In their latest ranking of the top IFAs eligible for this year’s July 2nd class, Baseball America has the Blue Jays linked to Venezuelan C Luis Meza, their top-rated backstop and 10th prospect overall.
This year’s crop of IFAs has been a challenge to scout and recruit in light of Covid-19, to put it mildly. MLB banned all in-person scouting for six months last year, and restrictions are still in place on teams bringing 2021 guys to their academies. According to BA’s Ben Badler, “teams right now have even less of a feel for even the players they’re planning to sign compared to a normal year.”
The Blue Jays have a rich depth of catching talent at the moment, a good chunk of it Venezuelan. Converted IF Gabriel Moreno made steady strides over the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and was one of the most impressive players at the alt site in Rochester last summer. Victor Mesia has yet to play a pro game, but the 2019 signee was tabbed by BA as a likely breakout prospect this season, which will likely see him starting at Vancouver.
The 5’11”/185 Meza projects to stick behind the plate long term. He’s also one on the best hitting prospects in VZ, with a loose, easy swing, and an ability to hit to all fields. As he grows (Meza turns 17 in September), should develop an ability to drive the ball with greater authority. His catch-and-throw skills are rated as advanced for his age. His work behind the plate is reminiscent of Moreno, with his agility and quick reflexes. Here’s a quick look at his work from BA: https://www.baseballamerica.com/rankings/2021-22-mlb-international-prospects-big-board/
BA’s rankings area subject to change, mostly because the situations of several Cuban players are up in the air in terms of which teams will sign them.