It’s robust to see how issues get higher than they have been in 2021. Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien have been grand slam one-year signings. Vladimir Guerrero chased a triple crown. Alek Manoah dominated as a rookie. Jose Berrios pitched nicely down the stretch after the membership swapped two high prospects to get him. And therein lies the upside. The membership was capable of signal Berrios to a long-term deal, and I’ve a tough time imagining Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson outproducing him over the subsequent few seasons. One other plus: this group is aware of what it’s doing. This technique stays stable regardless of the latest graduations and trades with one other couple potential-star-level prospects within the pipeline and a number of other attention-grabbing upside and depth items behind them. All of the staff’s greatest gamers are younger, and the possession group is wealthy sufficient to push anytime it needs. Maybe Kevin Gausman will adequately replicate Robbie Ray. Maybe Teoscar Hernandez and Vladimir Guerrero will maintain serve on the ranges they established in 2021. And maybe the highest man on this checklist will inject sufficient life into the lineup that they’ll not often miss Marcus Semien.
Format: Place Participant | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest stage performed | ETA
1. C Gabriel Moreno | 22 | AAA | 2022
Moreno was carving a path to the large leagues when he was hit by a pitch that broke his thumb. He had slashed .373/.441/.651 with 8 HR in 32 video games at AA to that time. He’s not an enormous dude, listed at 5’11” 160 lbs (he’s larger than that), however Moreno generates loud contact to all fields due to excessive management of a fast swing powered by quick-twitch, rotational athleticism. He’s good on protection, too, which is nice for his baseball worth however could be a bit of irritating at occasions for our functions, given the staff’s depth at that spot and the toll catching can tackle a participant’s physique. I think he’ll share the DH/Catcher function with Alejandro Kirk, however he’s a ok hitter to play wherever if the Jays wish to strive him elsewhere.
2. SS Orelvis Martinez | 20 | A+ | 2021
I’ve been watching Get Again this week. I can’t actually provide an goal perspective as a result of I grew up immersed in The Beatles’ catalog as a result of my mother was a superfan, however I think just about everybody will discover some scenes attention-grabbing. It’s enjoyable to listen to the band speaking about different musicians. It’s enjoyable to listen to them praising Elvis and singing “Blue Suede Sneakers,” and that’s my lengthy and winding street again to the Blue Jays and their Elvis, who could possibly be the king of third base in Toronto by 2023. A 6’1” 188 lb prototype ballpalyer, Martinez struggled a bit of in his first 27 video games at Excessive-A however popped 9 dwelling runs anyway and posted a 99 wRC+. His season-long line of 28 HR and 4 SB in 99 video games with a .261/.345/.549 gives a reasonably good have a look at what Martinez could possibly be at peak, besides that he did this as a 19-year-old who was a lot youthful than his major rivals, and the Blue Jays are nice at growing hitters, so his rocking 2021 may additionally simply be a touch of what’s to return from Orelvis.
3. 2B Otto Lopez | 23 | AAA | 2022
Lopez can hit nicely sufficient to hold within the majors, by way of making contact, however the query can be whether or not or not the 5’10” 160 lb righty can do sufficient injury to hold in an on a regular basis lineup. He hit simply 5 dwelling runs in 113 video games throughout two ranges final yr however added 32 doubles and 4 triples, slashing .315/.379/.437 with 22 stolen bases in 26 makes an attempt. You may see the attraction. He additionally struck out simply 13.4 % of the time in 43 video games at AAA. If he will get an actual shot, I see him including energy throughout time and doing sufficient in batting common and stolen bases to be a fantasy asset whereas he learns to entry his purposeful thump in video games.
4. SS Kevin Smith | 25 | MLB | 2021
Prepare for some Mallrats jokes! Fairly certain I bought one in there someplace final season, and I apologize for any future bits that don’t land. Gotta focus. Focus! Smith was doing simply that in 2021, zeroing in on swing choices that left him with an attractive 23.7 % strikeout charge after punching out 32.3 at a % clip in 2019 at AA. He additionally walked about twice as a lot: from 6.2% to 11.2% and slashed .285/.370/.561 with 21 HR and 18 SB in simply 94 video games. That’s a loud season for a former first-round choose taking his first licks at AAA. Felt like his success went principally underneath the radar, and his MLB efficiency in 36 plate appearances (.094/.194/.188) definitely didn’t win any advocates, so it’s underneath the radar he’ll keep. I’m not saying he ought to high anybody’s wishlist, however I do assume he’ll get a legit shot to stay this season and could possibly be a boon even in redraft leagues.
5. 3B Jordan Groshans | 22 | AA | 2022
A 6’3” 205 lb proper handed energy bat, Groshans had an excellent season in quite a lot of methods. One was that he performed baseball. His 75 video games at AA have been probably the most he’s performed in a single season by 26 video games. One other good final result was that he didn’t strike out a lot. A 19.3 % Okay-rate doesn’t make him elite in that space, however mixed with a ten.8 % stroll charge, the ratio advertises good plate expertise for a participant many have dubbed a pure hitter. The one draw back to his season is seven dwelling runs, rather less than you’d hope to see from a man with plus uncooked energy. It’s a commerce the Jays will fortunately make, I believe, no less than for now, no less than so long as it comes together with respectable well being and a slash line one thing just like the .291/.367/.450 he posted in 2021.
6. SS Manuel Beltre | 17 | DSL | 2025
If I’ve to select one man from Toronto’s group to leap up some lists this season it’ll be Manuel Beltre, a 5’9” 155 lb shortstop who typically pops into my Twitter feed from team-focused accounts with entry to their exercises. Beltre didn’t hit a lot within the DSL this yr however managed a 119 wRC+ anyway as a result of he walked at a 17.6 % clip and struck out in simply 13.9 % of his plate appearances, producing an odd .225/.391/.346 with 2 HR and 10 SB alongside the best way. I just like the obvious plate expertise but in addition the little movies I’ve seen of him working at this craft. I’m a sucker for good advertising and marketing, I suppose. In his work, he’s all the time constructing torque and core explosiveness. It’s one thing Toronto is extraordinarily good at evaluating and instructing, and I think Austin Martin’s lack of such once they bought him up shut and labored with him for some time helped make him obtainable on the commerce deadline. Beltre could be a bit of increased than his profile warrants in the intervening time, however the plane is boarding now. If he makes it to Low-A and performs nicely as an 18-year-old, hype machines across the web will begin whirring.
7. RHP Gunnar Hoglund | 22 | NCAA | 2024
Hoglund was trending towards being a high ten choose in 2021 draft however blew out his arm and wanted Tommy John surgical procedure, which didn’t dissuade the Blue Jays from drafting him seventeenth general. This presents dynasty gamers a bit of shopping for alternative for the affected person, as Hoglund was about as professional prepared as school pitchers come, that includes plus command of three plus pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) from a balanced 6’4” 220 lb body. If he provides a bit of velocity after rebuilding his baseball self from the bottom up, Hoglund may carve proper via the minors with excessive Okay-rates and microscopic ratios. The AL East is difficult to foretell on the subject of younger pitching. Plus command of plus off-speed stuff is important to survival there, so there’s loads of causes to slow-play him on draft day, however a wholesome Hoglund would have the abilities to succeed even on this baseball strain cooker.
8. 2B Samad Taylor | 23 | AA | 2023
A 5’10” 160 lb powder keg proper handed hitter, Taylor affords an attention-grabbing have a look at one of many group’s core competencies: instructing rotational explosion. After hitting seven dwelling runs in 108 video games in 2019 at Excessive-A, Taylor blasted 16 in simply 87 video games in AA, slugging .503 after posting a .364 at his earlier cease. Nonetheless, he was left uncovered to the Rule 5 draft, ought to it ever happen, partly as a result of his 29.4 % strikeout charge means he would possibly cross via undrafted. I are likely to doubt it. He slashed .294/.385/.504 as a 22-year-old center infielder at AA, and any person like Baltimore, Arizona or Colorado needs to be throughout that. It’d damage his improvement to strike out one thing like 35-40 % of the time in a part-time MLB function, nevertheless it may also assist him quite a bit to work with an enormous league employees all season. It’s a bit of onerous to see how they make room for him in Toronto, so I’m hoping he will get a change of surroundings.
9. SS Miguel Hiraldo | 21 | A | 2023
A 5’11” 170 lb righty who can play wherever on the sector, Hiraldo had an amazing 2019 within the Appalachian League however took a slight step again in A ball two years later, shedding 91 factors on his slugging proportion and 50 factors of batting common within the course of. He bought on base at an identical clip (.348 in 2019, .338 in 2021), so it wasn’t a misplaced season by any stretch, however anybody anticipating Hiraldo so as to add some energy or in-game energy throughout the misplaced season needed to be a bit of dissatisfied. He did steal 29 bases in 34 makes an attempt however isn’t a burner and certain benefited from the three-throws-over rule, which I hate with a darkness so black you possibly can solely see its define throughout a December lockout.
10. SS Leo Jimenez | 20 | A | 2023
The Blue Jays have a kind, particularly on the worldwide entrance. Otto Lopez, Manuel Beltre and Leo Jimenez are all fairly good examples as handsy center infielders who want so as to add energy and torque. Jimenez is a reasonably excessive model. The 5’11” 160 lb proper handed hitter posted an obscene .517 on base proportion in 54 video games in Low-A however slugged simply .381 regardless of hitting .315. He walked in a whopping 21.5 % of his plate appearances, putting out at a 14.5 % clip and stealing simply 4 bases in 5 makes an attempt. He hit one dwelling run and eight doubles with zero triples. So what the hell is he doing right here? Good query, that. Perhaps I ought to’ve reserved this spot for RHP Joey Murray, however he missed many of the season with an elbow sprain and threw simply 0.2 innings in August after rehabbing, so we don’t know what now we have there, and the opposite man I thought-about right here, Estiven Machado, has performed precisely one as skilled, taking one plate look within the advanced league.
Again to Leo Jimenez of the absurd .517 OBP, he reportedly added energy heading into the season however nonetheless employs a powerless swing. He’s clearly bought room to threat extra rotational drive. His success or failure will come all the way down to how nicely he enfolds the membership’s instructing and begins to actually let unfastened on pitches he can injury. It’s not a straightforward factor to study. Actually I believe it’s extra innate than it’s teachable, or no less than I’d assume that if golf equipment like Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston and Toronto hadn’t proven such a knack for serving to guys unleash their inside swinger. If he posts one other thumpless marketing campaign in 2022, he’ll most likely drop off my checklist, however for now I’ll put him right here as a result of he’s the type of man you choose up the moment you see him amassing additional base hits in bunches.
Thanks for studying!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.