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Where Will Blue Jays Top Prospects Play in 2021?: Diaz and Frasso

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.

So far:

Joey Murray and T.J. Zeuch (see full post).

Trent Palmer and 4-year minor league veteran Josh Winckowski (see full post)

 

Yennsy Diaz

Signed out of the Dominican Republic for 1.6M in 2014. Yennsy Diaz appeared to be a slow mover until breaking out in 2018 and reaching Double-A and the Majors in 2019. He was added to the 40-man roster on November 20th, 2018, protecting him from the impending Rule V Draft.

 

To the surprise of many, Yennsy made his MLB debut on August 3rd, 2019. It didn’t go well. He was clearly nervous and out of his comfort zone. Diaz faced 7 batters, walked 4, allowed a pair of runs on one hit. He was optioned back to New Hampshire two days later.

 

The 24-yr-old righty spent 2019 as a member of the Fisher Cats rotation, making 24 starts while finishing with a record of 11-9, 3.74ERA, 3.93FIP, and 1.23WHIP. He did an okay job of missing bats with 7.23K/9IP while allowing 125 hits across 144.1IP. Diaz showed improved control in 2019, walking just 3.3/9IP which was higher than the 2.53 mark he set with Dunedin 2018 but much better than the 4.34, 4.79, and 4.72 BB/9 he posted in 2016, 2017, and 2018 with the Lansing Lugnuts.

 

Yennsy Diaz will make it to the majors off the strengths of his above-average FB and CU. His fastball tops out at 98mhp and grades out at 60. His CU is a 55 grade which he throws in the mid 70’s.

 

 

It’s pretty safe to say that not many felt that Diaz’ chances of breaking camp with the club out of Spring Training were very good. Unfortunately, he never got that chance after suffering a strained Latissimus dorsi. The 6-foot-1 righty found his way to the 60-day injury list on March 16th and wasn’t activated until the end of the season on October 30th.

 

Side note: Moving Yennsy Diaz to the 60-day IL allowed Toronto to move veteran infield onto the 40-man roster.

 

Diaz should’ve started 2020 back in New Hampshire’s rotation. If he managed to replicate the success he had in 2019, it’s safe to assume he would’ve spent at least three months in Buffalo and possibly a trip or two to Toronto. I’d like to see how his CH has developed over his lat rehab and covid shutdown. This would be the deciding factor for whether he starts 2021 in the Bisons bullpen or back in NH’s rotation. An improved CH would give him a continued look as a potential starter while a less improved CH would turn him into a high leverage reliever with a power FB and an average CU.

 

Diaz is definitely a bubble guy for me. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Front Office tried to sneak him through waivers before Spring Training.

 

Nick Frasso

This pick reminds me of the Alex Anthopoulos days. Grabbing a pitcher with high upside who saw his draft stock drop due to injury. Typical AA. The Blue Jays selected the product of Loyola Marymount in the 4th round of the 2020 draft after his stock fell due to elbow soreness on his throwing arm.

 

In 2020, his Junior year, Frasso made two starts before being shut down due to the aforementioned elbow thing and of course that pandemic thingy. He threw 8.2IP, allowing 12H and 3BB for a 1.73WHIP. Nick struck out 11 batters and finished with a 4.15ERA.

 

The 22-yr-old spent much of his freshmen and sophomore seasons between the rotation and the bullpen. He picked up 10 saves in 2019, striking out 73 batters while allowing 30 hits and 17BB in 56.2IP for a 0.83WHIP. He finished his college career with a 2.71ERA, 1.00WHIP, and 11.39K/9IP.

 

According to multiple reports, Frasso is healthy and throwing in the mid-90s (up to 97). His fastball received a 60 grade while his CU (mid-70s) and control each received a 50. His CH comes in at 45. He looks like a max effort thrower.

 

 

I’m intrigued by Nick Frasso. Firstly, elbow soreness or tightness is definitely something to keep an eye one as it suggests Tommy John is lurking around every corner. Secondly, after splitting between basketball and baseball in high school the 6-foot-5 righty is only two full seasons into being a one-sport athlete which means there could be more development to come. Lastly, which do the Blue Jays envision Frasso filling? Will it be the bullpen where he can air it out in the upper 90s or will it be in the rotation where his FB averages low 90s?

 

Normally, Frasso would have started his professional career in the Gulf Coast League which takes place in Dunedin. Dunedin is where the guys normally go to rehab; therefore, lots of trainers to keep an eye on that elbow. Then if he proved his elbow was alright, off to Vancouver. This would’ve put him on track to begin 2021 in A-Ball with Dunedin.

 

MLB.com has Nick Frasso’s ETA at reaching the majors in 2023. So I have him heading to Dunedin to start the year and ending 2021 with the Vancouver Canadians. Depending on how many starts he makes with the C’s, he is on track to begin 2022 with New Hampshire or at least end the season with them. Then, Buffalo and September call-up in 2023.

 

These projections are as a starter. As a reliever, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Frasso bypass A-Ball and go directly to Advanced-A where he’d have a chance to finish the season AA in 2021. That could move his MLB debut up to early 2023 or even 2022 but that’s unlikely.

 

 

 

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Ryan Mueller

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.