Blue Jays 2016 Top Prospects: #9 Justin Maese

The 91st pick of the 2015 draft made quit the impression in his first professional season, Justin Maese lands at #9 our 2016 Blue Jays Top 15-Prospect List

Jays From the Couch kicked off its inaugural Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects List with a look at a handful of Honorable Mention prospects which just missed the cut. We’ve covered Top Prospects 10 through 15, which brings us to the Toronto Blue Jays 9th ranked prospect RHP Justin Maese.

DOB Oct. 24, 1996
Bat: R
Throws: R

A 2015 third-round pick from the 2015 Draft out of El Paso Texas, Justin Mases signed by Gerald Turner for $300,000, which was less than half of slot value.

According to the official Toronto Blue Jays website, “Maese is another example of a pitcher who moved up the Draft boards this year after experiencing an increase in velocity. Scouts had him hitting 96 mph with his fastball and 86 mph on his slider, but he often had trouble maintaining that velocity deep into games.”(read more)

Justin throws from a 3/4 arm slot, possesses a quick arm and has a good feel for pitching. At 6’3″, 190lbs, Maese has an athletic build and there is a good chance he sticks as a starter. Justin throws a sinking fastball, which can touch 96, but sits between 90-93mph, but as he matures and gets stronger, 96mph could be the norm. The sink on his fastball generates above average ground ball rates.

Like most 19-yr-old pitchers, Justin needs to work on his change and slider. Both pitches show glimpses for developing into above average offerings, with his slider well ahead of his change. It will be the development of his secondary pitches that will keep him out of the bullpen, that and being able to maintain his velocity.

On July 8th, Maese made his successful professional debut pitching 1.2IP with 3 hits, no runs and one strike out. After another short start, 3.0IP, Justin would average 5.0IP in each of his final 6 starts. I recently looked at the Toronto Blue Jays system top 10 starting pitchers using FIP. Justin Maese produced the lowest FIP of any other SP in the system with a 2.75 FIP (full article).

In only 8 games and 35.2IP, Justin accumulated 5 wins, with no losses, a solid 1.01ERA. He held opponents to a .271 BABIP and .234 BA, while owning a 1.07 WHIP, 13.3K%, and 4.2BB%. (fangraphs)

Outlook for 2016:

The Blue Jays should show patience with this potential power pitcher and work on smoothing out Maese’s delivery. This should be done in the lower minor league levels, like Vancouver; however, he could bypass short season Lo-A and head straight to Lansing if the Jays decide they’re okay with his mechanical delivery. Either way, look for Justin Maese to continue to develop into a power sinkball pitcher that keeps his infield on their toes.

ETA: 2019


*Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0



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