It will be hard to top the season the 2019 Dunedin Blue Jays had, for a number of reasons.
Renovations at their home park forced them to play most of 2019 at Jack Russell Stadium – they even had to play a game at the minor league complex. In the end, despite the constant travelling and the impending arrival of Hurricane Dorian, the D-Jays won 80 games, placed four players on the FSL post-season all star team, 7 players on MLB Pipeline’s organization all star team, and won their second FSL co-championship in three seasons.
Here is a look, based on past performance, of the players who would be strong candidates to wear the blue and white of Dunedin when the 2020 season opens.
Groshans was limited to 37 games in his full season debut to a foot injury, but that was enough to label him a big leaguer in the making in the eyes of many observers. At the plate, he showed and advanced approach, an ability to use the whole field, and excellent barrel-to-ball skills. On defence, his footwork and first step reactions are still developing, but the Blue Jays will give him every opportunity to continue to develop at SS.
Aiello finished on a tear (.361/last ten, .907 OPS for August), and really deserves some notice.
Lopez won a Midwest League batting title while taking over as Lansing’s primary SS after Groshans was shut down.
Moreno was held back in Extended until mid-May, but he’s arguably the best Catching prospect in the organization. Gold is a good depth guy who provides a solid LH bat, and can play 1st.
Conine did not begin his season until his PED suspension was up, but he blasted a Midwest League-leading 22 HRs, but he also struck out in 36% of his plate appearances. This is an important year in his development.
Rodriguez is probably more of a candidate for Lansing. He led the NWL in batting before an August promotion to Lansing, where he continued to pound the ball. But at 22 and a veteran of 5 minor league seasons already, a glut of 1B-types in the system might mean he gets his playing time at the more advanced level.
Obeso and Taylor will probably repeat High A. Much was expected from Taylor, but he struggled considerably at the plate in 2019, and another few months in Dunedin couldn;t hurt.
Yes, that’s SWR at the top of this list. He was one of only three 18 year olds to play in the Florida State League in 2019, and the cautious Blue Jays will likely allow him to return there for at least the first half of 2020. Joined at the top of the rotation by Manoah, the D-Jays will have a dynamic 1-2 punch for part of the season. Josh Winckowski, who reached Dunedin half way through 2019, should return for another half to give Dunedin potentially the top rotation in the FSL. With Law, Rodning, Rackoski, and Finfrock in the bullpen, they may have one of the better relief corps, too.
It’s far early to forecast the Florida State League season, but with the combination of returnees and promotions, the D-Jays look to have another pitching strong entry.