With three months in the book and two months remaining in the 2017 minor season, let’s see how the Blue Jays top prospects are doing.
The season continues to roll on. June is behind us and dog days of summer ahead of us. With three months of minor league baseball in the books, we can put the ‘it’s early’ crap away for another year so we can call a spade a spade.
The Blue Jays have several positional players exceeding expectations and few who have been a disappointment. As a whole, the pitching prospects haven’t performed as well as many of had hoped.
Just to be clear this exercise is covering the Top Prospect list from the start of the season and not what the top prospect list should look like at the moment. Maybe that’s an exercise we should revisit shortly.
Vlad Guerrero has been everything we had hoped he would be. He is a true blue Top Prospect. This is not to say that Vlad Jr hasn’t had to deal with some bumps in the road. The power is still developing (5 HR) but the plate discipline is advanced (.400 OBP).
After a strong start (.348/.459/.565) in April, Vlad has seen his production drop in May (.312/.393/.452) and June (.279/.357/.384). He has played more baseball this summer than ever before, so some regression is to be expected.
He was named to the Midwest All-Star game and will take part in the Futures Game. I expect a breather over the All-Star weekend will see VGJ come back to Lansing refreshed and ready to finish the season strong.
#2- Anthony Alford
The Blue Jays best outfield prospect put an injury-riddled 2016 season behind him with a strong April (.356/.427/.507) and May (.280/.390/.380) with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
On May 19th the talented outfielder was promoted, not to Triple-A Buffalo but to Toronto. Unfortunately, a broken hamate bone abruptly ended the fairy tale. He is currently on the 10-day DL and will remain there for much of the summer.
#3- Rowdy Tellez
Coming out of Spring Training many followers of Blue Jays were shouting for Tellez to assume the Blue Jays role of everyday 1B. Thankfully the FO didn’t listen as Justin Smoak would have been the guy cast aside in this scenario.
In Buffalo, Tellez has struggled to find success while Smoak is heading to the All-Star game. Tellez has not been able to hit for power (12 extra base hits and 6 HR) or average (.208 BA). Despite his struggles, Tellez continues to show a good approach at the plate (22 BB and 48 K).
Maybe a few weeks in New Hampshire would help. Something’s got to give after batting just .176 with 3 doubles, 2HR, and 5/14 BB/K in June.
#4- Sean Reid-Foley
The 21-yr-old had all kinds of issues early on. Walks. High pitch count. Inability to get to the 5th inning.
After posting 5.00+ ERA throughout the first two months, SRF put up much better numbers in June (2-3, 4.23 ERA). He is striking out roughly a batter per inning. His command improved a lot in June with just 8 BB in 27.2 IP.
Home runs have been a problem for SRF this season. He has allowed 10 HR in 65.1 IP in 2017 after allowing 4 in 115.1 IP between Lansing and Dunedin.
#5- Richard Urena
#6- Conner Greene
At the beginning of the season, when I evaluated the Blue Jays SP prospects, I felt that Greene had the best chance at getting to Toronto this season. While the 22-yr-old hasn’t done anything to prove me right, he also hasn’t really done anything to prove me wrong.
Greene is replicating his 2016 season stats with a slight increase in WHIP, BB 9, and WP. After striking out 27 in 28.2 April innings, Greene saw strikeouts drop to 16 in 30.1 May innings and 13 in 20.2 June innings. He had more walks in June than strikeouts (16 BB).
#7- Bo Bichette
All Bo has done in 2017 is mash. He will join Vlad at the Midwest All-Star game and Futures Game.
The 19-yr-old Bichette is making it very tough for the front office to bring him along slowly. He leads the MWL in BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, TB, 2B, H, R, and awesomeness.
There’s been enough press on him so I’ll leave it at that.
#8- T.J. Zeuch
The Blue Jays 2016 1st round selection is currently on the DL, missing all of June. In 9 starts, T.J. was a groundball machine (3.00 GO/AO) and making quick work (42 K in 53 IP) of the Florida State League.
He posted a record of 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA in April and a record of 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA in May.
#9- Harold Ramirez
Ramirez has looked ordinary in 2017. After batting just .182 in April, Ramirez batted .260+ over the next two months. Still, Ramirez lacks power, speed, and doesn’t seem to have any tools that justify his placement at #9.
#10- Lourdes Gurriel Jr
Gurriel played his first game on April 19th but didn’t play his second game until the 19th of June. Since returning from the DL Lourdes has not performed well.
The organization is trying him at SS and has committed 7 errors in 8 games at that position. With the bat, Lourdes is batting just .184 with one extra-base hit, no walks, and 7 K in 11 GP.
#11- Jonathan Harris
Yet another Blue Jays prospect who has struggled in 2017. In 15 starts Harris has allowed 2+ HR four times, 4+ runs 7 times, and 6+ hits 12 times.
Despite the results, Harris has consistently gotten through the 5th inning and throws greater than 85+ pitches in many of his starts.
#12- Reese McGuire
McGuire is currently lost for the year. The 22-yr-old appeared in just 16 games and batted .216 with a double, and 2 triples, 2 HR. He walks 8 times and struck out 11 times.
#13- Justin Maese
Maese landed on the DL on June 1st after spending time on the temporarily inactive list from May 18th to May 24th.
Maese has allowed more than a hit per inning but continues to be a very good groundball pitcher with 1.57 GO/AO. With 3 complete games, Maese was able to give the Lansing bullpen a much-needed rest every 5th day.
The 20-yr-old was on pace to pitch well over 100 innings this year before landing on the DL.
#14- Max Pentecost
Pentecost is on the DL with back soreness. After playing just a hand full of games behind the plate since being drafted in 2014, Max has slowly started to get more reps at catcher. He has 13 games behind the plate, 12 at 1B, and 23 at DH.
Pentecost only played 6 games in June, landing on the DL on June 12th. In those 6 games, he batted just .174 after batting .328 and .295 in April and May.
After hitting 6 home runs in 15 April games, Max managed just 3 in 25 May games. Despite the lower HR totals, Pentecost hit more doubles and even picked up his first career triple.
The FSL isn’t an easy league to hit home runs. He should hit more in New Hampshire at the end of this year or next season.
#15- Angel Perdomo
The 6-foot-6 lefty has quietly put together a nice season with the D-Jays. He has a record of 5-5 with a .307 ERA in 15 starts. He is striking out less than a batter an inning with 62 K but has struggled with the BB (40). Perdomo will walk 2 and strike out 8 one game, then follow it up by walking 4 and striking out 5.
Last season, Perdomo appeared to wear down as the season moved into the dog days. He appears to be getting stronger this season. His ERA has gone from 3.86 in 5 April starts to 1.88 in 5 June starts.
A guy to keep an eye on.
Cavan Biggio– Biggio has been steady for the D-Jays. He owns a .258 batting average with 9 doubles, 5 triples, and 6 HR. He is striking out more than I expected and not walking as much (36/79) through his first 74 games.
Francisco Rios– The 22-yr-old is having an uninspiring 2017. He is 3-7 with a 4.55 ERA in 12 starts. In 55.1 innings Rios has walked 22 and struck out 42. He is allowing more than a hit per inning (61 H) resulting in a .276 opponents BA.
Ryan Borucki– The 6-foot-4 lefty has taken some serious strides in 2017. Ryan is striking out more than a batter an inning and limiting the walks (23/90). In 15 starts, Ryan owns a 5-4 record with a 3.81 ERA in 78 innings.
*Featured Image Credit: JFtC C Stem
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