The Blue Jays are at the point in the rebuild where the young core is ready to win now. With a couple of holes still to fill they are expected to be active in the trade market after the lockout ends. They have an abundance of infielders in the top 15 so that is where the best trade assets can be found. Look for a couple of them to be dealt away.
Many good players graduating to the majors over the past couple years and other top prospects being traded away has resulted in the system tumbling a bit in overall system rankings, but there is still good depth and several young players with significant upside coming along.
Players from last year’s list that are no longer in the organization include #1 Austin Martin (traded), #4 Simeon Woods-Richardson (traded), #20 Patrick Murphy (waiver claim), #21 T.J. Zeuch (traded), #23 Josh Winckowski (traded), #24 Riley Adams (traded), #28 Yennsy Diaz (traded), #29 Hector Perez (traded), #32 Ryan Noda (traded), and #43 Javier D’Orazio (traded). Both #6 Alek Manoah and #7 Alejandro Kirk graduated to the majors.
Let’s get to the list.
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for several years
Tier 2: Players with an above-average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have a high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster
Levels listed for each player are the highest levels player reached in 2021
1. Gabriel Moreno, C, 21, AAA
Moreno is the next can’t-miss guy in the system and it looks like he is coming fast. He started the season slashing .373/.441/.651 at AA before a thumb injury sidelined him for an extended period. After getting into three games at AAA late in the season he was sent to the AFL where he continued to rake with a .904 OPS. There has been some speculation that he could make the team out of camp but he likely will need to spend a bit more time against AAA pitching first.
2. Orelvis Martinez, SS. 20, High-A
Martinez has a lot of raw power. He had the most home runs by a teenager in all the minor leagues with 28. He will likely move to 3B full-time at some point and could be the power-hitting corner infielder they are searching for.
3. Jordan Groshans, SS, 22, AA
After missing most of 2019 with an injury and then no baseball in 2020 he made the jump straight to AA and was one of the youngest players at the level. He had a solid season slashing .291/.367/.450 with 7 HR. The first round pick from 2018 has a good feel for hitting and should develop into an above-average major leaguer.
4. Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, 22, College
Hoglund was selected in the first round of the 2021 draft. Following a good college career he had Tommy John surgery prior to the draft and will likely miss the entire 2022 season. He should move quickly though once he is healthy.
5. Nate Pearson, RHP, 25, MLB
Pearson is no longer looked at as the can’t miss prospect from a couple of years ago. The start to his MLB career has repeatedly been stalled by injuries over the past two years but that fastball that reaches triple digits continues to give you hope that he can still become the ace that everyone was expecting.
6. Otto Lopez, 2B, 23, MLB
Lopez had another strong season in 2021 with a slash line of .315/.379/.437 split between AA & AAA. He is a good contact hitter with not much power and decent speed. Able to play second, short, and all three outfield spots gives him great versatility that will help him become a good utility-type major leaguer.
7. Manuel Beltre, SS, 17, Rookie (DSL)
Beltre was given a $2.35M bonus as the top signing in the 2021 IFA signing period. He had a slow start to his debut season in the DSL but finished strong with a .985 OPS in August.
8. Kevin Smith, 3B, 25, MLB
When we last saw Smith he was struggling at AA in 2019 and looked like that may be where he would top out in the system, but he returned in 2021 with an outstanding season at AAA Buffalo. He led the team in doubles (27), home runs (21), RBI (69) and total bases (199). He made his major league debut and got into 18 big league games. He should be a versatile bench player in 2022.
9. Samad Taylor, 2B, 23, AA
Taylor enjoyed a breakout season at AA with career high power numbers, 16 HR, and a .503 slugging percentage. His plus speed also led to 30 stolen bases. It will be interesting to see if that hitting continues at the AAA level.
10. Miguel Hiraldo, 2B, 21, Low-A
Hiraldo is a solid hitter but took a step back this year only hitting .249 after consistently being around .300 in the years past. With only 7 home runs we are still looking for the power to breakout. He is not a burner on the basepaths but did have a career high with 29 stolen bases.
11. Leo Jimenez, SS, 20, Low-A
Jimenez had a strong season with a slash line of .320/.523/.392. He has a good approach at the plate which led to 54 walks and only 36 strikeouts. He showed enough for them to add him to the 40 man roster as a 20-year-old who still hasn’t played above Low-A.
12. CJ Van Eyk, RHP, 23, High-A
Van Eyk struggled early on in the season but with a 2.57 ERA in August he was starting to turn that around when he left a start late in the month with an injury. Reports are that he had Tommy John surgery after the season and will now miss all of 2022.
13. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, 21, High-A
Kloffenstein struggled a bit in 2021 with a 7-7 record and a 6.22 ERA. The walk rate skyrocketed to a 5.4 BB/9 but his control did start to improve as the season went along. Look for him to turn things around with a breakout season in 2022.
14. Estiven Machado, 2B, 19, Rookie (FCL)
We haven’t seen much of Machado yet as he had only one at bat before he injured a hamstring and did not return all year. He does have good tools and should hit when he does get going.
15. Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, 19, Junior College
16. Rikelbin De Castro, SS, 19, Rooke (FCL)
17. Sem Robberse, RHP, 20, High-A
18. Irv Carter, RHP, 19, High School
19. Eric Pardinho, RHP, 21, Rookie (FCL)
20. Spencer Horwitz, 1B, 24, AA
21. Joey Murray, RHP, 25, Rookie (FCL) – was AA in 2019
22. Luis Garcia, 3B, 18, Rookie (DSL)
23. Dasan Brown, OF, 20, Low-A
24. Trent Palmer, RHP, 22, Low-A
25. Zach Logue, LHP, 25, AAA
26. Bowden Francis, RHP, 25, AAA
27. Chavez Young, OF, 24, AA
28. Victor Mesia, C, 19, Low-A
29. Chad Dallas, RHP, 21, College
30. Cristian Feliz, OF, 19, Rookie (DSL)
31. Adrian Hernandez, RHP, 22, AA
32. Hagen Danner, RHP, 23, High-A
33. Luis Meza, C, 17, International signee
34. Yhoangel Aponte, OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)
35. Tanner Morris, SS, 24, High-A
36. Yosver Zulueta, RHP, 24, Low-A
37. Josh Palacios, OF, 26, MLB
38. Nick Allgeyer, LHP, 25, MLB
Pitchers from this tier who could see time in the majors this season include Murray, Logue, Francis, Danner and Allgeyer…..The rest of this tier is littered with young talent looking to move up the rankings in future years. Tiedemann, Carter and Dallas were all pitchers selected in the 2021 Draft but have yet to make their pro debuts….De Castro, the big IFA signing from 2019 finally made his debut in the FCL and after some early struggles, he hit .333 over his last 21 games…..Robberse is a polished starter with good mechanics. Look for a breakout season from him in 2022…..Pardinho coming off TJS only pitched in only 2 games before being shut down again…..Horwitz and Morris were each named Northwest League All-Stars and Horwitz followed that up with a strong showing in the AFL where he hit .375…..Garcia was a 2021 IFA signing who had an impressive debut hitting .307 in the DSL….Brown has 80 speed and is a plus defender but he’s struggled a lot at the plate…..Palmer had a strong second half in his debut season throwing 7-inning no-hitters twice…..Mesia made it up to Low-A in his debut season as an 18-year-old….. Feliz is a left-handed bat who led the DSL Blue Jays with 4 HR and 30 RBI…..Hernandez is a reliever who moved through three levels in 2021. He has one of the best changeups in the system which contributed to the 15.6 K/9……Meza was just signed in IFA and was one of the top catchers in the class…..Aponte has a high ceiling and could grow into a 5 tool center fielder…..Espino was plucked from the Mets system in the 2020 Rule 5 draft and has above-average raw power….. Zulueta and Palacios will both be looking to bounce back after injuries cut their seasons short early in 2021.
39. Sebastian Espino, OF, 21, High-A
40. Will Robertson, OF, 24, High-A
41. Kendry Rojas, LHP, 19, Rookie (FCL)
42. Nick Frasso, RHP, 23, Low-A
43. Amell Brazoban, OF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
44. Steward Berroa, OF, 22, AA
45. Rafael Lantigua, 2B, 23, AA
46. Dahian Santos, RHP, 18, Low-A
47. Maximo Castillo, RHP, 22, AA
48. Hayden Juenger, RHP, 21, High-A
49. Logan Warmoth, SS, 26, AAA
50. LJ Talley, 1B, 24, AA
Rojas from Cuba was impressive in the FCL with 39K and only 5 BB in 23.2IP….. Frasso pitched in only 3 games before his season ended with Tommy John surgery…..Brazoban had a strong showing in the FCL slashing .317/.407/.951….. Berroa had 55 stolen bases in 82 games…..Lantigua continues to improve with 11 HR in High-A…..Santos as an 18-year-old was impressive enough in the FCL to be given two Low-A starts late in the season….Castillo is an innings eater who has led his team at every level in wins four years in a row…..Juenger was Toronto’s 6th round selection out of Missouri State University and debuted in High-A Vancouver, tossing 20 IP in 11 games, with 34 K…..Warmoth is a former first rounder who is running out of time…..Talley a 7th round pick in 2019 could be the Triple-A first baseman in 2022.
Cook was a $20,000 undrafted senior sign in 2020 who showed good power in his debut with 12 HR over two levels…..Paulino had an up and down season going 7-4 with a 3.82 ERA and one 6 inning no-hitter…..Barger has good power with 18 HR but with that comes the 129 strikeouts…….From out of nowhere Capra had a spectacular season with a .944 OPS at AA