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The Blue Jays had a lot of players who could have made the back end of the top 30 list. It was hard to pick who should be in the top 30 and who just missed. So here are the 31's, all of whom are worth watching in 2022.

Bowden Francis

Francis was number 31 on our list. At this stage Francis is a tweener, he could be a back end major league starter or be limited to AAA. Francis came to the Jays in the Rowdy Tellez trade. In a couple of ways Francis pitched well. In Buffalo he allowed 56 hits in 73 innings and struck out 71. But....he walked 31, or almost one every two innings, and he allowed 16 home runs, or just under two per nine innings.

Francis has been a little homer prone in his career. His best job at avoiding the long ball came at Nashville, just before he was traded. Like Zack Logue, who is in the top 30, Francis has fringy stuff, and needs pinpoint control to avoid being hit around. That control will determine how successful he is in the major leagues.

Hayden Juenger

Juenger was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 draft by the Jays. Juenger pitched in 11 games for Vancouver and was excellent. In 20 innings he had a WHIP of .75 and a K9 of 15.3. Juenger could easily start 2022 in New Hampshire.

Juenger is still just 21 and has a reliever profile. Juenger pitches from a lower arm angle and has a big slider with late movement. Because of his reliever profile Juenger was left off the top 30 but he could be the first 2022 draftee to make the big leagues.

Maximo Castillo

Castillo was dropped off the 2019 top 30 list. Castillo had a decent year in AA. He made 20 starts and had a 1.4 WHIP and a 7.9 K9. Neither of those numbers suggest he will be good enough for the major leagues.

Castillo's splits versus lefties and righties are similar which doesn't inspire confidence that he could survive as a reliever.

Dasan Brown

Brown, from Oakville, is another who dropped off the top 30. There are five tools in baseball but the hit tool matters more than the others and that where Brown falls short. He hit .222 in the complex league this year and struck out in 33% of his plate appearances. He also didn't show any improvement from month to month this season.

Brown played this year as a 19 year old, and was probably hurt by the 2020 lockout. In 2022 he will play as a 20 year old and, despite his struggles, he is described as having the tools necessary to succeed. But he will need to show progression in 2022 to get back on a top 30 list.

Will Robertson

Robertson was a fourth round pick in 2019 and hit well in that year. But injuries caused him to miss much of the first half of 2021. When he returned he hit .361 in nine games in July for Vancouver. But then he tailed away through the end of the season. Chalk 2021 up as a missed opportunity and look for a rebound in 2022.

Addison Barger

Barger hit the third most home runs in the system in 2021, behind Kevin Smith and Orelvis Martinez. He also walked in almost 10% of his at-bats while playing all around the infield, short, second, third and first. So what's not to like? How about a 33% K%?

For Dunedin Barger hit .249, had an OBP of .334 and a slugging percentage of .492. It's a selective approach but he swings for the fences. Barger had a 39% fly ball result on batted balls but also popped up in the infield 27% of the time. All of those indicate an uppercut, home run swing.

Barger did get 5 games in Vancouver to end the season and he will likely start there in 2022. But the strikeout rate is a worry as the pitchers get better.

Kyle Johnston

Johnston came over to the Jays in the Daniel Hudson trade. He began the season starting in New Hampshire but in June the Jays switched him to the bullpen and his results were excellent. He was promoted to Buffalo in August and pitched in 14 games in relief for the Bisons. In those games he held hitters to a .169 batting average and only walked three in 16.2 innings for a 0.75 WHIP. He had 14 strikeouts in those 16 innings suggesting that his "stuff" was less than outstanding. But he was keeping hitters off base.

Johnston was not added to the 40 man roster but he is listed here as he could get a relief call from the Jays in 2022.

Dahian Santos

Santos is an 18 year old pitcher from Venezuela. Santos had a weird July to start his season in the FCL. In 18.2 innings he allowed 15 hits and walked three for 18 baserunners. 13 of them scored leading to a 5.30 ERA for the month. August was much better, a 2.13 ERA. Santos earned a promotion to Dunedin for two end of the year starts. One of them was against a strong Tampa team that hit him around a bit but the experience set him up to start there in 2022.

Fangraphs notes his mid 90's fastball and out a 55 grade on his slider. That's a good base to develop off. Santos is listed at 5'11" so he may end up in relief.

Gabriel Martinez

The FCL Jays had a strong hitting lineup in 2021. The player most mentioned by scouts was Gabriel Martinez, a 19 year old outfielder from Venezuela. He was 18 for half the season. Martinez hit .330 in the FCL and walked more than he struckout, giving him a .448 OBP. He didn't show much power, just 8 doubles but he should get stronger. Martinez was given three games in Dunedin at the end of the season, and hit .333 there. Martinez should stay in Dunedin to start 2022 and will look to add some power to a good bat.

Nick Frasso

Frasso was the Jays fourth round pick in 2020. Frasso might have been nursing a sore elbow because he was treated gingerly by the Jays this spring. He didn't pitch until May 20th and then went two innings. He threw two more innings on May 27th and one on June 3rd and that was it. Frasso was headed for Tommy John surgery. He did finish the season with a zero ERA and eight strikeouts so there's that. Frasso might not be back in 2021 but if he could recover by mid August he could get a shot to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.

Kendry Rojas

Rojas is a 18 year old Cuban pitcher who pitched in the FCL in 2021. Rojas only threw 23.2 innings but limited hitters to 5.3 hits per nine innings and struck out 14.8 per nine. At this stage Fangraphs describes Rojas as an average velocity pitcher who throws a fastball and a curveball with an over the top delivery. As Rojas matures he should add velocity to his fastball and I am sure the Jays have him working on a change up.

Graham Spraker

Spraker spent most of the year in New Hampshire, got a cup of coffee in Buffalo but made a name for himself in the Fall League. Spraker is 26 and has been in the system since 2017. His stats in New Hampshire were decent, good hits allowed, lots of strikeouts but 23 walks in 42 innings. In the AFL he walked just two in 11 innings, did something change or was it a small sample size?

In 2020 Spraker was tasked by the Jays to develop a cutter to go with his sinker. He did get a cutter but also added a four seam fastball which has been successful for him in 2021. Despite his fall success the Jays did not protect Spraker for the rule 5 draft.

Thomas Ruwe

Ruwe is probably not a prospect but I just wanted to note his season. The Jays signed him as a 25 year old filler. He was assigned to Dunedin and gave up three runs in one third of an inning in his first appearance. He repeated that two days later and now sported an 81.00 ERA. He gave up one run in one inning in his next appearance which lowered his ERA to 37.80. After six appearances the Jays dropped him to the FCL for a month where he did not pitch. He returned to Dunedin a month later and over the next two months had an ERA under two, a WHIP around one and struck out 27 in 15 innings. That got him a promotion to Vancouver where he struck out 17 in 10.2 innings.

I don't think Ruwe is a prospect but it shows how pitching evaluation can change. I don't know what the Jays did to him in his month in limbo but it worked.

Ruwe is 6'9" and has a history of injuries and perseverance. Ruwe's story is also one that explains how modern pitchers can be trained. See this story from Driveline that explains how they helped Ruwe get this far.

Yosver Zulueta

Zulueta is a Cuban pitcher who was being hyped at the start of 2021. In spring training he was hitting 96-99 with his fastball but he tore his ACL in his first start of 2021 and missed the season.

Zueleta will be 24 at the start of 2022 and the Jays will likely be aggressive with him to see if he needs to be protected at the end of 2022. Zueleta has already had Tommy John which also slowed his development so hopefully it will be full steam ahead in 2022.

That concludes the Batters Box top 30 coverage for 2021. Now let's look forward to the season starting on time in April.

Blue Jays 2021 Top Prospects, the Number 31's | 29 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 09:29 AM EST (#410406) #
The pandemic (and the shrunken minor league systems) have definitely made it harder for prospects on the fringe. Lost development time and fewer opportunities is a hard combination.
bpoz - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 10:07 AM EST (#410407) #
The great facilities in Dunedin I hope can help the pitchers. We have a lot of pitchers with 2 V good pitches and not much of a 3rd pitch. Their upside is Romano. 100 mph FB and great SL.

I suppose Pearson and Danner being on the 40 man roster are forbidden to use the facilities. Both have great FBs and SLs. Pearson's change is getting close I understand. Danner has to develop a good change. I see both of them as possible good SPs.

John Northey - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 10:58 AM EST (#410411) #
This is an area the Jays need to keep working on - depth. The Rays have it in spades, FG had 37 35+ guys for the Jays vs 62 for the Rays in 2021 (no 2022 list yet, Yankees have 38 this year).

At the end of this list BB made we have 44 prospects listed (including the non-prospect who was very interesting indeed - want to keep an eye on Ruwe in 2022 - relievers can climb very fast very late in their careers). Just 6 guys: Spencer Horwitz, Luis Quiñones, Maximo Castillo, Addison Barger, Kyle Johnston, and Thomas Ruwe weren't on the FG (37) or (30) lists. Horowitz at 27 was the highest ranked one.
Nigel - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 03:40 PM EST (#410416) #
John, I agree with that thought re: depth. I think its particularly acute on the pitching side of things. It's important to have a slew of marginally interesting pitching prospects filling up your minor league rosters. With the non-linear nature of pitching prospect development, I think that's critical. Some of those (for example) 10th round college arms (a Spraker, for example) who have the standard college arsenal of a low 90's FB and averageish SL actually become something. The system is completely missing those guys. I think the system might be at an all time low on that particular front.
Dr B - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 04:21 PM EST (#410417) #
Fangraphs had Bowden Francis as its number 11 prospect. That’s quite some difference. There’s plenty of room for different approaches, e.g., performance vs. potential, but I think a good yardstick is which player you would rather have in your system. There’s a fair bit of filler in the Battersbox 21-30 range, for example, Who wouldn’t you trade from that group to obtain a Bowden Francis? Hagen Danner? Chad Dallas? Francis has a high chance to make the majors and small chance to be useful, and I like those probabilities much better than some of the top 30. This is a quibble of course, because at the fringes the players are fungible.

Speaking of fungible, I wouldn’t be surprised if some bottom-feeding club picked up Graham Spraker, assuming the Rule  5 happens. What the worst that can happen? They clog up a roster spot for a month or two.
bpoz - Friday, January 14 2022 @ 05:05 PM EST (#410419) #
Good thinking Dr B. A few years ago we had high ranking Alford and low ranking Jonathan Davis. Would it hurt trading either for any of our 21-30. Also add Zeuch and Murphy.

Falls into the 20-20 hindsight concept.

BTW I still am rooting for all our ex-Jays.
mendocino - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 09:57 AM EST (#410422) #
Toronto Blue Jays ($4,644,000)

Luis Meza, C, Venezuela $2,250,000 (
Jean Carlo Joseph, OF, Dominican Republic
Railin Tejada, SS, Dominican Republic
Raudy Gomez, RHP, Dominican Republic
Darlin de Leon, SS, Dominican Republic
greenfrog - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 11:17 AM EST (#410423) #
Updated list:

Toronto Blue Jays ($4,644,000)

Luis Meza, C, Venezuela
Jean Carlo Joseph, OF, Dominican Republic
Railin Tejada, SS, Dominican Republic
Raudy Gomez, RHP, Dominican Republic
Darlin de Leon, SS, Dominican Republic
Faruk de la Cruz, C, Dominican Republic
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 11:27 AM EST (#410424) #
Oh, my Darlin, oh,my Darlin, oh,my Darlin de Leon!

Sung to the tune of " darling Clementine" for those who think I've gone off the deep end. Wait, maybe I have.
bpoz - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 12:47 PM EST (#410425) #
Thanks mendocino.
bpoz - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 12:49 PM EST (#410426) #
If he gets to the Jays ISLAND BOY I am sure that song will come up.
John Northey - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 02:07 PM EST (#410427) #
A reminder with these that it is the quality, not quantity that matters.  One Vlad >>100 meh guys.
  • Luis Mesa at #33 is the only Jay signing ranked in the top 50 at  Yikes.
  • Strangely none of the Rays signings are ranked in the top 50 (8 guys).
  • Yankees have the #1 guy (SS Roderick Arias) and one unranked guy
  • Boston has #50 at SS Fraymi de Leon, #19 SS Freili Encarnacion, and #34 C Johanfran Garcia
  • Baltimore has tons of guys - #22 OF Braylin Tavera, #46 SS Leandro Arias, and 22 more it appears.  Crazy.  If I had the limit they had ($1.6 mil more than the Jays) I'd have tried for the #1/2 guys.
One wonders if a draft will make things better here. Right now it is a wild west where teams make deals when guys are 14 and silly stuff like that.  Players end up in debt to 'agents' for years afterwards.  Really needs cleaning up and a draft would remove some of that side dealing.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 02:46 PM EST (#410428) #
The Jays signed Moreno for $25k and Kirk for $30k, so it’s not always about the dollar amount you pay or the prospect’s star value at the time the deal is made. There are often some hidden gems in the IFA market.
bpoz - Saturday, January 15 2022 @ 06:59 PM EST (#410429) #
Kirk, Moreno, O Lopez and Gurriel all signed with the Jays 2016.Gurriel is a special case. Vlad was signed in 2015. His huge signing bonus impacted the 2016 Int'l budget.

Leo Jimenez 2017.

O Martinez 2018.
hypobole - Sunday, January 16 2022 @ 02:06 PM EST (#410432) #
To further greenfrogs point. Let's say instead of signing MLB's #4 2015 prospect, the Jays signed #22 and #27? And their bonuses combined were a bit more than half of what Vlad got, so the Jays wouldn't even have been penalized.

And as for the 3 prospects rated ahead of Vlad, where are they now?

hypobole - Sunday, January 16 2022 @ 02:08 PM EST (#410433) #
Here's the 2015 MLB link.
Glevin - Sunday, January 16 2022 @ 02:13 PM EST (#410434) #
I trust the Jays with international scouting and usually, I'd rather get a bunch of talent than one guy because 16 yo development is so unpredictable. An international draft is certainly coming in next cba and probably as early as next year.
John Northey - Sunday, January 16 2022 @ 10:45 PM EST (#410436) #
Very true hypobole. I'm kind of surprised the Jays didn't chase down Acuna Jr just given the Jays addiction to bloodlines it seems. Dang could you imagine if they had in addition to Vlad? Phew.

Given the draft is a crapshoot in a lot of respects, logically the IFA market would be too, but to a bigger degree because you are signing at age 16 and often scouting and being strongly committed to a guy at 14 or 15 (I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of cash passes around pre-IFA contracts being signed).

Eddy Julio Martinez #1 in 2015: Cubs signed, RF with some CF/LF as well, OPS his first few years - 711-663-650-628. Then released and last year was in the Mexican league and hit 366/469/488 but just 11 games, then in 26 winter league games (so far) this winter a 686 OPS. Obviously never moved beyond where he was at 16 for whatever reason.

#2 in 2015 was Yadier Alvarez - signed by the Dodgers as a RHP (normally they are good at developing these) but after a killer first year (2.12 ERA 3.2 BB/9 vs 12.3 K/9) he had ERA's in the 4's the next 2 years with over 5 BB/9 combined, but still over a K an inning. Just 2 games in 2019 (left the team saying he didn't want to play baseball anymore) and 3 in 2021. From the sounds of it he had a 100 MPH fastball and talent up the wazoo but his head ... yeah. Dodgers invested $32 million in him ($16 mil bonus, and a penalty of the same).

Lucius Fox was signed by SF 582 OPS then traded to Tampa 691-692-657 then 2020 hit. Came back with KC in 2021 with a 729 OPS. As a 2B/3B/CF he could still make the majors, but won't be a star baring a major shock.

So yeah, the Jays made the right call vs those guys. With Juan Soto also in that class it was scary good with 3 guys, but the rest look mostly like 'meh'. Shows the dangers in signing 16 year old's. MLB would be smart to push for an age 18 draft from now on for IFA's. Keep those guys developing for longer before teams sign them. Maybe MLB should set up a high school type league ala the OHL for hockey (as a comparison) that plays in those countries. A few of them (so more CHL) where they could see if these guys are for real before they have to commit money to them. A few million spent to save millions upon millions blown on some of these guys now (bet the Dodgers wish they could get that $32 million back). Can't imagine the players union would care much about more restrictions on amateurs.
bpoz - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 10:13 AM EST (#410439) #
Int'l signings are complicated. Example Dahian Santos. First scout him as 14 year old, get a commitment and place him with your trainers. Then officially sign him at age 16 or later. In the mean time the Jays would pay for his food, accommodation, training and other costs. Tinnish pretty much hints strongly about this. So at 14 D Santos is Jays property.
John Northey - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 10:48 AM EST (#410440) #
What is frustrating is how BR doesn't list international signings in an easy to read format like they have draft picks.  Quite annoying as they have the information for the most part - check players profiles and you can see when they signed as an IFA but they don't have a summary page.  Does anyone have the paid access to BR and if so do they have that data available via that method?  The Baseball Cube appears to have it but it is under their premium features ($20 US a year).  Very tempted to go for that. vs BR which is $80 a year.  All depends on what one gets for that price.
John Northey - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 02:34 PM EST (#410442) #
Thoguht I'd check a few past IFA signings...
  • 2014: Jays big one was Juan Meza (played 3 years in minors, gone before turning 20), Yankees spent a lot getting Dermis Garcia (793 OPS in AAA last year 210 avg but 31 HR at 1B), Nelson Gomez (813 OPS in rookie ball last year at 1B), Juan De Leon (726 OPS in A ball last year in RF/LF) at $2+ mil each. Others over $3 mil were Adrian Rondon (TB - now with LAA 631 OPS in A+), Gilbert Lara (Brewers - now with Washington 617 OPS in A+/AA/AAA mostly at SS/3B). No others over $2 mil that I can see. Looks like a flop year. Well, other than the guy signed for $100k - Ronald Acuña Jr.
  • 2013: #1 Eloy Jimenez (3.5 WAR so far, LF for White Sox), #2 Obispo Aybar-Lara (no sign of him in BR), #3 Gleyber Torres (SS Yankees 7.4 WAR). Listed way down in 'notes' was Wander Franco (not in top 50) but appears to be a different one than the Rays guy (he was drafted in 2017, not 2013).
What does this tell us? That IFA's are a bigger crapshoot than the draft by far, but rewards for getting it right are sky high. With the limits on spending the costs are low now (no more $32 mil blown like the Dodgers did).
Gerry - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 04:43 PM EST (#410443) #
Jays announced they have signed J Bautista from the Dominican Republic.

That would be Jonathan Bautista, one of 18 international signings announced today. The Jays top signing was Luis Mesa and just to confuse things they also signed Carlos Mesa.
greenfrog - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 05:37 PM EST (#410444) #
“That would be Jonathan Bautista”

I hope his projected bat flip tool is at least a 70.
Gerry - Monday, January 17 2022 @ 08:13 PM EST (#410445) #
The Jays also signed Eminem. Actually it is Eminems Flores from the Dominican. His parents must have been rap fans.
bpoz - Tuesday, January 18 2022 @ 08:33 AM EST (#410446) #
I checked the list of prospects that I was able to access. They are all quite small and of light weight. 5'10" 160lb. So projectable.
scottt - Tuesday, January 18 2022 @ 09:40 AM EST (#410447) #
Seems like 18 total.

1 from Nicaragua,
1 from Panama,
1 from Columbia,
7 from the Dominican Republic,
and a whooping 8 from Venezuela.

scottt - Tuesday, January 18 2022 @ 09:42 AM EST (#410448) #
Also worth mentioning that they have one of the smallest pool from signing Springer.
Lylemcr - Thursday, January 20 2022 @ 12:15 PM EST (#410464) #
I miss baseball.... Football and hockey helps a little... but they are not my true love. It is a very inauthentic love affair.

Please start again soon.
scottt - Thursday, January 20 2022 @ 05:13 PM EST (#410467) #
The players are slow to respond.
They are asking for fewer years of service, earlier arbitration, a higher luxury tax threshold, no penalty for signing free agents and a higher minimum salary.
I think they're still suing the owners for not playing the full year and the pandemic isn't over.

They owner wants a 14 team playoffs. I don't see them touching the years of service. That's never been changed, so that's a slippery slope. If you drop to 5, why not 4 or 3?
As a fan, I prefer to see guys staying on their original team longer.
Semien had a great year, but he's not the guy I was excited to watch.

The way I see it, the entire thing is fueled by the media who tell the players that they don't make enough.
The "service time manipulation" for example. It's all about teenagers who are not yet member of the union not reaching free agency before 25.  If you're a tanking team, you can promote your top guys on a conservative schedule so they don't reach AA until you're ready to compete. I'd certainly keep my top guys an entire year in the minors if I have to. A draft pick for young players who make the opening day roster? I wouldn't trade the last year of Guerrero for a draft pick. That's not close at all. Keep him down an entire year and get that draft pick? I'm sure some teams will try it.
Or use that to negotiate an early contract.

Blue Jays 2021 Top Prospects, the Number 31's | 29 comments | Create New Account
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