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The top 30 is complete for another year. Here are some notes on those who are on, and who missed, the list.

Just Missed

The next five were Will Robertson, Anthony Alford, Zach Jackson, Chavez Young and Logan Warmoth. Alford, Young and Warmoth were on the 2018 top 30 but dropped off due to poor years. Alford's trials are well known. Through a combination of bad luck, injuries and inconsistent performance, Alford has not lived up to his potential. Young had an average year in Dunedin following a break out season in Lansing in 2018. His average was just .247, his strikeouts were up, his walk rate was down and he didn't show enough to retain his spot on the list. Warmoth went back to Dunedin to start 2019 and hit much better than he had in 2018. That earned him a mid-season promotion to New Hampshire where he didn't hit. In the AFL he did OK and played in a variety of infield and outfield positions but not enough to keep his top 30 ranking.

One the up are Will Robertson and Zach Jackson. Robertson was a fourth round pick of the Jays who at the time of the draft was reported to have a college swing that needed to be adjusted for pro ball. I don't know if the Jays did change his swing but he did pick up his performance after a slow start. Robertson was hitting under .200 on July 11th but his much better from there, ending with a .268 average. Jackson throws hard, in fact 2019 was his first season where his K/9 was not in double figures. Pitching for Buffalo, Jackson had a K/9 of exactly 9. Jackson's issue is his walk rate. He had a good year for walks in 2019, lowering his BB/9 to 4.50. That is still too high for the big leagues, although it is in Sean Reid-Foley territory. Because Jackson didn't know where the pitch was going he was also victimized by the home run ball. He conceded ten in 68 innings.

Others who missed include Julian Merryweather who remains a mystery and injury prone. With two years since his Tommy John surgery, his 2020 might show the real Merryweather. Jordan Romano is another pitcher who had his ups and downs, in his case at the major league level. Forrest Wall hits OK, but just not quite well enough to get attention. Tanner Morris was drafted in the round after Robertson and while 2019 was not great for him, there is the expectation he will hit better in 2020. One of the biggest risers in 2019, but not to the top 30, was Jackson Rees. Rees had ERA's under one in both Lansing and Dunedin. He teh went to the fall league where he held his own against higher level hitters. Rees is already 25 but he could jump a couple more levels in 2020.

Dropped Off

Six players dropped off the list. They include Alford (#12); Young (#18); Romano (#19) and Warmoth (#30). These four were discussed briefly above as having just missed. The other two were Hagen Danner (#26) and Ryan Noda (#27). Danner showed some pop in Lansing, more than half of his hits were for extra bases but his batting average of .170 was disappointing. He also struck out more than 35% of the time. Noda was promoted to Dunedin for 2019 and his numbers all dropped. However his performance level was above average with a 138 wRC+. As a player with little defensive value, Noda needs to hit well above average to be a prospect. He has hit well but the 29% strikeout rate and the defense make him a fringe prospect and leaves him outside the 2019 list.


With so many graduates, there are fewer repeat members of the top 30 so there are fewer risers and fallers. The biggest jump in the list belongs to Miguel Hiraldo who jumped from 29th to 8th. Orelvis Martinez jumped from 15 to 5. Because the minor league crew here on Da Box relies on game reports and player interviews, international free agents, who haven't played or player much, tend to be downgraded in our list. It's only when they make their way to North America that they tend to get recognized. The jumps of Hiraldo and Martinez are reflective of this.

The biggest drops are Kevin Smith, from 5 to 30, and Hector Perez, from 11 to 29. Both are just barely hanging on.

Two players from the bottom half of the 2018 list made the major leagues. Billy McKinney was our #16 prospect last year and Travis Bergen was #21. Both had mixed results in the major leagues.

There were sixteen new players on the 2019 top 30. If we remove the newly drafted and the traded for, there were ten players who did not make the list in 2018 but did this year. Some just missed last year. They include Gabriel Moreno (#31); Alejandro Kirk (#32); Otto Lopez (#34); Leonardo Jimenez (#35); Santiago Espinal (#36); and Josh Winkowski (#38). Four players made the list who did not get a vote last season. They are Joey Murray who was a 2019 surprise. Yennsy Diaz who the Jays front office liked better than our voters. Maximo Castillo has still gets no respect and Josh Palacios who has been up and down in his pro career.


Most of the top 30 prospects can be placed for 2020 without much concern. The biggest logjam seems to be starting pitchers at the AAA level. Injuries often claim a starter or two but as of today there will be several starters from 2019 who will be headed to Buffalo to start 2020. The Jays have signed, or traded for, four starting pitchers. If we add Matt Shoemaker we have a rotation of him, Ryu, Roark, Anderson and Yamaguchi. That leaves no spot for the other 2019 starters. Therefore the following could be headed to Buffalo, Trent Thornton, Jacob Waguespack, Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Pannone. That's a full rotation. So where do we put Nate Pearson, Anthony Kay, TJ Zeuch, Thomas Hatch, Yennsy Diaz or Patrick Murphy? Some of these pitchers could convert to the bullpen, but this needs a serious sorting out come the spring.

Lansing could also see some battles for spots. At catcher who gets selected? Philip Clarke and Ryan Sloniger claimed a spot with their 2019 performances. Hagen Danner was there in 2019 and didn't really earn a promotion. Brett Wright will also be wanting a spot. Between second, third and short we have Miguel Hiraldo, Leonardo Jimenez and Jordan Groshans. That means Orelvis Martinez stays in extended spring training. But where do Trevor Schwecke, Ronny Brito, Luis De Los Santos, Tanner Morris, Davis Schneider, Angel Comacho or Addison Barger go? I have thrown the kitchen sink in there and not all of them deserve a trip to Lansing but Schwecke and Morris do. They might be able to squeeze them in.

That's it

That finishes our top 30 coverage for this year. It was later than normal but worth the wiat I hope. We are always trying to understand what minor league coverage works best for minor league fans. If you have any suggestions please let us know. We can always use an extra pair of hands, or fingers, so if you would like to be a contrubutor to our minor league coverage you can send an email to roster at battersbox dot ca or let us know in the comments.

Blue Jays 2019 Prospects: Notes | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
scottt - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 07:36 AM EST (#385116) #
Given the depth, it's hard to put minor league relievers on those lists and the Jays have several interesting ones.

Luciano, Merryweather and Bergen are worth keeping an eye on, although they won't make any lists.

ISLAND BOY - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 08:21 AM EST (#385117) #
Elvis Luciano seems to be the forgotten guy but maybe for good reason. Besides being kept on the major league roster for Rule 5 reasons, he was also injured for quite awhile (maybe conveniently). He did look to have good stuff any time I saw him pitch, and he did have the benefit of being around big league players and coaches for a year so I'm really interested to see how he does this season where ever he lands in the minors.
Jonny German - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 08:23 AM EST (#385118) #
Nice work as usual, Gerry et al.

My biggest discrepancy is on Anthony Alford - #17 on my list, Honourable mention on the Box list. I see Alford as similar to Reese McGuire - a former top-100 prospect who hasn't developed as well as hoped the last couple years.

This past season saw McGuire turn in a 2nd consecutive bad season with the bat in AAA, plus a magical 100 PA in the majors where he looked like Mike Piazza.

Alford on the other hand missed time with injury again, and didn't hit in a handful of sporadic at-bats in Toronto. At AAA his overall line was a ho-hum .259/.343/.411 in 319 PA, a nice 22 of 30 stealing bases and too many strikeouts. But looking a little closer it's apparent that he was awful in April and great after that. To wit: .299/.383/.458 in 243 PA, a respectable 10% walk rate and a bad-but-not-deadly 27% K rate.

Barring new acquisitions before the start of the season, my preference would be to give Alford 50% of the starts in centre field. Unfortunately, given how little opportunity he was given in September, I expect the Jays are more likely to DFA him.
rpriske - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 09:15 AM EST (#385124) #
I also vary on Alford, but in the other direction. I consider him a failed prospect, along the lines of Pompey. He has had multiple shots and the odds of him being a useful player in the future seem awfully low.
Mike Green - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 10:10 AM EST (#385130) #
I have no clue about Anthony Alford.  He turned 25 last July.  He apparently still runs fairly well and could play a decent centerfield.  Steamer projects him at .225/.291/.350, which seems fair given his major and minor league record.  For comparison, Steamer projects Jonathan Davis at .226/.306/.356 which also seems fair if a bit light given his major league xwOBA.   Davis turned 27 last May. 

I'd rather have a Dyson/Davis platoon in centerfield, but Dyson/Alford would be OK too.  At Alford's age, he'll have to earn more time.  I couldn't justify giving him a larger role in light of his performance in 2018 and 2019. 
AWeb - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 10:24 AM EST (#385132) #
Alford has one weird advantage highlighted by the prospects list - the Jays don't have any other CFers pushing through the minors that will push him aside for playing time. He could get a couple of years in AAA, still, at this point, without standing in anyone's way that the org cares about developmentally.
Mike Green - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 10:35 AM EST (#385133) #
Alford has no options left and Davis has two.
uglyone - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 10:42 AM EST (#385134) #
why imo McGuire is more hopeful than Alford:

1. Looks to be a legit elite defensive C, which will always have value. Alford is athletic but nobody seems to think he's elite defensively, and even if he is that doesn't hold as much weight as catcher defense.

2. McGuire has never struck out much, Alford strikes out a whole lot.

3. McGuire is a year younger.

McGuire's power surge in mlb is almost certainly a mirage, but at the same time, the only glaring weakness in his MILB profile was the lack of power, and there's always a chance that power improves with age more than any other skill.
bpoz - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 11:08 AM EST (#385135) #
At some point maybe the 2021 season and 2021 draft there is going to be a reduction in the number of farm teams and leagues. I don't know if this is just posturing. The talk is to also have the draft after the college WS.

This thread is looking at failed or temporarily stalled prospects. They seem to be the ones most affected it seems to me.

Currently 28-32 year olds are getting chances. ie he has a big arm. Some do succeed and make it to the Majors for 1-4 years.

I think Henke made it at 27.

This is a source for talent. It is just which team was lucky enough to have the player when he got his stuff together.
Mike Green - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 11:18 AM EST (#385136) #
Reese McGuire has had 808 PAs in double A, triple A and MLB since 2017 (age 22-24).  During that time frame he has hit 25 home runs and 36 doubles.  If given 400 PAs, I anticipate that he would hit 10-15 home runs and 15-20 doubles.  Steamer projects him to have an IsoP of .144 which is a perfectly respectable number for a fine fielding catcher who does not strike out much.

What is harder to project for him is his LD/pop-up rate, and consequently his batting average.  So far in the major leagues, he has 38 line drives and 1 pop-up.  That's completely inconsistent with his minor league record.  He may be deriving significant benefit from the part-time role.  FWIW, McGuire's career MLB BABIP with league averages in brackets- ground balls .225 (.240), fly balls .095 (.091) and line drives .645 (.616).  Steamer has him at .241, which is a reasonable projection, but I think that he may do better than that if given just the right amount of work (as he has been in his major league time to date).   Last year, he had 105 PAs in calendar days which works out to about 300 PAs over a full season. 
uglyone - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 11:23 AM EST (#385137) #
If he can show that kind of pop in the bigs then he becomes a legit valuable player.

I have my doubts, though, given that his milb iso was approximately half of that steamer projection.
Glevin - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 11:53 AM EST (#385139) #
Agree with Ugly re: McGuire vs. Alford. I am not high on McGuire, I think we see a major regression coming but I do think he's a backup catcher which has some value. Right now, Alford doesn't even look like a 5th OFer.
Nigel - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 12:10 PM EST (#385140) #
I'm with Glevin and UO on McGuire's offense (i.e. not optimistic), but I have a different view of what his value is. A LH hitting, above average defender, who can probably hit at 80-90 RC+ is worth his weight in gold as a 30-40% regular. He's the only LH C prospect in the system and is hugely valuable to the Jays as a consequence. He might give you 1-1.5 WAR in that amount of playing time.
uglyone - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 12:31 PM EST (#385141) #
yeah if he can get up to 90wrc+ then with his defense that's a legit strong starting catcher value.

unfortunately, 90wrc+ is also his career milb mark, so he may struggle to match that in the bigs. not impossible, though.
Mike Green - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 12:36 PM EST (#385142) #
Tyler Flowers had 310 PAs last year.  He hit .229/.319/.413 for an 88 wRC+.  He generated 2.1 fWAR and -0.1 bWAR.  The big thing, of course, is evaluations of defence. 

McGuire so far has pretty good defensive numbers on all accounts, and no one has expressed a different opinion subjectively.  I agree with Nigel about what reasonable expectations for him are.  Obviously, he's not going to hit the way he has in the major leagues so far, but if he is a 90 wRC+ hitter with good defence behind the plate, he's a hell of a "backup" catcher.  Put it this way.  If Jansen gets hurt, and they have to run with a McGuire/Riley Adams platoon for 3 months, they'll probably be fine. 
jerjapan - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 02:09 PM EST (#385143) #
Anyone read the Athletic article on the Jays' apparent trend of "loading up on off-speed specialists"?
I'm curious if people think author Nick Ashbourne is right, and what they think of the strategy?   
Glevin - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 02:36 PM EST (#385144) #
"Anyone read the Athletic article on the Jays' apparent trend of "loading up on off-speed specialists"?"

It's hard to say. I don't really think it's anything intentional. They apparently went hard after Cole and were interested in Wheeler. Chase Anderson throws low to mid-90's. Just think it's just getting the best pitchers they could and a couple of those guys happen to be off-speed guys. I think it could be just a matter of zigging when others are zagging which is another way of saying trying to identify players who are undervalued in the current system.
PeterG - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 02:54 PM EST (#385145) #
I also believe it is unintentional and doubt that it will be much of a factor in overall performance. The trend in baseball is somewhat away from the fastball and Jays are cognizant of it but doubt that they are seeking exclusively change up or curve ball specialists. I think it is positive to have some variety in the style of your starting pitchers.
Mike Green - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 03:54 PM EST (#385146) #
John Lott has a fine interview article with Thomas Hatch over at the Athletic. It seems that the Jay's had him throwing many more changeups in double A after the trade. 
dan gordon - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 06:29 PM EST (#385149) #
I still have hope for Alford, and have him in the teens on my list. I think he's young in terms of the amount of baseball he has actually played, due to the football he used to play, and so he may still have a fair bit of development coming in the next 2-3 years. Those numbers after the slow start last year are compelling.

As I mentioned on the 11-20 thread, I have Luciano on my list - at the #21 position. I have Romano at 28. Was very impressed with his velocity and curveball, and I think he has the potential to be a late inning reliever.

I agree that Robertson is getting close. He has a lot of upside, and it would be great to see him really have a big season.

Another guy I like who hasn't been mentioned is Edisson Gonzalez, obtained from Tampa Bay in the Sogard trade. Last year, in his age 19 season, he had a great K:BB ratio of 77:13 in 62 IP in short season A ball. WHIP of 1.09 and ERA of 2.45. He may have been under the radar due to being a 5'10" RHP. Also, he's from Panama, not exactly a prolific source of mlb players. I imagine he probably starts the year in Lansing, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Dunedin by mid-summer. A good season would put him in next year's top 30.
cascando - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 06:41 PM EST (#385150) #
Any thoughts on Ryan Noda's defence at 1B? He has also spent a significant amount of time in the OF, so presuming he's at least somewhat athletic. A good defensive 1B is underrated, IMO.

I still haven't given up on Noda and am interested to see what he does at AA. The FSL is really tough on hitters. His .790 OPS was 15th in the league (10th among guys with more than 180 PA) and most of the players ahead of him are considered prospects. Noda hit 13HR, which was good for 4th in the league.

The Ks are obviously concerning, but he has a couple of the most valuable skills -- plate discipline and power.
jerjapan - Friday, January 17 2020 @ 07:13 PM EST (#385151) #
Thanks for the responses, Glevin and PeterG ... I wondered too if it was just "getting the best pitchers they could", but Ashbourne noted 'platoon nullification' as one of his 3 considerations for an offspeed-heavy pitching staff,  which may actually be a genuine factor with a 26 man roster. 

Anytime I see someone bucking a trend, I ask if that's simple opportunism, or if they are onto something - it wasn't that long ago that nobody really thought about spin rates, for example. 
pooks137 - Monday, January 20 2020 @ 02:17 PM EST (#385213) #
Alford has one weird advantage highlighted by the prospects list - the Jays don't have any other CFers pushing through the minors that will push him aside for playing time. He could get a couple of years in AAA, still, at this point, without standing in anyone's way that the org cares about developmentally.

A weird quirk I noticed when looking at Alford's minor league stats over the last 2 years is that, even when healthy, he has started in CF in Buffalo less than 50% of time and he's been playing a significant amount of starts in both LF and RF.

In 2018, Alford was mostly losing CF starts to Roemon Fields and later J. Davis when he was promoted from AA. In 2019, Davis and Fields were still getting a significant chunk of the starts in centre.

In context, this helps to rationalize a little bit why Alford played in CF so sparingly in Sept with the Jays. It seems, much like his unrealized in-game power, the Jays don't think his defense in CF matches his raw tools. I'm sure Fields and Davis are excellent CF defenders, and Alford has been hurt a lot, but it's still unusual that they would be playing him so much in the corners if they believed he still had a decent chance of being a MLB everyday CFer

Blue Jays 2019 Prospects: Notes | 23 comments | Create New Account
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