You probably know Moreno and Martinez, but let’s look at a couple Toronto Blue Jays prospects you may not have heard of
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There is no element of sports that I love more than scouting. To me, the idea of finding, drafting or signing, and then developing a player into a Major league asset is the most beautiful process in the world. There is poetry to it. Unlike most sports where instant gratification can occur on a prospect level, baseball is a grind, slowly building and progressing in level. In this way, a prospect’s nuanced development can feel like an eternity as we wait for the dreams of draft day to come to fruition. Sometimes, the rewards of a franchise’s vision don’t become apparent for nearly a decade, yet we as fans of prospectus stay feverishly tied to our prospect lists and Minor League box scores, clinging to the idea that something we saw, in a flash, many years ago can be true once again!
Going into this 2022 MLB season the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system has taken a step back due to the graduation of so many high-end talents to the Major League roster. They still see a few marquee names on prospect lists; Orelvis Martinez, who in the early season in New Hampshire is making scouts around baseball salivate with his plus-plus power, and his ever-improving approach. Gabriel Moreno sits inside many of baseball’s Top 10 prospects lists with his elite combination of hitting ability and athleticism behind the plate. But who are some of the others that won’t be found high on lists? Sleeper prospects that will help rebuild this system into the juggernaut it was only a year or two ago. Here are a couple of the many I am very excited about for the 2022 season.
Drafted originally by the Blue Jays in the 35th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, and then redrafted and signed in the 14th round of last year’s draft Palmegiani, a native of Venezuela who attended CSU Northridge, is a 6’1 195 Lb athlete with plus power and developing on-base skills who hasn’t found a home in the field as of yet. He’s a good athlete who has played a lot at 3rd base but the majority of scouts believed he is destined for a corner outfield spot at the next level.
Palmegiani, who won’t be found on any prospect lists, has a strong build, muscular and lean with an explosive leg kick and powerful hip drive at the plate. When watching him swing and move in the field it’s hard not to see Randal Grichuk. He carries himself with confidence in the field and during his brief introduction to pro ball last year Palmegiani exploded hitting .333/.458/.539 with 2 home runs and consistent hard contact in limited action (48 PA).
This season Palmegiani found himself in Dunedin and over the course of the first week he has been a menace to opposing teams slashing .385/.484/.846 with 3 HR’s already. He has explosive power and the confidence to guide him through. I believe Palmegiani will be a prospect who will shoot up the Blue Jays prospect list this coming season and become a key cog in the rebuilding of this system. If anyone in the low minors has a chance to make several jumps this season the power-packed Palmegiani would be my pick.
When the Blue Jays Drafted Missouri States Hayden Juenger in the 6th round last year he had worked exclusively out of the Bullpen in his junior season. Armed with a fastball that can reach 98 MPH with a hard arm side run, a knockout slider, and an improving changeup Juenger has all the tools to dominate in any role. After signing, Juenger talked the Blue Jays into giving him a substantial challenge and they placed him in High-A Vancouver in a bulk role for the Canadians. Juenger arrived in Vancouver as a low-tier prospect but by year-end, the 6’0 180 LB reliever had cemented his status in the minds of Blue Jays brass going forward. He appeared in 11 games for Vancouver, spanning 20 innings of pure dominance. 20 IP, 11 H, 0 HR, 4 BB, and 34 K’s. His 2.70 ERA was impressive but his 1.33 FIP told a greater story.
This season the Blue Jays sent the dynamic Juenger to Double-A New Hampshire with the hope that he would rise to the challenge of his bulk role in an advanced league, and the 21-year-old has wowed in his first 2 appearances posting a combined 5 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 11 K’s. Juenger is someone that will, in my opinion, make an impact on the Major League roster this season. Ultra talented, ultra-competitive and driven to climb the ranks quickly, this future Blue Jay will become a fixture in in the hearts and minds of Jays fans very soon! The development of his change-up will inevitably decide if his future in in the rotation or bullpen but whatever role Hayden Juenger ends up in I am supremely confident he will thrive!
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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