Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
The top 10 features four returnees from 2019's top 10, eight returnees from the top 30 and two players who are new to the system.

10. Manuel Beltre | SS

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021 17 DSL 182
10 3 2 42 33 10 4 .225 .391 .346

Manuel Beltre played his first professional season in 2021 as a 17 year old and it was a roller coaster. Beltre just couldn't get going to start the season, hitting .130 in July. In his first eleven games he went hitless in eight of them. But in August Beltre was a different hitter, he hit early and often and his batting average was .317 for the month with a .985 OPS. He started September well but faded down the stretch.

Not only did Beltre play the season as a 17 year old, he only turned 17 on the 9th of June so he was 17 and one month when the season started. That is about as young as you get in the DSL. The Jays had signed him in January for a reported $2.35M. He was the major international signing of the Jays in 2021.

Beltre is described as an advanced hitter with a great understanding of the game. As of now he has a strong hitting tool with not much power. The power will depend on how he develops over the next few years. In the field Beltre plays shortstop and has a chance to stick there as he moves up through the system. He is listed as 5'11" and 165 pounds, although he could add to those as he matures.

Although Beltre didn't hit as well as he would have liked in 2021, he did show excellent strike zone judgement walking more than he struck out. Beltre walked 42 times and struck out just 33 times. His BABIP was a lowly .258.

At this stage Beltre's rating here is based off scouting reports and his bonus. His 2021 season shouldn't be analysed too much, because, as mentioned above, he was barely 17. Indeed he will still be 17 when he starts his 2022 season, probably in the Florida Complex League.


9. Adam Kloffenstein | RHP

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2021
20 VAN 23 23 101.1 8.5 0.9 5.4 9.5 6.22

Adam Kloffenstein was hoping to build on a strong 2019 campaign but 2021 turned out to be a step back. Toronto's third round pick in 2018 out of Magnolia High School in Texas, Kloffenstein compiled a 2.24 earned run average and his performance was worthy of consideration for the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year award in his first full season in 2019. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound righty—who received a well-above slot signing bonus of $2,450,000 to turn down pitching at Texas Christian University—did not enjoy the same level of success in his return engagement with the Vancouver Canadians in 2021.

Between his two years in a C's uniform, Kloffenstein pitched in the Independent Constellation Energy League in Texas in 2020 after the minor league season was cancelled due to the pandemic. He got in 21-1/3 innings worth of work with 20 strikeouts and 12 walks along with an earned run average of 4.64 ERA. According to FanGraphs, his sinking fastball picked up a little more velocity from the low-90s to 93-94 miles per hour.

Things started promisingly enough for Kloffenstein early last year. He got a taste of spring training action by throwing a shutout inning against the New York Yankees March 14. When he reported to Vancouver, he was the youngest pitcher in the High-A West League to begin 2021 at 20.6 years and the second youngest overall to Seattle Mariners outfield prospect Julio Rodríguez. Kloffenstein had a shutout string of nine innings over three starts to begin the year, culminating with six innings of one-run ball to earn his first win of the year against Spokane May 15. He would strike out a career-high 11 batters in Everett August 10 but his monthly ERAs ranged from 5.70 to 7.27.

Though he led Monty's Mounties in wins and did not miss a start last year, the big problem for Kloffenstein was walks. He issued a free pass to two more batters every nine innings from 2019, translating to a four percent increase in his walk percentage. He did average over a strikeout an inning last year but his strikeout percentage dipped nearly two percent to 23 percent even.

Kloffenstein's ground ball rate was 53 percent ground ball rate but that was down from the 60 percent mark he turned in during his first season with the C's. He was getting hit harder as his line drive rate jumped over three-and-a-half percent to 19.6 percent. His home run rate also went up two-and-a-half percent.

The Magnolia, Texas native was not helped by the BABIP gods in 2021 as he gave up a .306 batting average on balls in play, a 44 point hike from 2019. His ability to strand runners also suffered a drop from nearly 75 percent rate in 2019 to just less than 59 percent this past season.

FanGraphs felt Kloffenstein's four-pitch mix of a fastball, slider, curveball and change ticked down from the general average to above-average grades assigned by scouts.

In an interview with C's Plus Baseball in July, Vancouver catcher Ryan Gold believes the future is bright for Kloffenstein.

“Kloff is an interesting person. He’s obviously loved by everybody in the clubhouse. He is young and you can tell sometimes that he is, but he is mart. He’s a very smart pitcher. I love working with him. I think that he’s really going to be a good pitcher in the next couple of years. Once he starts learning his craft and really honing in on throwing a lot of strikes, knowing that his sinker is going to get a lot of ground balls and just pounding the zone with his stuff, he’s going to be a pretty good pitcher.

I think he’s starting to understand that he doesn’t have to strike out 10 people a game to have a good start. Those ground ball double plays that he can easily roll are going to help him get through five, six or seven innings pretty quickly.

I think he’s starting to realize when he makes a good pitch and he executes it well, good things happen and he doens’t have to try and strike everybody out to have a good outing. He’s going to get his strikeouts but I personally don’t think he’s a strikeout pitcher. I think he’s a weak-contact, ground ball guy, kind of like a T.J. Zeuch almost … He reminds me of lot of him. A big-bodied dude that gets down on the mound and throws a pretty heavy sinker with a good slider off of it. I think once he learns how to work those two together and really start pounding the zone with both of those pitchers, he’s going to find a lot of success.

He’s added a changeup and a pretty good curveball to his repertoire so I mean he’s going to have four pretty decent pitches to work with as a young starter. Once he figures that out, he’s going to have a lot of success for sure.”

King Kloff will more than likely need to show he can reign in the hitters of the High-A West to begin 2022 before getting to Double-A New Hampshire.

Kloffenstein will turn 22 years old on August 25.


8. Samad Taylor | 2B/UT

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021
22
BLU
320 17 1 16 42 110 30 8 .294 .385 .503

The Blue Jays acquired Samad Taylor, along with Thomas Pannone in the 2017 Joe Smith trade. His development has been slow and the pandemic didn’t help at all. He took a leap forward at Double-A in 2021, but it wasn’t enough for him to be added to the 40-man roster perhaps because he turned 23 in July. He was eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft that didn’t happen.

Taylor was a different hitter in 2021. He was selective, but was looking for pitch to drive rather than just put in play. He struck out more but succeeded in hitting the ball hard to all fields. The tradeoff was worth it. He runs very well, and the Fisher Cats had him in the leadoff role most often. He was apparently comfortable in that role hitting .331/.429/.574 there, with 8 homers, 24 walks and 45 strikeouts in 172 PAs. Overall, he stole 30 bases in 38 tries.

Defensively, he had most of his starts at second base and in left-field in 2021, but also spent some time at third base, in centerfield and at shortstop. He played almost exclusively second base for the majority of his minor league career. He is apparently about average or a little below at second base. I haven’t seen him on the pivot, but he was involved in only 13 double plays in 280 innings in 2021. That’s a low rate for him and generally. I wonder if, like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Tim Raines, he’s headed for left field on a permanent basis. He seems to have the offensive profile for it.


7. Leonardo Jimenez | SS

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021
20
DUN
168
8 0 1 51 35 4 1 .315 .517 .381
2021
20
FCL
13
2 0 0 3 1 1 0 .385 .600 .538

It’s pretty clear where Leo Jimenez is, but far from clear where he will end up. Welcome to prospecting.

He grew up in Panama and signed in July 2017 for $825,000. He made his minor league debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2018 where he held his own. He did the same in the Appalachian League in 2019 and then lost a developmental year due to the pandemic. He started 2021 with Dunedin in the “Low A Southeast League” (LASE) on the IL with a hand injury, but returned better than ever with league-leading plate control (a .517 OBP is very pretty at any level). The Jays sent him to the Arizona Fall League where he continued to control the plate against stronger competition, and the club put him on the 40-man to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He is a fine fielding shortstop by reputation but moved to second base in light of Bo Bichette’s stranglehold on the position. At the plate, he is a line-drive contact hitter who will happily take a walk. He has little power at this stage. He has pretty good speed, but he’s not a burner. Can we pause a bit to elaborate on the “contact hitter” part of his profile, as we do need to mentally adjust K rate numbers to reflect the current K heavy context? In the LASE, Jimenez struck out in 14.5% of his PAs; league average was 26.5%. In the AFL, Jimenez struck out in 15.7% of his PAs; league average was 22.7%.

What would success for Jimenez look like? I ran a Statcast search of second basemen who at age 23 had 2 WAR and an IsoP of .100 or less. Aside from obviously unhelpful players (Ryne Sandberg, Eddie Collins), the following post-war names came up: Ken Oberkfell, Red Schoendienst, Julio Cruz, Luis Castillo, Jerry Remy and Chuck Knoblauch. Knoblauch is the most interesting from a baseball perspective. At age 20, Knoblauch was in the Low-A Midwest League where he hit .286/387/.393 with 23 doubles and 2 homers in 317 PAs. He did the same thing in Double-A at age 21 and was the Rookie of the Year at age 22 and was extremely valuable in his early and mid-20s.


6. Otto Lopez | UT

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021
22
NH
278
24 1 3 28 62 7 3 .331 .398 .457
2021
22
BUF
173
8 3 2 13 26 15 1 .289 .347 .405
2021
22
MAJ
1
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000

I have seen one Vancouver Canadians game ever, in 2018. Otto Lopez was the star of the game, and so there you have it, my bias from the first. It doesn’t hurt also that he has a deep connection with Canada from spending four years of his childhood here.

What do we know of Lopez? Well, he can hit. He’s hit .300 or very close to it at every stop since he signed. He has a nice short stroke, and the ball will jump off his bat. It’s easy to imagine him having medium-range power when he is in his mid-20s. He has average plate control, or a little better. It’s not an issue, but not a huge strength either. He has above-average speed and harnessed it for the first time in 2021 in Buffalo, stealing 15 bases in 16 tries in 43 games.

What do we not know about Lopez? The field. When I saw him in playing the infield in 2018, my first thought was iron glove. Interestingly the Jays gave him significant time in center field in 2021 for the first time in his minor league career, although he has a fair bit of time in the corners. I see four futures possible for Lopez - major league center fielder, major league left fielder, 4th outfielder, multi-position utility player. I think the third is the most likely, but hope for one of the first two. The Jays gave him a sip of coffee in 2021, and he might get a cup or four in 2022 depending on how the rest of the off-season goes.


5. Kevin Smith | SS

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021 24 BUF 355 27 4 21 46 97 18 3 .285 .370 .561
2021 24 MAJ 32 0 0 1 3 11 1 0 .094 .194 .188

2021 was a turnaround year for Kevin Smith that culminated with him making his major league debut. Smith had struggled in 2019 after making some swing changes. He worked to fix those issues in 2020 at the minor league camp and came into 2021 trying to get back on track. It wasn't a smooth start, Smith hit just .225 in April but then he found his groove. He hit .326 in June and .317 in July. That earned him a promotion to Toronto and he bounced between Buffalo and Toronto a few times in August and September.

Smith's audition in the major leagues was inauspicious, he hit just .094 in 32 at bats. He also struck out 11 times in those 32 at-bats.

In Buffalo, Smith dominated for much of the season. His line drive rate of 26.1% was one of the best in the Blue Jays system. He did strike out 24% of the time, previewing his strikeouts in the major leagues. But his .931 OPS led the Jays minor leaguers. His isolated power was second only to Orelvis Martinez.

Smith can handle shortstop but that spot is occupied in the major leagues. Smith played 17 games at third base in Buffalo and spent most of his time in Toronto at third as well. There is no reason Smith couldn't handle second base too and become another Santiago Espinal. So both of his potential major league positions are currently occupied. Smith will likely continue to work on his versatility in 2022.

Smith has shown his ability to hit AAA pitching. But major league pitchers are a different challenge and they pitched to the edges of the strike zone and got Smith to swing at pitcher's pitches. Smith will likely return to AAA to start 2022 and will work on being more selective at the plate so that when he does return to the major leagues he can be ready to take those borderline pitches and swing at hitters pitches. Smith has already struggled, made adjustments, and recovered. I would bet on his ability to do the same again.


4. Gunnar Hoglund | RHP

Photo from OleMissSports.com

Year Age Team G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
2021 21 None 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

The Jays selected Gunnar Hoglund with their first-round pick in the 2021 draft. But we haven't seen Hoglund since the draft and so the basis for this ranking is his pre-draft scouting reports. Coming into 2021 Hoglund was projected to be a top ten pick in the draft but he had to have Tommy John surgery this spring. This dropped him out of the top ten and the Jays took him at pick 19. Hoglund signed soon after the draft for $3.2M.

Hoglund is a big, 6'4", right handed pitcher. He primarily throws three pitches, a 92-95 MPH fastball with movement, a slider and a change-up.

Having said that there is not much to add to Baseball America's pre draft description.

Hoglund’s command has long stood out. It made him an immediate contributor at Ole Miss, and it has helped him be one of the best pitchers in the Southeastern Conference in 2020 and 2021. Hoglund’s 2021 season came to a premature end when he blew out his pitching elbow in his May 7 start against Texas A&M. His rehab from Tommy John surgery means he’ll be sidelined until midway through 2022, and it likely ended any chance he had of being a top-10 pick. But Hoglund’s body of work (154 innings in three years at Ole Miss) gives teams a lot of comfort with who Hoglund is—a relatively safe starting pitcher with plus command who has the ability to throw three pitches for strikes no matter what the count. Hoglund came into 2021 viewed as a starter likely to be taken in the back of the first round, but he quickly showed improved stuff. Hoglund had touched 95 mph going back to high school, but he generally sat 90-92. This year, he sat 92-94 mph. His slider got a little harder and sharper as well. Hoglund has shown he can spot his above-average fastball to the arm side or glove side, but he generally aims to keep his fastball away—he’ll work glove side to righthanders and arm side to lefties. He consistently wins at 0-0 in the count, getting ahead which means he can then attack righties with his above-average, 80-84 mph slider, again generally staying away. Lefties have to worry about his low-80s, above-average changeup, but he’s also shown he’s comfortable working in on their hands with his slider. It’s that ability to spot all three pitches and avoid the heart of the plate that is key to his success. Even after his elbow injury, he’s seen as a low-risk surefire starter with a consistent, easy delivery.

Hoglund is unlikely to pitch until June of 2022. I would expect him to start in the FCL or Dunedin to stay close to the club's rehab staff. Once he is confident in his recovery he should move up to Vancouver.


3. Jordan Groshans | SS

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021
21
NH
278
23 0
7
34
61
1
1
.291
.367
.450

On the positive side Jordan Groshans played in AA as a 21 year old and more than held his own, hitting .291 with an OPS of .817. Bo Bichette was a year younger when he played in AA and he had an OPS of .796.

On the negative side Groshans played just 75 games, which was a professional high for him. Until he plays a full season he will carry the injury-prone tag. He missed nine games in May, a week in July and nearly all of September.

After a slow start in May, Groshans improved from there and played better or equivalent each month thereafter. He showed a decent eye with an 11% walk rate and a 19% K rate. His power numbers were also reasonable for a 21 year old. He had 23 doubles and 7 home runs in those 75 games. His ISO power was .158. On a cumulative basis his wOBA was .360 and his wRC+ was 124.

Groshans played most of his games, 43, at shortstop with 21 at third base. Once Austin Martin was traded, he played more shortstop. Scouts are still undecided as to whether Groshans can play short in the major leagues, however the consensus seems to be that he is destined for third base. Baseball America in their top 10 prospect story listed Groshans as having the best infield arm in the system.

You can be picky and note areas where Groshans needs to do better to be a top prospect. But he played at 21 in AA and will play at 22 in AAA and he still has development time. If he could just stay on the field more he could be pushing for the Blue Jays number one prospect spot.

Groshans will likely start 2022 in Buffalo and could see the majors by the end of the year of he can continue to improve and play a full season. There are two priorities for Groshans in 2022. First is to stay healthy and play in at least 130 games. The second is to develop more power. If Groshans is to be a major league third baseman he needs more power than he has shown. I assume he is lifting a lot of weights this off season.


2. Orelvis Martinez | SS

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021
19
DUN
283
22 2
19
33
85
4
1
.279
.369
.572
2021
19
VAN
112
4 0
9
10
28
0
1
.214
.282
.491

When it comes to power-hitting prospects, Orelvis Martinez is the Bossa Nova Baby of the Toronto Blue Jays system. Signed on the Fourth of July in 2018 as a 16 year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Martinez got a healthy $3.51 million bonus from the Jays. Scouts at the time compared him to Adrian Beltre.

Martinez put together a strong first professional season in 2019 at the Gulf Coast League. He racked up 20 extra-base hits, including seven home runs, and posted a .901 on-base percentage in just 40 games. That earned Martinez top billing as the number one prospect in the Gulf Coast League by Baseball America and was named a GCL Post-Season All-Star.

After attending the Jays alternate training camp in 2020 due to the pandemic, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound Martinez provided a little less conservation and a little more action with his right-handed bat at Low-A Dunedin in 2021. He started the first two months with OPS marks of .772 and .802 before showing a little more bite and a little more spark with a 1.218 total in July thanks to 13 homers. That led to back-to-back Southeast League Player of the Week awards and the league's Player of the Month honours.

Early August saw Martinez earn a promotion to High-A Vancouver where he encountered his first prolonged slump as a professional. He hit a home run in his Canadians debut against Hillsboro August 3 before all this aggravation by High-A West pitchers was not providing satisfaction as Martinez had a .158 batting average after August 24.

However, Martinez did not procrastinate any longer as he began to articulate his power with five home runs in his last nine games with Monty's Mounties.

FanGraphs notes that Martinez had trouble laying off of breaking pitches out of the strike zone and was very pull-happy. His eight percent walk rate with Vancouver was in the ballpark of his 10 percent total but his strikeout rate climbed more than seven percent from 2019 to 25 percent in 2021.

Right now, it's a power-over-average profile for Martinez as scouting grades project plus power but a tad below average in the BA department. Scouts praise him for his advanced bat-to-ball skills and his athletic build.

Defensively, Martinez is said to have enough arm to stay at short but not the range and foot speed. He made almost as many errors at the six-spot in his short time with Vancouver as he did in Dunedin. Martinez committed nine errors at short in 19 starts with Vancouver (compared to 11 miscues in 46 starts with Dunedin) so the struggles with the bat appeared to carry over to the diamond. Scouts believe he is more suited to third base. In a small sample size, Martinez played errorless defence in his half-dozen starts at the hot corner with Vancouver as he handled all eight chances flawlessly.

Martinez may start the 2022 campaign in Vancouver for real this time if the pandemic cooperates and looks to drift through like a summer breeze on the way to Double-A New Hampshire. He will turn 21 years old November 19.


1. Gabriel Moreno | C

Photo from MiLB.com

Year Age Team AB 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2021
21
NH
126
9 1 8 14 22 1 2 .373 .441 .651
2021
21
BUF
9
0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .111 .200 .111
2021
21
FCL
4
1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .750 .750 1.000

If you go by what Baseball America's Josh Norris is saying, the Toronto Blue Jays have a future All-Star on their hands in Gabriel Moreno. Norris mentioned in BA's Arizona Fall League Preview podcast that the rave reviews he got from scouts were the best reviews he has gotten about a prospect in his eight years at the publication. Norris considers Moreno to be a better prospect than Orioles super prospect Adley Rutschman, considered by many to be the to prospect in baseball. BA has rated Moreno as a 65 prospect on the 20-80 scouting scale, rating him as a potential perennial All-Star.

Signed for just a $25,000 bonus in 2016, Moreno has made leaps and bounds from his rookie 2017 campaign in the Dominican Summer League when he fell three points shy of slugging .300. He began to find his footing in 2018 when he batted. 413 in 101 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League and that led to a promotion to Bluefield where he batted. 279 in 66 trips to the plate.

The arrow continued to point up for Moreno in 2019 when he slugged .485 in 82 games thanks to 34 extra-base hits that included 12 home runs. He also added seven stolen bases and was caught just once. Despite COVID-19 cancelling minor league baseball in 2020, Moreno continued to shine at the team's alternate training site.

The next stop for Moreno was Double-A New Hampshire and he racked up 18 extra-base hits and 82 total bases in 32 games before being sidelined by a broken thumb on a hit by a pitch in June. Rated the fifth-best prospect in the Double-A Northeast League by Baseball America, Moreno did return to action in September to get a cup of coffee at Triple-A Buffalo and picked ujp his first base hit with the Herd.

Moreno shook off the rust in the Arizona Fall League where he had a .904 OPS thanks to 11 doubles, a home run and 18 RBI. Baseball America notes the Moreno showed he could handle velocity by doubling on a 97-mile per hour fastball and worked the count by seeing 26 pitches over five at-bats during one game. He's back home in Venezuela playing winter ball in Lara and had an OBP nearing .400 after 18 games there. He slugged .508 during his winter ball stint there in 2020.

One of Moreno's strengths is his ability to make contact which is getting louder and louder. He struck out just over 15 percent of the time with New Hampshire and continued to improve his batting eye by working a walk nearly 10 percent of the time. Baseball America believes Moreno will hit for a high average with the potential to hit around 20 home runs by assigning a 70-grade on his hitting ability and a 50-grade for power.

Behind the plate, Moreno is considered to be a strong defender as he threw out 44 percent of potential base stealers at Double-A and nailed runners at a 47 percent clip in the AFL. He allowed just one passed ball and that came during a rehab stint at the Florida Complex League but four did get by him during the Fall League. His athleticism was put to the test by getting a start at third base with New Hampshire and two more at the hot corner during the AFL.

Though one American League scout told Baseball America that Moreno would have been the Jays regular catcher if not for his thumb injury, it appears Moreno will get more seasoning with Triple-A Buffalo before getting the call to the bigs. However, a trade involving current catchers Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk or Reese McGuire and a strong spring performance by Moreno could push up the timeline.

Moreno will turn 22 on Valentine's Day.


And that's it, we hope you enjoyed it. Big thanks to #2JBrumfield and Mike Green for being part of the top 30 team.

Blue Jays 2021 Top Prospects: 10 - 1 | 47 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 07:30 AM EST (#410380) #
Thanks to all three of you guys for writing these, a fun distraction in the darkness of a pandemic January. 
smyttysmullet94 - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 08:35 AM EST (#410381) #
Thank you very much for all of your hard work in putting this informative series together.
mathesond - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 08:40 AM EST (#410382) #
Seconded. And just a nit-pick here, but something looks off about the number of K's Kevin Smith had at the major league level.
Gerry - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 09:19 AM EST (#410383) #
Fixed, thanks.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 09:23 AM EST (#410384) #
I was in a supporting role here.  Thanks to Gerry and #2JB for inviting me.  I also took no part in the voting, but find myself in agreement with almost all of the results.

Fangraphs said about Samad Taylor in ranking him 36th among Blue Jay prospects:

"Taylor’s home run and steal totals from last season have undoubtedly made him a fashionable sleeper in statline-scouting fantasy circles. We’d caution against taking his batting line at face value. His measurable power is much closer to Mallex Smith/Richie Martin territory, which means he simply isn’t strong enough at present to replicate his 2021 numbers in a big league environment. In that context, his swing decisions loom as a big concern. He’s both passive and prone to swinging and missing, a combination that works among players with big pop but often proves fatal for anyone else"

I watched a fair bit of video of Taylor, and saw increased strength in the lower body- he did hit home runs to centerfield in New Hampshire.  He looked nothing like Mallex Smith to me.  Here's some video (and audio) from Prospects Live; the sound speaks for itself.  I don't have exit velocities, but I'd guess that he was in the 105-110 range.  I have to say that I can't imagine thinking that he's an average defensive second baseman (as Fangraphs does) and that he's also behind a bunch of middle relievers among Blue Jay prospects. 
Gerry - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 09:56 AM EST (#410386) #
Kevin Goldstein has a podcast, Chin Music. In the latest episode he and Eric Longenhagen discussed some of the Blue Jays prospects. The interesting part was their discussion of why they ranked Leonardo Jimenez above Jordan Groshans. They said that Groshans highest exit velocity this season was 103 mph, low for a future third baseman who is expected to produce power.
John Northey - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 10:16 AM EST (#410387) #
The past top 10's with links to many players pages (gets tedious adding those so I expand each year a bit more)...
Always fun to look back.  Boy some of those top 10's were weak - Zach Stewart #1 and Moises Sierra #2 in 2009 catches my eye quickly as a very bad year.  And Travis Snider will always be a reminder of how hype doesn't always become ML talent.
John Northey - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 10:31 AM EST (#410389) #
So our top 6 were in all 3 lists i have (BA/FG/MLB), the next 4 didn't make the BA top 10 (Samad Taylor #17 MLB, #36 FG), Manuel Beltre did make all 3 lists. Adam Kloffenstein and Leo Jimenez are the others who were not on the BA list.

As always, fun to read these lists - as I mentioned earlier I love digging into numbers but feel lists like these need people who care deeply about the minors - I used to year ago (still have team baseball card sets from the 80's Jays teams including the first minor league cards for Carlos Delgado & Jeff Kent).  But today I just enjoy these write ups and looking for things that jump out at me.  Like how many SS's the Jays have in their top 10 - a good thing as they can be shifted anywhere on the diamond pretty much (other than P and C of course). 

Moreno, Groshans, Smith, Lopez, Taylor all could reach this year with Moreno and Groshans having the biggest potential impact imo while Smith & Lopez each could grab a utility role from day one potentially or even take over at 3B if they really impress in spring (doubt they can impress to that degree though). 
bpoz - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 11:38 AM EST (#410394) #
Moreno, Martinez and Groshans can be ML impact players soon. Moreno by 2022. Groshans and Martinez starting 2024. Having 3 is very encouraging.

IMO what we really need is another impact starting pitcher. Stieb, Key, Guzman and others were impact SPs basically as soon as they were promoted. Manoah is the latest following Stroman. Hope Pearson gets it going in 2022.

We do have some time on our side with Manoah, Berrios, Gausman and Ryu all capable of #2 and #1 in a good year. Trading for Alcantara or another of Miami's very good and currently ready SPs was a good idea. I expect that we have to wait for someone except Pearson who is ready now.

I could not see anyone else being ready in 2022. Maybe 2023 or 2024.

The chat about Marcum was interesting. Maybe Stripling can give us that in 2022.

My hope (a longshot) is L Quinones (my #8). He moved very fast.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 12:29 PM EST (#410395) #
Thanks to everybody who contributed to the prospect rankings.

What strikes me is the lack of pure outfield prospects, although a few infielders may end up there. In fact, I can't think of the last successful outfielder that was drafted and came up through the Jays system.
Gerry - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 01:45 PM EST (#410396) #
Pillar?
John Northey - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 01:52 PM EST (#410397) #
I'd guess the last OF to make it here was Kevin Pillar, 32nd round pick in 2011, reached in 2013 (wow, very fast for a 32nd rounder), full time ML'er in 2015 and a regular ever since. Even got a few MVP votes in 2019.

The 2012 draft got Alford but he has been a flop and Ian Parmley (3 PA in majors), Jonathan Davis in 2013 (4th OF), Lane Thomas in 2014, 2015 no hitter has reached from, 2016 Josh Palacios is the only OF to reach, 2017 no OF reached, 2018 only Nick Allgeyer (a P) has reached, 2019 is only Manoah. 2020/21 only 3 OF'ers drafted by the Jays with no one reaching yet.

Yeah - the OF hasn't been a core for the Jays outside of IFA's like Gurriel signed in 2016, reached in 2018, first played the OF in 2019. Might serve the Jays well to put an all-out effort to sign Seiya Suzuki whenever signings are allowed again - put him in RF, shuffle Gurriel/Hernandez/Grichuk with 1 or 2 being traded.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 02:08 PM EST (#410398) #
Centerfield is a different thing than one of the corners.  George Springer has never started 80 games in centerfield in a season in his career, and you wouldn't want to bet on him doing that from age 32 to 36.  Which means that he too will be spending more time in a corner OF role along with the other players they already have.  So there is need in CF, and much less need in the corners.
92-93 - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 02:13 PM EST (#410399) #
If Leo Jimenez truly "is a fine fielding shortstop by reputation" he should not have "moved to second base in light of Bo Bichette’s stranglehold on the position".
Mike Green - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 02:30 PM EST (#410400) #
Prospects live had this scouting report on Jimenez.  According to PL, he covers an above-average amount of ground and has a strong arm. 
John Northey - Thursday, January 13 2022 @ 05:30 PM EST (#410404) #
CF is interesting - right now the backup is Grichuk, but I can't imagine the Jays want him starting 80 games in CF. Mallex Smith would be a good backup for defense/speed but no way he'd start unless he finds his 2018 form (773 OPS). I suspect given his rep that Suzuki could cover CF if needed (extremely good rep in RF) but again, not 80 games worth. I'm expecting at this point that Biggio will get a TON of reps in CF whenever spring happens to see if he can handle it. If he can then he becomes the backup there and Espinal gets more time at 2B (hoping a 3B is brought in somehow, someway). In AAA only Logan Warmoth and Forrest Wall got significant (over 10 games) playing time in CF, in AA Chavez Young, Austin Martin, Otto Lopez (17 games), and Reggie Pruitt. After hitting 315/379/437 (22-4 SB-CS) between AA/AAA Lopez has a shot but he is seen more as a 2B than a CF - he has 20+ games in the minors at each of 2B/SS/3B/CF/LF. So he really fits the Jays philosophy of swiss army knife players. He and Biggio could platoon at 2B or CF if needed (bats right).

Right now I suspect the Jays want to get another OF, then trade Gurriel as part of a package to get more pitching or a 3B (his cheap contract makes him attractive to all teams). Easier to get a solid OF (with the Jays budget) than a 3B right now. And we all know Cleveland (Ramirez) and Oakland (Chapman) aren't spending free agent money. Do that and then Biggio/Lopez could be the backups in CF along with Grichuk. All depending on how those guys look out there as far as the Jays evaluators are concerned. Heck, Hernandez was used there a lot not long ago but that might make the pitcher revolt.
pooks137 - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 01:48 AM EST (#410405) #
Looks like George Springer never started more than 80 games in CF because Houston had a defensively superior Jake Marisnick pushing him down the defensive spectrum for his entire tenure.

Not that I disagree that you can't just pencil Springer into CF for 130 games as he is on the wrong side of 30.

But Houston deciding to play Marisnick as a defensive specialist as an everyday player doesn't really reflect on Springer's ability to man CF everyday himself.
scottt - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 10:25 AM EST (#410408) #
Bo has a good range, but he doesn't set himself well to throw.
What he does well is throwing on the run, so that pretty much kill any possibility of him moving to 2nd or 3rd base.

scottt - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 10:28 AM EST (#410409) #
They signed Springer to play center.
Grichuk is the 4th outfielder. He'll probably play a fair amount of center field this year again.


scottt - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 10:43 AM EST (#410410) #
The vast majority of trade involve veterans on the end of their contract being traded for prospects.
That's what the Rays do.
On paper, a team could trade from a surplus area to boost an area of need.
That's difficult to orchestrate at the best of time and whenever there is a CBA in place, I expect a frenzy.

I don't really want to see Biggio and Lopez missing balls in CF.


John Northey - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 12:24 PM EST (#410412) #
Signing someone for a certain job and then leaving them at it regardless of health isn't smart. Springer has maxed out at 84 games in CF (2017), 148 in the OF (mostly RF) 2016. Last year with massive injury issues he played 40 in CF, 38 at DH, 4 in RF (all late in the game, not starting in RF). I expect more CF in 2022 but lots of DH time still even if he prefers the field. So expect 100-120 in CF I'd say with 40 at DH roughly. That leaves 42-62 games in CF to be covered. Grichuk right now would be the guy for that, followed by Mallex Smith, then Biggio and others. I'd really like the Jays to sign Seiya Suzuki as he appears to be strong on defense and 3 of the past 4 years has had a 1000+ OPS, 900+ the last 6 years (age 21-26). A 5-6 year deal for $60-75 million if scouts say he can bring most of that over here is well worth it I suspect. Worst case imo is he'd be a stronger 4th OF choice than Grichuk and he got a deal like that. Plus the Yankees and Red Sox both want him so getting him before they do would be a very good thing. No cost in IFA money or draft picks.
scottt - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 02:01 PM EST (#410414) #
I don't know that health has any impact.  Neither he nor the Jays want him to be the regular DH.
Is playing CF more injurious to his health than playing a corner spot? I don't think so.

I don't know if Suzuki is a center fielder. It's probably highly optimistic to ask a guy to adjust to a higher league at a harder position. He wouldn't be a great match for the Yankees who have Judge and Gallo and it's kinda silly to try to block Boston from signing a decent right bat for left field. That's pretty easy to find. Imagine Castellanos in that ballpark.
I'm hoping the Jays spend on a left bat.

Dr B - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 04:34 PM EST (#410418) #
Adam Kloffensteins prospect status must surely be dropping. The big red flag is the walks. 4.6 BB/9 in 3 seasons with no improvement, isn't going to get it done. He's still only 21 though.
John Northey - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 05:18 PM EST (#410420) #
As a reminder on wildness - Juan Guzman, first 4 seasons (up through age 21) his best BB/9 was 5.4, the rest in the 6's. Then at 22 he had 11.9 BB/9 vs 10.3 K/9, 23 his best year to that point with 4.6 BB/9, then 24 5.6 before being called up out of desperation on the Jays part I think - and he became their ace for the rest of 1991, leading them to the playoffs despite a 4.3 BB/9 rate. Only 3 times did he walk under 4 per 9 IP in the majors, one of those being the year he won the ERA title (but not a single Cy Young vote - the year Hentgen won it).

Pitchers can be very wild and survive but they need to be able to get the outs when needed. Kloffenstein hasn't shown that yet, but remember, pitchers can suddenly develop too. The old TINSTAAPP applies, and it applies in reverse too - everyone with a live arm is a pitching prospect, even if they aren't on the mound (see Hagen Danner for example #28 as a pitcher now, whereas he was #26 as a catcher in 2019).
clark - Sunday, January 16 2022 @ 10:44 AM EST (#410431) #
Great job fitting in the Elvis lyrics into the Orelvis write up. Cracked me up.
scottt - Sunday, January 16 2022 @ 06:58 PM EST (#410435) #
Ricky Romero is a good example of how hard it is to predict pitchers.
Drafted in the first round, struggled in the minors, was promoted out of desperation, pitched really well for a few years and then totally lost the plate once he was signed to an extension.

Jonny German - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 03:07 AM EST (#410437) #
Go back to May of 2012 and put Romero on the DL rather than have him pitch through increasing soreness in his knees and his career might have played out very very differently. Major failure of Blue Jay management that he made 32 starts that year.
Mike Green - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 08:43 AM EST (#410438) #
My memory is pretty lousy, Jonny.  Did anyone know about Romero's knee symptoms before the end of the 2012 year?  There's a contemporaneous report that he injured his knee pitching to Andruw Jones in September.  I don't remember anyone talking about it here before that but again I don't trust my memory. 

Romero started off 2012 very well- in his first 6 starts, he was 4-0 with a 3.62 ERA in 42 innings with 16 walks and 29 strikeouts.  From there, he had major control issues but held it together until June 22.  The June 27 start where he walked 6 batters and struck out 1 (and this was the 3rd such start in 6 weeks) ought to have been the catalyst for the organization, regardless what he was telling them, to dig deeper. 

From my perspective, one of the issues with "ace" mythology is that it can cause teams to overlook evidence of underlying causes of ineffectiveness.  Romero was the club's ace at the time and had just signed a big contract, and may have been underplaying his symptoms.  That doesn't excuse management from probing deeper and acting when the manifest ineffectiveness continues for a prolonged period.


Gerry - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 09:18 AM EST (#410449) #
BA has published their top 100 prospects and the Jays have three players listed.

Gabriel Moreno is at #7
Nate Pearson is #62
Orelvis Martinez is #75
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 09:53 AM EST (#410450) #
It's interesting that Groshans didn't make BA's top 100.  My major concern about both Moreno and Groshans is durability.  Neither has played 85 games in a season yet-  Groshans turned 22 in November and Moreno will do so on Valentine's Day.  In Moreno's case, the injuries have been typical for a catcher.

For the first time in Groshans' career, I am higher on him than many prospect evaluators.  I think the injuries have modestly diminished his power, but his swing looks so much better now than when he was drafted and I believe that the power will come if he can stay healthy for a season. 

bpoz - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 10:11 AM EST (#410451) #
I suppose A Rutschman is the only C ahead of Moreno. Very impressive for Moreno.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 10:12 AM EST (#410452) #
Ouch. Just 3? Jordan Groshans fell off the list (was #34 last year), SWR & Martin were traded, Kirk graduated, Pearson dropped from #14 to #62 (surprised he was still qualified for the BA list).
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 10:44 AM EST (#410453) #
Three's not so bad though, really. They've graduated some guys recently (which is what it's all about, after all) and the average team would be expected to have 100/3 = 3.33 players only.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 10:45 AM EST (#410454) #
And of course I meant 100 divided by 30
92-93 - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 10:48 AM EST (#410455) #
It's interesting to see that the industry still values Pearson as high as an Orelvis Martinez type. I'm not much of a prospect guy, but my sense from this site would've been that most would trade Pearson for Orelvis in a heartbeat. Bodes well for the Jays chances of acquiring another 2B/3B/SP this winter.
scottt - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 11:23 AM EST (#410456) #
Good starting pitching is hard to find.
The Jays have lots of depth in the infield and it might not be a bad idea to wait for the trade deadline to look for another pitcher. This way they can give Pearson/Logue/Francis/Kay/Hatch some opportunity. Keep in mind that any pitcher can have a good April--or whatever the first month of the season will be--when the hitters are still rusty, that players on the reserve roster who never play a game are wasting valuable space and that Thornton was a league average pitcher who made 29 starts with a 94 ERA+ in 2019.

There should be at least one more impact acquisition before the start of the season, but I'm hoping it's a left bat.

I'd be happy if Hernandez was extended also.
Right now, Guerrero might be up to topping the largest contract to a Dominican player. I don't mind that. I like to see him motivated.
As for Bichette, it wouldn't be the saddest thing to watch him walk if they have a better replacement ready to take over.

John Northey - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 01:41 PM EST (#410457) #
For pitching help I figure the Jays will keep the door open to trades but only if the deal is favorable (IE: a guy they really want at a price that feels like a sale). I could see them chasing Carlos Rodon as he has no QO and might go for a one or two year deal. Given how amazing he pitched last year a high dollar one year deal isn't a bad idea as then if there is any compensation for losing a FA next winter (no idea what the rules will be at this point) the Jays could gain a draft pick from signing him for a year, assuming he pitches well enough to be worth $20+ mil after 2022. He has Boras as his agent so you know he isn't going to be cheap but the Jays can afford it on a short term deal. And if he has injury issues then there are the backups (current #5's) in Pearson, Hatch, and Stripling. The old rule is there is no such thing as a terrible one year deal - might be a good time to test that theory. Worked well last winter with both Ray & Semien, maybe lightning can strike again. Otherwise they'll go with those 3 (Pearson/Hatch/Stripling) and sign a AAAA guy or two as filler just in case. I could see the Jays spending $10 mil on a flyer too such as Greinke or Happ or Yusei Kikuchi. Don't see them signing a guy who is out for the first half though like Matt Boyd (injured and likely to miss most of 2022).

More likely for blowing money/prospects is getting someone for 3B. Matt Chapman has been my best bet all winter (Ramirez too expensive I figure), especially since Seager retired. Lots of others out there I'm sure who are interesting but few who are both available and established. Also thinking the Jays will upgrade the OF somehow as projection systems show Hernandez and Gurriel as sub 2 WAR guys (I don't buy it, but my career isn't on the line if they do or don't). Thus why I think the Jays will do a full push on Seiya Suzuki (strong defense and offense in RF - allowing Hernandez to move to LF and making Gurriel available in trade plus only costs cash, not draft picks or prospects).
scottt - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 02:56 PM EST (#410458) #
It's unlikely that there will be no competition for losing free agents.
The penalties for signing restricted free agents are probably gone tough.

Kirby Yates was a bad 1-year contract.

I expect Suzuki to sign with the Giants. Boston will probably make a strong push as they are loaded with left bats.
Hernandez has been a sub-2 WAR player every year except last year. He was worth 3.9 bWAR last year and spent 2 weeks on the covid list. He was worth 1.4 bWAR the year before in just 50 games.
He has a good arm, so he's not any better in LF than in RF.

John Northey - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 04:29 PM EST (#410459) #
The good thing about Yates is that it was just 1 year so the Jays are done with him quickly and his only cost was that one years dollars (left over at the end of the winter - signed January 20th, with Chatwood the next day, 2 days later Springer, then Semien a week later). That sub $10 mil total between Yates & Chatwood I doubt made one iota of difference on the Jays other signings or potential ones.

Suzuki will probably go to the Giants or another west coast team as Japanese players tend to go there just to save 3 hours or so on a flight (significant when you want your family to visit or to visit them). Still would be nice for the Jays to grab him - $60 mil over 5 years might be enough to get it done.

Teoscar in LF had a UZR/150 of -2.2 last year, -6.0 lifetime, in RF +1.7 last year, -3.3 lifetime. Surprised he is visibly worse in LF. Normally LF is easier to play than RF. Gurriel in LF last year was -0.5 vs career +0.2. I'm sure the Jays would rather keep Gurriel over Hernandez if they have to pick, and would keep both over Grichuk (by far the best fielder of the 3, LF 8.7 lifetime (no innings there in 2021), 27.6 in RF (6.6 lifetime), -6.2 in CF -3.6 lifetime. Fits the eye test I'd say. If Grichuk could just hit like he often does for a month but over a full season he'd be very valuable - if. Steamer puts Grichuk at 1.0 fWAR, Gurriel at 1.5, Hernandez 1.8 for what it is worth.
scottt - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 06:44 PM EST (#410460) #
I expect them to keep the roster stable to avoid getting into Padres/Mets clubhouse issues.

Yates didn't break the bank, but they never really replaced him. 
Chatwood  might have been OK if they had not needed him in high leverage.

Too bad we didn't make it to the Olympics.
That would have been something to watch.

bpoz - Wednesday, January 19 2022 @ 07:06 PM EST (#410461) #
I expect the Jays to add 1-3 relievers.
scottt - Thursday, January 20 2022 @ 10:41 AM EST (#410462) #
The pen is strengthened by the rotation.
There is a 13 pitcher limit and at least one must have options.

Romano
Garcia
Mayza
Cimber
Richards
Borucki (out of options)
Stripling

Only 1 room left for one optional guy and possibly Phelps.
Could go to
Merryweather
Castro
Snead
Saucedo
Phelps
Gage
Danner
Spraker
Anderson
etc...

I'd go with Merryweather and Borucki until they get hurt or perform poorly as middle relievers.

bpoz - Thursday, January 20 2022 @ 10:53 AM EST (#410463) #
38 on the 40 man roster. 22 pitchers I believe. A few will end up on the 60 day DL. Others DFA'd and either lost or pass waivers. Shaun Anderson passed waivers and has a chance to be promoted if he pitches well. I expect a lot of movement. There will be many failures but a few successes.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 20 2022 @ 01:38 PM EST (#410465) #
BP published its top 101 today. Gabriel Moreno is 23rd, Jordan Groshans 60th, Orelvis Martinez 62nd and Nate Pearson 72nd. 

In other news, the Athletic has a discussion between Kaitlyn McGrath and A's writer Melissa Lockard on the potential prospect cost for Matt Chapman and Sean Manaea.  McGrath suggested Groshans, Kirk, Tiedemann and Smith.  Lockard suggested in response Groshans, Smith, Otto Lopez, Bowden Francis and Logue.  I guess Oakland's management may not want another stout catcher. 
scottt - Thursday, January 20 2022 @ 04:55 PM EST (#410466) #
This is not Donaldson. This is a gold glove with an average  bat.
I'd expect his numbers to take a dive in the AL East, especially now that the Orioles will have an outfield who favors left bats, just like the Yankees.
This is a guy on the decline who commands a relatively high salary over the next 2 years
He'd hit 8th? 250 Ks seems possible.

Gerry - Friday, January 21 2022 @ 11:39 AM EST (#410477) #
Scott Mitchell from TSN, who does a good job with prospect analysis, will be publishing his top 50 next week in stages from Monday to Friday.
scottt - Saturday, January 22 2022 @ 09:31 AM EST (#410485) #
Should be interesting.
Blue Jays 2021 Top Prospects: 10 - 1 | 47 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.