Toronto Blue Jays 2019 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

D. Benjamin Miller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Toronto Blue Jays youth movement is into high gear. There have been 17 rookies appear this season in Toronto including 10 players from the Preseason Top 50 Prospects list. Those graduates are Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1), Danny Jansen (3), Cavan Biggio (8), Sean Reid-Foley (10), Billy McKinney (20), Rowdy Tellez (22), Thomas Pannone (23), Trent Thornton (35), Elvis Luciano (37) and Jonathan Davis (43)

Tier 1:

1. Bo Bichette, SS, (Preseason #2)

Age: 21 (DOB: 03/05/98)
Highest Level: MLB

After slashing .275/.333/.473 with 8 HR in 56 games at AAA Buffalo, Bichette was called up to the majors on July 29th and has been sensational. In a hot start he had a 11 game hit streak to start his MLB career. He is hitting .385 with 4 HR and tied a major league record held by Ted Williams with 9 consecutive games with a double.

2. Nate Pearson, SP, (Preseason #5)

Age: 22 (DOB: 08/20/96)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

6’6” right-hander drafted in the 1st round in 2017. Pearson started the season at High A Dunedin with a 0.86 ERA in 6 starts. He moved quickly to AA New Hampshire and has continued to dominate hitters with a 100mph fastball, a slider and curveball. In 14 starts he has a 2.82 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and opponents are hitting .184 off him. He will he the leader of the next wave of starting pitchers to come up to Toronto.

Tier 2:

3. Jordan Groshans, SS, (Preseason #6)

Age: 19 (DOB: 11/10/99)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

Groshans was a 1st round pick in the 2018 draft. He was off to an impressive start in his first year at Low A Lansing slashing .337/.427/.482 in 23 games before being sidelined in early May with a stress fracture in his foot.

4. Anthony Kay, SP, (Preseason Mets #10)

Age: 24 (DOB: 03/25/95)
2019 Highest Level: AAA Syracuse/Buffalo

Acquired in the trade deadline deal for Marcus Stroman. Kay was the New York Mets 1st round pick in 2016. Kay features a mid-90’s fastball, devastating curveball and above average slider. Kay has quickly risen through the minors since returning from TJS that caused him to miss the entire 2017 season. He started 2019 at AA Binghamton where he was 7-3 with a 1.49 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, 70K:23BB in 66.1 IP. So far he has struggled since being promoted to AAA with a 6.15 ERA in 9 starts split between Syracuse and Buffalo.

Tier 3:

5. Eric Pardinho, SP, (Preseason #9)

Age: 18 (DOB: 01/05/01)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

Pardinho has looked good in his 7 starts at Low A Lansing. He began the season in late June after mild elbow soreness delayed his start. The 5’10” 155 lb right-hander has a 2.41 ERA with 30K:13BB in 33.2 IP

6. Alek Manoah, SP, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 21 (DOB: 01/09/98)
2019 Highest Level: Short Season A Vancouver

Manoah was the first round pick in the 2019 draft in June. He had a dominating season at West Virginia University with 144 K in 108.1 IP. The 6’6” 260 lb right-hander has a fastball that sits 94-97mph. He made his pro debut at SS-A Vancouver where he has 12K in 6 IP over 3 starts.

7. Kevin Smith, SS, (Preseason #4)

Age: 23 (DOB: 07/04/96)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

Smith had a tough time adjusting to his first shot at AA, slashing only .175/.242/.336 in the first half of the season but has turned things around with 8 HR and a line of .333/.370/.708 in July.

8. Orelvis Martinez, SS, (Preseason #18)

Age: 17 (DOB: 11/19/01)
2019 Highest Level: Rookie GCL Blue Jays

Martinez was the big international signee in 2018. He has had an impressive start to his first season in the GCL. He is slashing .260/.333/.450 with 2 HR is 29 games.

9. Alejandro Kirk, C, (Preseason #33)

Age: 20 (11/06/98)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

Kirk has made one of the biggest moves up the top 50 list. The 5’9” 220 lb catcher continues to hit as he quickly moves up through the system. He started the season slashing .299/.427/.519 in 21 games at Low A Lansing before being moved to High A Dunedin where he has continued to impress at .291/.386/.429. The home runs are down from 10 in 2018 to 5 but the doubles are way up with 27 so far this year. Defensively he has thrown out 39% of runners stealing with Dunedin.

10. Simeon Woods-Richardson, SP, (Preseason Mets #6)

Age: 18 (DOB: 09/27/00)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

Woods-Richardson was acquired along with Anthony Kay in the Marcus Stroman trade. SWR was taken in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft by the New York Mets. He has a fastball that touches 99 with a slider and power curve. At Low A Columbia in the Mets organization this year he was dominating hitters with 97K in 78.1 IP. After the trade the Blue Jays moved him up to High A Dunedin where as the youngest player in the league he has made 2 starts with 5H and 13K in 8 innings.

11. Griffin Conine, OF, (Preseason #19)

Age: 22 (DOB: 07/11/97)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

Conine was taken in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft. The son of former major leaguer Jeff Conine, he is another example of a second generation player, which the Blue jays seem to favor. He started the season serving a 50-game suspension, but he has since shown he has a lot of power with 17HR in only 59 games at Low A Lansing. The 97 strikeouts are a problem, but it is still just his first full season.

12. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, (Preseason #14)

Age: 18 (DOB: 08/25/00)
2019 Highest Level: Short Season A Vancouver

Kloffenstien was taken in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft. The 6’5” 243 lb right-hander has been impressive in his debut at SS-A Vancouver. He has a 2.72 ERA in 10 starts. He has a good 4 pitch mix with a fastball that reaches 96 mph.

Tier 4:

13. Anthony Alford, CF, (Preseason #7)

Age: 25 (DOB: 07/20/94)
2019 Highest Level: MLB

At the end of spring training it looked like Alford was finally going to get a shot at a full-time job in the Toronto outfield but instead was sent to AAA Buffalo for a second season there. He got off to a terrible start slashing .132/.213/.265 in April. He started to show flashes in May and June and turned things around bringing the totals up to .256/.340/.405 when he suffered an oblique injury. Back now playing in Buffalo he is in danger of becoming the forgotten man in the now crowded Toronto outfield.

14. Miguel Hiraldo, SS/3B, (Preseason #11)

Age: 18 (DOB: 09/05/00)
2019 Highest Level: Rk Bluefield

Hiraldo has looked good so far this year in his return to Rookie Bluefield. He is slashing .302/.355/.500 with 6 HR in 41 games.

15. Gabriel Moreno, C, (Preseason #42)

Age: 19 (DOB: 02/14/00)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

Moreno is having a breakout season in his first year at Low A Lansing. He is becoming a legitimate prospect slashing .299/.360/.515. He has 26 extra-base hits (10 HR) while only striking out only 24 times. Defensively he has thrown out 33% of runners.

16. Forrest Wall, CF, (Preseason #16)

Age: 23 (DOB: 11/20/95)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

Wall is having another decent season in his second try at AA New Hampshire. His 9 HR and slashline of .273/.357/.429 was good enough to be named to the Eastern League all-star game. His stolen base numbers are down this year however from 38 to only 13 so far.

17. Kendall Williams, RHP, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 18 (DOB: 08/24/00)
2019 Highest Level: Rk GCL Blue Jays

Williams was taken in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft in June. He has looked good in his pro debut in the GCL. In 4 appearances he has given up 3 hits with 12 K in 8 innings pitched. The 6’6” 205 lb right-hander drafted out of high school is another of the good long term pitching projects.

18. Chavez Young, RF, (Preseason #29)

Age: 22 (DOB: 07/08/97)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

Young has had a tough time trying to match his 2018 numbers with the move up to High A Dunedin. The extra base hits are way down from 50 in 2018 to only 24 so far this season. His slashline is .244/.304/.360 but the numbers have been increasing month-to-month so hopefully he is making the adjustment to the higher level.

19. T.J. Zeuch, SP, (Preseason #17)

Age: 24 (DOB: 08/01/95)
2019 Highest Level: AAA Buffalo

Zeuch was shut down early in spring training with a back injury and did not make his AAA debut until late-June. In 9 starts he has struggled with control issuing 27 walks to only 26 strikeouts in 53 IP. The 6’7” 220 lb right-hander is 3-2 with a 4.92 ERA.

20. Joey Murray, RHP, (Preseason unranked)

Age: 22 (DOB: 09/23/96)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

Murray was the 8th round pick in the 2018 draft. He has seemingly come out of nowhere and been fast tracked this season all the way up to AA New Hampshire. Combined across 3 levels he has 140K in 113.2 innings.

21. Hector Perez, SP, (Preseason #12)

Age: 23 (DOB: 06/06/96)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

In his 2nd year at AA the walk rate is still high at 5.1 BB/9 and the K rate is down to a career low 8.8/9. He is 7-4 with a 4.70 ERA.

22. Leonardo Jimenez, SS, (Preseason #31)

Age: 18 (DOB: 05/17/01)
2019 Highest Level: Rookie Bluefield

Jimenez is slashing .280/.350/.360 as the young shortstop continues to improve in the lower levels

23. Will Robertson, OF, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 21 (DOB: 12/26/97)
2019 Highest Level: SS-A Vancouver

Robertson was drafted in the 4th round of the 2019 draft in June. His pro career has started with SS-A Vancouver. The numbers so far are not eye-popping at .235/.330/.352 with 3 HR but it is very early in his career. In 2 years at Creighton University he was .321/.410/.619 with 27 HR.

24. Patrick Murphy, SP, (Preseason unranked)

Age: 24 (DOB: 06/10/95)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

Murphy is currently on the 7-day injured list. He continues to have setbacks that are holding him back from moving up to AAA. In June his delivery was deemed to be illegal due to a toe tapping issue. He is 4-7 with a 4.61 ERA on the season. He was dominant in AA early in the season and is considered to be one of the key pitchers in the next wave of starters to make the jump to the majors.

25. Yennsy Diaz, RHP, (Preseason #38)

Age: 22 (DOB: 11/15/96)
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Diaz is 8-8 with a 4.17 ERA in his first year at AA New Hampshire. He is on the 40 man roster and was surprisingly promoted to the majors and made one relief appearance at the beginning of August. It didn’t go well as he showed that he still needs more development giving up 2 ER and 4 walks while getting only 2 outs.

26. Ryan Noda, 1B, (Preseason #24)

Age: 23 (DOB: 03/30/96)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

Noda is struggling to maintain the strong numbers he posted at the lower levels in his move to Hi-A Dunedin. He is slashing .225/.358/.396 with 10 HR. The strikeouts continue you to be a problem as he strikes out at a 38% clip.

27. Jordan Romano, RP, (Preseason Texas #35)

Age: 26 (04/21/93)
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Romano was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the White Sox and then sent to the Rangers before being returned at the end of spring training. He has 47 strikeouts in 34 IP in 20 appearances at AAA Buffalo. He was called up to Toronto in June and looked like he belonged. In 4 relief appearances he had 11 K in 5 innings. His fastball was touching 97mph as he looked like he could have future closer potential. He suffered an oblique injury in early July and is currently on a rehab assignment in the GCL.

28. Logan Warmoth, SS, (Preseason #15)

Age: 23 (DOB: 09/06/95)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

After a disappointing 2018 season he returned to High A Dunedin where he had a strong start to the season slashing .292/.380/.423 with 3 HR. The 2017 1st rounder was promoted to AA New Hampshire in mid-June where his numbers have not been as good so far .190/.303/.272 batting cleanup most nights.

29. Dason Brown, OF, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 17 (09/25/01)
2019 Highest Level; Rk GCL Blue Jays

Brown is a home-grown pick born in the Toronto area who was selected in the 3rd round of the 2019 draft in June. He is known for his speed as Baseball America noted that he was the 2nd fastest high schooler in the draft class. He has started his pro career with the Rk GCL Blue Jays where he already has 5 SB in 11 games.

30. Reese McGuire, C, (Preseason #25)

Age: 24 (DOB: 03/02/95)
2019 Highest Level: MLB

McGuire’s time on this list is almost up as he was promoted to the Blue Jays in late-July and it looks like it may be to stay. Small sample size but in 7 games he is slashing .280/.280/.560 with 2 home runs and starting to take playing time away from rookie Danny Jansen as the starting catcher. Those number should level off for a player known as a defense-first catcher. He was .247/.316/.366 with 5 HR at AAA Buffalo earlier this year.

31. Samad Taylor, 2B, (Preseason #26)

Age: 21 (DOB: 07/11/98)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

2019 Stats: 89 G, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 87 K, 24 SB, .221 AVG, .338 OBP, .369 SLG

32. Santiago Espinal, SS, (Preseason #28)

Age: 24 (DOB: 11/13/94)
2019 Highest Level: AAA Buffalo

2019 Stats: 99 G, 5 HR, 58 RBI, 53 K, 10 SB, .267 AVG, .330 OBP, .368 SLG

33. Chad Spanberger, 1B, (Preseason #21)

Age: 23 (DOB: 11/01/95)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

2019 Stats: 103 G, 11 HR, 49 RBI, 97 K, 4 SB, .228 AVG, .297 OBP, .393 SLG

Tier 5:

34. Tanner Morris, SS, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 20 (DOB: 09/13/98)
2019 Highest Level: SS-A Vancouver

2019 Stats: 43 G, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 40 K, 2 SB, .253 AVG, .383 OBP, .377 SLG

35. Riley Adams, C, (Preseason #30)

Age: 23 (DOB: 06/26/96)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

2019 Stats: 84 G, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 102 K, 3 SB, .261 AVG, .365 OBP, .420 SLG

36. Hagen Danner, C, (Preseason #36)

Age: 20 (DOB: 09/03/98)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

2019 Stats: 79 G, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 96 K, 4 SB, .171 AVG, .256 OBP, .372 SLG

37. Thomas Hatch, SP, (Preseason Cubs #42)

Age: 24 (DOB: 09/29/94)
2019 Highest Level: AA Tennessee/New Hampshire

2019 Stats: 4-12, 4.69 ERA, 23 GS, 109.1 IP, 102K, 1.40 WHIP

38. Kevin Vicuna, SS, (Preseason #45)

Age: 21 (DOB: 01/14/98)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

2019 Stats: 98 G, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 72 K, 19 SB, .242 AVG, .309 OBP, .316 SLG

39. Ronny Brito, SS, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 20 (DOB: 03/22/99)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

2019 Stats: 49 G, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 71 K, 0 SB, .215 AVG, .297 OBP, .319 SLG

40. Jon Harris, SP, (Preseason #32)

Age: 25 (DOB: 10/16/93)
2019 Highest Level: AA New Hampshire

2019 Stats: 2-2, 9.00 ERA, 5 G, 4 GS, 16 IP, 18 K, 1.88 WHIP

41. Justin Maese, RHP, (Preseason #34)

Age: 22 (DOB: 10/24/96)
2019 Highest Level: Rookie GCL Blue Jays

2019 Stats: 0-0, 7.20 ERA, 3 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 K, 1.60 WHIP

42. Demi Orimoloye, OF, (Preseason #41)

Age: 22 (DOB: 01/06/97)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

2019 Stats: 94 G, 8 HR, 52 RBI, 106 K, 19 SB, .237 AVG, .297 OBP, .370 SLG

43. Otto Lopez, 2B, (Preseason unranked)

Age: 20 (DOB: 10/01/98)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

2019 Stats: 88 G, 4 HR, 37 RBI, 55 K, 16 SB, .306 AVG, .357 OBP, .393 SLG

44. Josh Winckowski, RHP, (Preseason Super-sleeper)

Age: 21 (DOB: 06/28/98)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

2019 Stats: 8-7, 2.52 ERA, 19 GS, 107.1 IP, 95 K, 1.18 WHIP

45. Juan De Paula, RHP, (Preseason SF Giants #23)

Age: 21 (DOB: 09/22/97)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

2019 Stats: 3-6, 8.11 ERA, 17 G, 12 GS, 61 IP, 40 K, 1.97 WHIP

46. Andrew Sopko, RHP, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 25 (DOB: 08/07/94)
2019 Highest Level: AAA Buffalo

2019 Stats: 3-7, 4.68 ERA, 19 GS, 92.1 IP, 71 K, 1.30 WHIP

47. Mc Gregory Contreras, LF, (Preseason #46)

Age: 20 (DOB: 08/30/98)
2019 Highest Level: Low A Lansing

2019 Stats: 76 G, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 106 K, 1 SB, .218 AVG, .278 OBP, .337 SLG

48. Kyle Johnston, RHP, (Preseason Washington #17)

Age: 23 (DOB: 07/17/96)
2019 Highest Level: High A Potomac/Dunedin

2019 Stats: 9-11, 4.49 ERA, 22 GS, 112.1 IP, 103 K, 1.27 WHIP

49. Maximo Castillo, RHP, (Preseason unranked)

Age: 20 (DOB: 05/04/99)
2019 Highest Level: High A Dunedin

2019 Stats: 8-5, 2.85 ERA, 21 GS, 113.2 IP, 102 K, 1.13 WHIP

50. Rikelvin De Castro, SS, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 16 (DOB: 01/23/03)
2019 Highest Level: Has not played

51. Philip Clarke, C, (Preseason N/A)

Age: 21 (DOB: 03/24/98)
2019 Highest Level: SS-A Vancouver

2019 Stats: 21 G, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 13 K, 0 SB, .277 AVG, .375 OBP, .386 SLG

52. Zach Jackson, RP, (Preseason #48)

Age: 24 (DOB: 12/25/94)
2019 Highest Level: AAA Buffalo

2019 Stats: 8-0, 3.59 ERA, 39 G, 1 SV, 57.2 IP, 58 K, 1.28 WHIP




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