive rotator with big bat speed or anything like that; he still has a sound but not impactful, contact-oriented approach. But that’s just the visual eval right now, as we won’t really know if the added mass has an impact on his output until sometime later in 2021. (Fall Instructional League)

19. Manuel Beltre, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 16.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/45 20/40 55/55 45/50 50

Because he has spent so much time playing travel ball in the US (he’s committed to FIU), Beltre is easily the most-scouted player on the International Players tab of The Board, even more than the foreign pro players. He’s hit well in games against US high schoolers while playing sound infield defense at various positions. He’s not all that toolsy but does have sneaky power for his size and he’s perhaps the most driven, baseball-loving youngster in the class. He looks like a utility infielder if you just evaluate the tools, but scouts love the makeup and think it may carry him to an everyday role. (International signee)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from San Diego (TOR)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 60/60 40/50 30/30 40/45 55

At a chiseled 6-foot-4, Adams has a rare catcher’s build both in terms of sheer size and body composition. This creates some issues for him — the lever length has led to strikeouts, and Adams can be slow out of his crouch when throwing to second — but it bolsters confidence in his durability and athletic longevity. I think it’s possible for Adams to simplify his swing in a way that looks like what Alec Bohm has done, which is a contact-oriented approach that derives power from the hitter’s strength rather than a lot of movement, though Adams doesn’t have that kind of natural bat-to-ball ability (if he did and caught, he’d be a top 25 prospect). I have him projected as a bat-first backup and it sounds like he has generated some trade interest. He’s part of a very crowded catching situation in Toronto. (Alternate site)

21. Jackson Rees, SIRP
(TOR)
Age 26.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
50/50 70/70 35/35 91-94 / 95

Injured several times as an amateur, Rees bounced from a California JUCO to Hawaii, where he had two vanilla seasons as a starter. Undrafted, he signed with Toronto, raised him arm slot, moved to the bullpen, and now has a velocity/deception/curveball troika that’s very difficult for hitters to parse in one-inning stints. He’s a likely middle relief piece. I think his stuff plays better than several of the other middle relief types in this system and even though he’s not yet on the 40-man, he has a chance to compete for a bullpen spot in 2021. (Fall Instructional League)

22. Dasan Brown, CF
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Abbey Park HS (CAN) (TOR)
Age 19.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 40/45 20/35 80/80 40/60 50

Brown was a pretty typical speed/body projection high school prospect, requiring significant skills development to become an everyday big leaguer. Industry folks tend to think that prospects like this were the sort most harmed by the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season since it would have been ideal for Brown to have faced age- and skill-appropriate competition over the course of several months (probably in the Appy League) rather than go from zero-to-60 against relatively advanced pitching (certainly more advanced than a normal instructs) for a few weeks in the Fall. Alas, Brown looked overmatched at instructs even though his swing has become so minimalistic that it doesn’t really take advantage of his athleticism. Still, his speed gives him a chance to be a dynamic center fielder, which takes a lot of pressure off the bat. As currently constituted, Brown’s swing might enable him to be a bottom-of-the-order catalyst, though it’s possible it’s just a developmental checkpoint meant to help him develop a better feel for contact. He’ll be a teenager for most of 2021 so we have plenty of time to find out. (Fall Instructional League)

23. Otto Lopez, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 22.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/45 20/30 60/60 40/45 45

I watched Lopez play for Escogido via livestream several times this winter, and he’s the same player as described last year, so his report is the same, too: Curiously, in 2019 the Blue Jays narrowed Lopez’s defensive responsibilities from six different positions (all but catcher and first base) to just three (2B/SS/LF), with most of the reps coming at short, where Lopez is below average. Yes, his 2019 numbers were likely aided by Lansing to some degree, but he does have great feel for contact (12% strikeout rate), which he’s shown throughout his entire career, and he takes some pretty hellacious rips on occasion. Lacking impact power at present and the physical projection to anticipate it in the future, Lopez’s realistic future role is that of a contact-oriented, multi-positional role player. It means Lopez will have to become a playable defender at short and (hopefully) center field, because without more power, he’ll end up in the Eric Young Jr. roster fringe area. (Fall Instructional League, LIDOM)

24. Trent Palmer, MIRP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Jacksonville (TOR)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
45/50 40/45 35/40 55/60 30/45 92-94 / 96

Palmer had two dominant starts to close out 2020, including a 13 K complete game versus Illinois State, continuing an ascent that began on the Cape the summer before. He worked 92-96 during his pre-draft spring. Palmer’s body and delivery are both reliever-y, though his low-ish slot definitely helps his fringe slider play against righties. His best pitch is a split change with dive and tail. If he can execute that slider consistently then perhaps he’ll be able to start. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Creighton (TOR)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 60/60 30/50 40/35 40/50 50

You can compare Robertson’s 2018 wood bat Cape statline — .300/.380/.435 — to his mid-major, composite bat power output at Creighton — .307/.401/.560 — and get a feel for what the performance drop-off is like when smaller-school mashers face cream-of-the-crop pitching with pro-style bats. This is the type of prospect whose stock gets reinforced by strong on-paper performance and because Robertson’s first full season was wiped out due to COVID, we don’t have that. Instead he looked okay at instructs, showing pretty good plate coverage and an ability to go down and scoop balls toward the bottom of the zone. He has corner-worthy power, but it only plays in certain parts of the zone and it’s tough to profile in a corner when that’s the case. I think he’s a potential platoon corner bat. (Fall Instructional League)

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 45/50 20/45 35/30 40/50 50

D’Orazio is the last of the teenagers about whom there was nothing to glean from sources outside the org due to his participation in the rookie camp rather than the more advanced instructs group. He’s a lean, projectable catcher with advanced feel for contact. He received a mid-season promotion from the DSL to the GCL and his production sputtered, but I’m in on the frame and bat-to-ball skills. (Fall Instructional League)

27. Yosver Zululeta, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (TOR)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

The Blue Jays used most of the international pool space they acquired for Kendrys Morales and Dwight Smith to sign Zululeta just before the 2018-19 signing period ended in June of ’19. They did so knowing he’d need Tommy John, which he had shortly after signing. Finally back in the Fall of 2020, Zululeta was topping out in the 94-96 at Toronto’s facilities in Florida. He worked with four pitches during his time in Cuba but it sounds like he only threw one breaking ball variation in the Fall. He’s really well-built and athletic, has a good arm action, and obviously has requisite big league velocity coming out of rehab. The rest is very hazy, but because of when he signed, Zululeta has a long developmental runway. He’s a high-priority 2021 eval. (Fall Instructional League)

28. Sem Robberse, SP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Netherlands (TOR)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/50 20/50 50/55 20/50 20/50 88-81 / 93

The Jays signed Robberse out of the Netherlands in late July of 2019 and immediately dropped him into the GCL. He was throwing two innings at a time until very late in August when his workload grew in preparation for U-18 World Championships in South Korea, but he was hit by a comebacker in his final GCL outing and didn’t go. When Toronto signed Robberse he was throwing about 84, but in the Fall of 2020 he was sitting 90-91 much of the time and touching some 93s. He is a big-framed teenager with a pretty graceful delivery and he creates vertical action on his curveball, so that also has a chance to be an impact pitch. (Fall Instructional League)

29. Patrick Murphy, SIRP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2013 from Hamilton HS (AZ) (TOR)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/50 45/45 93-97 / 99

Murphy, now 25, endured myriad severe injuries dating back to high school and missed large swaths of time during his minor league career. Then in 2019, he was forced to remake his delivery when, as he was on the precipice of the big leagues, the Umpire’s Association ruled it to be illegal. His front leg would kick up, then come all the way back down and briefly make contact with the mound again before he’d stride toward home. Murphy’s performance fell apart as he tried to make an adjustment that would satisfy the somewhat officious ruling, and he had some really rough starts in the middle of 2019 before getting hurt again toward the end of the year. Then there was a pandemic, which you may know. Healthy and working with a legal delivery during the summer of 2020, Murphy finally made his big league debut. He threw six innings across four relief appearances, and worked 94-98 and touched 99 with his fastball (which has sinker movement). His curveball is average, and Murphy throws lots of strikes. Of the group of major league-ready up/down relief types in this system, Murphy is the most consistent strike-thrower, and the least-likely to have a nuclear outing. (Alternate site, MLB)

30. T.J. Zeuch, SP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Pittsburgh (TOR)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/45 40/40 45/45 50/50 45/55 90-93 / 94

Zeuch doesn’t have dominant stuff but he’s a keen sequencer with a firm grasp on how best to deploy his pitches to efficiently tally outs. He mostly pitches to contact with a low-90s sinker that has very steep downhill plane thanks to his height and fairly upright delivery. It has helped him generate groundball rates near 60% as a pro. He seems to have ditched his curveball in favor of a new cutter he deployed with great frequency during his best 2020 outing against Baltimore. His walk rates have slipped the last couple of years and his stuff doesn’t afford him much margin for error in the zone, so now he looks like more of a spot starter than a consistent backend piece, but if his cutter turns out to be a real weapon then he’s back in that backend starter bucket. (Alternate site, MLB)

31. Chavez Young, CF
Drafted: 39th Round, 2016 from Faith Baptist HS (FL) (TOR)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/50 30/45 55/55 45/50 60

Nothing new here, as I had planned on evaluating Young during his stint with Canbarra in the Australian League, but due to a foot injury, he has only played in two games thus far. This report may be updated as the winter rolls along: As is typical of hitters transitioning from Lansing to Dunedin, Young’s surface-level production declined significantly in 2019, but his .247/.315/.347 line was still average for the Florida State League. A lack of pop will likely be a barrier to regular playing time, but Young has rosterable bench outfielder traits. He’s a switch-hitter (better left than right) who can pinch run and play all three outfield positions well (an instincts-driven center field, plus defense in a corner). (Fall Instructional League, Australian Baseball League)

32. Nick Frasso, SP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Loyola Marymount (TOR)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/55 40/45 40/50 30/40 30/50 91-93 / 95

Frasso has a gangly, arms-and-legs delivery, and will reach back for 94 or 95 but is parked at 91-92 with imprecise strikes. His broad-shouldered frame looks like a wire hanger under his jersey and he’s loose and flexible enough that I think he might throw harder on a pro strength program, which he was introduced to during the Jays’ 2020 Fall rookie camp. His secondary stuff — a mid-80s changeup and low-80s sweeping curveball — are below average, but Frasso locates them pretty competitively. He doesn’t have much experience as a starter so that stuff might yet develop. Frasso has outs as an impact-fastball reliever or as a guy whose secondary feel and quality develop late because of his size and relative inexperience. (Fall Instructional League)

33. Yennsy Diaz, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/45 55/55 35/35 93-96 / 98

Diaz has projected as a single-inning middle reliever for quite some time, even though he had been developed as a starter throughout his entire minor league career. He held mid-90s velocity deep into games as a minor league starter and sat 94-98 during a horrendous single-game debut in 2019, seemingly unable to time his arm swing and find a consistent release point during a disastrous inning against the Orioles. That wasn’t sufficient justification to slide Diaz’s FV down on its own, but then he missed all of 2020 with a severe lat strain and only began pitching in games again for Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter League where he again sat in the mid-90s (94-97 according to a source). The development of Diaz in the rotation improved his changeup enough that it became a sinking/tailing low-90s weapon and his best secondary pitch. He’s going to bully hitters with velocity and that changeup, and command consistency will dictate whether it’s in an up/down capacity or whether Diaz stays on the big league roster consistently. (Injury rehab)

34. Hobie Harris, SIRP
Drafted: 31th Round, 2015 from Pittsburgh (NYY)
Age 27.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
70/70 45/45 50/55 30/35 96-98 / 101

Harris is a late-bloomer who only first touched 90 mph while in junior college, and at best sat 90-94 while he was later at Pitt. His velo didn’t really pop until later in pro ball, and Harris sat 92-96 in 2019. The Yankees have been pretty good at developing pitchers for a while, so they lose several of them every year during the Rule 5 draft. Harris was a 2019 minor league phase pick by Toronto. His delivery has changed a bit and he showed up at instructs with a different one, one that better utilizes his lower half. He’s now parked at 96-98 and has been up to 101 out of the bullpen. Harris will still need to find a secondary pitch and his splitter, which he first learned as he entered pro ball, might also blossom late as he’s only recently begun to use it against both-handed hitters rather than try to get righties to swing over his curve. He’s got a shot to earn a bullpen spot at some point in 2021 if he can throw enough strikes in the minors. (Fall Instructional League)

35. Curtis Taylor, MIRP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from British Columbia (ARI)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 55/55 45/50 40/45 93-97 / 98

Taylor’s stretch with Toronto in the Fall was the first time the org’s dev group had really gotten to see him throw in person, as he was hurt when they acquired him from Tampa Bay for Eric Sogard. It was the second time Taylor was dealt; the first was when the Rays acquired him from Arizona for Brad Boxberger. Taylor was shut down and given a PRP injection to remedy a UCL strain without surgery and didn’t pitch the second half of 2019. Before he was shelved and traded, he was typically throwing 35 to 50 pitches once every three to five days, seemingly in preparation for some kind of multi-inning role, and that seems to be what he’ll be doing for Toronto. At full speed he works in the mid-90s, generates huge extension, and bends in some above-average sliders. He was more 91-93 at instructs. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Virginia (TOR)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 50/50 30/40 40/40 30/40 30

Morris’ track record of hitting well dates back to high school and he had more walks than strikeouts in his two years at Virginia (he was a draft-eligible sophomore). He doesn’t really have a position — he played shortstop all through college but fits in left field athletically — and lacks impact power, which puts a ton of pressure on the hit tool and plate discipline to carry the freight of Morris’ offensive production. To this point, he’s performed as if they may. (Fall Instructional League)

37. Hector Perez, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (HOU)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 45/55 20/30 91-95 / 96

No change here. As they have with Diaz, Toronto ran Perez out as a Double-A starter in 2019, his first option year on the 40-man, but he continues to project in relief because of control issues. Curiously, while he has several traits indicative of an effective fastball (its spin rate is above average, and it has backspin and plus-plus vertical movement), his heater only generated a 6% swinging strike rate in 2019. He lost a tick off of his heater in both 2018 and ’19 (from sitting 93-97 to sitting 91-96), but again this was as a starter rather than in the short-outing, piggyback-style of usage Perez enjoyed before Houston traded him to the Jays in the Roberto Osuna deal. He made his big league debut out of the bullpen and sat 93-98. It’s good that the velocity is back, but Perez still needs to throw more strikes to stick in the bullpen permanently rather than be shuttled back and forth from Triple-A. (Alternate site, MLB, LIDOM)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 40/55 30/40 30/35 95-98 / 99

Hernandez is an arm strength-only relief prospect who spent his first two pro seasons in the DSL, then pitched in the Appy League in 2019 and instructs in 2020. Typically prospects like this would be in the Honorable Mention section of the list but Hernandez throws really hard, sitting 95-98 and touching 99. My 2019 notes said he had a shot to develop a viable, bat-missing slider (currently 85-87) and that was indeed the developmental focus at instructs, but Hernandez needs to pitch well and move into the upper-levels of the minors to move the FV needle. (Fall Instructional League)

39. Naswell Paulino, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 20.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
40/55 45/55 30/40 90-92 / 93

Paulino is a converted outfielder currently sitting in the low-90s (he was 88-91 in 2019 and I have him 90-92 in 2020) with big time carry on his fastball based on the data I sourced from the 2019 minors. He’s a smaller-framed guy, but is loose, and I think there’s a chance more arm strength comes with maturity and continued focus on pitching. His breaking ball has bat-missing action at times but needs to become more consistent. He’s an interesting bullpen prospect. (Fall Instructional League)

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Role-Playing Bats
Ryan Noda, 1B/LF
Josh Palacios, RF
Santiago Espinal, INF
Logan Warmoth, SS
Samad Taylor, 2B/CF
Phil Clarke, C
Zach Britton, C

Noda has elite walk rates, his exit velos are very strong, and he’s hit for power at every level of the minors. He also strikes out a lot for someone older than is usual for his level, which I think is evidence he’ll fall on the wrong side of the Quad-A bubble. Palacios is a lefty stick tweener outfield type who runs well, takes good at-bats, and has doubles pop. He plays hard and endeared himself to the org at the alt site, so much so that they put him on the 40-man. Espinal is a multi-positional infielder with below-average power. He might be a 25th or 26th man, but I think the lack of offensive impact means he’s closer to replacement level than above it. Warmoth is a former first rounder and should be monitored because of his pedigree. Taylor has been playing second base and center field in Australia. He can really run but is a 20-grade in-game pop type of hitter. Clarke and Britton are recent Day Two draftees who could be third catchers.

Depth Arms
Josh Winckowski, RHP
Anthony Castro, RHP
Edisson Gonzalez

Winckowski has a chance to pop in 2021 because he was pitching hurt in 2019 and still got guys out. He looked rusty during instructs but was also up to 97 and added a new splitter to an already decent slider. Castro, who was claimed off waivers from Detroit, is now 25. He’s been on prospect lists before because of his fantastic frame and modest but relevant arm strength (lots of 92-93). His heater has natural cut; his slider lacks depth. Maybe the new org will be able to tweak things, but Detroit is actually pretty good at pitch design and they could not. Gonzalez was acquired from Tampa Bay along with Taylor. He’s a stocky pitchability 21-year-old who has great numbers in the low minors.

Toolsy Lottery Tickets
Jol Concepcion, RHP
Michael Dominguez, RHP
Luis Quinones, RHP
Jiorgeny Casimiri, RHP
Andres Tolhurst, RHP

Concepcion sat 92-96 in 2019 and was at the top end of that band in the Fall of 2020. Dominguez and Casimiri are medium-framed guys with really good-looking deliveries. Dominguez, who had a UCL injury in 2020, throws pretty hard, up to 95 or 96. Quinones is another sneaky vertical movement guy. Tolhurst was up to 96 in the Fall of 2020.

System Overview

I mentioned in the Moreno blurb that the really fantastic, high-end catching depth in this org means they have the ammunition to make at least one impactful trade with a catcher as the centerpiece. But they don’t have the requisite prospect depth to make several of them the way San Diego, Tampa Bay, and other ultra-deep orgs do. (You could argue they made some of those moves already in the Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling trades.)

Drafting Austin Martin, who signed for over-slot, affected the rest of the Blue Jays 2020 draft class because they needed to fit everyone into the bonus pool, and they ended up reaching for college pitchers without any commonalities that were obvious to me. They may be entering a need-driven mode where they take a high-volume college pitching draft approach to try to quickly reinforce a staff that feels a little thin for a contender, but their previous two drafts don’t support that theory. Because signing George Springer means losing a draft pick, I do think it makes a college-heavy 2021 approach more likely, though it’s possible college players will be viewed as less “safe” this year due to a lack of games in ’20 and ’21. But the leverage dynamics that make college players more signable still exist even if they’re not as stable as prospects. A handful of their recent Day Three arms are on the radar, though (Dominguez, Quinones, Tolhurst, Noda, Ty Tice, Maverik Buffo for a second there).

This system will probably end up near the very bottom of the farm rankings, but remember that it just recently lost two top five prospects, Cavan Biggio (who should have been a top 100 prospect), and a couple of good role players, including Thomas Hatch and Anthony Kay, who graduated due to the weird 2020 rookie eligibility rule changes rather than traditional innings totals. The system looks thin but at least there are young big leaguers entrenched at key positions.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Yo lets talk about Blue Jays legend Michael Brantley though