The staff at Jays From the Couch presents our list of Toronto Blue Jays prospects that should be untouchable at the 2017 Trade Deadline
The Toronto Blue Jays are approaching the July 31st Trade Deadline with some work to do. Exactly how that work plays out is anyone’s guess, really. GM, Ross Atkins, isn’t exactly a ‘buyer’ or a ‘seller’. So, the moves he makes could go in many different directions. But, in order to add talent to the roster and make the team better for now, and in the future, he will likely have to answer questions about certain pieces in the minor league system.
So, we here at Jays From the Couch did the work for him and chose players we feel are untouchable. If any of these names come up, we hang up the phone. Some are obvious, some are not. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
Ryan Andrews: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. This may be taking the glaring neon-light obvious choice out of the tradeable prospect pool, but the son of Vlad is approaching near “cant-miss status”. I’ve seen arguments for both Guerrero and Bo Bichette, and even the worst case on the current 3B-prospect is “Good, not great player.” Given the rate of prospects flaming out at various levels, I’ll take that, even if his defense eventually moves him to 1B or an OF slot. That bat is real, and his eyes are already locked on pitcher’s targets.
He could be the guy to takeover if Donaldson leaves. The rate of progression with the 18-year-old has already put him on track to reach MLB by the time he’s 20. With that pedigree and that power, I’m getting Delgado flashbacks. Given the price the Cubs just paid for Jose Quintana, if he was the starting point of discussions with the White Sox, Ross Atkins should have slammed the phone down when he hung up…or angrily pressed end on the cell phone…one-word finishing email? Whatever GMs are using these days.
Catherine Stem: Bo Bichette would be my untouchable prospect. I think about the infield and future (read now) needs at second base and shortstop. Bichette is hitting .384 and has a fielding % of .949 as a shortstop for Lansing. I think he’ll continue his development and become a force to be reckoned with. I’d prefer that force on the Blue Jays.
I would also add Conner Greene to the list of untouchables. Seeing him throw 101/mph in Dunedin at spring training, interviewing him at the Buffalo Prospect Showcase learning Sanchez was helping his training, and the fact that he was named to play in the All Star game is enough to want him to remain a Blue Jay. Harness that power and his ERA will drop from the current 4.37. I see a future Blue Jays starting pitcher.
Roy Widrig: Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. Why would I defend a .197 hitter as untouchable? The Blue Jays invested $22-Million in Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. in 2016 after the young SS/LF tore apart the Serie Nacional de Beisbol in Cuba, playing there from the age of 16-21. Son of one of the greatest players in Cuban baseball history, Lourdes Jr. started 2017 with High-A Dunedin but missed a significant chunk of the season due to leg injuries, and has slashed .197/.217/.475 since as a profession.
Despite the slow start, Blue Jays brass felt Gurriel was worthy of a promotion, and he’ll likely make his Double-A debut with New Hampshire this weekend. He has experience playing 2B, SS (not so well) and OF (quite well), all positions which are extremely thin for the Blue Jays right now at the upper levels of the minors. If the Jays decide to sell this summer, Gurriel Jr. could be one of the most immediate replacements to keep the team competitive in 2018.
Wade Black: Ryan Borucki – While I openly admit that no prospect should be untouchable in the right deal, there remains a few within the organization which I would hate to part. Aside from Bo and Vlad, my pick would the 6’4 lanky lefty in Dunedin, Borucki. I can’t lie and say I don’t have a bias when it comes to the Illinois native, as I did sort of fall in love with is make-up and stuff last summer is Lansing. But, personal feelings aside, he may be one of the best pitching prospects in the organization, and perhaps the most underrated.
He presents a low-to-mid 90’s fastball, with what many say is the best change-up in the system. Not only has he proven to be durable over the last season and a half , he is also getting better. Borucki currently sits with a 10.2 K/9 this season in Dunedin, up from 8.4 in A-ball in 2016. He has also surrendered only 4 home runs over his last 200.2 IP of professional baseball, for a remarkable 0.2 HR/9 ratio. Even with his last 85 IP coming in the hitter friendly environment of the Florida State League. He’s not going anywhere in my mind.
Jeff Quattrociocchi: Tim Mayza is not one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects, but he has the qualities that could make him an extremely important part of the big league bullpen within the next year or so. He used his mid to high 90s fastball and slider (rare among lefty relievers) to strike out 26% of the batters he faced in High-A last year. This year, he impressed enough in AA (upping his strikeout rate to 29%) to earn a promotion to AAA.
Shaun Doyle: Anthony Alford. Now, you might call this cheating since Alford already made his MLB debut. But, make no mistake, he’s a prospect still. At the end of this season, the Blue Jays could be looking for a right fielder and have yet to completely answer their seemingly never ending left field question mark. Trading away a prospect who is this close to competing for one of those jobs would only prolong the outfield emptiness.
Alford’s begun his rehab assignment after fracturing his hamate bone. Healing properly will be essential for him to return to the success he started in 2017. Splitting his time between Dunedin and New Hampshire, Alford slashed .317/.403/.444. His speed is something needed in the Blue Jays organization, both in the field and on the bases.
Ryan Mueller: No one is off limits. I really like the development of Vlad and Bo and would love to hold onto them, but it would hinge on the package being offered. Vlad’s status as a Top Prospect is what gives him such high value in trade talks. The Blue Jays would never have gotten Josh Donaldson had Franklin Barreto not been offered to the A’s. In recent years, it appears that players who appear on the Top 100 Prospect lists are more likely to make the Major Leagues than in years past, there are still no ‘sure things’ when dealing with prospects. Despite being baseball’s Top Prospect in 2014 and 2015, Byron Buxton continues to struggle at the Major League level.
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