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Weekly Prospect Update: Toronto Blue Jays

With the All-Star break approaching and the Blue Jays ready to take a quick break from action, here’s how their top 10 prospects have fared so far.

10. Justin Maese, RHP

The Blue Jays drafted Maese in the third round of the 2015 Draft. He tore up the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after the Draft, as well as the New York-Penn Leauge in early 2016. His performances in both leagues sent him to full-season ball at just 19 years old. Maese’s best pitch is his fastball that reaches the mid-90s, but it’s the movement that is most impressive. His fastball, along with his other pitches, has natural sink that allows him to generate groundouts as well as swings and misses.

2017 STATS (Single-A Lansing): 63.2 IP, 5-2, 4.24 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 54 K, 20 BB.   

Aside from a couple of bad starts, Maese has impressed on the mound with the Lugnuts. He’s shown a great ability to pitch deep into games and has failed to pitch past the sixth inning in just three starts. Maese’s three complete games are tied for the most in the minors. His best outing of the year came on May 11, when he threw a complete game, giving up just one run and striking out seven. The righty also struck out 12 batters in seven innings on May 24.

Maese was placed on the DL at the end of May and hasn’t pitched in a game since. The 20-year-old is close to returning to action, though, and should be able to pick up right where he left off. He has a very athletic frame that he’ll likely grow into and projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter.

9. Jon Harris, RHP

The Blue Jays made Harris their first round, 29th overall, Draft pick in 2015 out of Missouri State. The tall righty stands at 6-foot-4, which he’s uses to control his pitches well. Harris doesn’t have an obvious standout pitch, but he has great ability to mix his pitches and keep batters guessing. His tall lanky frame should fill out and allow him to generate more velocity on his pitches as well.

2017 STATS (Double-A New Hampshire): 86.1 IP, 4-8, 5.53 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 62 K, 30 BB.

2017 hasn’t been too kind to Harris, who owns an ERA north of 5.00 through 16 starts. However, he’s shown improvements to his mechanics and appears to be on the upswing. He started off the year giving up 14 homers in his 11 starts but hasn’t given up a single one in his last five. He’s coming off back-to-back quality starts and went seven shutout innings in his last turn.

8. T.J. Zeuch, RHP

Like Harris, Zeuch is a tall right-handed pitcher that was taken in the first round by the Blue Jays. Zeuch stands at 6-foot-7 and was selected with the 21st selection in the 2016 Draft. His fastball touches the high-90s and has plenty of sinking action. He has great control of the zone, allowing him to limit the number of free passes he hands out.

2017 STATS (High-A Dunedin): 53 IP, 3-3, 3.23 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 42 K, 14 BB.

Zeuch put together 10 good starts before hitting the disabled list at the end of May. He’s walked just 14 batters while striking out 42 and has done a great job keeping the ball in the park. His 61.1 percent ground ball rate is stunning as well. The Blue Jays haven’t disclosed the cause of Zeuch’s DL stint, so it’s likely just a way to limit the youngster’s innings.

7. Conner Greene, RHP

There’s no shortage of right-handed pitching in the Blue Jays’ farm system, and it continues with Greene. Greene has been with the Jays since 2013 and has made huge strides since. The 22-year-old is finally growing into his athletic frame, and it’s showing in his velocity. His fastball has reached 98 mph and sets up his changeup well, both of which are plus pitches.

2017 STATS (Double-A New Hampshire): 83.2 IP, 4-6, 4.41 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 58 K, 51 BB.  

Greene has had serious problems with his control this season. It’s been something that has hindered him his whole career, but it looked like he was moving in the right direction at the end of 2016. He has since regressed once again, posting an unsightly 51:58 BB:K ratio. In his last start on July 1, he walked eight batters in just four innings. There’s still plenty of potential in Greene, as he still has good ability to limit hard contact, but his walks aren’t allowing him to make any progress.

6. Rowdy Tellez, 1B lists: Top 10 1B Prospects (#4)

Tellez was a 30th round Draft pick in 2013 and has put in a ton of work to earn the title of sixth overall prospect in the Blue Jays’ system. His power came to the forefront in 2015, a breakout season for Tellez. He has natural power from the left side and superb bat control that lets him send the ball the other way, if needed.

2017 STATS (Triple-A Buffalo:) 73 games, .202/.270/.327, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 25 BB, 51 K. 

[the_ad id=”384″]With the departure of Edwin Encarnacion, Tellez was a consideration at first base for the Blue Jays in 2017. However, after three months of the season, he has done very little to prove that he’s ready for the big leagues. He’s batting just .202 and has yet to show the power that has gotten him this far.

Justin Smoak’s great season has all but closed the book on an MLB debut from Tellez in 2017, unless an injury or trade persists. Despite the rough season, Tellez still deserves a look in dynasty league formats. The No. 4 first base prospect, according to, is still just 22 years old, so 2017 is hopefully just an off year for Tellez.

5. Bo Bichette, SS/2B lists: Top 100 Prospects (#98)

You certainly wouldn’t think Bichette is just 19 years old when watching him hit at the plate. The second-round Draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2016 has dominated since making his debut and has shown no signs of slowing down. He’s a middle infielder with great power and bat speed, as well as average speed.

2017 stats: (Single-A Lansing): 69 games, .383/.444/.624, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 12 SB, 26 BB, 55 K.

Bichette batted .427 with four homers and 36 RBI in just 22 games in his professional debut last year and has picked up right where he left off. He’s excelling at every part of the game and is playing well beyond his years. Bichette leads the Midwest League in average, hits, runs, doubles, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. Not only is he leading in these categories, but most of them aren’t even close. He failed to record a base hit just three times in June and already has two doubles, a homer, and three RBI in July.

Bichette is quickly making it clear that he needs to be owned in all dynasty leagues. He still has plenty of time to develop into an even better hitter, but he’s already off to a great start. He’s ranked No. 98 by now, but don’t expect him to stay there for long with this pace.

4. Richard Urena, SS lists: Top 100 Prospects (#80)

Urena has been with the Blue Jays since he was signed as an international free agent in 2016 when he was 16 years old. Now 21, Urena has emerged as one of the best position player prospects in the system. He’s an athletic contact hitter with average power from both sides of the plate and average speed. He’s already improved both his strikeout and walk rates and continues to gain more experience as he ages.

2017 stats: (Double-A New Hampshire): 81 games, .237/.279/.361, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 20 BB, 61 K.

After somewhat of a breakout in 2016, Urena hasn’t quite had the same success in 2017. He struggled mightily in the first two months of the season but put together a better June. He’s trending in the right direction in July as well, batting .273 with a homer and four RBI in six games.

3. Anthony Alford, OF lists: Top 100 Prospects (#58)

The third-round Draft pick in 2012, Alford was a two-sport star throughout college, but ultimately decided to play baseball full-time. He didn’t play much in 2016 due to a knee injury and a concussion but still ranks as the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays system. The 22-year-old has a ton of raw power that he has yet to fully tap into but his best asset is his speed. The knee injury hurt his speed a bit, but he’s shown this year that it’s still well-above-average and that he can still make an impact at both the plate and on the basepaths.

2017 stats: (Double-A New Hampshire): 33 games, .325/.411/.455, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 16 BB, 24 K, 9 SB.

Alford was called up to the Majors on May 19 and played in four games for the Blue Jays. He recorded his first hit, a pinch-hit double on May 23, and was placed on the 10-day DL less than 12 hours later. Alford suffered a fractured left hamate bone in his wrist on a foul ball in his next at-bat, and there has been no timetable for his return.

The injury is yet another tough blow for Alford, who has dealt with them for much of his career. When healthy, he provides a spark to both his team as well as fantasy teams with his speed and contact abilities. He’s worth hanging onto in dynasty leagues but will need to prove he can stay healthy if he wants to gain traction in any other formats.

2. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP lists: Top 100 Prospects (#53)

There aren’t many, if any, pitchers in the Blue Jays’ system that showed as much improvement as Reid-Foley did in 2016. He added a curveball to his slider-fastball-changeup arsenal, and all of his pitches have the ability to be average or better. He improved his BB/9 to 3.0 from 6.3, struck out over 10 hitters per nine innings and was effective at limiting the long ball.

2017 stats: (Double-A New Hampshire): 71.1 IP, 5-6, 4.42 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 67 K, 33 BB.

Since his breakout in 2016, Reid-Foley has dealt with some growing pains after being promoted to Double-A. His BB/9 has spiked up to 4.2, still an improvement from 2015, but his K/9 has dropped to 8.5, the lowest mark in his career. What’s most concerning is that he’s giving up far more homers, averaging 1.3 per nine after never posting a mark above 0.4. Despite the regression, Reid-Foley has shown signs of life in 2017 with four quality starts.

Reid-Foley is still just 21 years old, so his struggles shouldn’t be taken too seriously. He’s still developing as a pitcher, and if everything comes together, he could project as a top-of-the-rotation starter.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B lists: Top 100 Prospects (#26), Top 10 3B Prospects (#3)

The Blue Jays’ prized possession was signed in 2015 as an international free agent. The son of nine-time All-Star Vladimir Guerrero, Vladimir Jr. has the looks of a future All-Star himself. He’s a great natural hitter at the plate who effortlessly slugs the ball all over the field with a combination of bat speed and raw power. He’s an average defender at third base, but he could move to the outfield or first base if he continues to fill out.

2017 stats: (Single-A Lansing): 70 games, .317/.411/.472, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 40 BB, 34 K, 6 SB.

Vlad Jr. doesn’t look like your average 18-year-old when he’s on the field. He’s shown advanced discipline and approach at the plate, which has helped him post a 40:34 BB:K ration in 2017. He’s coming off a great June in which he batted .297, and he hasn’t slowed down. In four games in J, ly he’s slashed .333/.526/.667 with a homer and three RBI. Vlad Jr. has made use of his average speed, as well, stealing six bases in eight attempts with great instincts on the base paths.

Guerrero is a must-own in dynasty formats, as he has the potential to rise through the minors and make his debut earlier rather than later. He’s a future All-Star and should find himself hitting in the heart of Toronto’s order for years to come.

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