Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
The half way point of the minor league season is upon us. Only Vancouver made the playoffs in the first half. As it is the half way point I decided to take a look at how the Batters Box top 30 are doing this season.

On the field Buffalo won in extras. New Hampshire lost in 14 innings. Vancouver scored lots while Dunedin were shut out.

Buffalo 2 Scranton WB 1 - 10 innings

New Hampshire 3 Somerset 4 - 14 innings

Vancouver 13 Eugene 2

Clearwater 1 Dunedin 0

FCL Phillies 14 FCL Blue Jays 5

Three Stars

Third Star - Jimmy Robbins

Second Star - Gabriel Martinez

First Star - Alex De Jesus



Buffalo won with a tenth inning sac fly by Jordan Luplow. It was a bullpen day for the Bisons with seven pitchers used. Jimmy Burnette had five strikeouts in 2.2 innings.

New Hampshires game went to extra innings too. NH scored two runs in the top of the eleventh but Somerset hit a two run home run off Troy Watson in the bottom of the inning. On to the 14th where Adrian Hernandez balked in the winning run. New Hampshire had just two hits through nine innings, a 100% improvement on the one hit they had on Wednesday. Through 14 innings they had five hits. Jimmy Robbins had another good start, he might be finding his 2022 form. He went six innings just allowing two hits. Just three strikeouts though.

Alex De Jesus hit a three run home run in the first inning for Vancouver. Up again in the fourth inning he hit a a grand slam. He finished 3-6 with 7 RBI. Gabriel Martinez hit his fifth home run, he also had three hits as did Andres Sosa.

Adam Macko had a rough first inning by hitting a batter and then giving up a home run. But he settled down after that and went six innings.

Dunedin were two hit. Starter Pat Gallagher pitched well for six inning but gave up a run and that was all Clearwater needed.

The best hitter in the FCL so far is Jean Joseph, a speedy outfielder. He is hitting .321 with a .906 OPS. Jospeh signed for $450,000 last year. He is 18.

TOP 30 Review

The saying that has guided these reviews for several years is that each year one third of a teams prospects get better, as third get worse and a third stay the same. It's a very rough guide but it is useful to judge how well the minor league development system is working. Lets have a look at the Jays system for the first half of 2023.

Ricky Tiedemann

There is no such thing as a pitching prospect. Or, the number one skill required of a pitching prospect is health. Ricky doesn't have it right now. DOWN

Addison Barger

Barger too has been injured and when he has played he hasn't found his form from 2022. DOWN

Orelvis Martinez

Slow start the season, more promising recently but still has to hit better against RHP. FLAT

Brandon Barriera

See Tiedemann. DOWN

Yosver Zulueta

Zulueta was rated high in the off season on the expectation that he would be a starting pitcher. That didn't work out so now he is back to being a reliever. He has a 1.63 WHIP as a reliever mainly because he has walked 15 in 19 innings. DOWN

Tucker Toman

Toman was assigned to the Florida State League, a somewhat aggressive assignment for his age. He has been OK there but it looks like his numbers might be ticking up. I will say FLAT with an UP potential.

Gabriel Martinez

2022 seemed to be a break out season for Martinez and scouts liked him. But 2023 has been tough. He had a slow start, seemed to be picking up in May, but has slipped back in June. DOWN

Cade Doughty

Doughty was a second compensation round pick last year and you would expect such a high pick to be able to handle Vancouver. However he has been disappointing and hasn't caught fire yet. DOWN

Josh Kasevich

A .300 hitter who has no power. Might not hit as well as he rises through the system against harder throwing pitchers. Good defender. This was the player he was when drafted so I have to say FLAT.

Sem Robberse

Robberse is having a decent season in AA. He has a WHIP of 1.17, which is good and has a K per inning. However he is a bit homer prone leading to a high ERA of 4.69 when compared to his WHIP. FLAT but could be argued to an UP.

Adam Macko

His control problems continue to follow him to Vancouver. On the positive side he has stayed healthy but his ERA is over six. Very inconsistent, some good starts and some bad ones. DOWN

Hayden Juenger

Strikes out a lot of guys but gives up a lot of hits. Walks a lot too. High WHIP, high ERA. DOWN.

Otto Lopez

Otto had a slow start in April but has picked up his performance since. He is who he was last year. FLAT

Spencer Horwitz

Got his major league callup but questions remain over his power and position. I will say UP but it is up a little.

Dahian Santos

Has pitched well in Vancouver, good for a 20 year old. UP.

Leo Jimenez

Has stayed mostly healthy, is hitting reasonably well. Back to the expectations of him from 2021. UP

Dasan Brown

Another slow starter who has hit better recently. His June supports his position on the top 30, April and May didn't. Do we believe three weeks or two months? We will give him the benefit of the doubt. FLAT.

Tanner Morris

Inconsistent season so far. DOWN.

Adrian Hernandez

Sent back down to AA where he has been up and down. Recent reports has his fastball up to 93-94. Maybe he is adopting to a new velocity. Thats an optimistic take but overall so far this season he is a DOWN.

Hagen Danner

Injured again to start the season but has done OK when healthy. FLAT.

Adrian Pinto

More injuries, hasn't hit well enough when healthy. DOWN

Damiano Palmegiani

One of the best surprises this season. Good average and power. However, defensively seems to be a first baseman which makes for a high bar for a hitter. I will say UP but questions remain.

CJ Van Eyk

Slow recovery from TJ surgery. DOWN

Jimmy Robbins

Hasn't found his 2002 form yet, although his last two starts have been better. DOWN

Irv Carter

Same as Robbins. Down.

TJ Brock

Has pitched well earning a promotion to AA. UP

Zach Britton

Been injured, just 55 at-bats. DOWN.

Rainer Nunez

After a slow start has been hitting well but power is absent. Still hope it will show up. FLAT

Estiven Machado

Has not hit. DOWN

Davis Schneider

Has hit well in AAA. Still not sure about defense. UP

The normal metric should mean we get 10 UP, 10 Flat and 10 Down. For the Jays we get 6 UP, 8 Flat and 16 Down. That is a bad minor league season so far. Of the six "Ups" three are in AAA or AA but have a possible DH future. They are Horwitz, Schneider and Palmegiani. I am not sure if any of them have a lot of value, and by a lot I mean enough to bring back a starting pitcher. TJ Brock is one of a handful of relief pitching prospects in the high minors. Dahian Santos is intriguing but the jewel in the crown of the first half of the season is Leo Jimenez. There is still lots of season left and there are a lot of prospects looking to have a better second half.

Other Players

In our "top 31's and others" in the off-season we mentioned several players. Chad Dallas has taken a step forward and would be a top 30 guy today. Alan Roden and Peyton Williams have hit well too. Jimmy Burnette and Mason Fluharty have pitched well in relief, Trenton Wallace as a starter. Eric Pardinho, Manuel Beltre, Victor Mesia, Brandon Eisert, Luis Quinones, Robert Robertis and Devonte Brown are all FLAT or DOWN.

Kendry Rojas, Rafael Sanchez, Ryan Jennings and Connor Cooke are all pitchers who would be on a mid season top 30. Rojas, Jennings and Sanchez are still in A ball while Cooke just made it to AA.

Mid Season Top 30 | 33 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#430613) #
Concur.  A bad minor league season for the top prospects.  It should be noted that Buffalo, New Hampshire and Dunedin are right around .500 and Vancouver is going to win the 1st half crown.  They've had  big contributions from Alex deJesus and Garrett Spain, both of whom have an uphill battle due to plate control and age/level issues.  I wonder where they sit now. 
Glevin - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#430615) #
Yeah, absolutely awful season so far but...things are definitely better than earlier in the year. Orelvis looked dead as a prospect in April and now looks like a decent one with a good chance of being a major leaguer of some sort. There are lots of guys performing better lately. Alex De Jesus is an example. terrible April. so-so May. On fire (1.144 OPS) in June. Dasan brown in similar. Still, this system definitely looks like a weak-point for the Jays right now. Hoping for much better things in second half.
greenfrog - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#430619) #
Thanks, Gerry. Here is BA’s recently-updated top 10 Jays prospects:

1. Tiedemann
2. Orelvis
3. Barriera
4. Barger
5. Zulueta
6. Rojas
7. Jimenez
8. Toman
9. Juenger
10. Kasevich
greenfrog - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#430621) #
More on Rojas:

“BA Grade/Risk: 55/Extreme

June Update: The 20-year-old lefthander has been the breakout player of the Blue Jays system over the first few months of the season. Rojas has been Low-A Dunedin's best pitcher over his eight appearances, striking out 27.5% of the batters he's faced while walking just 7%. Rojas has added 3 mph of velocity onto his four-seam fastball and slider, his two primary offerings. The four-seamer has shown marked improvement as he's added velocity while maintaining his above-average ride on the pitch.”
hypobole - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#430622) #
Very good summary, Gerry. The only rating I strongly disagree with is Otto Lopez. Even with the uptick in his hitting lately the little bit of power he's shown in the past has evaporated. A definite DOWN for me.
bpoz - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#430623) #
Thanks for this prospect review Gerry.

Of my top 10 list only #6 L Jimemez and #10 Palmegiani went UP. Injuries to #2 Tiedemann and #5 Barger make them DOWN. #3 Robberse gets a FLAT also #4 O Martinez because of a very cold 1st half and a very hot 2nd half. Martinez could get an UP because of that great improvement in plate discepline. He is dominating AA now. DOWN for #1 Zulueta, #7,8,9 Juenger, Dasan Brown and G Martinez.

I did not have any 2022 draft picks in my Top 10.

In a previous Thread BA was ranking Kendry Rojas #6 and L Jimenez #7. 3 of Jimenez's HRs have come in June, same as Palmegiani so the power is developing.
92-93 - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#430626) #
Orelvis gets an UP from me, especially considering how down on him this place was last summer. He had an ice cold start, but for 2 months he has been excellent and is still quite young for AA. If his defense is good he's a top prospect.
Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#430631) #
Sure.  Orelvis deserves an Up.  He's got a ways to go, but he has made significant progress in 2023 over 2022.  I think he's going to struggle to hit more than .250, but he wouldn't be the first slugging third baseman to have that issue. 
Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#430632) #
One more thing about Jimenez.  His HBPs are way down and he's been more durable than the previous two years.  It's hard to make a career like Ron Hunt did, least of all when there are scads of relievers throwing 95-100, and I'm glad to see that Jimenez has made an adjustments so that isn't going to be the way for him. 
Nigel - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#430633) #
I agree with all of that - excellent work and thanks.

As a side note, if the system's #9 and #10 prospects are Juenger and Kasevich (and I'm not saying that they are) then you have a horrible, terrible, no good, rotten day/system.
Glevin - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#430635) #
"As a side note, if the system's #9 and #10 prospects are Juenger and Kasevich (and I'm not saying that they are) then you have a horrible, terrible, no good, rotten day/system."

It is a bad system right now. I think that's pretty clear. There is a reason for part of it, trading 3 of the last 5 first rounders for win-now talent is fine and will weaken the system obviously but there are some deeper issues and the difficulty the organization is having developing (or maybe identifying or likely some combination of both) young talent is an issue.
92-93 - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#430641) #
Groshans, Martin, and Hoglund don't seem to be any good though, so it speaks to a much larger organizational issue of being able to identify young talent.

Has this regime had any success spending money in the international market? They have Kirk, but that was a 30K flier.
greenfrog - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#430642) #
Moreno, Orelvis, Jimenez, Rojas are a few seemingly legit prospects. Bonilla might end up being another. Also I think they’ve secured one of the top players in the next IFA draft (a SS I think).
hypobole - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#430643) #
2017 was the 1st year they were allowed to spend pool money so 16 yr olds then are only 22 now. Jimenez, Orelvis and maybe Robberse seem to be the closest to successes outside of the low minors.
Ducey - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#430644) #
Moreno was a pretty good IFA. Gurriel I guess too.
Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#430645) #
Gabriel Moreno was even less than Kirk, IIRC. Maybe that's the key. Low budget IFAs for this crew.
#2JBrumfield - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#430647) #
Machado is having a much better June by hitting .324 so far. I think he'll be someone to watch in the second half.
hypobole - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#430648) #
Couple more:

22 yr old OF Alberto Rodriguez has a 147 wRC+ in A+ NWL. He was the PTBNL for Taijuan Walker in 2020.
21 yr old catcher J. J. D'Orazio has a 118 wRC+ same league. 2021 Soria trade.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#430650) #
yeah Orelvis is an UP for me as well. he's shown surprising improvement in pretty much every worrisome area, and is hitting at a legit prospect level both topline and underlying numbers.

And I don't know if this relates to this thread but given that Moreno has come up a few times I was just re-capping for myself....


* AAA (22-22): 267pa, .377babip, 120wrc+
* MLB (22-23): 274pa, .337babip, 85wrc+
Super Bluto - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#430651) #
As I predicted, Zulueta has been a disappointment. I also didn't expect as much as others from Martinez. Quite shocked not to see Rafael Ohashi mentioned. He's showed serious improvement this season and is now a legit prospect. Wouldn't be surprised to see him in the majors within two years.

Dr B - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#430653) #
FWIW: Fangraphs ranks TOR at #21. They rank Baltimore at #1, Sox (Red), #5, Tampa #7 and NYY #13.
Ryan Day - Friday, June 23 2023 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#430661) #
Groshans, Martin, and Hoglund don't seem to be any good though, so it speaks to a much larger organizational issue of being able to identify young talent.

They were all good enough for other teams to trade for, so it's not just the Jays who have problems identifying talent - or, at least, which players will realize their talent.

The Jays traded an injured pitcher who'd never thrown a professional pitch for an All-Star-calibre third baseman, which seems like a pretty shrewd move in hindsight.
John Northey - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 01:30 AM EDT (#430668) #
Ryan Day - good point, it isn't just what players you develop do for you, but also what they get for you. Trades are critical in MLB and yes, highly ranked prospects get more than poorly ranked ones. However, each team ranks differently than FanGraphs/BA/etc. do. In trades you often go for need instead of 'best available' like you do in a draft.

To me #1 is developing stars as those are expensive and hard to get as free agents. Meh guys are always around (see Belt, Kiermaier, etc. who might be more but given their 1 year deals were just seen as 'meh' by most).

Orelvis Martinez is a potential star - at 19 in A/A+ he hit 261/345/549, but last year at 20 he flopped in AA 203/286/446. This year in AA at 21 (still young) he is hitting 220/322/517, still not star level but depending on his defense, could be a very solid ML'er soon. Opening day to May 9th he "hit" 089/169/266, but since has hit 302/412/675. If this is the real Orelvis vs the April version that is a superstar at 3B or SS. We'll see if he can keep it up.

It is hard to read anything into low A/rookie ball/Dominican summer league stats at this point, most have around 10 games in. For example, Dariel Ramon (17) has a 600/667/1000 line over 6 PA. Cristian Feliz (20) a very nice 282/378/641 line over 10 games in the Florida Complex League. Both look nice but one 0-5 could kill their stats.

Adam Kloffenstein in AA has been working on recovering his prospect status with a 3.02 ERA over 12 starts 62 2/3 IP 9.9 K/9 but 3.7 BB/9.

Connor Cooke I can't imagine was on anyone's radar but in the pen in A+/AA he has 45 K's in 22 1/3 IP (18.1 K/9!!!!) vs 8 BB. At 23 he is a bit old to have started in A+ this year but relievers can climb very very fast and this is his 3rd pro year so I think he needs 40 man protection this winter thus the Jays shouldn't hesitate to call him up if needed (a few more weeks in AA and he should go to AAA and if he does well then he becomes a real pen possibility). He has a bit of long ball issues (4 HR) but with those K's you can imagine the drool coming from the Jays front office. Not bad for a 10th round pick in 2021.

Fun to look for guys who stand out in some way.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 06:13 AM EDT (#430669) #
Meh guys like Kevin Kiermaier?

The odds are pretty good that there is nobody in the Blue Jay system who has as good a career as Kiermaier. He's at 34 bWAR now and headed for roughly 40. Undervalued yes. Meh no.
tercet - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#430671) #
Good summary, didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out Moreno wouldn't hit and that Nate Pearson would never match the hype.
tercet - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#430672) #
And Martinez is clearly flat..

Its nice he has shown some improvements given he is repeating AA, but he clearly still has flaws

I remember most of you guys going crazy over Moreno's 150~PA in AA a few years ago when it was clear as day he would never hit (Free swinger with splits)

greenfrog - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#430673) #
I wonder whether how much Moreno’s severe thumb injury has hampered his development and performance. In any event, I think it’s too early to judge his hitting performance in the majors, as he’s no doubt still adjusting to his first full year in the majors as a catcher and NL player. He’s a career .310/.365/.479 hitter in the minors.

Pearson has been pretty solid this year, apart from Schneider’s recent overuse of him (which is perplexing, given his injury history). His K and walk rates have been very good, a strong improvement over 2021-22. If properly used and coached, I think he can be a valuable big league reliever.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#430674) #
Martinez is a tentative “up” for me, given his substantial improvement in plate discipline over the last 1.5-2 months. In addition to his prodigious power, the fact that he has been able to make those adjustments (relatively rare for any player) speaks to his high potential as a hitter.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#430675) #
The fact that someone would call Pearson a bust when he is throwing harder, with greater effectiveness, and significantly better control, while staying healthy (for now) and holding down a MLB roster spot, is interesting and suggests a fixed point of view about the player.
bpoz - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#430677) #
Vocabulary can be tricky. The word "meh' for example.

Is KK meh? If he is eligible and receives a QO at the end of this year then he is not meh IMO. This seems a high standard.

Springer received a QO from Houston so not meh I suppose. Will Chapman and/or Merrifield receive QOs thereby escaping the meh category?

"Meh" prospects are a different category. On the Jeff Blair show about 5 years ago someone named Nick an ex LAD employee said that Top 100 prospect lists are biased. How can tell that the #50 prospect is better than the #70 prospect. Also UO pointed out that Syndergaard jumped up the prospect list as soon as he was traded. He was traded in the off season too.

By the way I am not trying to criticize anyone but instead trying to show that we all have different way to evaluate prospects. I look for simple factors like Avg & bb/k but not on full season data but month to month data but there has to be a good sample size. For example Zulueta has to drastically reduce his Hit Batters and walks on a consistent level.
John Northey - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#430682) #
Mike, I listed Kiermaier as meh for last winter's signing for a lot of logical reasons ... You don't sign non-meh guys to 1 year sub $10 mil deals. Safe to say that no other team offered him a multi-year deal or a 1 year at $10+ million. Same for Belt. Remember, last winter most here were hoping strongly that the Jays would sign another OF to cut down how often Kiermaier would play. KK's WAR thus far in 2023 is higher than all but 1 season between now and 2018 (4 full seasons, 1 partial). From 2018 to 2022 he totaled 10.9 WAR over 451 games, a pace of 3.6 WAR over 150 games (he has 1 season of 150+ games in his career). The Jays thus far have got lucky with KK - he really seems to have rediscovered the joy in playing this year and is healthy for once.
John Northey - Saturday, June 24 2023 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#430684) #
To me the bottom line is you want to maximize the value you get from your system. One Vlad is worth dozens of Espinals. No shot at Santiago but he is very replaceable by multiple guys every year you can get on minor league deals - his first half last year was a fluke, not a real level of play it seems, if it was real he'd be high value, not bench warming.

In 2016 the Jays drafted Bo (and Biggio and many others). Net value so far of 22.7 WAR. Pretty good, with 16.2 to Bo (71%). 1995 I figure would have the most to one guy - Roy Halladay 64.2, total 100.8 (27.1 to unsigned Ted Lilly, -2.7 to 2 other unsigned guys so net of 76.4) so 84% to one player. I suspect we'd all prefer the WAR to be mostly with 1 player out of each draft, while others are just filler, even though we talk about wanting good picks from every slot. Why? Because stars are hard to find, and very expensive.
bpoz - Sunday, June 25 2023 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#430691) #
Agreed John N that stars are expensive and hard to find. Super stars (HOF) even harder. McGriff/Alomar HOF.

I would call C Fielder, D Wells, J Carter, C Carpenter, Springer etc... stars. We know their playing history.

Because our OF is not great I keep thinking of Devon White and Vernon Wells. IMO Wells became a star very fast. I think he is a 5 tool player. For White we gave up a very good Junior Felix for an underperforming White. White's team had given up on him because he was slow to develop.

Currently no OFs in our farm are knocking down the door which means that Atkins has to go outside the org for 2-3 OFs. We only have control of Varsho and Springer for next year.
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