Toronto Blue Jays 2020 Top-25 Prospects
Do you have your passport ready? You’re going to need it for this one. Today, we head north of the border to discuss the top-25 Toronto Blue Jays prospects for dynasty leagues. This is quite a different system than the one we ranked last offseason. Vladimir Guerrero Jr? Gone. Bo Bichette? Gone. Cavan Biggio? Yup, you guessed it, also gone. And by gone, I mean to the Blue Jays of course. That’s a nice little nucleus their building in Toronto, but with that trio and others graduated, this system doesn’t quite dazzle as much this offseason. But have no fear reader. There is still plenty of talent on both sides of the ball in a still solid Toronto farm system. Leading the way is a big right-hander that I had the pleasure of scouting personally twice in 2019.
Overall System Grade: C+
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Buffalo – International League
Double-A: New Hampshire- Eastern League
Advanced Single-A: Dunedin – Florida State League
Low Single-A: Lansing – Midwest League
Short Single-A: Vancouver – Northwest League
Rookie: Bluefield – Appalachian League, Dominican Summer League (1), Gulf Coast League (1)
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Top-25 Toronto Blue Jays Prospects – 2020
1. Nate Pearson, RHP
The 2019 minor league season can be renamed “Nate Pearson’s coming out party.” After battling injuries for most of the last two seasons, Pearson finally got a full season of work under his belt, and the results were very impressive. Pearson finished with a 2.30 ERAm 0.89 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 10.5 K/9 across 101.2 innings spanning 25 starts. You might do some quick math and wonder why Pearson only averaged around four innings per start. That’s because Toronto had him on a strict workload management plan, alternating between two and five-inning starts. He could have a no-hitter going with only 40 pitches through five and it wouldn’t matter. This was lifted in July and Pearson pitched deeper into starts to end the season, pitching into the 6th or later in six of his final eight starts.
So, it’s safe to say the kid gloves are off with Pearson. And a fully unleashed Pearson is a scary thing for minor league hitters, and soon enough, the American League East. Thanks to his Double-A home park being around a two-hour drive for me, I was able to catch two Pearson starts this season, one being one of the abbreviated two-inning outings. To put it simply…. damn.
Pearson is a force to be reckoned with on the mound, both in terms of size and stuff, standing in at 6’6 and nearly 250 pounds. When chatting quickly with New Hampshire pitching coach and former Major Leaguer, Vince Horsman, before one of the Pearson starts I saw, he said, “Big kid, isn’t he?” Yes Vince, yes he is. Pearson uses that size well in his delivery with solid extension towards the plate, making his fastball even harder to handle as an opposing batter.
Two pitches, in particular, impressed me the most. Those two pitches are his electric high-90’s fastball that can touch triple-digits with ease and his upper-80’s slider with a very sharp two-plane break. Pearson could dominate out of a bullpen right now with this combo and rack up a ton of strikeouts. While his curveball and changeup were seldom used and weren’t overly impressive in either of my live looks, his curveball has flashed above-average at times. The changeup is firmer without a ton of movement. There is about 7-8 mph difference from his fastball though, so there’s that at least.
I’d love to see Pearson develop his changeup more, but even with a below-average changeup, there’s the upside of a No. 2 starter here. And if the changeup does develop into an average offering, Pearson will front a rotation for a long time.
2. Jordan Groshans, SS
Out from the shadows of Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette and firmly into the spotlight, hello Mr. Groshans. The Blue Jays used their 1st-round selection (12th overall) in the 2018 draft on Jordan Groshans, making him the 2nd prep bat off the board behind Jarred Kelenic. Even though they already seemingly had their left side of the infield planned out for the future with the aforementioned duo, the upside of Groshans was simply too enticing to pass up. Unfortunately, a left foot injury limited what was supposed to be his first full pro season to just 23 games in the Single-A Midwest League.
From the right side, Groshans has a quick and mechanically sound swing. If you watch him take BP for more than two seconds, the phenomenal bat speed will surely stand out. Groshans uses his quick wrists and does a great job keeping his hands inside the ball to really whip the head of the bat through the strike zone. The contact skills he possesses are above average to plus and Groshans has no issues using the entire field to his advantage.
The profile right now is more hit over power as Groshans uses more of a line-drive oriented swing without a ton of loft. But as soon as he starts hitting the ball in the air more, his plus raw power should allow 25-plus home runs annually to pair with a .280-plus batting average. There’s also a little speed here as well (think 10-15 SB) that should allow him to stay at shortstop for now. However, a move off of short is also a possibility. If the Blue Jays decide to keep Groshans at short, three-quarters of their starting infield for the next half-decade or longer will be him, Vlad at third, and Bichette at second. Not too shabby.
3. Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B
While the 2018 international class lacked a true standout player at the time like 2019 had with Jasson Dominguez, it was loaded with talent with Orelvis Martinez being my personal favorite of them all, outside of Marco Luciano. In fact, Martinez received a higher signing bonus than Luciano and the highest overall in the class ($3.5 million) until Victor Victor Mesa signed for $5.25 million in September.
While Martinez is an adequate defender at shortstop and the hot corner, his offensive prowess is the reason behind that big signing bonus and why see him high on this list as well as my overall prospect rankings. Lightning-quick bat speed and easy plus raw power equals boom goes the dynamite for Martinez. His swing was a tad long at times when Toronto signed him due to a high hand coil, but he’s already shortened that some over the last year-plus, not loading his hands quite as high now. It was a minor mechanical thing that wasn’t a detractor by any means, but it’s nice to see him making adjustments at such a young age.
— Prospects Live (@ProspectsLive) September 11, 2018
When Martinez makes contact, it’s usually quite loud. The contact skills themselves are at least average at present and I could easily see him developing into a 55-hit, 60-power shortstop that has enough speed to annually reach double-digit stolen bases He’s already flashed all those beautiful raw tools during his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League with a .901 OPS, 20 extra-base hits, and seven homers in 40 games. There’s a ton to like here with Martinez’s offensive profile and it won’t be long before you see his name popping up close to or even in some top-25 overall prospect rankings.
4. Alek Manoah, RHP
Admittedly, Alek Manoah was a pitcher that I liked in the 2019 draft, but was not overly enamored with him as some were. However, I’ve slowly been moving him up my rankings over the last few months as I watch more and more video of the big right-hander. And when I say big, I’m not kidding. Manoah toes the rubber at 6’6 and 260 pounds, looking more like a linebacker than a pitcher. Accompanying his big size is big velocity. Manoah will sit in the mid-90’s out of a 3/4 arm slot and generates both run and sink on his fastball. That big frame creating a nice downhill plane has a little something to do with that.
— Sully Engels (@SullyKSNT) May 11, 2019
Offsetting the heater is an above-average to plus slider and a serviceable changeup that will flash above-average with fade. When Manoah is commanding all three pitches, he’s a force to be reckoned with on the mound with the upside of a #2 starter. However, he’s control over command at the moment and could serve to refine that command some. With that being said, his command is certainly not a detriment right now, nor does it signal a future move to the bullpen.
5. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP
Anthony Kay was easily the more Major-League ready prospect of the two arms Toronto received in the Marcos Stroman return package, but without a doubt, Simeon Woods-Richardson has the higher upside and the much longer last name. For pace of read sake (See what I did there?), I’m going to shorten his name to SWR, as most do. SWR works with a three-pitch mix from a high 3/4 arm slot. The fastball will usually sit in the 92-95 range with run and he’ll turn it over into a two-seamer around 91-92 mph at times.
Both his curveball and changeup can be weapons for him, with his mid-70’s hammer curve easily grading as plus with good shape and depth. The changeup isn’t quite as lethal, but is at least an average third offering that has flashed above-average with fade and tumble. Quite frankly, his upside isn’t that far off of Manoah’s but you can acquire SWR for a much lower cost in dynasty. His control and command are also a tad better at a younger age as well. Always a welcomed sign. Sounds like a damn good dynasty target to me!
6. Miguel Hiraldo, 2B/SS
Meet the Diet Coke to Orelvis Martinez’s Coke. While the offensive skillset is similar by nature, Miguel Hiraldo’s tools aren’t quite as loud and profound as you saw above with Martinez. Hiraldo has displayed above-average contact skills and raw power with an incredibly quick right-handed swing that generates natural loft. His raw power hasn’t quite translated into much game power as of yet, but the tools are here for Hiraldo to develop into a 25 homer bat in time.
The hit tool is what I’m more worried about. Yes, the contact skills are fine, but Hiraldo has a very pull-happy approach, pulling the ball over 50% of the time in both 2018 and 2019. He’s gotten away with it in the lower levels, but more advanced pitching will almost certainly exploit that. Hiraldo is still barely 19 though and has time to make that adjustment, so it’s nothing to be worried about too much at the moment.
On the bases, Hiraldo did swipe 11 bags in 14 attempts this year after going 18/24 last season but don’t let those numbers fool you. Hiraldo is a below-average runner and projects as more of a 5-10 SB type, especially if he adds more bulk to his frame. That lack of speed has also limited his defensive range in the infield where he saw time at both second base and shortstop in 2019. In my eyes, Martinez is more of a second baseman as he doesn’t possess the range or arm to play short. Regardless of which spot it is, Hiraldo’s has the offensive tools to hold his own offensively, and then some.
7. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP
This is an arm I’ve been higher on than most since the 2018 draft. The Blue Jays selected Adam Kloffenstein in the 3rd round, which is an absolute steal in my book. Kloffenstein is a great combination of ceiling, floor, and could be an inning-eater to boot. The Blue Jays certainly have a type in big and sturdy right-handed arms, with The Kloff checking in at 6’5/245. He’s like The Hoff, but much better at baseball and not running around on Baywatch. Okay, he’s nothing like the Hoff, except his nickname that I gave him sounds similar.
Back on point now. On the mound, Kloffenstein’s arsenal runs four pitches deep with three of them being above-average or better. He throws two different fastballs, a 93-96 mph four-seamer with life and a 90-92 mph two-seamer with strong run and sink. His above-average command of both offerings makes them even tougher for opposing hitters to square up.
Outside of the fastballs, Kloffenstein features three secondary offerings with his mid-80’s plus slider being the best of the bunch. The pitch has hard two-plane break and is Kloff’s main out pitch. He’ll also mix in a curveball and a changeup that he’s shown decent feel for. Both are at least average offerings. With this arsenal, above-average command/control, minimal effort delivery, and durable frame, Kloffenstein checks off all the boxes for a workhorse #3 starter with the upside for more. This is a name firmly on the rise that you should definitely be targeting now in dynasty leagues while the price tag is still reasonable.
8. Gabriel Moreno, C
Speaking of prospects rising up the ranks. After hitting .359 in 40 rookie-level games in 2018, Gabriel Moreno continued his success during his exposure to full-season ball in the Single-A South Atlantic League., hitting .280 with 12 home runs in 82 games. What was equally as impressive was that he only struck out 38 times for a neat 11.1% strikeout rate.
That right there is exactly what you should expect from Moreno moving forward. With his plus contact skills and advanced plate approach, Moreno should have no problems hitting for a high average as he continues to the higher levels of the minor leagues. His OBP should be fairly high as a result, but Moreno doesn’t walk a whole ton. That’s because he’s too busy spraying line drives all over the field. Unfortunately, I don’t see much more power projection here due to his line-drive oriented swing and below-average raw power, but maybe, just maybe, he gets to the point where he’s a 15-20 homer bat annually. If he can even approach that to pair with a .280ish average, you’ll take that every damn day of the week from your catcher.
9. Eric Pardinho, RHP
If you read my New York Yankees top-25 earlier in the week, I mentioned that I questioned how long-term success of Deivi Garcia due to his size. Well, that goes double here for Eric Pardinho. Although he has an inch of height on Deivi, Pardinho has an even smaller frame at 5’10/155. And to top it all off, Pardinho can’t stay healthy to save his life. Since signing with the Blue Jays out of Brazil in 2017, Pardinho has only managed 87.2 innings. Furthermore, he was shut down for an extended period early in 2019 due to elbow soreness. Yikes, not good. Or as Scooby-Doo would say, “Ruh roh Raggy.”
All of the above has forced me to steadily drop Pardinho further and further down my rankings. Pardinho’s arsenal itself is impressive, running four pitches deep with his fastball and curveball both grading as plus. He’ll also mix in a slider and changeup that are average offerings currently and flash above-average at times. On top of all that, there are no command/control or mechanical concerns with Pardinho, so there’s hope that he can eventually put it all together. But damn, can someone please add some bulk to his frame!
10. Griffin Conine, OF
If you can learn to appreciate the type of player that Griffin Conine is, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a spot for him on the tail-end of your dynasty league roster. He’s not a top-100 type, and likely never will be, but Conine brings a couple of things to the table that can provide value in fantasy. First, Conine has easy plus raw power with a swing built for power from the left side. His swing has an uppercut swing path which allows him to drive the ball in the air, especially to his pull side.
But alas, like with most prospect with this type of profile, the strikeouts are copious and the batting average bound to disappoint. Conine did hit .280 in 2019, but that was in Single-A as a 22-year-old facing less advanced pitching. Oh yeah, did I mention his strikeout rate was also 35.9%? Yup, sure was. That .280 average is not sustainable with his profile and against more advanced pitching as he reaches the Florida State League and Eastern League in 2020. The walk rate you can bank on as Conine has always been able to work the count, but that also gets him into a lot of two-strike counts which isn’t a recipe for success when you swing and miss as much as he does. Ultimately, I think we’re looking at a lefty version of Hunter Renfroe that can give you a solid OBP.
11. Alejandro Kirk, C
Two catchers in the top 11? You better believe it. Gabriel Moreno is the more buzzy name in the prospect world right now but don’t you dare sleep on Alejandro Kirk. At the plate, he’s a 5’9 wrecking ball that can hit the ball with authority to all fields. Like with Moreno, Kirk hit for a robust average in rookie ball and was able to carry that over into the Midwest League and Florida State League, hitting .290 with a .403 OBP in 92 combined games.
Kirk is a prospect I love watching do his thing at the plate. His feel for hitting is so far ahead of most his age, especially catchers. He can barrel up everything from his eyes to his shoe tops and uses the entire field to his advantage. Kirk’s patient approach and exceptional bat to ball skills allow him to wait for a pitch to drive without the worry of striking out as we had with Conine above. Through his first 151 minor league games, Kirk has walked 89 times to only 60 strikeouts. A quick check with the good ol’ calculator tells me that those equate to a 14.4% walk rate and 9.7 strikeout rate. That wasn’t just rookie ball caused either as Kirk recorded a 56/39 BB/K ratio this past season.
Always a good time to watch and listen to Alejandro Kirk rake! 👀👂 pic.twitter.com/CCYOnNNo1q
— Dunedin Boo Jays 👻 (@DunedinBlueJays) May 25, 2019
Honestly, I could ramble on for Kirk’s hitting abilities for days. There’s .280/.360 upside in this bat. But the questions surrounding Kirk are where will he play and how much power will he hit for. He’s not a slap hitter by any means and has enough raw power to be a 15-homer type, but his swing doesn’t generate a ton of loft. He also has to contend with several other Major League caliber catchers in this organization and is a subpar defender. Definitely keep Kirk on your radar in dynasty leagues, but a move from behind the plate would certainly deflate his value some.
12. Kevin Smith, SS/3B
If any of you watch South Park, imagine the episode when the CEO of the Oil Company has to keep making commercials saying “I’m sorry.” That’s me when it comes to Kevin Smith. I bought into Smith after 2018, ranked him highly, and then crashed and burned with that lofty ranking. If you bought in on him in dynasty leagues because of that, my bad, that’s on me. Following a .302/25/29 season in 2018, Smith got bumped up to Double-A in 2019 an struggled mightily. He looked thoroughly overmatched every time I was at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire, routinely chasing breaking pitches out of the zone and getting beat by high heat.
Let’s try to put 2019 behind us for a second if we can. I know, putting a .209 average and 32.3% strikeout rate out of your mind is no easy task. Not to mention the fact that he struck out 5.2 times more than he walked and had a 56.7% strikeout rate in 67 plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League. While I’m not nearly as high on Smith as I was 12 months ago, this might actually be a nice buy-low period for those of you in deeper dynasty leagues. While he’s not 2018 good, Smith certainly isn’t 2019 bad. Even with the vomit-inducing numbers above, Smith still was able to add 19 home runs and 11 steals. When he was actually making contact, Smith still was able to flex his above-average to plus raw power.
If he can clean up his swing and miss tendencies and focus on making contact more, I’m still willing to bet he can be a .260/20/15 type at peak.
13. Anthony Kay, LHP
Yes, I’m not high on Anthony Kay. Sue me. Actually don’t do that, but let’s chat about why I rank Kay so low on this list. He’s a solid pitching prospect without question, but I’m not willing to go any higher than that. Not a penny more, I said! Kay screams back-end starter to me. He has a nice little three-pitch mix, but none of the pitches project as plus and Kay doesn’t do himself any favors with his inconsistent command. That has led to him getting hit hard with regularity and I don’t see enough bat-missing potential to offset that.
Now, I’m not saying to completely forget about him. Back-end rotation pitchers matter too! Trust me, my Red Sox had hot garbage rounding out our rotation down the stretch (COUGH, Jhoulys Chacin and Andrew Cashner, COUGH). With a clean delivery, I’m not worried about his command/control. It won’t hinder him, but won’t do him any favors wither. Just somewhere in the middle with a handful of average to above-average pitches to work with. If any pitch were to be considered plus or close to it, it would be his curveball.
This likely isn’t what you wanted to read about Kay, but I’m sticking by it. Maybe he proves me wrong and provides more value than my #5 starter projection, but even then, he’s a #4 at best in my eyes with below-average strikeout potential. Again, solid, but uninspiring.
14. Kendall Williams, RHP
When it comes to pure upside, give me Kendall Williams over Anthony Kay all day. Kay definitely has the higher floor of the two and is a safer bet to carve out a Major League role, but Williams has a ton of projection left that we can dream on. To put it simply, Williams is 6’6, 205 pounds, and only 19 years old. Yes, I’ll take frames that are projectable for 600 Alex. DAILY DOUBLE.
The Blue Jays lured Williams away from a Vanderbilt commitment with an above-slot bonus in the 2nd round of the 2019 amateur draft. On the mound, Williams currently sits in the low 90’s with his velocity slow but surely creeping as he matures. With more development, and hopefully some added bulk, it wouldn’t shock me to see Williams sitting 94-95 regularly with arm side life. Outside of the fastball, Williams throws a plus curveball with depth and also mixes in a changeup and slider, with the changeup looking like the one that will be his more reliable third offering.
If everything comes together here, Williams has mid-rotation upside. If not, his fastball/curveball combination could work well out of the bullpen in a mid-relief role.
15. Chavez Young, OF
After enjoying a breakout 2018 season, Chavez Young wasn’t able to find that same level of success after being promoted from Single-A Lansing to High-A Dunedin. Literally every offensive statistic took a dip, most notably, his stolen bases and stolen base efficiency. Young swiped 44 bags on 57 attempts in 2018 for a 77.2% success rate, but dropped to 24 steals and a 68.6% success rate in 2019.
This is a good example of something I’ve preached for so long. You can’t always take minor league numbers 100% seriously. Raw tools are just as important as statistics in the prospect world and Young still has a nice set of tools on both sides of the ball. He’s at least an average defender in the outfield thanks to his plus speed and has a strong throwing arm to boot. Hopefully, he can improve on that sub-70% SB efficiency mark and get back to where he was in 2018, pushing 80%.
What will determine just how good Young can be is the hit tool. As a switch hitter, Young is hit over power from the left side and power over hit from the right side. Since power will never be a noteworthy aspect of his game, I wonder if Young would be served better by giving up switch-hitting and solely focusing on the left side.
16. Ryan Noda, 1B/OF
Ryan Noda has had an interesting career as a professional so far. He tore up the Appalachian League in 2017, as a collegiate bat should, posting a 1.082 OPS in 66 games. The Blue Jays bumped him up to Single-A in 2018 and Noda duplicated his 2017 success in almost every aspect except batting average, which was to be expected with his below-average contact skills. Another incredibly strong walk rate salvaged his OBP and kept him above .400 there for the second year in a row. Both Noda’s walk rate and OBP took a dip in 2019, but a .372 OBP and 15.8% walk rate are both still highly impressive marks. That right there shows you the Votto-like patience that Noda has when 15.8% is a “dip”. If only he had the contact skills to match.
I’m not really understanding why Noda has dropped down so many lists. Sure, 2019 was the “worst” year of his minor league career, but did we really expect him to continue hitting for a solid batting average? Noda is a below-average hit tool, plus raw power, exceptional patience type that can also move well for a big guy and add in a touch of speed. This is a .240/.370/25/10 profile at peak and there’s not a ton in his way at first base or in an outfield corner in Toronto.
17. Dasan Brown, OF
Remember Zack Watson from my Baltimore Orioles top-25? Copy and paste that section here. I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for speedsters that can show any type of promise with the bat. Dasan Brown is an elite runner with exceptional range in the outfield, but his offensive tools are a work in progress, much like Watson. With that being said, there are some building blocks to work with that could lead to Brown developing into a 50-hit, 45-power type down the road.
That’s still a few years away, but I like the odds of that happening. Why? I’ll tell you why. I’m actually a fan of Brown’s swing and the bat speed he generates. His swing is compact from the right side and he seems to have some feel for the barrel. Keep this name in the back of your mind as Brown could really shoot up prospect rankings if his hit tool and raw power show signs of improvement.
18. Will Robertson, OF
Remember the name Will Robertson. Remember it fondly. Because by this time next season, he might just be ranked higher than Griffin Conine. Here’s why. Robertson might not quite match Conine’s pure raw power, although close, but his hit tool is more developed and he doesn’t get hindered by major swing and miss tendencies as Conine has. I’m not saying he’s going to develop into a high-average type, but the contact skills and plate approach are solid enough to feel confident in projecting a .250-.260 average and a walk rate in the vicinity of 10%. This is a level Conine could also reach, but a lot more work needs to be done on his end to reach this level.
Man, the more I talk about Robertson, the stronger urge I have to just put him ahead of Conine right now.
19. Otto Lopez, SS/2B/OF
If you want to place all your chips, whether they be poker or potato, on one prospect from the back half of this list to move up into the top-10 in 2021, I’d bet on Otto Lopez. Like with any prospect, there are plenty of pros and cons with Lopez. The contact skills and speed are above-average, but Lopez is still very inexperienced as a base runner as evident by his lowly 57.1% success rate stealing bases in 2019. He also lacks much more physical projection as a 21-year-old that is only 5’10, so expecting more than 5-10 home runs annually would be foolish. There’s also no permanent defensive home for Lopez either who received starts at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield. At this point, he looks like a super-utility type, albeit, one with solid offensive skills.
Matt Thompson of Prospects Live got a live look at Lopez in the Midwest League this season and had this to say on the 21-year-old Dominican:
“Good bat to ball skills. Excellent balance in swing. Moderate leg kick, leg kick and weight transfer are smooth. High quiet hands. Short quick swing. Don’t project much power.”
Emily Waldon of The Athletic and Baseball America also saw Lopez this season and said, “I love that kid. Needs to add muscle, but just the best attitude.” He was also included in Emily’s top-20 Midwest League prospects piece for Baseball America.
20. Patrick Murphy, RHP
After Otto Lopez, we’re now in the “Let’s see what happens” section of these rankings. As a real-life prospect, Patrick Murphy has some value as a potential back-end rotation piece. However, in the fantasy world, his long-term value isn’t as exciting. Murphy has quietly put together a successful minor league career with a 3.33 ERA, but he doesn’t miss many bats and both his command and control are so-so. These have combined to form a higher WHIP than one would expect from a 3.33 ERA. That career 7.7 K/9 isn’t making anyone wet themselves in fear either. Though he did have the highest K rate of his career at 9.2 in 2019, but I’m not expecting him to remain around a strikeout per inning moving forward.
With two above-average to plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, there’s a solid foundation to work from here. But since Murphy doesn’t miss many bats overall and hasn’t really developed his changeup into a consistent third pitch, the upside is quite limited. With his workhorse frame, strong groundball rate, and clean mechanics, Murphy could have a long career as an inning-eating back-end starter. That’s great for Toronto, but not so much for the fantasy world.
21. Leonardo Jimenez, 2B/SS
In his two seasons in the minor leagues since being signed out of Panama, Jimenez hasn’t shown us much. The approach has been solid and Jimenez has displayed above-average contact skills, but the power and speed just hasn’t been there. Even with some projection left on his frame, Jimenez is likely a 40-raw type at best, so don’t expect more than 5-10 homers at most. And even that might be a stretch. However, there’s plenty of additional speed in those legs than what he’s shown so far.
22. Tanner Morris, OF
This isn’t a sexy fantasy profile at all. However, Tanner Morris is the kind of prospect that could move quickly through the system. A 5th rounder out of Virginia, Morris displayed above-average contact skills with a sound plate approach during his collegiate days. That approach appears to have accompanied him to the minors as well. There’s minimal power or speed upside at present, but Morris has enough of each to develop into a 15/10 threat.
23. Anthony Alford, OF
Seriously, how long has Anthony Alford been a prospect? Since the 1990’s? Sure feels like it, but in reality, he’s been in the Toronto system since 2012. That’s still a very long time for a prospect like Alford. You really have to hate when someone with the speed and athleticism that Alford has can’t develop with the lumber. There were moments during Alford’s minor league career when he demonstrated the skills that made him a top-100 overall prospect on many lists. In 2015, Alford slashed .298/.398/.421/.820 with 27 steals in 107 games. Then in 2017, he hit .299 with 19 steals in 77 games. However, the problem is that a .236 average was in the middle of that and Alford hasn’t shown any progression with the stick since 2017.
Due to the fact that Alford has been one of their top prospects for a while and that Toronto hasn’t had much talent in their outfield in recent years, Alford has received time at the Major League level in each of the last three seasons. The fact that he’s still prospect eligible speaks wonders. His speed, both on the bases and in the outfield, could carve him out a 4th outfielder role, but there’s just not enough firepower at the plate to project Alford as a starter anymore.
24. T.J. Zeuch, RHP
Believe me, I tried to find the will to rank T.J. Zeuch higher. I really did. But after doing my homework on Zeuch, 23rd is the highest I could bring myself to rank him. Remember how I said the Jays had a type in big right-handers earlier with Pearson, Manoah, and Kloffenstein? Well, they have another type. A much less appealing mid-20’s pitching prospect with only two legit pitches and command/control problems type. That’s not a good type to have. It would be one thing if Zeuch at least had a high strikeout rate but he doesn’t even have that. One way or another, Zeuch is very unlikely to make this list next year. He’s either going to have graduated off or dropped out of my top-25 entirely. The ball is in your court T.J.
25. Rikelvin De Castro, SS
Can you say dart throw? How about lottery ticket? Both of those apply here. The Blue Jays dished out $1.2 million back in July to secure Rikelvin De Castro’s services out of the Dominican Republic, their biggest commitment of the 2019 international period. From the right-side, De Castro has a good feel for hitting with a quick and compact swing. He’s currently a hit over power profile, but once he adds some much-needed bulk to his skinny frame, there should be enough raw power here to add double-digit homers to a respectable batting average. File this name away under “check back in two years.”
Others of Note
Hector Perez, RHP – We need to stop with Hector Perez. On the off-chance he can command his arsenal, his pitches can be nasty. But that rarely happens. He’s a mid-reliever profile at best at this point.
Samad Taylor, 2B – Love the speed, but the offensive side of things is a work in progress.
Yennsy Diaz, RHP – Possesses two above-average to plus pitches but below-average command and changeup limit him to a bullpen profile.
Demi Orimoloye, OF – There’s a nice little power/speed mix, but Orimoloye has struggled to hit for a high average.
Reese McGuire, C – Will likely share the catching duties in Toronto with Danny Jansen in 2020, but McGuire is nothing more than a back-up/platoon catcher as his offensive tools are miles behind his defense.
Media Credit: Robert Robinson, Prospects Live, Matt Thompson, Emily Waldon, Dunedin Blue Jays, Sully Engels
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