Toronto Blue Jays Top 41 Prospects

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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 third 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. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Blue Jays Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Ricky Tiedemann 20.6 AA SP 2024 55
2 Addison Barger 23.3 AAA 2B 2023 50
3 Brandon Barriera 19.0 R SP 2027 45+
4 Leo Jimenez 21.8 A+ SS 2023 45
5 Josh Kasevich 22.2 A 3B 2027 45
6 Sem Robberse 21.4 AA SP 2024 45
7 Adam Macko 22.2 A+ MIRP 2024 45
8 Yosver Zulueta 25.1 AAA SIRP 2023 45
9 Otto Lopez 24.5 MLB CF 2023 45
10 Orelvis Martinez 21.3 AA 3B 2023 45
11 Enmanuel Bonilla 17.1 R RF 2029 40+
12 Dahian Santos 20.1 A+ SP 2024 40+
13 Tucker Toman 19.3 R 2B 2028 40+
14 Gabriel Martinez 21.6 A+ RF 2025 40+
15 CJ Van Eyk 24.5 A+ SP 2023 40+
16 Bowden Francis 26.9 MLB SP 2023 40
17 Hayden Juenger 22.6 AAA SIRP 2025 40
18 Hagen Danner 24.5 AA SIRP 2023 40
19 Nathan Lukes 28.7 AAA CF 2023 40
20 Adrian Pinto 20.5 A CF 2025 40
21 Alejandro Melean 22.4 AA SP 2024 40
22 Dasan Brown 21.5 A+ CF 2024 40
23 Alex De Jesus 21.0 A+ 3B 2024 40
24 Cade Doughty 22.0 A 3B 2027 40
25 Irv Carter 20.4 A SP 2026 40
26 Yondrei Rojas 20.3 A SP 2026 40
27 Spencer Horwitz 25.3 AAA 1B 2023 35+
28 Tanner Morris 25.5 AAA LF 2023 35+
29 Alan Roden 23.2 A RF 2027 35+
30 Manuel Beltre 18.8 A SS 2025 35+
31 Roque Salinas 20.4 A RF 2027 35+
32 Connor Cooke 23.4 A+ SP 2026 35+
33 Estiven Machado 20.4 A SS 2024 35+
34 Damiano Palmegiani 23.1 A+ 2B 2026 35+
35 Jackson Rees 28.6 AAA SIRP 2023 35+
36 T.J. Brock 23.6 A+ SIRP 2026 35+
37 Ryan Jennings 23.7 A SIRP 2026 35+
38 Luis Meza 18.5 A+ C 2027 35+
39 Luis Quinones 25.7 AA SIRP 2024 35+
40 Lazaro Estrada 23.9 A+ SP 2025 35+
41 Joey Murray 26.5 AA MIRP 2023 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Golden West College (TOR)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 60/60 50/60 35/50 94-95 / 98

Tiedemann was passed over as a SoCal high school hurler in the 2020 draft due in part to an ill-timed injury. He spent a year at a JUCO, where he was good but not totally dominant, to the consternation and befuddlement of some scouts. But his stuff, body projection and age (even after a year of JUCO ball, he was still just 18 when he was drafted in 2021), were enough for Toronto to pick him up in the third round. Opinions on Tiedemann vary depending on how much stock is put in his early professional performance: He sat 96 mph at instructs in 2021, but skeptics questioned whether that was a short-term effect of him airing things out in short stints, or if receiving higher-quality development and instruction than he got in his amateur environment had actually unlocked something. It appears the latter is true.

Tiedemann has shifted toward the first base side of the rubber and has closed off his stride direction slightly, which creates additional deception in his already-funky low-slot lefty delivery. The funk-factor made up for a slight dip in velocity; the heater sat in the 94-95 range, but he still managed whiff and chase rates well above average on the offering as he made his way from Low- to Double-A in his first year of pro ball. He throws two plus secondaries — a mid-80s changeup and a low-80s slider, each with good movement and high whiff-rates — and he’s shown the ability to locate each of his offerings, boasting strikeout rates over 34% at all three minor league levels. Sometimes the length of his slider is so ridiculous that it’s actually tough for him to control. He has three potential plus pitches and front-end upside.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from C. Leon King HS (FL) (TOR)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 60/60 50/60 40/40 40/40 45

The Blue Jays coaxed Barger away from a Florida commitment with $270,000, and he barely played during his first two full seasons, one of them lost to the pandemic. Toronto didn’t accelerate his promotion schedule to make up for the lost time, so he began 2021 back at Low-A as a 21-year-old and (mostly) flew under the FanGraphs prospect radar as an old-for-the-level player until 2022, when Barger hammered High- and Double-A pitching as a 22-year-old. He hit 26 homers and 33 doubles and posted a 148 wRC+ at Vancouver and New Hampshire before he was promoted to Triple-A Buffalo at the very end of the year. Barger then went to the Arizona Fall League, where his left-handed bat speed stood out among lots of other good hitting prospects. His swing is a spectacle, lots of fun when he’s on time and frustrating when he’s late, utilizing a narrow, open stance and a huge leg kick. Barger can really cut it loose and is a threat to do damage on every swing. Though he’s been playing a lot of shortstop, he isn’t a fit there and his hands and actions are below average. He’s okay at second and third base, but the Blue Jays’ infield is already pretty loaded, so he’s likely to see time in the outfield this year. Ideally he’ll play a few different positions based on the game situation. We think there will be enough power for Barger to produce like an average regular in a multi-positional role.

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from American Heritage HS (FL) (TOR)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 55/60 45/50 40/55 20/50 93-96 / 98

Barriera, who did not throw in pro ball after the Jays gave him just shy of $3.6 million in the first round of the 2022 draft, looks like a slightly shorter Ricky Tiedemann at the same age. He’s a low three-quarters lefty with a perfect pitcher’s frame, the physical projection that comes along with it, and a slider that features so much length that Barriera can’t control it at times. He will typically sit 93-96 mph and his feel for location comes and goes, with the pitch often sailing up and to Barriera’s arm side. He has a stiff front side throughout his delivery that looks like it sometimes prevents him from finishing out front and locating his fastball. Some of his sliders are absolutely ridiculous, and Barriera can vary his breaker shape, though again his command of them is pretty loose. He can also create tailing action on a changeup from this slot, though developing his changeup is probably a distant goal, much less important than refining his fastball and breaking ball command. If you’re inclined to bet on those things developing based on his frame, athleticism, and ease of delivery, then Barriera is an impact pitching prospect with a mid-rotation ceiling.

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Panama (TOR)
Age 21.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 35/40 30/40 50/50 45/50 55

If you recall, Jimenez had a cartoonish 2021 during which he hit .320/.523/.392 while walking nearly twice as often as he struck out. This sample was limited to just 59 games due to a dislocated shoulder, but his peripherals were still incredible, and Jimenez had a strong Arizona Fall League after the regular season. His 2022 was more average on the surface, as he slashed .230/.340/.385 as a 21-year-old at High-A, again during an injury-shortened year (right hand contusion). Look under the hood and Jimenez still has plus bat-to-ball skills. His 84% in-zone contact rate is about the big league average, but his 81% overall contact rate is plus. He’s still very good at getting on top of fastballs despite his swing’s big leg kick and his slight bat wrap. Jimenez doesn’t have a ton of power but he does make a lot of sweet spot contact, and there’s a chance his power uptick from 2022 continues. He struggled on defense during 2023 spring training, but all of our notes from the past have him evaluated as a viable defensive shortstop with rare contact skill for that position. He’s at least going to be a good utilityman and has a puncher’s chance to be an everyday shortstop if the power keeps coming.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Oregon (TOR)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/70 40/40 30/35 40/40 35/55 45

Kasevich had one of the lowest strikeout rates in all of Division-I baseball in 2022 at a miniscule 5.6% and is a very good bet to hit for a high average in pro ball. His swing is balanced, compact, and well-timed, it’s geared to get on top of high fastballs, and it results in a ton of low-lying line drive contact. Almost impossible to beat in the strike zone, Kasevich had a 95% in-zone contact rate at Oregon in 2022. Barring a change to his approach, Kasevich is going to be a contact-over-power hitter in the extreme.

His best chance to be an everyday player is to hit a ton and stay at shortstop, which he played at Oregon. Kasevich’s ball skills, actions, and overall feel for the position are very good, and he makes his fair share of slick plays around the second base bag, but he doesn’t have slam dunk shortstop range or arm strength. Best when he’s moving from right to left while fielding and throwing, third base might be his best fit in pro ball because he can be positioned such that he can do this regularly. The Blue Jays played him at a mix of shortstop and third after the draft. He projects as a right-handed version of Joey Wendle.

6. Sem Robberse, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Netherlands (TOR)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 50/55 50/55 35/60 91-94 / 95

Robberse spent most of 2022 at High-A before a mid-August promotion to Double-A, where he closed out the season. Across those two levels, he struck out 21% of opposing hitters with a 7.4% walk rate. He throws from a three-quarters slot with a long arm action, but he repeats the delivery very well, throwing each pitch of his three-pitch arsenal from identical release points. His fastball only sat around 91 mph in 2022; during the spring of 2023, it’s been more 92-94, albeit in shorter outings. He’s still only 21, and even though he’s slight of build, it’s plausible this early 2023 velo bump will sustain just through physical maturation. Even though it has 30-grade velocity, Robberse’s fastball plays better than that. Big extension and spin creates ride that helps it play up. Robberse also commands the heater to where it plays best, and it appears to tunnel well with both his slider and his changeup. He has limited fastball utility because the pitch is pretty vulnerable in the zone, but Robberse’s advanced feel for his mid-80s slider helps remedy that. His 38% usage of that slider is just slightly behind that of his fastball, and Robberse tends to lean on it when he needs a strike. Robberse’s changeup trails behind them (he threw it just 14% of the time) and is deployed almost exclusively against lefties. However, it’s arguably his nastiest pitch — it tails and dives away from lefties with uncommon depth for how hard it is. Both secondaries garnered chase rates above 40% last season, and while Robberse’s combined strikeout rate is unimpressive, he induced a groundball rate around 48%. He is a high-probability no. 4/5 starter on a contender, and his command makes him feel like a relatively stable prospect even though he’s a young pitcher. Robberse is likely to be added to the Blue Jays 40-man roster after the 2023 season.

7. Adam Macko, MIRP

Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from Vauxhall HS (AB) (SEA)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/55 55/60 55/60 30/40 93-94 / 96

Macko is a Slovakia-born, Alberta-raised lefty who came to the Blue Jays from the Mariners in the offseason’s Teoscar Hernández trade. Drafted in 2019, Macko has dealt with injuries, working no more than 38 innings during any regular season since entering pro ball. He has also struggled with walks, posting a 4.5 BB/9 or worse at every stop. He does, however, have tantalizing and unique stuff, and one can reasonably hope the walks will iron out as Macko accrues pro innings. After dealing with knee and elbow issues during the summer, Macko’s stuff looked great in the 2022 Arizona Fall League, where he routinely sat 93-94 mph and touched 96.

He tends to pitch backwards off his two breaking balls — a slow, low-70s lollipop curveball and a mid-80s slider — and then run his fastball up the ladder to finish hitters. His little T-Rex arms naturally contribute to the uphill angle of Macko’s heater, which helps it ride past hitters at the top of the zone. No highway cop is pulling over Macko’s curveball, which lollipops in at 67-70 mph. It’s easy to identify out of Macko’s hand because of its speed and big, loopy shape, but it has so much depth that it’s still really hard to hit. At the very least, it will play as a strike-stealing pitch in the big leagues, and it has a chance to be a bat-misser, too. When his slider command is on, that pitch is plus, in the 80-84 mph range, biting late with 2-to-7 movement (from the POV of the scouting section). Depending on the outing, Macko will either show you a ton of changeups or very few (at least that’s how he went about things in the AFL). Macko’s low-spinning, low-80s cambio also flashes plus, and is his best chase-inducing pitch right now. Macko’s wildness and repertoire depth make him very unpredictable for hitters, sufficiently so that he has the stuff to be a good starter as long as he becomes a more efficient strike-thrower. For a young prospect who hasn’t pitched a ton of actual games, Macko’s secondary pitch quality and supply is very impressive. He showed a pretty even pitch mix throughout the 2022 regular season — 50% fastballs, 22% sliders, 15% curves and changeups — all of which generated above-average whiff rates.

Macko projects as a strikeout-heavy, five-and-dive starter, a light beer version of Blake Snell, who digs himself out of the holes created by his command. The 2023 season is Macko’s 40-man evaluation year and he’s tracking like a must-add for the Jays. He has a narrower-than-usual window to build a starter’s foundation of innings as his options bleed away. Assuming a 20-inning annual increase, he’s on pace to work 90 innings during his first year on the 40-man, which could mean Macko establishes himself as a big leaguer in a swingman role before moving into a rotation spot later on.

8. Yosver Zulueta, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (TOR)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 50/55 45/50 35/40 96-98 / 100

The Blue Jays used international pool space they acquired in the trades of Kendrys Morales and Dwight Smith to sign Zulueta just before the 2018-19 signing period ended in June of 2019. They did so knowing he’d need Tommy John, which he had shortly after signing. Finally back in the fall of 2020, Zulueta was topping out in the 94-96 mph range at Toronto’s facilities in Florida, then threw even harder in the spring of 2021, when he sat 96-99 as a non-roster invitee with the big club. He made it all of three pitches into his first start before he tore a ligament in his knee, needed surgery, and missed the remainder of the season. The 2022 season was Zulueta’s 40-man evaluation year and the Blue Jays pushed him very aggressively up the minor league ladder (as a starter) such that he made starts at each full-season minor league level, ending with three outings at Triple-A in September. Toronto saw enough from Zulueta to put him on their 40-man roster in the offseason, making him likely to debut at some point in 2023.

Zulueta’s mechanical look is much more typical of a reliever than a starter, but he does have four pitches, with his upper-90s fastball and mid-80s slider comprising about 75% of his usage in 2022. Zulueta’s strike-throwing rates (63% with his fastball, 65% with his slider) aren’t all that bad, and his mechanics aren’t especially violent (at worst, it’s a PG-13 delivery). Instead it’s his delivery’s stiff, deliberate nature and general lack of fluidity that makes him look reliever-y. If the line the Blue Jays took with Nate Pearson is any indication, they will try as hard as they can to make Zulueta into a long-term starter, and even though you can make a case for projecting him as one on paper, the look of his delivery, his injury history, and the lack of innings foundation he has as a result is enough for us to forecast him in relief.

Zulueta will probably be a very good reliever, though. All four of his pitches have plus action, his mid-80s slider played like a plus-plus pitch in 2022 (against mostly lower minors hitters, remember), and he’s sitting 96-98 as a starter, so he might have an elite heater if he’s airing it out one inning at a time. Here he’s projected as a contender’s set-up man, though because the Jays need optionable starters and there are others in the org ahead of him in the “Bullpen This Guy Already” queue (namely, Pearson), it will probably be a year or two before they entertain a full-time move.

9. Otto Lopez, CF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 24.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 30/30 20/30 60/60 45/50 40

Lopez, Team Canada’s shortstop in the World Baseball Classic (he’s a dual Dominican/Canadian citizen whose family moved to Montreal when he was 12), entered 2023 spring training in the mix for one of Toronto’s last Opening Day roster spots. Lopez has played all over the diamond during his pro career, be it stateside or in the Dominican Winter League. His arm strength keeps him from truly profiling at shortstop, but his range and instincts are sufficient to play both second base and center field. The Blue Jays beefed up their center field depth ahead of Lopez in the form of Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho, so what had recently looked like a viable path to a roster spot for him is currently occupied by those two and Santiago Espinal. He’s a long-term fit as a very versatile utilityman with a plus hit tool and basically no power. In 91 games at Triple-A in 2022, he slashed .297/.378/.415 with 10.5% walks and just 15.6% strikeouts before he got a big league cup of coffee at the end of the year. Lopez tends to poke soft contact the other way, wearing out shallow right field. He’s especially difficult to beat with fastballs and puts enough balls in play to be a semi-regular big leaguer at several positions.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/60 35/60 45/40 30/45 55

Martinez’s 2021 performance had jaws wagging about his potential as a power-hitting third baseman. He annihilated Low-A, then held his own at High-A, posting a league-average slash line despite a sub-.200 BABIP, all while he was roughly three years younger than the average player at that level. His Double-A performance in 2022 was extremely weird. He hit 30 bombs but slashed .203/.286/.446, and with an OBP like that dragging him down, he was only good for a 96 wRC+.

The more advanced pitching Martinez faced in the Eastern League exposed the holes in his aggressive approach. Martinez has long had chase tendencies and difficulty picking up breaking balls, and more refined pitchers seem to be taking advantage. His swing rate in 2022 was extremely high — in fact, it would qualify him as one of the 15 most aggressive qualified big leaguers last season. These factors contributed to his strikeout rate at Double-A ballooning to 28.5% to go along with dips across his slash line. Despite these approach issues, however, Martinez did manage to set a home run record for Double-A New Hampshire. Thirty bombs is 30 bombs. His exit velocities (both average and peak) and barrel rate are on par with the averages for big league shortstops, and are plus for a hitter his age.

The odds of Orelvis playing shortstop at the big-league level are low in part because of the Blue Jays’ needs, but even if he was with a different org, a defensive reorientation would likely be in order. His range is fringy at short, and Martinez has spent a good amount of time at third base, where he’s more viable. That said, while his arm strength is obvious, the slingy side-arm he throws from is a weird look at third. Now on the Jays’ 40-man, Orelvis should still be considered a very volatile prospect who needs some upper-level seasoning to sort out some of his strikeout woes. We had internal disagreement about this player, with one of us considering Martinez’s upside big enough to value him here and the other thinking he’s tracking like a Maikel Franco sequel who should be a tier or two below this.

40+ FV Prospects

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 17.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 50/65 25/55 55/50 20/45 55

Signed for just over $4 million in January, Bonilla was among the best prospects in the class. Burly and strong, he already has rare power for a prospect his age, and it is weaponized by very advanced feel to hit. An international scout source with awareness of its gravity put a Manny Ramirez swing comp on Bonilla. There’s a chance his frame gets to a LF/DH area because he’s already so physical, but Bonilla has the potential to be middle-of-the-order force.

12. Dahian Santos, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 20.1 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 is built like an athletic middle infielder, but while his physique is small, it’s very projectible. He spent most of 2022 at Low-A, initially called upon for multi-inning relief before transitioning into a starter role in mid-May. His strikeout rate with Dunedin was just shy of the 40% mark, with 120 Ks in 73 innings. His sweeping, horizontal mid-80s slider is his standout pitch, averaging roughly 2,700 rpm and inducing an absurd 57% whiff rate in 2022. He throws it 43% of the time, which is almost as often as he throws his fastball (clearly a trend in this org), with the two pitches combining to make up over 90% of his offerings. Santos’ mid-80s changeup rounds out his arsenal. His fastball tops out around 93 mph, but he gets ride and run on it, and it’s a weird look coming out of his side-arm, uphill delivery. His annihilation of Low-A earned the then-19-year-old a late-season promotion to Vancouver; his strikeout rate stayed in the mid-30s at that level, but his WHIP increased by almost a full point from 1.12 to 2.05. His command is his biggest hurdle, with the strike percentage on both of his secondaries falling below 60% and most of his swing-and-miss coming inside the zone. If that improves, and he’s able to pack some muscle onto his frame and add some heat to the heater, he could find his way to the back of the starting rotation, with a solid middle-inning relief role as a fallback.

13. Tucker Toman, 2B

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Hammond HS (SC) (TOR)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 187 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 25/55 50/50 30/40 40

Toman was Toronto’s fourth pick in the 2022 draft (he went 77th overall) but got the second-highest bonus at a cool $2 million, which kept him from joining the star-studded party at LSU. Toman has huge, switch-hitting bat speed, though more from the left side than the right. He had a rough stretch during the middle of his showcase summer, then righted the ship in Jupiter in the fall. His contact-to-whiff ratios from showcase play are fine across a large sample, but a lot of his swings and misses are dramatic ones, nowhere close to the baseball. That said, a similar issue was part of why Bo Bichette fell out of the first round of his draft. We are bearish about Toman’s defense. He has 40 defensive hands and actions, but is workable at second base and should at least start there in pro ball, with left field as the fallback. There’s big variance here, but it’s rare to find switch-hitting infielders with this kind of present power, so Toman’s ceiling is pretty big. If he ends up hitting, he’ll be similar to young Yankees stud Oswaldo Cabrera.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/50 30/45 45/40 30/50 55

Martinez hit .288/.348/.483 as a teenager at Low-A and got a late-season bump to High-A Vancouver, where he continued to rake. This isn’t universally true, but there seems to be a gap between what data analysts and scouts think about Martinez. His precocious performance, especially from a bat-to-ball standpoint, excites the quants, while his stocky frame and somewhat stiff lower half in the box give some eyeball scouts pause about how much Martinez’s power (which is currently below average — more on that in a sec) will blossom.

Still, even the most pessimistic eyeball scouts know Martinez can hit, and his bat-to-ball skills are the bedrock of his prospecthood. He is short-levered, loose in the hips, has plus barrel control, and sprays contact to all fields. Martinez hit 14 home runs in 99 games in 2022 despite missing a chunk of the season due to a wrist fracture that required surgery. His peak exit velos are low for a teenager who had nearly 40 extra-base hits last year, but that might be due to the wrist fracture. Given his feel to hit and his walk-to-strikeout ratio from the year before, Martinez was surprisingly chase-prone (35% chase rate) in 2022. He’s of stockier build and not projectable in a bodily sense, and he’s unlikely to grow into much more thump despite his age. It’s hard to know how much of his middling 2022 power (both measurable and visually assessed) is due to the wrist or Martinez’s true talent. Especially if he’s going to be chase-prone, it’s imperative that he bring both contact and power to the table, as he’s destined for an outfield corner. That feels like it’s in play, and here we’re interpreting the mediocre present power as having been caused by the injury.

15. CJ Van Eyk, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Florida State (TOR)
Age 24.5 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 92-95 / 97

Van Eyk underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2021, missing the last month of that season and all of 2022. He’ll be back in 2023, and improving his command and the consistency of his stuff from start to start will be developmental keys for him. His four-pitch arsenal has long been enticing, dating back to his Florida State days. When he’s got his fastball working, it sits 92-95 mph and touches 97 with good spin and the kind of rising shape that is all the rage these days; his go-to secondary – a bendy 12-6 curveball – pairs nicely with the heater. As of the end of his 2021 season, his changeup and slider were both works in progress, but his future role relies much more heavily on his command improving when he returns to the mound. If he proves capable of carrying consistent command across consecutive starts, he could still be a fit at the back of a big league rotation, but there’s a long road to get there.

40 FV Prospects

16. Bowden Francis, SP

Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Chipola JC (FL) (MIL)
Age 26.9 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

Part of the return for Rowdy Tellez, Francis is a big-league ready righty with a sturdy, towering frame and an arm that has already proven capable of withstanding a huge workload. He threw 99 innings during the 2022 season, including two-thirds of a big league frame, then another 35.2 in the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he struck out 47 batters, walked just nine and posted a 0.78 WHIP. While his Triple-A strikeout rate wasn’t quite as impressive, he’s a consistent strike-thrower, and even though his fastball sits in the 90 mph range, it has a good shape with ride, and has been an effective bat-misser at the top of the zone and just above it. Despite lacking a real headliner for his three-pitch arsenal, his command and feel are such that he still looks like a high-probability fifth starter.

17. Hayden Juenger, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Missouri State (TOR)
Age 22.6 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 throws from a low, right-handed arm slot and stands just six feet tall, which means the angle from which he releases the ball is quite unusual and keeps batters uncomfortable in the box as they try to pick it up. In 2022, he reached Triple-A as a 22-year-old, continuing his journey along Toronto’s fast track. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with ride and run, a shape incongruous with the uphill angle created by his arm slot, allowing it to play up. He throws the heater 65% of the time, with the remainder of his 2022 offerings evenly split between his slider and changeup (each accounted for about 18% of his pitches). While this pitch mix is somewhat typical, with Juenger tending to favor the slider against righties and the changeup against lefties, the specific ways in which he’s varied their respective usages as he’s moved through the Jays’ system is more noteworthy. He began the 2022 season at Double-A, where he was primarily used as a starter. At that level, he threw his changeup 21.4% of the time against lefties and 8% against righties. When he moved up to Triple-A, however, his overall changeup usage shot up from 15% to 26%, with its deployment against lefties above 35% and its use against righties nearly doubling to 15%. The cambio has good movement, both vertically and to Juenger’s arm side, and it garnered a 40% whiff rate at Triple-A with a 31% chase rate. His mid-80s, cutter-like slider is more average in those terms, as the changeup emerged as his more formidable secondary in 2022. Juenger made 20 appearances at Double-A, all but three of which were starts, though none lasted longer than four innings. At Triple-A, he was used primarily out of the bullpen (only two of his 18 games there were starts), which is a likely indication of where the org sees him fitting long-term.

18. Hagen Danner, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Huntington Beach HS (CA) (TOR)
Age 24.5 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 97-98 / 99

A two-way amateur prospect, Danner was originally developed as a catcher, but as injuries and strikeouts mounted, he returned to the mound in 2019, throwing his fastball in the 95-97 mph range and pairing it with a power slider. After the lost 2020 season, Danner threw 35.2 innings in 2021 at High-A, where opposing hitters posted just a .164 batting average against him and struck out at a nearly 30% clip. He started the 2022 season at Double-A and got off to a rough start, allowing three walks and five hits while issuing just one strikeout over four appearances (3.2 IP). He injured his UCL during the last of those four games, and while it did not require surgery, it did cause him to miss the remainder of the season. He returned in the AFL, where he pitched 7.2 innings, allowing five hits and one walk while fanning eight. He’s made a couple of spring training appearances and his fastball velocity has been significantly higher over the limited sample, now sitting 97-98. He has located it well and gotten whiffs on it throughout the zone thanks largely to its late life, especially with the added velocity. Most of the contact he’s allowed has been soft; in his two spring appearances (2.1 IP), he’s allowed just one hit, and even that was a weakly-hit hustle-double to shallow right field. That bloop came off the only curveball Danner has thrown so far, preferring the shapely slider that he’s used to freeze batters (six of the 11 sliders he has thrown this spring have been called strikes). All in all, his command of his slider and his recent velocity bump further emphasize his fit as a single-inning reliever, one who is likely to find his way into the Toronto bullpen in 2023.

19. Nathan Lukes, CF

Drafted: 7th Round, 2015 from Sacramento State (CLE)
Age 28.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 40/40 40/40 50/50 45/45 50

The Jays added 28-year-old outfielder Lukes to their 40-man well before the winter deadline because, at the time, they were in desperate need of both left-handed hitters and anyone who could play center field. Since then they’ve added Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier, so Lukes (which the SNET broadcasters have pronounced like “Lucas”) is likely to be injury depth for now, but his long-term projection is that of a well-rounded fifth outfielder.

Lukes signed a minor league deal with Toronto prior to the 2022 season and had a bit of a power breakout in his third year at Triple-A, setting career highs in homers (11), walk rate (9.7%), and steals (20), all by comfortable margins relative to his career norms. There isn’t anything about Lukes’ batted ball data to suggest he made changes that led to this uptick, nor is there anything in the visual evaluation of his swing compared to 2021. Even if the power uptick isn’t necessarily real, Lukes does have lovely feel for contact. He’s tough to make swing and miss (83% Z-Contact% in 2022, 80% overall contact%), and he’s adept at letting pitches on the outer third travel deep into the hitting zone before he swats them down the third base line for doubles. While he isn’t a true burner, Lukes is a passable center field defender. He’ll likely be up enough in 2023 to graduate.

20. Adrian Pinto, CF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 20.5 Height 5′ 6″ Weight 156 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 30/40 20/30 55/55 30/50 50

The compact little Pinto had a huge 2021 DSL statline (.360/.486/.543) but didn’t come stateside for instructs with the Rockies, and instead was quickly scouted on the 2022 spring backfields before Colorado traded him to Toronto as part of the Randal Grichuk deal. Pinto has several catalytic qualities (plus speed and bat-to-ball ability) while projecting as an up-the-middle defensive fit, though exactly what position is unclear. He’s played all three non-catcher up-the-middle positions as a pro. Pinto’s arm strength isn’t a great fit at shortstop, but he could be a good second baseman. He also has the speed to play center field but simply hasn’t had a ton of reps there. Because of Pinto’s size, he lacks traditional power projection. His hit tool and defensive ability will have to carry the entire load if he’s going to be a regular in the old school leadoff man mold, but his early-career bat-to-ball performance indicates he has a shot. It’s more likely that he just passed the A-ball exit on the Otto Lopez highway en route to a 2B/CF utility role.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/50 60/60 50/55 92-94 / 96

Pitchers who throw a ton of strikes and have plus changeups tend to find their way into the back of a big league rotation, even if it’s just in the Tommy Milone Taxi Squad role. That describes Melean, who has a ridiculous downward drop and tail. Melean uses it to garner whiffs from hitters of both handednesses and it’s easily a plus offering, and maybe better than that. His fastball and slider are more average, but his fastball command (he threw strikes at a 70% clip with his heater in 2022) enables Melean to set his slider up on the outer edge. He’s a high-probability backend starter.

22. Dasan Brown, CF

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Abbey Park HS (CAN) (TOR)
Age 21.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 40/45 30/40 80/80 45/70 50

Brown has been barbecuing in the bottom half of the minors since he was drafted in 2019 because he entered pro ball as one of the more undercooked high school prospects in that class. He probably won’t hit very much in the big leagues, but Brown’s speed and defensive ability in center field should enable him to play a reserve outfield role. He actually had a strong 2022 season with the bat, generating a 130 wRC+ at both Low- and High-A despite struggling with punchouts (28% K%) because Brown has grown into some power. He’s a fantastic rotational athlete (his swing shares similarities with Jeremy Peña’s) but likely won’t hit enough to get to his power with regularity in the majors. His speed and defense are so impactful that Brown is still very likely to play a situational big league role for a long time.

23. Alex De Jesus, 3B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAD)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 55/60 35/55 40/40 35/55 60

A sweetener balancing the trade that sent Mitch White to Toronto, De Jesus performed very well before the deal (despite lots of strikeouts) and not so well after it. At a mix of Low- and High-A (the Low-A portion was De Jesus repeating the Cal League), he hit a combined .263/.370.433 with a 30% K%. Just shy of turning 21 as of list publication, De Jesus already has above-average raw power and will likely have at least plus raw at maturity. He derives it mostly from his physicality; his swing isn’t elaborate or effortful in order to create power. Once body-comp’d to Manny Machado, De Jesus is already bigger than Manny. Even though he continues to take many reps at shortstop, at this size and age, De Jesus is very likely to be a third base-only defender by the time his bat is ready for the big leagues, and he might play a corner infield combo over time. That means it’s now extremely important that he manage the swing-and-miss issues that have been a problem for stretches of his career. He doesn’t chase all that much, with most of his swinging and missing instead done in the strike zone. One can envision him playing a role in the Bobby Dalbec/Matt Davidson mold, an extreme power-over-hit corner bat who can give you 30 annual homers if you’re willing to live with all the strikeouts. The plate discipline De Jesus has now shown throughout his career reinforces that he’ll have the overall offensive output to play a role like that.

24. Cade Doughty, 3B

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from LSU (TOR)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 30/50 45/45 30/40 40

A power-hitting infielder without an obvious defensive home, Doughty was a solid college performer at LSU (.301/.379/.541) who ranked 48th on the 2022 draft board and signed for a little over $800,000 in the second round. Doughty played a mix of second, third and short at LSU, but his hands and arm accuracy need to improve if he’s going to be a big league infielder. The Blue Jays ran him out as a second and third baseman, but an eventual move to an outfield corner is in play here. Especially adept at getting on top of high fastballs, Doughty has a well-rounded contact/power blend, though his over-the-fence power is limited to his pull side. It’s enough offense to fit neatly as a versatile part-time player so long as Doughty ends up capable of playing at least one infield position.

25. Irv Carter, SP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Calvary Christian HS (TOR)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 50/55 45/55 25/55 91-93 / 95

Carter got an over-slot $850,000 in 2021 and spent most of 2022 on the complex before pitching in the Florida State League for the final month of the season. He threw plenty of strikes and dominated rookie ball, but his ability to miss bats regressed during his short stay at Low-A. He sits 91-95 mph and has a vertical arm slot that imparts backspin on the baseball, 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 there. Carter’s shown aptitude for turning over a changeup and he has pretty consistent glove-side feel for his slider. He projects to have starter-caliber command and both of his secondary pitches project to be above-average, but it’s probably going to be important for Carter to develop more velocity so his fastball isn’t so vulnerable in the zone. With his current heater (it’s been in this low-90s range for a couple years now), he projects more as a backend guy who’s still a few years away.

26. Yondrei Rojas, SP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 20.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 40/50 40/55 30/50 93-94 / 96

Rojas has a low-slot, drop-and-drive delivery that features huge hip and shoulder separation as he explodes toward the plate. He is one of the harder throwers in this system already, averaging 93-94 mph and touching 96 toward the end of the 2022 season with Dunedin. Rojas is currently able to create two-plane movement on a spike breaking ball, but it’s tough for him to create depth on it from his arm slot. His changeup has natural tailing action but it’s inconsistent. These are the things he’ll need to improve in order to profile as a starter, but lots of other components (athleticism, velocity, strikes, diverse fastball utility) are already in place.

35+ FV Prospects

27. Spencer Horwitz, 1B

Drafted: 24th Round, 2019 from Radford (TOR)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 45/45 45/50 40/40 40/40 45

Horwitz has hit his way to the upper levels of the minors while playing a combination of first base and left field, though neither especially well. He has a compact lefty stroke and a great idea of the strike zone, enabling a well-rounded hit and power combination. He only has 45-grade raw power, but his approach helps his game power play a little bit above that. It isn’t enough to project Horwitz into an incredibly significant big league role, but he’s certainly hitting like an above-replacement player capable of playing a bench bat role.

28. Tanner Morris, LF

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Virginia (TOR)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 40/40 30/30 40/40 30/30 30

Morris has demonstrated an ability to put the bat on the baseball for nearly a decade now, and he continued to do so at a mix of Double- and Triple-A in 2022 amid multiple IL stints. He has also never really had a true position, and for several years, while he was projected as a left fielder here at FanGraphs, the Blue Jays kept running him out at every infield position except for first base. Finally in the 2022 Fall League, Morris played some left field. Players at the very bottom of the defensive spectrum like Morris tend to need power to play a consistent major league role, but Morris’ feel for contact is so exceptional that he might find a way to break through even though he has below-average pop.

29. Alan Roden, RF

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2022 from Creighton (TOR)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/40 30/40 40/40 30/50 55

To say that Roden posted video game numbers at Creighton is insufficient. They’re video game numbers if Billy Mitchell decided to dedicate his life to “playing” The Show rather than Donkey Kong. Roden hit .383/.484/.640 in two seasons with those Bluejays before joining these Blue Jays as a third round pick in 2022. He did not, however, hit many home runs, totalling just 13 in 91 career games. As a squat-framed corner outfielder (and not a particularly good one), he’ll need to produce more power in pro ball to profile unless you think he’s the second coming of Kyle Manzardo. That feels in play because of how much contact Roden makes and the quality of that contact, which is strong even if he didn’t hit double digit homers in any college season. He rotates with enough verve and explosion that you could see it translating to power (even though Roden is already 23 and not very projectable), and his short levers add to confidence that he’s going to hit in pro ball. He has played first base and all three outfield spots, fitting best in right because of his arm. A big time college performer with premium bat-to-ball ability, Roden is a very FanGraphsy sleeper towards the bottom of this system.

30. Manuel Beltre, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 18.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 30/35 20/30 55/55 45/50 50

Because he 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. In two pro seasons, he’s now slashed .238/.374/.342 in rookie ball. Among the most driven, baseball-loving youngsters in the minors, Beltre has worked to become more muscular, but he’s still not especially physical. It’s hard to envision him adding meaningful raw power, and 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.

31. Roque Salinas, RF

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Mexico (TOR)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 7″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 30/40 30/40 50/50 30/50 45

A 5-foot-7 firecracker and bat-to-ball prodigy, Salinas has perhaps the best feel for contact in the entire Toronto system, but he’s also among the most aggressive and chase-prone hitters in pro baseball. Born in Nuevo Laredo on the Texas border, Salinas began playing pro ball in Mexico when he was 18. He participated in a Mexican prospect league in 2020, then played for Guadalajara, Los Mochis and Mexico’s U-23 WBSC team in 2021 before he signed with the Blue Jays in January of last year. Salinas then struck out in just 11% of his 2022 plate appearances with Dunedin and slashed .277/.313/.372 overall as a 19-year-old. He is an extremely aggressive hitter, offering at 60% of pitches and walking just 2.3% of the time. A twitchy and explosive rotational athlete, Salinas has impressive power for a hitter his size (the phrase “short, but not small” doesn’t apply here yet, but at maturity it probably will), but it’s well below average power on the big league scale and it plays even worse than that because Salinas’ aggressiveness often causes him to put weaker contact into play. There are some large blemishes on the profile but, boy oh boy, does Salinas have freaky feel for contact. He’s the youngest of the many hit tool-only types in this system.

32. Connor Cooke, SP

Drafted: 10th Round, 2021 from Louisiana-Lafayette (TOR)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 45/50 30/50 92-94 / 97

Cooke experienced a three-tick velocity bump in 2022, striking out lots of hitters as a starter at Low-A before being promoted to Vancouver and moving to the bullpen, where he was reaching back for some 97-mph heat. His fastball averaged just 90 mph in his final year at Lafayette but averaged 92-93 in 2022, climbing all the way until the end of the season. Cooke has a three-pitch mix and throws a ton of strikes, but both his slider and fastball were vulnerable in the zone last year. His drop-and-drive delivery gives his heater a flat angle and thus some margin for error to miss bats in the zone, but it’s important that his arm strength gains not only sustain but continue to develop since Cooke’s fastball movement isn’t all that explosive. His low-80s slider, however, is pretty nasty, and Cooke is also throwing it considerably harder now than he was in college. He throws plenty of strikes with each of his pitches and looks athletic enough to start. The bullpen move is a little confusing because Cooke hadn’t even come close to sniffing his 2021 innings total when the move was made, so it wasn’t about preserving his innings. Either way, he has a blossoming fastball/slider combination and is now on the radar as a medium impact arm of some kind, most likely in middle relief.

33. Estiven Machado, SS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 20/30 20/30 55/55 45/60 60

Machado only played one game in 2021 due to a hamstring injury. In 2022, he hit .263/.342/.345 with Dunedin, striking out at a somewhat concerning 25% clip, though his in-zone contact rate was somehow still very strong at 86%. Machado still isn’t strong enough to swing with real control of the barrel, let alone any sort of power. We’re still bullish about his hit tool projection and think he’ll attain viable big league physicality through physical maturity, and that part of his strikeout-rich 2022 was due to missing two of the last three years because of the pandemic and injury. Machado is a smooth defender with great actions and enough arm strength for the left side of the infield. His glove is going to carry him to the upper levels, with a bench infield role his most likely outcome assuming the hit tool improves like we think it will.

Drafted: null Round, 2021 from Southern Nevada (TOR)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/55 30/50 45/45 30/45 45

Palmegiani was born in Venezuela, raised in Canada, and then played Division-I and junior college baseball in the US. Now he’s a Blue Jay and a member of the Canadian National Team. He split his first full season between Low- and High-A and put up stat lines well above league average at both levels, with low in-zone swing-and-miss and a high hard-hit rate. He’s got a big league body and power, but no clear defensive home as of yet, though he saw time at both third and first in 2022. Drafted as a high-upside bat who needed to develop on defense, Palmegiani is making good on the offensive aspect of his pre-draft report.

35. Jackson Rees, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2018 (TOR)
Age 28.6 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

After missing most 2021 and 2022 recovering from TJ, the latest in a long list of injuries that have plagued him since his amateur days, Rees returned to the mound in mid-September, and after a few games on the complex and at Low-A Dunedin, he was catapulted back up to Triple-A to finish out the season. He was called upon for three outs every few days and finished the season with 16 innings under his belt, during which he doled out 22 strikeouts and six walks. Rees sets up on the extreme first base side of the rubber and has long levers. He also has a deceptive delivery where he hides the ball behind his head, bringing it up while it’s still almost fully extended behind him, and then whips it around at a three-quarter angle that hitters have trouble picking up. A 2023 non-roster invitee, Rees’ velocity was back in the 93-94 range and his mid-80s curveball still has power depth and bite. Assuming he stays healthy, he should be in the Jays’ bullpen sometime this season.

36. T.J. Brock, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Ohio State (TOR)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/60 60/60 30/35 93-96 / 99

A hard-throwing reliever at Ohio State, Brock already throws his slider more often than his fastball so he’ll fit like a glove in this org, where that approach to pitching pervades. He averages 95 mph, will touch 99, and his slider sits 86-88 and has nasty two-plane bite for how hard it is. Stiff and relatively unathletic, Brock’s control and command not only cause him to walk a lot of hitters, but also impacts his ability to miss bats. If he can locate better, then he has solid middle inning stuff. If not, he’s more in this up/down bucket.

37. Ryan Jennings, SIRP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2022 from Louisiana Tech (TOR)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 30/35 94-95 / 99

Jennings has an athletic build with a thick lower half, and pitched eight innings of professional ball after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2022 draft. In that short stint, his two-seamer sat 94-95 mph and touched 96, which was down a tick from the velocity he was pumping that year as a senior at Louisiana Tech, where he touched 99. The velo dip may just be because those minor league innings were coming after he’d already racked up 98 frames in college. His delivery’s pace is deceptive, and his mid-80s slider flashes plus. His command is inconsistent, and he sometimes misses by a mile; his 13 HBP as a senior was among the highest marks in his conference, and more than any other college pitcher selected in the first four rounds. Still, with some refinement, he is a solid relief prospect.

38. Luis Meza, C

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 18.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 45/50 20/45 30/30 40/50 60

Meza got $2 million from the Blue Jays at the start of the 2022 international signing period and had a rough statistical foray into pro ball, slashing just .229/.267/.292 in the DSL. He’s a sturdily-built, glove-first catching prospect with a plus arm and a well-composed swing.

39. Luis Quinones, SIRP

Drafted: 34th Round, 2019 from San Jacinto JC (TX) (TOR)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
30/30 45/50 70/70 40/40 88-92 / 94

Quinones has a mystifying upper-70s splitter that only spins at 800 rpm, practically like a knuckleball. The pitch falls off the table and generates a ton of whiffs. His low-90s fastball is a well-below-average big league pitch, so Quinones has to use his loopy 12-to-6 curveball as a smoke-and-mirrors way to get ahead of hitters before finishing them with his split. Though he has mostly started since signing, this is the sort of operation that only plays in relief since so much of what Quinones is about is trickery and deception that has diminishing returns multiple times through the order.

40. Lazaro Estrada, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (TOR)
Age 23.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
45/45 60/70 30/50 91-94 / 96

Estrada is a spin rate darling, capable of breaking off curveballs that spin at 3,400 rpm. He only sits 91-94 mph and is a compact, nearly 24-year-old who has barely pitched in full-season ball, but he has an athletic drop-and-drive delivery and his ability to spin the baseball means he should be monitored as an older sleeper who hasn’t had a ton of pro reps.

41. Joey Murray, MIRP

Drafted: 8th Round, 2018 from Kent State (TOR)
Age 26.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 50/50 40/45 40/45 88-91 / 93

After having missed all of 2021 with an elbow strain, Murray threw just 20 innings at Double-A last season before being shut down for Tommy John surgery in May and is set to miss the first portion of the 2023 season as well. In those 20 innings of work, his fastball velocity was down, living around 86 mph, as opposed to in its previous high-80s/low-90s habitat. He also struggled to locate his slider, throwing it for a strike just 44% of the time, and both pitches fell short of league average in terms of their swing-and-miss metrics. In his four starts in 2022, there was a significant difference between his results the first time through the order compared to subsequent face-offs: in innings one through three, opponents put up an anemic .146/.327/.268 slash line, but in innings four through six, they slashed .312/.395/.750. The optimism surrounding Murray’s future as a big leaguer requires dialing back to the 2020 alt site and his meteoric rise through the system in 2019. If he can recapture that form, he could still slot into a short relief role.

Other Prospects of Note

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

Very Young Prospects to Monitor
Yeuni Munoz, OF
Jean Joseph, OF
Victor Arias, OF
Edward Duran, C

Munoz, 19, stood out in extended spring training as a very physical outfielder with plus bat speed. He struggled with strikeouts the year before and didn’t really get a chance to show that he had remedied those issues because he barely played complex games due to injury. Joseph, 18, is a very projectable center fielder with a strong bat-to-ball foundation. He was in the DSL in 2022. Arias, 19, was stateside for extended and went back to the DSL to repeat the level, which he crushed. Stocky and wielding plus bat speed, his swing path may not hold up at the upper levels. Duran, 18, came over from Miami to complete the Anthony Bass trade. The compact, athletic catcher also repeated the DSL and performed well from a contact standpoint.

Spot Start Types
Adrian Hernandez, RHP
Michael Dominguez, RHP
Adam Kloffenstein, RHP
Kendry Rojas, LHP

Hernandez is an athletic little righty with an uphill fastball that plays pretty well for a pitch that only travels 90-93 mph. His changeup is his money pitch. Dominguez also has a low-90s uphill fastball and a dynamite secondary in his low-80s slider. Kloffenstein is more of a downhill sinker/slider guy with a vulnerable heater and solid slider/changeup combo. He also has an innings-eater’s build. Rojas is an athletic low-slot lefty with an average slider and changeup, and below-average velo and fastball strikes.

Last Bench Spot Sorts
Vinny Capra, DH
LJ Talley, UTIL
Devonte Brown, OF
Miguel Hiraldo, 3B
Rikelbin De Castro, SS
Luis De Los Santos, SS

Capra and Talley have plus feel for contact. Capra is a righty version of Tanner Morris. Talley, who hits left-handed, plays a mix of first, second, and third. Both are plus bats without a ton of power or much to contribute defensively. Brown is more of a well-rounded extra outfield type. Hiraldo and De Castro were once hyped international prospects who haven’t performed well enough with the bat to make the main section of the list. De Los Santos has gotten stronger and is still a fine middle infielder, but his swing is pretty rough and out of control.

Not Enough Strikes
Julian Fernández, RHP
Ben Baggett, RHP
Jimmy Robbins, LHP
Jimmy Burnette, LHP
Jol Concepcion, RHP
Trent Palmer, RHP
Chad Dallas, RHP

Fernández, now 27, has been toward the bottom of prospect lists for over half a decade as he’s thrown hard for several teams, been Rule 5’d, and is now with the Jays on a minor league deal. He still sits 97-98 mph, so let’s see what happens with the change of scenery. Baggett sits 93-95 and has a knockout breaking ball. Robbins and Burnette are low-slot lefties with good sliders, and both could be lefty specialists. Concepcion is a low-calorie version of Fernández; he sits 94-95. Palmer is a sinkerballer with a good slider and changeup. He had TJ late in 2022. Dallas was supposed to be a slider monster in this org, but he didn’t take a leap in his first full season after being drafted from Tennessee.

Power-Over-Hit Fliers
Rainer Nunez, 1B
Zach Britton, OF
Sebastian Espino, 3B

Nunez is a huge-framed 3B/1B who is almost certain to be first base-only at maturity. He’s kept his K rates under control so far, but his righty-hitting first base profile means he has a high bar to clear. Britton has above-average bat speed but a 40 hit tool. Espino has a 70 frame and a great-looking swing, but he has no feel for the barrel.

System Overview

Toronto’s current status as a contender at the big league level inspired the team to trade away a number of highly-regarded prospects

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1 year ago

I think it’s interesting that there was a disagreement over Orelvis Martinez and where he should go. I think that Orelvis Martinez has a chance to wind up as a regular yet. But something is very weird with his BABIP, and it’s dragging down his OBP. I mean, 28% Ks as a minors prospect isn’t good, but you can usually get over it when it comes with 30 bombs. But 28% K and a .217 BABIP means a whole lot of outs. It reminds me a lot of Ryan Schimpf, who had an extreme uppercut swing that didn’t quite work.

But Martinez is still pretty young. He was a 20 year old at AA, and if the problem is more swinging too much than the swing itself, well, that is something that can be taught. It doesn’t mean he’s going to learn and actualize that potential, but it does suggest that it exists somewhere in there. He’d be a whole lot of fun playing in a home ballpark that rewards right handed power, some place like the Reds’ or Phillies’ home ballparks.

1 year ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

And he’s ZiPS’ #5 prospect overall. His season is going to be fascinating to watch.

1 year ago
Reply to  raregokus

Yeah, ZiPS makes two assumptions that I think should be called into question. One is that he’ll be able to stick at shortstop. The other is that his BABIP is a fluke and not justified by his batted-ball data. The first one–I don’t think there’s much doubt here, he’s going to be playing second or third base unless Bichette declines further defensively, and even then it’s more likely they search for someone else.

The BABIP one–I think ZiPS is wrong about that too in some ways. It’s pretty clear that something–either because of his swing being too uphill or his pitch selection or both–is causing that BABIP. But I do think he has a chance to learn how to fix that, because he’s so young.

1 year ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Tbf Schrimpf ended career w a 114wrc+

1 year ago
Reply to  carter

I mean if he hits 35 homers in a year and plays a competent 2nd or 3rd base he can run sub-300 OBPs all day and he’ll probably keep his job. It’s just that Schimpf couldn’t keep that up, which is why he only has something like 600 career PAs.