Toronto Blue Jays Top 37 Prospects by Brendan Gawlowski and Eric Longenhagen January 4, 2022 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 our own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Blue Jays Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Gabriel Moreno 21.9 AAA C 2022 60 2 Orelvis Martinez 20.1 A+ 3B 2023 55 3 Gunnar Hoglund 21.6 R SP 2024 45 4 Leo Jimenez 20.6 A SS 2022 45 5 Jordan Groshans 22.1 AA 3B 2023 45 6 CJ Van Eyk 23.3 A+ SP 2023 40+ 7 Ricky Tiedemann 18.9 R SP 2026 40+ 8 Rikelbin De Castro 18.9 R SS 2024 40+ 9 Sem Robberse 20.2 A+ SP 2024 40+ 10 Zach Logue 25.7 AAA SP 2022 40 11 Bowden Francis 25.7 AAA SP 2022 40 12 Otto Lopez 23.3 MLB 2B 2022 40 13 Manuel Beltre 17.6 R SS 2025 40 14 Dahian Santos 18.9 A SP 2024 40 15 Estiven Machado 19.2 R 2B 2024 40 16 Kevin Smith 25.5 MLB SS 2022 40 17 Hagen Danner 23.3 A+ SIRP 2022 40 18 Miguel Hiraldo 21.3 A 3B 2022 40 19 Hayden Juenger 21.4 A+ SIRP 2025 40 20 Yosver Zulueta 23.9 A SIRP 2023 40 21 Joey Murray 25.3 AA MIRP 2022 40 22 Adam Kloffenstein 21.4 A+ SP 2023 40 23 Irv Carter 19.2 R SP 2026 35+ 24 Kendry Rojas 19.1 R SIRP 2026 35+ 25 Chad Dallas 21.5 R MIRP 2025 35+ 26 Kirby Snead 27.2 MLB SIRP 2022 35+ 27 Sebastian Espino 21.6 A+ 3B 2023 35+ 28 Zac Cook 23.7 A+ CF 2024 35+ 29 Trent Palmer 22.8 A MIRP 2024 35+ 30 Gabriel Martinez 20.4 A RF 2023 35+ 31 Tanner Morris 24.3 A+ LF 2023 35+ 32 Graham Spraker 26.8 AAA SIRP 2022 35+ 33 Jackson Rees 27.4 AAA SIRP 2022 35+ 34 Nick Frasso 23.2 A SP 2024 35+ 35 Chavez Young 24.5 AA CF 2022 35+ 36 Samad Taylor 23.5 AA 2B 2022 35+ 37 Cameron Eden 23.8 A+ CF 2024 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 60 FV Prospects 1. Gabriel Moreno, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (TOR) Age 21.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/60 50/50 40/45 50/50 45/50 50 As much as any prospect could break out during a dark 2020 minor league season, Moreno broke out. He was fairly well-regarded coming out of 2019, then was seen on alt site video, during instructs, and later in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he hit .373/.471/.508. The length of his year was as close as any catching prospect came to replicating a full season behind the dish in 2020, and there was already enough buzz at that point for us to include Moreno on last year’s Top 100. Then 2021 began and Moreno started on an epic tear, slugging .650 at Double-A New Hampshire before missing a couple of months with a fractured thumb. He ended up playing in just shy of 40 regular season games, then picked up reps during the Arizona Fall and Venezuelan Winter Leagues. The visual evaluation of Moreno’s power does not support the idea that he can slug .500, his career mark. One could argue that’s because he was most widely seen coming off a hand injury that might dilute his power, but his batted ball data from before the injury also indicates his Double-A output was inflated. You can’t fake an 11% strikeout rate, though, which is Moreno’s career mark. While he’s an aggressive hitter who sometimes takes fundamentally unsound swings, Moreno has 70-grade bat control and tends to find a way to poke, spray, and slash contact all over the field. He can square high-end velocity, and though his overall hit tool grade projects below his raw barrel control due to his flawed approach, there’s enough offense to make him an All-Star offensive performer at catcher. He also has rare speed for the position and has an overall skill set like that of a less-toolsy Jason Kendall. Defensively, Moreno catches on one knee until there are runners on or there are two strikes, then sets up in a very wide crouch as if he’s always preparing to block a breaking ball in the dirt. He’ll sometimes finish on one knee in an effort to frame a pitch on the edge, even if he didn’t start there. He popped in the 1.95-1.98 range during Fall League, a slightly above-average range of times for throws down to second base. 55 FV Prospects 2. Orelvis Martinez, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (TOR) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/60 35/60 45/40 30/45 55 After destroying Low-A, Martinez posted a league-average batting line during a month at High-A Vancouver, which would be impressive even without a .197 BABIP anchoring his line. Before the promotion, he had more than a 10% barrel rate at Low-A and his top exit velocity was over 110 mph. Between that and a pretty healthy walk and strikeout mix, you have the foundation of a very impressive offensive talent. If anything, the visual report glows even brighter than the statistics. A tick above six-feet tall, Martinez is a chiseled athlete with explosive rotational ability. His bat-to-ball skills are advanced for a High-A hitter, never mind the youngest one in the league. He also adapted very quickly to the circuit’s better arms, bashing nine homers and walking six times in his final nine games after an uneasy start. Like any 19-year-old, there is some risk in the profile. Hit tool volatility is one potential variable: Martinez’s current timing mechanism leaves him vulnerable to soft stuff and he’ll lunge at quality breaking balls if he’s expecting something else. He also thinks he can drive anything in on his hands, and while he’s often right, pitchers can induce defensive swings if they’re able to get in his kitchen. Some of the contact he makes is thus very soft when he gets off-balance, which leaves lingering questions about how his approach will fare against a steadier diet of better breaking balls. And defensively, he’s a little raw for short. His hands weren’t great in Brendan’s looks last season, and while he’s quick under way, a slow first step suggests that a move down the defensive spectrum is likely as he matures physically, and we have Martinez projected to third base. Ultimately though, this is a great athlete who has performed as a teenager against much older competition. The bat should play anywhere, and if he’s able to stick on the left side of the infield, he has an All-Star ceiling. 45 FV Prospects 3. Gunnar Hoglund, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Ole Miss (TOR) Age 21.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 60/60 40/50 35/70 90-94 / 96 Hoglund was many scouts’ favorite non-first round prep projection arm for 2018: up to 96, average off-speed stuff, but a clean delivery and frame with room to grow. He didn’t sign as a comp pick of the Pirates and instead went to Ole Miss. He had growing pains as a freshman, but looked crisp in the fall of 2019, which was the start of his ascent to legitimate college ace. Through 2021, Hoglund was arguably the most polished college arm in the class, sitting in the low-90s, while dotting a plus slider on the corner with remarkable consistency. Healthy Hoglund had the best command in the 2021 draft. His fastball’s tailing action garners looking strikes on the glove-side corner and sets up Hoglund’s changeup, which needs to develop. Toward the end of a dominant 2021, Hoglund looked awkward and uncomfortable warming up for a start and was removed from it early on; he would need Tommy John. We look at his rehab as an opportunity to rework a softer build and maybe exit the process with more velocity. TJ rehab or not, Hoglund has a great chance to be one of the first players from this class to reach the big leagues because of how advanced he is. 4. Leo Jimenez, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Panama (TOR) Age 20.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/70 35/35 30/30 50/50 40/50 55 Limited to 54 games and five rehab appearances due to a dislocated left shoulder, Jimenez had a special statistical season, slashing .320/.523/.392 while walking nearly twice as often as he struck out. Yes, a .523 OBP in 59 games. Jimenez has a special ability to put the bat on the ball, and he’s especially adept at getting on top of high fastballs. It is freakish bat-to-ball ability with very little impact, but that may be enough to enable a viable defensive shortstop like Jimenez to play a sizable big league role. Even though he is only 20 and hasn’t played above A-ball, Toronto felt compelled to put Jimenez on their 40-man this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft ahead of previously more famous members of their farm system. We buy that Jimenez is at least going to become an important big league cog, but his hit tool might be so special that he sneaks up on everyone and seizes hold of an everyday job, à la Nicky Lopez and David Fletcher. 5. Jordan Groshans, 3B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Magnolia HS (TX) (TOR) Age 22.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/55 45/50 40/45 50/50 45/50 60 Drafted in 2018, Groshans has only played in about one season’s worth of career games due to a severe 2019 foot injury and 2020’s lost pandemic campaign. He has not performed in the manner that was projected of him coming out of high school, when he was viewed as a corner infield power-over-hit prototype. Instead, Groshans has shown excellent control of the strike zone and promising bat-to-ball skills despite his odd-looking bat path, while continuing to mostly play shortstop all the way through Double-A. He still projects to third base, and that combined with Groshans’ surprisingly low high-end exit velos caused us to do a fairly extensive re-evaluation, as corner infielders don’t typically project as everyday players without impact power. On paper, his skill set reads more like the last half-decade of Evan Longoria’s production than that of a 30-homer threat, and the perceived variance of Groshans’ outcomes has narrowed. Ultimately, what he did as a 21-year-old at Double-A was impressive, the average major-league batting line has fallen each of the last two years, and we’re still comfortable projecting Groshans as a good big leaguer, but not a star. 40+ FV Prospects 6. CJ Van Eyk, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Florida State (TOR) Age 23.3 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 It’s neither here nor there, but if you’re curious, CJ stands for Cornelius Johannes. Van Eyk’s a divisive prospect, primarily because he’ll show evaluators wildly different looks from one outing to the next. At his best, he’ll sit 92-95 and touch 97 with a four-seamer, if one without the kind of carry teams covet these days. His 12-6 curve has dastardly bend and a data-friendly shape. The slider and change aren’t quite as refined but both miss bats when he locates well. None of that matters on days where he can’t throw strikes though, an issue that plagued the right-hander throughout 2021. With a clean arm swing, still head, and repeatable mechanics, Van Eyk has a lot of the ingredients you look for when projecting command. His landing is very inconsistent, however, and at times he’s so off-balance that he nearly falls over as he follows through. On bad nights — or even just during bad innings — he’ll lose feel for the glove-side half of the plate entirely. That bears watching, because if he can find a delivery that works for him, Van Eyk has the build and physical tools to start. Inconsistency has been a problem dating back to his days at Florida State, though, which is particularly concerning in an era when teams really limit the reps their farmhands can get. He probably has another year to develop as a starter, but he looks like a conversion candidate, where he could be electric in short stints. 7. Ricky Tiedemann, SP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Golden West College (TOR) Age 18.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 50/55 50/55 20/55 88-92 / 94 Tiedemann was a high-profile SoCal high school prospect in the 2020 draft, but an injury and the truncated pandemic season destabilized his stock enough to push him to Golden West Junior College for a year. So young was Tiedemann as a high schooler that he was still just 18 on 2021 draft day, which is rare for a JUCO prospect. Despite Tiedemann’s size, athleticism, and stuff (he was flashing three average or better offerings), he frustrated and at times confused scouts with his inability to keep runs off the board at Golden West. Still, he was coming off a strange, lost year and pitching at an extremely small school where there was a substantial gap between both the facilities and instruction of pro ball, so there was comfort in projecting in the abstract. Then Tiedemann went to instructs (he didn’t pitch at all during the summer) and was parked at 96 the entire time. There’s disagreement about how much weight to place on this since he was coming off extended rest and pitching in shorter stints, and the players for whom that was true during 2020 instructs and ’21 spring training ended up having mixed velocity/stuff retention during the ’21 regular season. Proponents point toward the possible dev-related shortcomings of Tiedemann’s amateur environment and to his slightly different delivery (he’s shifted toward the first base side of the rubber and his stride direction has become more closed off) as evidence that this is a trend rather than an anomaly. He has a chance to break out in 2022. 8. Rikelbin De Castro, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (TOR) Age 18.9 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 De Castro spent the year on the complex, from extended spring training through instructs. He’s a terrific young defensive shortstop with special range, footwork, hands, and actions. These gifts give De Castro a high floor of sorts, as he’s very likely to be at least a utility type if he ends up becoming any kind of competent offensive player. He has only fair feel for contact and currently has 30-grade raw power, but it’s realistic to envision him becoming a 45 or 50 bat with 40 power, which makes you a career big leaguer if you can play defense like De Castro can. From a rudimentary projection standpoint, De Castro is working with medium size, so there’s not a clear path toward the kind of power that would make him a star. Instead, we’re probably looking at a more narrow range of outcomes in the utility/second-division regular range. 9. Sem Robberse, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Netherlands (TOR) Age 20.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/55 50/55 30/50 30/50 88-81 / 93 When the Jays signed Robberse out of the Netherlands in 2019, he was a project. The Dutchman’s fastball sat in the mid-80s and he’d had very little exposure against professional prospects. But he’s gotten better with each passing season and took another major step in 2021. By year’s end, he was in High-A, sitting 91-93 while touching the mid-90s and missing bats with two breaking balls. That’s pretty impressive for anyone, much less a 19-year-old from Europe. Robberse has several starter traits. He’s athletic with a graceful and repeatable delivery, he has feel for locating his fastball to both sides of the plate, his curve tunnels nicely with the four-seamer, he can backdoor the slider against lefties, and he’s even got a promising changeup. There’s work to be done between here and there, however. His velocity can dip over the course of an outing, and while his delivery is smooth, he can get flustered and start overthrowing if things aren’t going well on the field. When that happens, he loses all feel for the strike zone, and can’t hit the glove-side part of the plate at all. Like many pitchers his age who missed 2020, he also just needs a lot of reps. He should get plenty in 2022, as he’s one of the more promising arms in the organization. A return to High-A seems likely, with a chance at a mid-season promotion if he can hold his stuff deep into games and throws strikes like he did in Low-A last season. 40 FV Prospects 10. Zach Logue, SP Drafted: 9th Round, 2017 from Kentucky (TOR) Age 25.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 40/40 45/45 60/60 50/50 60/60 91-93 / 95 Logue slips his 91-93 mph fastball past hitters at the letters thanks to its upward angle, created by Logue’s low arm slot. He pretty evenly mixes in a changeup, cutter and slider, with his change operating as his swing-and-miss, finishing pitch. Though neither of his breaking balls is especially nasty, Logue has precise command of them, especially of his cutter, which knifes in on the hands of righty batters with remarkable consistency. The whole package enabled Logue to strike out 144 hitters in 125 innings at Double- and Triple-A in 2021. His workload foundation and proximity to the big leagues mean we’ll likely see Logue in Toronto in 2022. He’s a high-probability backend starter. 11. Bowden Francis, SP Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Chipola JC (FL) (MIL) Age 25.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 55/55 45/45 45/50 50/55 92-94 / 95 Acquired from Milwaukee for Rowdy Tellez, Francis had statistical success through the mid-minors by relying on plus command of three fringe pitches. Then he added a slider in 2021 and now has four distinct offerings, of which the slider has quickly become the best. It’s also hard, which is important because Francis’ curveball is a low-70s rainbow, averaging about 73 mph, while the slider has been up to 87 and sits a bit below that. He has a power pitcher’s style with soft stuff, but Francis’ feel to pitch is excellent and we think he’s an imminent backend starter. 12. Otto Lopez, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TOR) Age 23.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/60 40/45 20/30 60/60 40/45 30 Lopez’s ultra-short swing drives a contact-reliant offensive profile, and his defensive versatility combines with this feel to hit to make him a high-probability bench piece. We typically like this type of skill set in the 45 FV tier, especially when the player in question is on the cusp of the big leagues like Lopez is, but Lopez’s lack of arm strength prevents him from truly fitting at shortstop or third base; instead, he realistically projects as a 2B/OF. As we’ve seen with Eric Young Jr. and players of his ilk, there’s a meaningful reduction in on-roster utility for players like this, who play a bunch of positions but don’t really represent an offensive upgrade at any of them and instead end up relegated to a lower-end bench role. Lopez projects as a versatile, low-impact role player. 13. Manuel Beltre, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (TOR) Age 17.6 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 was committed to FIU), Beltre was easily the most-scouted player in his international amateur class. He hit well in games against US high schoolers while playing sound infield defense at various positions and was viewed as a polished, skills-over-tools amateur prospect whose work habits might enable him to outpace lower-variance projections. Beltre’s first pro season began not long after he turned 17, and he ended up slashing .225/.391/.346 in the DSL. Among the most driven, baseball-loving youngsters in the minors, Beltre has worked to become more muscular than the typical 17-year-old, and while that’s helped him, right now it’s hard to envision him adding meaningful raw power going forward. He looks like a utility infielder if you just evaluate the tools, but scouts love Beltre’s makeup and think it will be a separator. 14. Dahian Santos, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (TOR) Age 18.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/55 55/60 30/45 20/45 90-93 / 96 Santos had such a good summer on the complex that the Blue Jays gave him a two-start cup of coffee with Low-A Dunedin before the regular season ended, and sources tell us they were reticent to give him up in trade discussions. In most ways, he is like a prototypical pitching prospect, an athletic teenager with mid-90s arm strength and promising curveball feel. Santos’ frame limits his projection somewhat, and the length of his arm action creates some command-driven relief risk, but he has one of the better long-term ceilings of pitchers in this system, on par with domestic amateurs who get about $1 million bonuses in the draft. 15. Estiven Machado, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (TOR) Age 19.2 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 Machado only played one regular season game in 2021 due to a hamstring injury, and he wasn’t on the Jays’ instructs roster, which means the only looks scouts had at him were during extended spring training. Reports from that timeframe are consistent with Machado’s amateur reports, indicative of a compact, switch-hitting middle infield defender with a utility floor. Recall that the Blue Jays split their 2020 instructs groups in such a way that their younger players were not involved with scoutable, on-field activity, so it has been especially hard for the industry to see Machado since he signed in July of 2019, and he’s now a 19-year-old with just one career game played. 16. Kevin Smith, SS Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Maryland (TOR) Age 25.5 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 Smith rebounded from a lousy 2019, registering some of the best contact, barrel, and plate discipline numbers of his career at Triple-A before getting a few dozen big-league at-bats. Among Blue Jays farm hands with more than 100 balls in play, Smith led the organization in barrel rate, and had a max exit velo north of 108. That tracks with his reputation as a player who has only average raw but a knack for getting to most of it in games. He has long projected as a low-variance, decent-power but low-OBP middle infielder with shaky defense, and that remains the likely outcome here. That’s a useful utility player around the horn, and if he’s able to maintain the better swing decisions and plate discipline he showed in 2021, he could even carve out a role as a low-end regular. 17. Hagen Danner, SIRP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Huntington Beach HS (CA) (TOR) Age 23.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 35/40 94-97 / 99 Danner initially became of interest to pro scouts while he was an underclass pitcher at Huntington Beach. His stuff never really ticked up, and over time scouts saw him behind the plate (where he played when he wasn’t pitching) and began to like him more as a catching prospect with power; the Jays eventually took Danner in the second round of the 2017 draft as a backstop. After three seasons of catching, hampered by injuries and strikeouts, Danner is back on the mound and throwing harder than ever before. In 2021, he sat 95-97 with a power breaking ball. He threw just 35 innings and typically threw with at least two days of rest (and as many as four or five) and still hasn’t pitched in back-to-back games. The Blue Jays were still impressed enough to put him on the 40-man. It isn’t quite right to call Danner a conversion arm, but the best pitchers who transition late in their careers tend to have rapid ascents to the big leagues and Danner is certainly on the fast track. He’ll likely be up and down in 2022, his first option year, but he has the stuff to establish a more prominent role with time and remain on the roster in perpetuity. 18. Miguel Hiraldo, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (TOR) Age 21.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 50/55 30/50 50/40 30/45 55 If/when there is a Rule 5 Draft, Hiraldo will be eligible. The sterling early-career performer — in the 2019 Appy League, he hit .300/.348/.481 with 28 extra-base hits in 56 games at age 18 — was merely average at Low-A in 2021 amid an anticipated fall down the defensive spectrum, and the Blue Jays opted not to add the 21-year-old to their 40-man roster. At that age and with just Low-A experience, it’s unlikely that teams will consider him ready to play a season-long big league role, even if they like Hiraldo. But Hiraldo still projects to play a shift-enabled infield role eventually. 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 he generates with effort and violence. It’s a swing-happy, pull-heavy approach to contact that would ideally become more polished and discerning. There’s lots of odd developmental trajectory stuff to consider here, such as Hiraldo skipping a level in 2019 then missing 2020 and losing that accelerated career track in the process, then being subject to the Automated Ball/Strike System during his first full season. Ultimately, the hope is for Hiraldo to end up playing a role similar to that of Wilmer Flores. 19. Hayden Juenger, SIRP Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Missouri State (TOR) Age 21.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 30/45 93-95 / 97 Juenger’s a lower-slot righty reliever who gives hitters a tough look from an unusual angle. His four-seamer, which sat 94-96 last year, has carrying traits and his mid-80s, horizontally sweeping slider bends with late, bat-missing life. A 2021 sixth round pick, he shoved at High-A and seems like a quick-moving relief prospect. 20. Yosver Zulueta, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (TOR) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 70/70 50/55 40/40 96-98 / 99 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 mph range at Toronto’s facilities in Florida, then threw even harder during the ’21 spring when he sat 96-99 with the big club. He made it all of three pitches into his first 2021 start before he tore a ligament in his knee, needed surgery, and missed the remainder of the season. Zululeta’s 40-man roster evaluation year is 2022, so if he’s healthy, the Blue Jays are likely to be aggressive with promoting him to determine if his elite arm strength and upper-70s curveball are ready for prime time. 21. Joey Murray, MIRP Drafted: 8th Round, 2018 from Kent State (TOR) Age 25.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/55 50/50 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 mph 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 seemed likely to debut at some point in 2021 but instead he missed the whole year with an elbow strain, pitching just two-thirds of an inning during an August rehab outing, after which he was shut down again. Healthy Murray looks like a multi-inning relief piece, as his fastball deception plays best in shorter stints. 22. Adam Kloffenstein, SP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Magnolia HS (TX) (TOR) Age 21.4 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 Both Kloffenstein and his stuff looked softer this year in High-A. He sat 91-93 with his sinker, which was down a couple ticks from where we had him in last year’s report. His curve and slider have distinct shapes, though neither is particularly sharp and both were hittable in the zone last year. The fading change flashes average, but it too is more of a barrel-misser than a swing-and-miss pitch. Even if his good velocity comes back, the overall package is that of a groundball generator with average arm strength and strike-throwing issues (the righty falls off toward the first base side and is prone to dragging the ball with him). We’re trying not to sour too much on a prospect who seemed to be on the rise this time last year, but he needs to find a way to miss more bats or throw a lot more strikes to make it as a viable starter. 35+ FV Prospects 23. Irv Carter, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Calvary Christian HS (TOR) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 50/55 45/55 25/55 91-93 / 95 Carter was a known Florida prep arm for several years, generally sitting 91-93 mph and touching 95 with his fastball while also showing consistent glove-side feel for his two-planed slider. Carter has a vertical arm slot but his delivery is so upright that he ends up having to pitch with lots of downhill angle when he works in the strike zone, and he might be hittable in there. He’s shown some aptitude for turning over a changeup in the bullpen but didn’t need to use many of them in high school. With a fully actualized change, Carter will have a viable starter’s repertoire on the surface, though he’ll need to answer some questions about fastball utility as he climbs the minors. He’s a good developmental prospect who the Jays kept from affiliated ball after he signed in 2021. 24. Kendry Rojas, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2020 from Cuba (TOR) Age 19.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 45/60 45/55 20/45 88-92 / 93 Rojas signed out of Cuba in October of 2020 and had an exciting, if brief, statistical season in 2021. In 23 innings spread across eight appearances, Rojas struck out 39 hitters and walked just five. But while his on-paper performance was dominant, scouts still describe him as raw. Certainly Rojas’ velocity needs to develop if he’s to continue mowing down hitters. He sat 88-90 in 2021, but his vertical arm slot creates big carry on the fastball and depth on his curveball. Both were effective pitches in 2021, and they are currently Rojas’ only offerings. At this age, with Rojas’ looseness and physical projection, he is very likely to throw harder as he matures, though it’s less obvious how his repertoire will develop and what his ultimate role will be. As currently constructed, he looked like a good young relief prospect. 25. Chad Dallas, MIRP Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Tennessee (TOR) Age 21.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 206 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 60/70 50/50 40/45 30/40 88-92 / 95 The stocky Dallas has among the best breaking stuff in this system, able to add and subtract from his slider and curveball to vary their shapes, while wielding very consistent glove-side command of the slide piece. Dallas’ squat frame and semi-violent arm action push him toward the bullpen, but he threw strikes during his two years at Tennessee (well, more like 1.3 years due to the pandemic, as Dallas was a JUCO transfer) and his breaking ball command gives him a shot to pitch his way through the lineup a few times. For now we have him in as a multi-inning relief prospect. 26. Kirby Snead, SIRP Drafted: 10th Round, 2016 from Florida (TOR) Age 27.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 55/55 45/50 45/45 92-94 / 95 Snead has had modest velo spikes during each of the last two seasons and now tends to sit in the 93-94 mph range, and can run it up to 96. He’s a low-slot southpaw whose tailing-action fastball and long-arcing slider make him tough on lefties. He shows arm deceleration on his changeup but creates enough action on the pitch for it to be effective against righties. He projects as a bulk middle-inning reliever. 27. Sebastian Espino, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 21.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 176 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 50/55 35/50 45/45 30/40 45 Catch Espino on the right day, and he looks like the best player on the field. He has power to his pull side (more now than before, as he’s learned to pull his hands in and really drive inside pitches), can thwack spin even when he has to adjust to it, and even acquits himself at third base. But while Espino’s defensive versatility (he’s also played second and left field) and knack for hard contact are enticing, a terrible approach threatens to undo the entire package. He’s swing happy, regularly chasing pitches well out of the zone, and had one of the lowest contact rates on Vancouver’s High-A team. Even his walk rate is a bit deceptive, more the product of long at-bats than a discerning eye. Still, there’s a lot to dream on here. Espino already hits for power, and at a stringy 6-foot-3, he’s got room for more. It’s also encouraging that he’s performed well, as he hit .295/.358/.511 in High-A, which is quite good for his age. The safe bet is that bad swing decisions undercut his effectiveness in the box, but this is nonetheless a player with a wide range of future outcomes. A defensively viable and power-hitting third baseman is a hell of a player; a left fielder who can’t hit isn’t a big leaguer. The Double-A test looms large for one of the most intriguing and volatile players in the system. 28. Zac Cook, CF Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (TOR) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 55/55 35/50 45/40 30/45 40 Cook was a $20,000 undrafted free agent after the 2020 draft, and hit for surprising power during his first year in pro ball with Toronto. He’s a physical lefty stick with above-average pop and experience at many different positions, including second base and (mostly) center field. He’ll need to slug enough to counterbalance what is likely to be a 30-grade hit tool, but he’s an interesting older sleeper to follow in this org. 29. Trent Palmer, MIRP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Jacksonville (TOR) Age 22.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 50/50 60/60 30/40 90-93 / 94 Palmer didn’t hold the velo boost he exhibited during the shortened 2020 college season, when he sat 92-96 mph before the COVID shutdown. Instead he sat about 92 across 63 innings of work with Low-A Dunedin. Palmer’s body and delivery are both reliever-y, and his early-career strike throwing issues (42 walks in 63 innings) push his ultimate projection further toward the ‘pen. But Palmer also has a great split-action changeup and his funky, low-slot delivery helps his slider play up. He still projects as a low-leverage reliever thanks to the quality of his secondary stuff. 30. Gabriel Martinez, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TOR) Age 20.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 45/50 30/50 45/45 30/50 60 Martinez has a well-rounded offensive package: adequate bat speed, mature swing decisions, and a good-looking cut. He’s likely a corner outfielder, which means it’d be helpful if one of his offensive tools becomes plus. He’s not especially projectable, so it will likely need to be the hit tool and/or approach, rather than raw power growth, that carries him. His 40-man roster timeline (Martinez is a 2022 add) makes that tenuous, though the scouts we spoke to who saw Martinez on the complex do like him. 31. Tanner Morris, LF Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Virginia (TOR) Age 24.3 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 has 40 pop and no physical projection left. Defensively, he’s played everywhere but isn’t particularly good anywhere, and has no shot to stick in the infield. He can hit though, and that’s the one tool that can carry a guy all the way to the majors. He projects as a poor-man’s Josh Rojas. 32. Graham Spraker, SIRP Video Drafted: 17th Round, 2017 from Quincy University (TOR) Age 26.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Cutter Command Sits/Tops 60/60 40/40 40/40 93-95 / 96 After shifting from a sinker to a four-seamer in 2022, Spraker’s strikeout rate doubled. He has an impact fastball, sitting about 93-96 mph with huge carry that blows past hitters at the letters. That pitch alone should enable him to be viable, single-inning relief depth the Jays can call upon in case of injury during 2022. 33. Jackson Rees, SIRP Undrafted Free Agent, 2018 (TOR) Age 27.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 50/50 70/70 30/30 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 was a likely near-term middle relief piece until he blew out in May and needed TJ early in June of 2021. The timing of that surgery may make it tough for him to come back at all in 2022. 34. Nick Frasso, SP Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Loyola Marymount (TOR) Age 23.2 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 was an uncommon sort of prospect, a college dev project with room on his frame for more muscle. His 2021 was ultimately cut short by Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in June. Frasso had a velo spike right before breaking, as he sat 95 in his few innings of work, which is where he’d top out while in college. His broad-shouldered frame looks like a wire hanger under his jersey and he’s loose and flexible enough that he might throw harder on a pro strength program, which will be his sole focus during rehab. 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, though injuries have robbed him of reps to this point (he was also hurt in college). 35. Chavez Young, CF Drafted: 39th Round, 2016 from Faith Baptist HS (FL) (TOR) Age 24.5 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 Young is reportedly good friends with Cedric Mullins, and like his buddy, he may benefit from dropping the whole switch hitting thing. As is, he’s much worse against lefties, and is firmly on the bench outfielder track largely thanks to his ability to play CF, which this org has very few of in the upper levels. 36. Samad Taylor, 2B Drafted: 10th Round, 2016 from Corona HS (CA) (CLE) Age 23.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 30/30 35/40 60/60 45/45 40 Taylor’s home run and steal totals from last season have undoubtedly made him a fashionable sleeper in statline-scouting fantasy circles. We’d caution against taking his batting line at face value. His measurable power is much closer to Mallex Smith/Richie Martin territory, which means he simply isn’t strong enough at present to replicate his 2021 numbers in a big league environment. In that context, his swing decisions loom as a big concern. He’s both passive and prone to swinging and missing, a combination that works among players with big pop but often proves fatal for anyone else. However, his speed and defensive chops — he started at least five games at five different spots, including the four hard ones — give him big league utility, particularly in the slim-bench era. 37. Cameron Eden, CF Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from Cal (TOR) Age 23.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 181 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding 30/45 40/40 30/35 60/60 40/50 Eden is a plus runner, if not a tick faster. His great first step and long, loping strides seemingly shrink the field when he’s in center or on the bases. Even in High-A, 30 steals in 32 tries is pretty impressive, particularly from a selective hitter who takes his walks. If he had any oomph at all in his stick, we’d be writing him up as a future regular. But it’s 40 raw, which means he’ll need to get much stronger to project as more than an up-and-down outfielder. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Young Sleepers Yeuni Munoz, RF Amell Brazoban, RF Yhoangel Aponte, CF Rainer Nunez, 1B Jaden Rudd, CF This group largely consists of young, developmental prospects. Munoz, who only turned 18 in October, is a compactly-built, well-rounded young player without big physical projection. Brazoban, 20, has average present raw power and room for more on his frame. Aponte, still 17, actually has a little less room for physical projection than Brazoban but impressed scouts during instructs coming off a decent year in the DSL. The ultra-stiff Nunez, 21, has the best max exit velo and barrel rate in this entire system, but he’s been at the complex level or below since 2018 and the track record for guys who spend that much time in rookie ball is not good. Rudd was Toronto’s 2021 seventh rounder out of a high school in Florida (though he was born in the U.K.) and is a slash-and-dash center field prospect to monitor. Shot-in-the-Dark Arms James Dykstra, RHP Roither Hernandez, RHP Eliander Alcalde, RHP Keiner Leon, RHP Naswell Paulino, LHP Luis Quinones, RHP Dykstra, 31, sits 94-95, has a plus curveball, and is super deceptive, but he’s had real issues staying healthy. Hernandez and Quinones still both have impact fastballs, Hernandez’s due to velo and Quinones’ due to underlying traits. They’re both well into their mid-20s now and haven’t developed as strike-throwers. Alcalde is only 5-foot-9, so to say he lacks prototypical projection is an understatement, but his arm strength (he sits about 90) and command are still pretty good for an 18-year-old. Leon was 17 all year and carved the DSL with a data-friendly fastball/slurve combo. Paulino is a converted outfielder who had two consecutive seasons of velo growth after moving to the mound, but that plateaued in 2021 and it looks like the cement on his heater is going to dry in the 92-93 range, definitely below the current relief pitcher standard. Spot Start Types Adrian Hernandez, RHP Michael Dominguez, RHP Jeremy Beasley, RHP Eric Pardinho, RHP Hernandez is a squat righty with a dandy changeup and a 30-grade fastball, sitting about 90-91. He reached Double-A as a 21-year-old throwing changeups 50% of the time, and could end up like César Valdez, but it’s more likely he’s spot-starting depth given this org’s present needs. Dominguez, also 21, missed a bunch of the year and got Fall League Reps, sitting 90-94 with an average slider and below-average change. Beasley reached the upper levels with Anaheim and had a cup of coffee with Arizona, then came to Toronto and had a four-tick velo spike out of the bullpen, while also reshaping his pitch usage to more heavily feature his slider. Pardinho is a cautionary tale about projectionless amateur prospects, as he’s barely thrown at all since 2018 for a variety of reasons, mostly injury-related. Bench Types Josh Palacios, RF Damiano Palmegiani, 2B Vinny Capra, UTIL Luis De Los Santos, SS Dasan Brown, CF Cullen Large, UTIL We like Palacios’ competitiveness and on-field makeup enough to consider him a luxury upper-level org player, but guys who play the role his skill set allows for and do so consistently on a big league roster tend to be better center field defenders than he is. Palmegiani is a Canadian prospect who was drafted out of the College of Southern Nevada. He has some pop and plays all over, but isn’t a good defender anywhere. Capra and Large have been solid on-paper performers into the upper levels and have bench ceilings. De Los Santos and Brown are toolsier but raw. System Overview The José Berríos trade cost the Blue Jays two of their top prospects in Simeon Woods Richardson and Austin Martin. That’s a good use of resources, even if it does knock the Jays down a few pegs on our overall farm system rankings. As is, there’s still plenty of potential star power: Moreno has a case as the game’s best catching prospect outside of Adley Rutschman, Orelvis Martinez has big-league explosiveness, and Hoglund was arguably the draft’s most tantalizing pitching prospect before his elbow barked. If it seems like there’s a big gap between fifth and sixth on this list, you’re on to something. The next tier down is loaded with volatile players and this section could look quite different next season. Big years from Tiedemann and Robberse wouldn’t be a huge surprise; on the flip side, some of the more established pitchers in their orbit have significant red flags and could slide back if they don’t throw more strikes (Van Eyck), and the same is true if the hitters don’t hit (Jimenez and the teenagers). Don’t get too attached to the ordering we have here. The back half of our list is chalk-full of high-minors relievers and up-the-middle reserves. That’s a luxury for a contender, and the assembled depth should go a long way toward ameliorating the short-term injury woes that inevitably strike every club at some point. There are also enough guys with either interesting data points or a scout who likes them that you’d think at least one of our 40 FV or lower types will break out in 2022.