The Blue Jays Top 3O

Here’s a brief, thumbnail-like profile of each of the Top 30 (according to MLB Pipeline) Blue Jays prospects.

1. Nate Pearson RHP

Where he’ll start: AAA Buffalo

What he needs to work on: by his own admission, Pearson needs to work on his fastball command, mechanics, and building up to 6-7 innings per start. Staying healthy would help, too.

2. Austin Martin IF/OF

Where he’ll start: AA New Hampshire

What he needs to work on: Last year’s top draft pick just needs to play; finding a spot on the diamond defensively that takes advantage of his skill set is a must. Martin will split time at SS and CF – it’s at the latter that he’s likely best suited. He may see time at 3B too.

3. Jordan Groshans SS

Where he’ll start: AA New Hampshire

What he needs to work on: Like Martin, Groshans needs to make up for lost development time. All the signs point to his bat being legit, so he also needs more reps in the field at Short and 3rd, his likely ultimate landing spot.

4. Simeon Woods Richardson

Where he’ll start: as part of the prospect-laden group at AA.

What he needs to work on: continued development of his secondary pitches and more velo. It’s only a matter of time before he’s at the front of a big league rotation.

5. Orelvis Martinez SS

Where he’ll start: Low A Dunedin

What he needs to work on: more reps defensively. The Jays feel he has the tools to stick at SS, but 3B may be in his future. There is absolutely no question about his bat, as he proved in a short stint at the end of alt site camp last year.

6. Alek Manoah RHP

Where he’ll start: One of the biggest leaps in the system, Manoah will skip over several levels to AAA.

What he needs to work on: Continued development of his change up and slider; his fastball is big league ready.

7. Gabriel Moreno C

Where he’ll start: AA New Hampshire

What he needs to work on: continued experience in game management; Moreno is still relatively new to the position. Power still is developing. Moreno is arguably the Blue Jays Catcher of the Future. He’s one of the most impressive athletes in the system.

8. Miguel Hiraldo SS/2B

Where he’ll start: Low A Dunedin

What he needs to work on: A position switch to 2nd is likely in the cards for Hiraldo at some point soon; considered one of the best bats available in the 2017 IFA class, his power is still a work in progress.

9. Adam Kloffenstein RHP

Where he’ll start: High A Vancouver

What he needs to work on: Returning to the C’s, for whom he was a rotation anchor in 2019, Kloffenstein might have started at a higher level if not for the depth in the system. Continued buildup up his fastball velocity, plus work on his change up are the goals for this year.

10. C. J. Van Eyk RHP

Where he’ll start: High A Vancouver

What he needs to work on: Van Eyk will follow Kloffenstein at the top of the C’s rotation. His change and slider are pitches in need of refining, to complement his plus curve and low 90s fastball that he commands well.

11. Otto Lopez UT

Where he’ll start: AA New Hampshire

What he needs to work on: Reps at a variety of positions. The 2019 MWL batting champ could also use a bit more pop, but he’s a smaller, Santiago Espinal-framed guy. Espi is a good comp, although Lopez has spent more time in CF.

12. Leo Jimenez SS

Where he’ll start: Extended Spring Training – it was a surprise he wasn’t on Low A Dunedin’s roster.

What he needs to work on: for the best defensive SS prospect in the system, it’s all about the bat. He showed improved exit velo at Florida Devo Camp last fall, but he’s a glove-first guy at this point.

13. Estiven Machado SS

Where he’ll start: Extended

What he needs to work on: An under the radar 2019 signing, Machado likely would have started his pro career stateside in the GCL last year if not for the pandemic. Reps and ABs are what he needs at this point.

14. Eric Pardinho RHP

Where he’ll start: Extended. Should move to Vancouver at some point.

What he needs to work on: One of the more heralded 2017 IFAs, Pardinho is being kept back in Florida as he’s thirteen months removed from Tommy John surgery. Innings are what he needs as he battles back; results from his full season debut with Lansing in 2019 were a little underwhelming given the hype, but elbow issues were likely the culprit.

15. Dasan Brown OF

Where he’ll start: Extended

What he needs to work on: The fastest player and one of the best athletes in the system, Brown needs more time to develop as a hitter. His defensive skills are elite, but his approach at the plate needs development. We should see him in Low A before the season is out.

16. Rikelvin de Castro SS

Where he’ll start: Extended

What he needs to work on: Not as advanced as his IFA classmate Machado, de Castro was a premium 2019 signing. He is a highlight reel defender, but needs work on a number of areas, most noticeably his bat.

17. Joey Murray RHP

Where he’ll start: AAA Buffalo

What he needs to work on: personal bias alert here – this is one of my favourite players in the system. Murray does not blow hitters away with velo, but does so with a deceptive delivery, and an exceptionally high spin rate on his fastball. Added development of his slider and change, along with a cutter he’s recently added, will be the things he needs to work on. Might debut as a starter or even in a relief role with the Jays this year.

18. Riley Adams C

Where he’ll start: before Alejandro Kirk went on the IL, Adams was slated to start at AAA Buffalo.

What he needs to work on: this bat-first player needs to continue on the many and varied tasks of catching.

19. Manuel Beltre SS

Where he’ll start: in Extended, most likely.

What he needs to work on: a solid defender with a strong work ethic and high baseball IQ, Beltre also has considerable stateside game experience as an amateur, and a very strong grasp of English. His power is still developing, but his hit tool is his strongest at the moment.

20. Patrick Murphy RHP

Where he’ll start: If not for an injured AC joint in his right shoulder, he’d be at Buffalo.

What he needs to work on: Murphy acquitted himself well in a brief relief audition with the Blue Jays last season. The Jays have wanted to develop him as a starter, but given his injury history, you have to wonder if his future is as a bullpen power arm.

21. Yosver Zulueta RHP

Where he’ll start: Low A Dunedin

What he needs to work on: Zulu’s debut is one of the most eagerly anticipated among Blue Jays prospects. The Cuban was a late 2018-19 IFA sign – the Blue Jays knew he would need Tommy John surgery. Fully recovered, Zulueta touches the high 90s with his fastball. His secondaries need development, and the Blue Jays will likely move him patiently.

22. Will Robertson OF

Where he’ll start: High A Vancouver

What he needs to work on: one of the few potentially potent left-handed bats in the system, Robertson will hit in the heart of a C’s lineup that may be hard-pressed to score a lot of runs. Continuing to develop his power will be the challenge for Robertson.

23. Nick Frasso RHP

Where he’ll start: Extended

What he needs to work on: The athletic Frasso (who can dunk a basketball) is still relatively new to pitching. Refining his mechanics, command of his fastball, and developing secondaries will be part of the 2020 4th round pick’s development plan.

24. Trent Palmer RHP

Where he’ll start: Extended

What he needs to work on: Like Frasso, Palmer, who was taken a round earlier, is a bit of a victim of a numbers game. There are a lot of arms ahead of him the team would like to look at in Dunedin. Palmer has an interesting profile, and while he projects more as a bullpen arm, the Blue Jays will try to accelerate his development by having him start.

25. Sem Robberse RHP

Where he’ll start: Low A Dunedin

What he needs to work on: There’s not one glaring thing Robberse needs to work on. Why he’s down so low on MLB’s prospect list is beyond me. The late 2019 IFA drew raves in a brief GCL stint that year, and draws accolades from Blue Jays officials. The Dutch native spent part of his time in the pandemic learning Spanish so that he could communicate with his teammates better. He has a long road ahead of him, but his could be a major league arm.

26. T.J. Zeuch RHP

Where he’ll start: AAA Buffalo

What he needs to work on: Missing bats. In another era Zeuch’s downward plane and ability to pound the bottom of the strike zone would likely see him in the middle of a big league rotation. He’s upped his velo, but he lacks one true punch out pitch.

27. Josh Palacios OF

Where he’ll start: AAA Buffalo

What he needs to work on: Palacios had a decent MLB debut this spring. Always regarded as toolsy but raw, Palacios made huge strides in his development last year. He needs to continue to refine the skills – base running, fielding, hitting – that teams need in a fourth outfielder.

28. Kevin Smith SS

Where he’ll start: AAA Buffalo

What he needs to work on: Smith had a breakout 2018, but struggled against AA pitching the following year. The Blue Jays have challenged him with this assignment, and he’ll have to prove his hit tool is up to it.

29. Chavez Young OF

Where he’ll start: AA New Hampshire

What he needs to work on: Young had a mini breakout in the second half of 2019, and he needs to build on that success after bursting onto the prospect radar in 2018. A switch hitter who can play all three OF positions, Young has to develop more from the right side.

30. Nick Allgeyer LHP

Where he’ll start: AAA Buffalo

What he needs to work on: More of a fitness pitcher in pre-pandemic times, Allgeyer has bumped his fastball up to the mid 90s. This is an aggressive assignment, and if Allgeyer is successful, he can work his way into the Blue Jays plans.

3 thoughts on “The Blue Jays Top 3O

  1. With the year lay off there were always going to be guys who pushed ahead, or fell behind in their development. I’m hoping Dasan Brown isn’t a part of the latter group, I was hoping to see him in full season ball. Still only 19, maybe extended will be good to tighten his game, but frustrating we don’t get more info about what those guys are doing.

    Like

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