Minor League Predictions

Friday, March 29 2019 @ 03:33 PM EDT

Contributed by: Gerry

The Blue Jays are assigning minor league players to their teams this weekend. The teams will travel to their home cities on Monday or Tuesday with the local teams announcing the rosters soon thereafter. Today I will look at where the top 30 prospects will be assigned and take my best guess. These guesses are not exhaustive, I am mainly looking to place the names you know who are prospects.

Catchers - We all know Reese McGuire will be the main catcher in Buffalo. I expect Patrick Cantwell to back him up. The unknown for this group is Max Pentecost. Has he retired or will he be back? Assuming the has retired I assume Riley Adams will get bumped up to New Hampshire although he could use another half season in Dunedin. Alberto Mineo had a good year in Dunedin and should be the back-up in AA. The choices get tougher at the A level. There is no obvious prospect level catcher to go to Dunedin unless Adams stays. There are several warm bodies for Dunedin but there are a lot more lined up for Lansing. Ryan Gold is the incumbent but he only had 200 at-bats in Lansing last season. In a push he could go to Dunedin but he probably should spend another half season in Lansing. Alejandro Kirk and Hagen Danner caught in short season last year and both will be vying for the Lansing job. Kirk is likely ahead of Danner for that job.

If I was deciding I would find someone, even Mineo for New Hampshire, leave Adams in Dunedin and have Gold and Kirk in Lansing.

First Base - With Rowdy Tellez in Toronto, the almost newest Jay, Jordan Patterson, will probably man first. In AA newish Jay, Chad Spanberger, will likely get the call. Kacey Clemens and Christian Williams will split in Dunedin. Williams played well in Lansing in 2017 but missed all of 2018 with an injury. Jake Brodt played first for Vancouver so he is in line for Lansing. Andy McGuire, aka Mr. versatile, could also get some time at first.

Infield - I am grouping these as infielders can move between positions. Bo Bichette and Eric Sogard will have two of the jobs. Cavan Biggio and Andy Burns are versatile and could cover infield or outfield positions. Santiago Espinal is on the bubble. He did not dominate AA and could return to New Hampshire. Or the Jays could move him up to AAA. In New Hampshire Kevin Smith will be the key player. If Espinal stays down, they can cover the middle infield. If Espinal moves up the Jays could move Logan Warmoth up. Warmoth didn't play well enough to get a promotion and he missed enough playing time that the Jays could easily send him back to Dunedin. Kevin Vicuna is another player who could go to Dunedin or New Hampshire.

Dunedin could have Warmoth and Vicuna. Second or third base can be covered by Samad Taylor and Cullen Large. Large missed a lot of time last season. Others around could be the newest Jay Jose Lopez and Brandon Grudzielanek. That leaves Lansing. Vinny Capra had a late season promotion last year. Otto Lopez deserves a promotion, wherever he plays. Bluefield had an excellent infield last season. Jordan Groshans, Luis De Los Santos, Rafael Lantigua, Leonardo Jimenez and Davis Schneider will all be pushing for a spot. There might be a place for one of them, Groshans could make it on talent but the Jays could keep him back so avoid moving him too quickly and taking that risk. Ronny Brito came over from the Dodgers in the Axford trade could also get a look.

I think the competition to play infield in Lansing is the most competitive at minor league camp.

Outfield - Anthony Alford and Roemon Fields are obvious for AAA. Forrest Wall didn't do enough to earn a promotion but he might get there by default. Jonathan Davis and Dalton Pompey are waiting in the wings. The Jays are thin at outfield positions so do they fill with warm bodies or push the prospects. Josh Palacios and Rodrigo Orozco should be in AA. Brock Lundquist had a half season in Dunedin and probably should go back for more seasoning. Demi Orimoloye also should probably be in Dunedin. Two Lansing players, Ryan Noda and Chavez Young deserve a promotion to Dunedin as well so one of Lundquist or Orimoloye could get pushed up to AA. Cal Stevenson was very advanced for a first year player last year but I think he goes to Lansing and does not jump to Dunedin. Reggie Pruitt should be back and Tanner Kirwer is another speedster who should move up. DJ Neal is another fast runner who could give Lansing a very athletic outfield. The Jays then have to decide whether to move up a hitter like McGregory Contreras from Vancouver or Dominic Abbadessa from Bluefield. I would probably choose Abbadessa but the Jays might stick to one move up at a time.

Starting Pitchers - In Buffalo it looks like SRF, Waguespack, and Morimando. After that, who knows? There are pitchers in Toronto who will come down so the spots could go to "fillers" who can be bumped when Borucki and Buchholz push pitchers down. Jon Harris could be in AAA, he has been stalled in AA for a couple of years now. Ryan Feierabend could also probably start. In AA Hector Perez, Andrew Sopko, Zach Logue and Patrick Murphy should anchor the rotation. Justin Dillon and Taylor Saucedo are other options. TJ Zeuch could begin there once he recovers from injury.

In Dunedin, expect to see Nate Pearson (but not for long), Maximo Castillo and Yennsy Diaz. Justin Maese is back from injury and could get a spot in Dunedin, assuming he is ready to go. In Lansing, several of the Vancouver rotation will make up the core. Josh Winkowski, Joey Murray and Sean Wymer will be there. In the past the Jays have piggybacked starters which could open the door for more starters as opposed to relievers. Jose Espada, Nick Allgeyer, Randy Pondler and Nathanael Perez will hope for a chance.

Those are my best guesses. What do you think?