Baseball America released it’s Toronto Blue Jays 2022 lineup. I provide some thoughts. Where I agreements, and where I don’t.
There are a couple of things I need to express before I start:
- One, I have the utmost respect for Baseball America. I am a regular subscriber because I think they are industry leaders.
- Two, I hate Top Prospect Lists. Used to do them but don’t anymore. Think they aren’t worth the paper they are scribbled on.
- Three, I hate attempting to predict potential future lineups even more than Top Prospect lists (sorry Baseball America).
With that out the way, here’s what Baseball America predicts the Toronto Blue Jays 2022 lineup will look like:
C- Danny Jansen
1B- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
3B- Jordan Groshans
SS- Bo Bichette
CF- Kevin Pillar
RF- Cavan Biggio
DH- Randal Grichuk
The first name which popped out was Jordan Groshans. He is the furthest away from the Majors which makes him a good place to start.
Groshans looked good in his rookie season as an 18-yr-old in the Gulf Coast League. He struggled during his brief stop in the Appalachian League but the young man had played a lot of baseball by that time. I haven’t seen Groshans play but I feel it’s a little premature to have him in the 2022 starting lineup as a 22-yr-old. I also think it’s unlikely that he pushes potential superstar Vlad off his position so his inclusion at 3rd is a head scratcher. Now it is possible for Jordan to move quickly (2 levels per season) if he reaches his power projection; however, it took Vladdy three full seasons and he’s likely to not going to make an Opening Day roster until 2020. A lot will hinge on where he starts the 2019 season. Will he start 2019 back in Bluefield with a quick move to Vancouver or will he bypass Bluefield and Vancouver. Starting the year in A-Ball with the Lugnuts is stretch.
Since BA is playing pie in the sky, I will play too. 18-yr-old Miguel Hiraldo or 16-yr-old Orelvis Martinez have as good a chance as Groshans does at moving quickly through the system. Hiraldo showed he could handle the bat in his first professional season, earning a late-season promotion from the DSL to GCL. All three have above average power projections and all three are tagged as future 3rd baseman.
I’m not saying that Jordan Groshans has not chance. I just think 2018 breakout prospect, Kevin Smith, is a more likely option. Smith dominated A and Advanced-A in his year 22 season. Smith is higher on most depth charts and yes Prospect Lists. If Kevin spends a year at each level before progressing, a 2020-21 ETA is realistic.
I’ll Buy That
Danny Jansen will be 27-yrs-old and just entering his arbitration years. However, the Blue Jays have several other catching prospects in the upper minors. Reese McGuire (AAA/MLB), Max Pentecost (AA and a stretch), and Reily Adams (A-Advanced and scouts love his bat) to name a few.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be 23-yrs-old and hopefully signed to a long-term deal or finishing up his team control years.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. opened some eyes in 2018. He is signed to a long-term contract that has him signed through 2023. Gurriel will be entering his prime production years at 28 yrs old in 2022. I question whether he will be the everyday 2nd baseman with some of his woes on defense. I’m not alone in seeing him moved to the outfield or simply to the bench.
Bo Bichette isn’t expected to make his MLB debut until late 2019 or even 2020. Bo will still be under team control during the 2022 season in his age 24-season.
As of today, Aledmys Diaz and Richard Urena will still be on the Blue Jays roster come 2022. They will be in their Arb3 and Arb2 seasons. Diaz will be 31-yrs-old and Urena just 26. At this point, Urena is a question mark and many fans already hearing Diaz’ name thrown around this offseason. There is some who question Bo’s ability to stick at SS with a move to 3rd or 2nd a possibility. My question is, who pushes him off SS by 2022?
Teoscar Hernandez had his ups and downs in 2018 but the power potential is there but more importantly, so are the years of control. Hernandez will be in his Arb2 year as 29-yr-old. It is very surprising to see his name in LF and Randal Grichuk at DH. Must have been a typo.
I’m Not Sold
Kevin Pillar will be lucky to be a wearing a Blue Jays uniform on Opening Day 2019 let alone 2022 as a 33-yr-old. Pillar has two more arb season (19 and 20) and is set to be a free agent in 2021.
Randal Grichuk is in a similar boat just a few years younger. Grich will be in his prime when he hits free agency in 2021 as a 29-yr-old; therefore, a contract will need to be reached. We’ve seen how that’s worked for this Front Office so far. He is more likely to get traded at that 2020 deadline than resigned.
Cavan Biggio in RF??? In 321 minor league games over three seasons, Biggio has a total of 3 in RF and 1 in LF for a grand total of 4 games (34 innings) in the outfield. He hasn’t even seen regular at-bats in the outfield during his time the Arizona Fall League where he was expected to transition or be tested in RF. I don’t doubt the Eastern League’s MVP, Rookie of the Year, Post-Season and Mid-Season All-Star could lay claim to the 2022 RF position. I think it premature with Billy McKinney, Anthony Alford, Jonathan Davis, and Dwight Smith Jr. all on the 40-man roster and under team control through 2022. Heck, maybe a 29-yr-old Dalton Pompey (Arb3) will finally or will have already fulfilled his destiny an lay claim to his throne in RF. The system can also expect Griffin Conine to be ready by 2022.
So much can happen between now and Opening Day 2022 with free agent signings, trades, prospect busts, injuries….the list goes on. I, for one, wish every high profile International Free Agent the Blue Jays sign like VGJ, Hiraldo, and Martinez will breeze through Toronto’s system to be the next 20-yr-old or 21-yr-old phenom. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.
The Blue Jays have done a better job under Alex Anthopolus and Ross Atkins of building a team with homegrown talent. The truth of the matter is we are just now seeing the fruits of the 2014 Draft at the major league level in Sean Reid-Foley and Justin Shafer, neither of whom are expected to be on the 2019 Opening Day roster or are position players.
You have to go back to 2011, Kevin Pillar, to find the last position player drafted and developed by the Blue Jays with a full major league season under his belt. This is ‘expected’ to change in the coming year with the additions of Bichette and Biggio via the draft and Guerrero Jr. via IFA but anything can happen between now and 2022.
Featured Photo Credit: R.Mueller
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.