Jays From the Couch continues our Toronto Blue Jays 2017 Top Prospects List with #13, Pitcher, Justin Maese.
It’s that time of year again! We’re counting down our Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects for 2017. We’ve selected our Top 15 and will be profiling each one. You are bound to find many of these lists in your travels, which makes for great conversation. The basis for rankings varies even more than the number of lists you’ll find. Some prefer to look at how close to “big league ready” a prospect is, while others look at “stuff” or “tools”.
To construct our list, we have scoured over scouting reports, numbers and a lot more to finalize our 2017 Top Prospects list. Feel free to weigh in on each selection in the comment section! It’s part of the fun!
Check out the rest of our 2017 Top Prospects, including Honorable Mentions HERE
Maese, the former two-sport Texas high school standout worked his way from short-season Vancouver to the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League in 2016. He did so on the back of five excellent starts that resulted in a 2-2 record with a 2.05 ERA. More remarkable was his 0.3 BB/9 rate (one walk in 26.1 IP) which boosted his BB/K rate to 20.00.
His time with the Lugnuts was a bit more challenging for the 19-year-old, however he performed admirably while turning some heads in the organization. Over 10 starts Maese put together a 2-4 record with a 3.36 ERA while competing with players who were on average two-plus years older than himself.
Though his BB/9 jumped to 2.2, the young right-hander surrendered only two home runs over his 56.1 innings of work. At first glance this could be attributed to pitching in the very pitcher friendly Cooley Law School Stadium; however, seven of his ten starts came on the road. This helps give credence to his low-to-mid nineties bowling ball fastball being as advertised.
Name: Justin Maese
Born: October 24, 1996
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015. Toronto Blue Jays
Weight: 190 lbs
MLB Pipeline: Maese remains as the #11 prospect in the Blue Jays organization.
Baseball America: The Texas native slipped from #9 after the 2015 season, but stuck around in the #10 spot heading into 2017.
Outlook for 2017:
With the current front office being known to move players through the organization slower than the previous regime, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Maese start the 2017 season in Lansing. Should he continue to impress a mid-season promotion to Dunedin (A+) of the Florida State League.
A major factor in his development will be his ability to refine his secondary pitches. It is reported that he had good feel for his slider but, it does need work. Maese has also added a change-up to his arsenal; however, due to his age and lack of pitching experience, it’s a pitch that needs to be developed further. His ability to do so could mean the difference of being thought of a starting pitcher or a bullpen option going forward.
Seeing that Maese is only heading into his age-20 season there is no reason to believe we should see him in a major league uniform anytime soon. Given his lack of pitching experience the organization will most likely give him the time he needs to develop and refine his feel for his secondary pitches. This would leave us to believe he would not be expected in Toronto until sometime in 2020. On the flip side, should the organization come to the realization that he is destined to be a two pitch pitcher, he could be moved along faster as a bullpen arm. This would push up his possible ETA to late 2018 at the earliest, with 2019 being more realistic.
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.