Blue Jays 2023 Top Prospects - The Others

Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:00 AM EST

Contributed by: Gerry

Now that the top 30 is done, lets talk about some other guys in the system. We will start with the players who dropped off the 2023 list.

Gabriel Martinez had a great season in 2022 playing well in Dunedin and then hitting .324 in 28 games in Vancouver. That caught the attention of prospects watchers and he made several top 30 lists. He returned to Vancouver for 2023 and it didn't go as well. He hit just .242. He had an extremely average season. He has some power, 12 home runs, 28 extra base hits. He walks a bit, strikes out a little but not excessively. He turned 21 during the season. He is still young but needs a big return to form in 2024. I assume he should be back in Vancouver until he proves he can handle that level.

His teammate Rainer Nunez also had a big 2022 and he too returned to vancouver for 2023. Unlike Martinez, Nunez hit well in 2023. In 37 games, he hit over .300 and earned a promtion to New Hampshire. There he seemed to hit a wall. He hit just .224 in 78 games, around ahalf season. He did hit 20 home runs. One positive is that he played in AA at 22 years old. But he is a first baseman and it is tough for a first baseman to make it to the majors versus other hitters who slide down the defensive spectrum. Nunez should be back in NH for 2024.

Otto Lopez is now 25 years old and it seems as though if he has a major league career it will be as a utility player. Lopez missed almost half the 2023 season with an oblique strain. When healthy he hit .258.

Tanner Morris is a good AAA or quad A player. he hits reasonably well for average, has an excellent eye at the plate but doesn't have much power or speed. He did have a 105 wRC+ in AAA but he is at best an average defender at second or third. He is 26 now so his chance could be gone.

Adrian Hernandez looked to have a chance at a major league career thanks to his above average change-up/screwball. His issue was a well below average fastball. He was sent down to New Hampshire to start 2023 to find more fastball velocity and he wasn't good, ERA of 9 in April and over 6 in May. But he finished the season with ERA of 2 in August and September. Despite the excellent change up, his chance looks to have passed him by.

Jimmy Robbins had an excellent 2022 despite fringy stuff. 2023 was not as good although generally not terrible. He finished with a 4.67 ERA in NH but in a brief cameo in Buffalo he was hit all over the park. He is 26 now and again, time is passing him by.

Irv Carter had a tough 2022 with a few flashes of good starts. 2023 was a mess, a 8.60 ERA in 37 innings. It seems like he just can't sort out his delivery.

Zach Britton has trouble staying healthy. He had jus 55 at-bats in 2023 and hit .218. He had around 250 at-bats in 2021 and 2022 and only hits a little. He is 25 now.

Hayden Juenger was a sixth round pick in the 2021 draft and he has been fast tracked, ending 2022 in Buffalo and returning there for 2023. His ERA last year was 6.33. He is prone to giving up the long ball, 18 home runs allowed in 75 innings. His batting average against went from .195 in AAA in 2022 to .285 in 2023. Thats around three per nine innings. Juenger is still just 23 years old, youngish for AAA so he has time to figure something out.

Estiven Machado hit .187 in 68 games in Vancouver. Nuff said.

And now some players who just missed the list.

Cam Eden made it to "The Show" last year. He did because he is an excellent outfielder with plus speed. As a hitter he hit .257 with an 81 wRC+ in Buffalo.

Fernando Perez was signed by the Jays in 2022, played in the DSL that year and was in the FCL for 2023. In eleven games there he posted a 2.72 ERA with a 29% K rate. He has a tall pitchers body, sits 91-94 with the fastball and has a good curveball and change-up. Reportedly he was up to 96 mph at the end of the season. He is young, just 19, but should be in Dunedin to start 2024.

Devereaux Harrison was a ninth round pick in 2022 and pitched in relief in that year and until the end of May 2023. At that time Vancouver needed an extra starter and Harrison got the job. At that time he had a 3.38 ERA as a reliever so expectations were not high. In that first start he went five innings and just allowed one hit. He followed that up with four June starts and a 0.78 ERA in the month. From there his ERA bumped up to 3.92 in July and 4.38 in August. His strikeout numbers were average, 8.4%. His walk rate was 3.6%. Harrison's ERA was better than his underlying numbers but he took a big jump forward in 2023. He was 22 years old then and should be in New Hampshire as a 23 year old in 2024. He will look to take another jump forward there.

Sam Shaw was drafted in the ninth round of the 2023 draft out of a Victoria BC high school. He just played in nine games but scouts have been talking him up. He played second base and centre field in the FCL.

Nolan Perry was drafted in the 12th round of the 2022 draft out of a high school in New Mexico. He didn't pitch in 2022 but threw 38 inning in the FCL in 2023. His ERA was a lofty 7.28 so why talk about him? well his xFIP was 3.85, much better. He struck out 51 in 38 innings. Perry got some attention at the end of the season when he faced a loaded Yankee lineup. He threw five shutout innings with seven K's. He has the ability, he needs consistency.

The Blue Jays acquired Edward Duran in 2022 in the Anthony Bass/Jordan Groshans trade. He is a catcher who also played some first base. Duran hit .340 in 50 at-bats in the FCL. That earned him a promotion to Dunedin where he hit .299 in 77 at-bats. Duran controls the zone well, walking more than he strikes out. He is 19 years old and one to watch in 2024.

David Guzman and Aneudi Escanio are two hitters from the DSL that should be in the FCL in 2024. Guzman is a right fielder who hit .292 with a .793 OPS in 2023. He walked more than he struck out at age 17. He is listed at just 5'7" so he will need to keep proving himself. Escanio is older, aged 18 in season, but he was noted when he ran his average up to .365 in late July. He fell off in August, hitting in just one of his last nine games. We don't know what that was due to but he will get a chance to repeat that in 2024. Escanio played all over the field for the DSL Jays, with 3B being his most played position.

Trenton Wallace is a left handed pitcher who was an 11th round pick in 2021. He had an excellent 2022 moving from Dunedin to Vancouver. He was back in Vancouver to start 2023. In eight starts he had a 1.79 ERA, a WHIP of 0.82 and 47 K's in 40 innings. That earned him a promotion to New Hampshire before going on the IL in June and that was basically it for the season. He should be back in NH for 2024.

Mason Fluharty is left handed reliever. Fluharty was also a reliever in college and continued in the bullpen after he was drafted. He was a 5th round selection in 2022 which is a relatively high draft position for a pure reliever. After he was drafted Fluharty was sent straight to Vancouver where struck out 12.3 per nine in 15 innings.

He returned to Vancouver to start 2023. He spent six weeks there, appearing in twelve games, where he replicated his 2022 stats by striking out 21 in 15.1 innings. He only allowed seven hits in those innings and had a .059 ERA. That was enough to see him promoted to New Hampshire. In NH he appeared in 48 games with 54 strikeouts in 42 innings. He was hit a bit, 49 hits in those 42 innings with 18 walks. But remember that this was Fluharty's first full season and he is still just 22 years old. He pitched most of the season at age 21.

Fluharty is not a hard thrower. He has a low 90's fastball but relies more on a cutter that comes in around 90 mph. He also throws a sweeper. Fluharty sets up on the extreme first base side of the rubber and throws at an angle to left handed hitters. That makes him tough on lefties but the ball is coming in to righties making it easier for them to see him. In the "old days", before the three batter minimum limit, Fluharty would be a great LOOGY candidate. With the new rules Fluharty will have to work on getting right handed hitters out. But time is on his side. The Jays are working with him to try and get another tick or two on the fastball.

Fluharty will likely return to New Hampshire to start 2024 as there appears to be a logjam of relievers in Buffalo. He should aim to get to Buffalo by mid season.

It seems as though Manuel Beltre has been around for a long time but he is still just nineteen. He played all of 2023 in Dunedin. He hit .231 in 98 games. He does have a bit of power, 22 doubles and six home runs in the FSL which is often tough on power hitters. Beltre is average in a lot of things he does, K rate around 20%, walk rate 11%. Fangraphs noted that Beltre doesn't have a stand out tool. He is still young.

That's it for minor league week here on Da Box. we will be back with the minor league updates in April.