Fingers crossed minor league baseball games will be played in 2021. Which begs the question, Where will the Blue Jays play in 2021?
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Using the latest rankings from MLB.com 30 Top Prospect List for the Toronto Blue Jays, I’ve decided to review each prospect’s 2019/20 and see if we can’t nail down where these prospects will play in 2021. We started at the bottom with a pair of pitchers, Joey Murray and T.J. Zeuch (see full post). Next on the agenda, recently drafted Trent Palmer and 4-year minor league veteran Josh Winckowski.
Not going to lie, outside of a couple of scouting videos, I’ve not watched Palmer in-game. Palmer was Toronto’s 2020 3rd round selection and didn’t get any minor league innings since there were no minor league games played.
The 21-yr-old Palmer is considered on the smaller side for a pitcher. At 6-foot-1, Trent will immediately get the ‘future reliever’ label with durability questions as long as he’s starting. The scouting reports suggest Palmer maintains his fastball velocity which is thrown in the low to mid 90’s with good vertical movement.
MLB.com gives the righty out of Jacksonville University an overall grade of 40 with his FB and CH receiving the highest grades at 55-out-of-80. His SL came in at 50 with a get me over CU at 45. He received a grade of 45 for his control despite walking just 5 batters in 4 starts in a shortened 2020. He did struggle with his control in 2019, walking 4.40 batters per 9IP in 61.1IP splitting his time between the rotation and the bullpen.
Under normal circumstances, Palmer would’ve started in short-season A-Ball as a member of the Vancouver Canadians, maybe even finishing the year with a start or three with Lansing. This would’ve set him up to begin 2021 at A-Ball, so that is what I’m going to predict.
Since the Blue Jays used their 3rd round pick on Palmer, I’m going to assume they envision him as a SP and not as a RP at this point; therefore, I putting Palmer in the Florida State League as a member of the newly minted A-Ball Dunedin Blue Jays, formerly Advanced-A.
My main concern would be Trent’s college WHIP. He posted a 1.48 and 1.60 in 2018 and 2019, allowing 47 hits in 44IP in 2018 (all out of the pen) and 68 hits in 61.1IP. Is it possible that physical and on the mound maturity were the driving factors behind an impressive 0.61WHIP in 2020 or might it be the good old ‘Small Sample Size’?
A former 15th round selection back in 2016 which made him eligible in the recent Rule 5 Draft. Josh Winckowski stands 6-foot-4 and turns 23 in June. We last saw Josh pitching in the FSL for D-Jays in 2019 where he made 10 starts with some decent success.
Winckowski kicked off his 2019 season in A-Ball with the Lansing Lugnuts. In 13 starts, he went 6-3 with a 2.32ERA, 3.23FIP, and 1.19WHIP while striking out 8.67/9IP and walking 3.18/9IP. The Ohio native saw his numbers dip upon his June promotion. His strikeout fell to 6.2/9IP which he offset with a better 2.85BB/9. His HR/9 climbed to 0.84 in the FSL versus just 0.37 in the Midwest League. Josh finished 2019 with 11 starts with Dunedin, winning 4 and losing 5 across 53.2IP.
MLB.com likes Josh Winckowski’s ‘plus pitchability’, praising his sinker which he throws in the mid-90s. Since MiLB.TV doesn’t carry FSL games, all of my opinions about Josh’s future derive from watching his Lansing starts. I found Winckowski showed good consistency with his control and maintained his velocity. There were a couple of games where he would fight his release point but those resulted in more hits than base-on-balls. He pitches effectively, doesn’t waste too many pitches which allow him to pitch deep into games.
MLB.com grades his SL at 55 with his FB and control receiving 50 grades. His CH only received a 45 grade while his overall is a 40. Those SL, FB, and control grades scream future RP. But if he can improve that CH, who knows.
Josh should’ve spent 2020 in Double-A but with the logjam of SP the Blue Jays have in AAA and AA a couple of starts in Dunedin might’ve been possible. Josh should be starting getting his first taste of Triple-A in 2021 but that SP logjam still exists; therefore, it’s a safe bet that Josh will be a part of the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats rotation. Although, I’d like to see him alternate, piggyback style, between starter/opener and follower. This would allow the organization to see if his stuff plays up as a reliever.
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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.