As we head into year 8 of the Shapiro/Atkins era, the Blue Jays are now positioned to make a significant run in the playoffs. This off-season has seen changes to the roster aimed at improving the overall team defense with the additions of Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier in the outfield and improving the pitching staff with the additions of Chris Bassitt and Erik Swanson. They brought in some veteran leadership with Brandon Belt and after moving on from lineup stalwarts Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez. These moves among others have seen 5 of the top 10 prospects from the 2022 Top 50 list traded away. This year’s list includes a couple of young pitching prospects who should be in contention this spring for the 5th spot in the rotation, some young bats coming off outstanding seasons and now knocking on the door along with a few excellent selections from the 2022 MLB Draft. The future in Toronto is very bright.
Before we get to the list, a quick review of players from last years list no longer in the organization. #1 Gabriel Moreno (traded), #3 Jordan Groshans (traded), #4 Gunnar Hoglund (traded), #8 Kevin Smith (traded), #9 Samad Taylor (traded), #25 Zach Logue (traded), #27 Chavez Young (traded), #37 Josh Palacios (waiver claim), #42 Nick Frasso (traded), #47 Max Castillo (traded), #49 Logan Warmoth (Rule 5).
Blue Jays MilB affiliates:
Buffalo Bisons (@BuffaloBisons) – Triple-A
New Hampshire Fishercats (@FisherCats) – Double-A
Vancouver Canadians (@vancanadians) – High-A
Dunedin Blue Jays (@DunedinBlueJays) – Single-A
Florida Complex League Blue Jays – Rookie
Dominican Summer League Blue Jays – Rookie
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 2022
1. Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, 20, Double-A
Tiedemann, at only 19 years old, was a fast-riser in 2022. He was impressive in his first professional season moving through three levels. He has an excellent feel for all his pitches, a mid-90’s fastball, slider and changeup. He could be closer to the majors than you think.
2. Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B. 21, Double-A
The power is impressive with 30 HR as one of the youngest players in the Eastern League, but his aggressive approach is concerning with a 29% strikeout rate and a .203 avg. It would do him good to start the season again at Double-A.
3. Brandon Barriera, LHP, 18, High School
Barriera was the 1st round selection in the 2022 MLB Draft. He was the top left-hander in the draft class but has yet to make his debut in the system.
4. Addison Barger, SS/3B, 23, Triple-A
Barger had an outstanding breakout season across three levels improving at each step along the way. He finished the season with an 8 game stretch at AAA where he was 11/31 with 3 HR and 9 RBI. He is a left-handed pull hitter with 24 or his 26 HR hit to right field.
5. Yosver Zulueta, RHP, 25, Triple-A
After multiple injuries including Tommy John surgery and a torn ACL, we finally got a full season from Zulueta in 2022. The 25-year-old Cuban moved through all four levels, striking out batters at a 13.6/9 rate. He has a fastball that reaches triple digits and a plus curveball that he uses as his out pitch.
6. Gabriel Martinez, OF, 20, High-A
Martinez had a sizzling start to his first full season with 8 HR and a .367/.404/.694 slashline in May, before breaking his wrist. After returning from the injury, he was promoted to Vancouver where he continued to hold his own slashing .324/.381/.490 as one of the youngest players in the Northwest League.
7. Tucker Toman, 3B/SS, 19, Rookie (FCL)
Jays went significantly over-slot with a $2M bonus on Toman when he was selected in the 2nd round of the 2022 draft out of high school. The switch hitter is projected to be a power-hitting third baseman. He made a good debut in the FCL with a slashing .290/.391/.368 in 11 games.
8. Dahian Santos, RHP, 19, High-A
Santos had an outstanding start to the season at Dunedin, especially in May when he had 43 K in 21.2 IP and a 0.83 ERA. He struggled though when promoted to High-A Vancouver but at 19 was the youngest pitcher in the league. His slider is a devastating out pitch.
9. Cade Doughty, 2B/3B, 21, Single-A
Doughty was drafted with a 2nd round supplemental pick in the 2022 draft. He had 15 HR and hit .298, earning 3rd team All-American recognition at LSU. Reports say that he is a clutch hitter who comes through in big situations. He had a good debut in Dunedin with 6 HR and a .272/.370/.495 slashline in 36 games.
10. Adam Macko, LHP, 21, High-A
Macko was acquired from Seattle in the Teoscar Hernandez trade. Born in Slovakia, he grew up in Canada and was selected in the 7th round of the 2019 draft from an Alberta high school. He has a high ceiling with a plus fastball and nasty stuff. The strikeouts are impressive with a 14K/9 rate in the small sample size so far. He has an injury history with shoulder, elbow and knee injuries having shut down each of the last two seasons. He did pitch 13.1 innings in the AFL so hopefully the injury is all behind him now.
11. Spencer Horwitz, 1B, 25, Triple-A
Now 25, the disciplined left-handed hitting first basemen was added to the 40 man roster and should get a shot at a bench role this season in Toronto. Selected in the 24th round of the 2019, draft he has quickly moved up the ladder. He had an outstanding start to 2022 at Double-A New Hampshire with 10 HR and a .297/.413/.517 slashline before finishing the season at Triple-A.
12. Leo Jimenez, SS. 21, High-A
Jimenez failed to follow up on his strong season in 2021, but the former top IFA signing from 2017 continues to climb up through the system. He will look to rebound at Double-A New Hampshire in 2023.
13. Nate Pearson, RHP, 26, Triple-A
The former top prospect had another season marred by injury. No longer rookie-eligible and now 26 years old but with only 33 IP he is still considered a prospect in most dynasty formats. His days as a starter are likely behind him, but the big fastball and effective slider will make him a valuable bullpen piece if he can stay healthy. He was dominant this winter in the DWL with 0 runs allowed in 12 innings with 16K.
14. Sem Robberse, RHP, 21, Double-A
Robberse had another great year with Vancouver before a late promotion to Double-A. He led the Canadians rotation with a 3.12 ERA, consistently working into the 5th inning and beyond. He has four solid pitches, but the knock on him is that he lacks a great out pitch.
15. Hayden Juenger, RHP, 22. Triple-A
Juenger was selected in the 6th round of the 2021 draft. They aggressively pushed him from Double-A to Triple-A in 2022. A two-pitch pitcher, he was transitioned into the bullpen in Buffalo. We could see him in Toronto in 2023 in any number of roles.
16. Josh Kasevich, SS/3B, 21, Single-A
Kasevich was selected in the 2nd round of the 2022 draft. He is a patient contact hitter who walks more than he strikes out.
17. Otto Lopez, OF/2B, 24, MLB
Lopez had a solid season at Triple-A Buffalo with a.297/.378/.415 slashline. He has good speed with 14 stolen bases and 6 triples. He was called up to Toronto and used in a bench role three times in 2022. We should expect more of the same this season.
18. Damiano Palmegiani, 3B, 23, High-A
Venezuelan born, Canadian raised, Palmegiani was selected twice by the Blue Jays. Drafted late in the 2018 draft, he opted to not sign and go to college and then was selected again in the 14th round of the 2021 draft. In his first full season, the slugger took a huge step forward with 24 home runs and 83 RBI split between Dunedin and Vancouver.
19. Alex De Jesus, 3B. 20, High-A
De Jesus was acquired from the LA Dodgers at the trade deadline along with RHP Mitch White. He had a good first half in the Dodgers organization, batting .272 with 11 home runs, but he did not hit nearly as well after the trade.
20. CJ Van Eyk, RHP, 24, DNP (Injured)
Former 2nd round pick in the 2020 Draft, he missed all of 2022 after off-season Tommy John surgery.
21. Manuel Beltre, SS, 18, Single-A
The top international signing from 2021 came in with much fanfare. He spent his first season stateside in the FCL with average results until a late-season promotion to Single-A and a hot streak left us with a glimpse of the good things to come. In 5 games at Dunedin he slashed .381/.409/.571.
22. Miguel Hiraldo, 2B, 22, High-A
23. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, 22, Double-A
24. Adrian Pinto, 2B, 20, Single-A
25. Trent Palmer, RHP, 23, Double-A
26. Estiven Machado, SS. 20, Single-A
27. Rainer Nunez, 1B, 22, High-A
28. Rafael Ohashi, RHP 20, Single-A
29. Eric Pardinho, RHP, 22, High-A
30. Dasan Brown, OF, 21, High-A
31. Rikelbin De Castro, SS, 20, Single-A
32. Alejandro Melean, RHP, 22, Double-A
33. Davis Schneider, 3B, 24, Triple-A
34. Adrian Hernandez, RHP, 23, Triple-A
35. Hagen Danner, RHP, 24, AFL
36. Nathan Lukes, OF, 28, Triple-A
Hiraldo and Kloffenstein are both in need of a breakout season after now two disappointing seasons in a row. Pinto, Palmer and Ohashi will be looking to make a comeback after injuries ended their season early. Machado made his long-awaited debut slashing .263/.342/.345. Nunez capped off his strong season being named a FSL postseason all star and the rookie of the year in the DWL. The bat finally caught up to the defense for Brown after his promotion to Vancouver. Injuries kept Hernandez and Danner from making a debut in the Toronto bullpen in 2022, but both are close. Schneider was an organizational all-star with a breakout season across three levels. Lukes was added to the 40 man roster after leading the Bisons in Hits, Runs, HR and RBI.
37. Irv Carter, RHP, 20, Single-A
38. Alan Roden, OF, 23, Single-A
39. Chad Dallas, RHP, 22, High-A
40. Tanner Morris, SS. 25, Triple-A
41. Luis Meza, C, 18, Rookie (DSL)
42. Trenton Wallace, RHP, 23, High-A
43. Tyler Keenan, 3B, 23, Double-A
44. Kendry Rojas, LHP, 20, Single-A
45. Zach Britton, C, 24, Double-A
46. Jimmy Robbins, LHP, 25, Double-A
47. Luis Quinones, RHP, 25, Double-A
48. PK Morris, 1B, 24, High-A
49. Michael Dominguez, RHP, 22, High-A
50. Bowden Francis, RHP, 26, Triple-A
3rd round pick Roden had a solid debut in Dunedin. Morris missed some time with injuries in 2022 but performed well in the AFL and now at Triple-A could earn a promotion soon. Meza was the top catching prospect from the 2022 IFA signing period, but did not have a great start in the DSL. Wallace had a 2.36 ERA in his first full season split between Single-A and High-A. Keenan looked promising with a .300/.357/.500 slashline at High-A after being acquired mid-season from the Seattle organization. Rojas had some control issues in his second season with a 10.9 BB%. Britton finished the season with a strong showing in the AFL, slashing .404/.482/.575. Returning from TJS, Robbins moved quickly through 3 levels posting a combined 2.59 ERA. Coming off a drug suspension, Quinones did not have great results with a 0-7 record and a 5.45 ERA in Double-A but a full season in the Triple-A will determine if he can take the next step or not. Dominguez had a breakout season with 104 K in 80.2 innings split between High-A and Double-A. Francis did not have great results this season at Buffalo with a 6.59 ERA and 5-10 record but a 1.51 ERA in 9 starts in the Puerto Rican Winter League has kept him on this list.