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Baseball America: The Top Ten Blue Jays Prospects

Baseball America released its 2021 Top 10 Prospects list of the Toronto Blue Jays. How do the rankings differ from the 2020 and 2019 lists?


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On November 11, Baseball America published the 2021 Top Ten Prospects of the Blue Jays. On the same day, BA’s Ben Radler held an online chat to discuss these prospects and others. During the conversation, he outlined how Baseball America compiled their list, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A summary of the process follows:

  • BA gathered information from MLB play, alternate sites and the instructional league,
  • Access to video, internal stats, Trackman/Rapsodo data, and
  • Conversations with scouts and player development people

 

Radler stated that the challenging part “is figuring out how to weigh everything, which is an issue teams are running into as well on their players. The alt site stuff is helpful to have, but it’s still only a couple months, it’s not the same as real games, and the competition level varies from teenagers to Triple-A/MLB shuttle guys.”

 

Another highlight from the chat was that there are five Blue Jays on the upcoming Top 100, and Orelvis Martinez has a strong case to be on the list.

 

The tool grades and comments below are excerpts from the Baseball America Top Ten Prospects list. Also of note, BA published the 2020 rankings on July 27, 2020, and the 2019 rankings on July 18, 2019. I highly recommend that readers subscribe to Baseball America because it is a terrific publication.

 

The Top Five

1. RHP Nate Pearson (2020 – 1; 2019 – 1)

Fastball – 80; Curveball – 50; Slider – 70; Changeup – 55; Control – 55

If Pearson shows he can hold up as a starter and throw strikes like he did in the minor leagues, he has the stuff to develop into a true No. 1 starter. He should be an integral part of Toronto’s rotation in 2021.

2. SS Austin Martin (2020 – 2; 2019 – Not applicable)

Hit – 70; Power – 55; Run – 55; Fielding – 50; Arm – 50

Martin’s future position remains unsettled, but he has the hitting ability and versatility to develop into a plus regular at a multitude of positions. He’s advanced enough to start in high-Class A in 2021.

3. SS Jordan Groshans (2020 – 3; 2019 – 3)

Hit – 60; Power – 60; Run – 50; Fielding – 50; Arm – 60

His foot injury followed by the pandemic have limited Groshans’ development opportunities the last two years, but he has the upside to be a force in the middle of a lineup.

4. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2020 – 4; 2019 – 8)

Fastball – 60; Slider – 55; Curveball – 50; Changeup – 60; Control – 60

Woods Richardson is advanced enough to start 2021 in Double-A, with a chance to get to Toronto by the end of the year. He has a mix of stuff and control to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter.

5. C Alejandro Kirk (2020 – 5; 2019 – 6)

Hit – 70; Power –  50; Run – 20; Fielding – 45; Arm – 50

Kirk made a big jump to the majors at the end of the season, so more minor league time would be reasonable. Still, his performance catapulted him into the 2021 big league picture.

The Next Five

6. SS Orelvis Martinez (2020 – 7; 2019 – 12)

Hit – 60; Power – 60; Run – 45; Fielding – 40; Arm – 60

Martinez has the upside to develop into an all-star on the left side of the infield, but he is still a teenager yet to make his full-season debut. He is likely to begin in low-Class A in 2021.

7. RHP Alek Manoah (2020 – 6; 2019 – 5)

Fastball – 60; Slider – 55; Changeup – 50; Control – 50

Manoah has the stuff to develop into a mid-rotation starter with a chance for more. Even with the shutdown, he could be in a position to pitch in Toronto by the end of the 2021 season.

8. C Gabriel Moreno (2020 – 8; 2019 – 9)

Hit – 55; Power – 45; Run – 30; Fielding – 50; Arm – 55

Moreno continues to show positive trends with his bat. As long as they continue, he has a chance to develop into an average or better regular behind the plate.

9. RHP Adam Kloffenstein (2020 – 11; 2019 – 13)

Fastball – 55; Curveball – 50; Slider – 55; Changeup – 50; Control – 50

Between his control and arsenal, Kloffenstein has the ingredients to remain a starter, with a chance for his stuff to tick up even further. There’s mid-rotation potential, with low-Class A likely next.

10. SS Miguel Hiraldo (2020 – 9; 2019 – 11)

Hit – 55; Power – 55; Run – 45; Fielding – 45; Arm – 55

The Blue Jays have a wealth of shortstops to find playing time for in 2021. Hiraldo is ready for one of Toronto’s Class A levels and could move around the infield to get him into the lineup regularly.

Other Items of Note

Radler noted that he thinks that Martin will develop primarily as a shortstop but will see playing time at other positions. Ultimately, Martin’s role in the field will “depend on how their roster is shaping up for 2022, 2023 and beyond”.

 

Anthony Kay, who graduated to the MLB in 2020, was ranked number 10 on the 2020 list. During the chat, Radler noted that BA ranked CJ Van Eyk just outside the Top Ten. Also, he opined that Leonardo Jimenez and Estiven Machado are “the two with the most breakout upside potential for next year.”

 

2024 Projected Starters

Baseball America included a projection of the starters, with their respective age, for the 2024 season. Interestingly, Groshans is slotted to play third, and Martin will patrol centerfield.

 

Position Players

Catcher: Danny Jansen (29)

First Base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (25)

Second Base: Cavan Biggio (29)

Third Base: Jordan Groshans (24)

Shortstop: Bo Bichette (26)

Left Field: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (30)

Center Field: Austin Martin (25)

Right Field: Teoscar Hernandez (32)

Designated Hitter: Alejandro Kirk (25)

Starting Pitchers

No. 1 Starter: Nate Pearson (25)

No. 2 Starter: Hyun-Jin Ryu (37)

No. 3 Starter: Simeon Woods Richardson (23)

No. 4 Starter: Alek Manoah (26)

No. 5 Starter: Adam Kloffenstein (23)

Closer

Jordan Romano (31)

The last word

Baseball America released its most recent organizational rankings in July 2020. The Toronto Blue Jays hit number four on that list. Today, Baseball America published its 2021 Top Ten List, which contains the names of five players who will be in Baseball America’s soon-to-be-released Top 100 Prospects. The future is bright for fans of the Blue Jays.

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Bob Ritchie

Bob was a St. Louis Cardinals fan until the Blue Jays arrived on the baseball scene, although he still has a soft spot for the Cards. Similar to straddling the Greenwich Meridian, as depicted in the avatar, Bob applies sabermetrics when applicable, but his heart tells him that Lou Brock belongs in the Hall of Fame.