The 2020 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit our Handbook home page for more information!
Now is a great time to subscribe to the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section!
It’s March and spring training in full swing! That also means that it’s time to try to play the roster projection game! Over the next week or so, I’ll give my projections on the rosters of all four full-season teams in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, continuing with the hitters of the Dunedin Blue Jays!
I think the hitters will be a little easier to predict than the pitchers for the D-Jays so here we go!
Gabriel Moreno was a force on the Lansing Lugnuts last year, hitting 12 home runs in just 82 games, striking out just 38 times in 307 at bats. While his walk rate could be higher, there’s no reason at all why Moreno won’t be the #1 catcher in Dunedin.
I think Ryan Gold will be the #2 catcher in Dunedin in 2020. The 22-year-old backstop has been in Lansing for two seasons now and will almost certainly be given the shot to move up to Dunedin.
I think we’re going to see Jake Brodt moving up a level in 2020. He had a solid season in Lansing last year, hitting 13 home runs (tops on the club, outside of Griffin Conine) with a .238/.330/.407 slash line.
I can really see Samad Taylor returning to Dunedin to start the year at second base. Taylor is still just 21 and had his struggles at Advanced-A last year, hitting .216/.325/.364. He has a lot of potential and a lot of faith from his hitting coach last year but he’ll need to cut down on his strikeouts a bit before moving up to Double-A.
Last year’s third baseman for the Lansing Lugnuts, Johnny Aiello, had a strong year, despite only playing 77 games with injuries. He hit .258/.352/.419 but also struck out a lot. That said, it’s not enough to keep him in Lansing so he’ll get a shot in Dunedin.
The Lugnuts’ shortstop last year, after Jordan Groshans got injured, was Otto Lopez. Lopez just won a batting title in the Midwest League, hitting .324/.371/.425 and he’s a great all around player who is sneaking into top prospect lists. That said, there’s still polish needed but he’ll get a chance to play a lot in Dunedin.
On the Bubble
I think the main group of infielders is going to be fairly set for the Dunedin Blue Jays but there are several players who might be on the bubble, either to play in Lansing or to play in New Hampshire.
The first one is Kevin Vicuna, who has no real reason to repeat the level in Dunedin. Vicuna hit .250/.314/.326 with the D-Jays in 112 games and could very well move up to New Hampshire but he’d be competing for playing time with Kevin Smith, Logan Warmoth and Cullen Large and might be the odd man out.
I have a sneaking feeling that Yorman Rodriguez might skip Lansing. He was outstanding at the plate in both Lansing and Vancouver last year and had a .369 batting average there but didn’t qualify for the batting title. In 22 games in Lansing, he hit .344/.354/.490 and while that’s a small sample for a league like the Midwest League, there’s a chance that the infield in Lansing will be very crowded and Rodriguez will move up to Dunedin.
Another bubble infielder is going to be Rafael Lantigua. He’s a smaller infielder who gets a lot of props from coaches for his character, hustle and ability to make plays but his overall numbers don’t exactly scream “move him up” after a .254/.302/.373 slash line in Lansing.
Jesus Navarro hit just .198/.277/.231 in 121 at bats in Dunedin last year and he could be an odd-man out in the shuffle when spring training breaks camp.
Nick Podkul played in Lansing and Dunedin last year and while his numbers in Lansing were solid (.254/.369/.368), they took a dip in Dunedin (.227/.331/.300) and for a middle infielder without a ton of power, I think we need to see more so he could be in Dunedin to start the year as well.
The biggest name in Blue Jays outfield prospects is Griffin Conine after he showed huge power in the Midwest League last year. I think we’ll see him in Dunedin to start 2020 as he looks to improve his strikeout rate before moving to Double-A.
Several other players spent at least part of a season in Dunedin last year including Norberto Obeso who hit .262/.341/.354. While he doesn’t strike out a ton, Obeso needs to show a bit more (for me at least) before I can see him in Double-A.
While missing part of 2019 with an injury, Tanner Kirwer was fairly solid for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2019, hitting .260/.353/.326 with 18 stolen bases in 20 tries.
On the Bubble
Chavez Young has some of the louder tools of the Blue Jays minor league outfielders but he struggled a bit in Dunedin. He hit .247/.315/.354 and struck out 102 times but there are positives and the Florida State League generally depresses hitting stats and improves pitching stats. He could see a resurgence of his numbers if he does move up to New Hampshire, but that’s not a guarantee.
Reggie Pruitt put up the best numbers of his career in Lansing, hitting .373/.352/.365 with 40 stolen bases in 88 games but he sagged a bit in Dunedin, hitting .230/.296/.351 with eight stolen bases (in eight attempts). I think he’ll be back in Dunedin (especially if Chavez Young is in New Hampshire).
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2019) and may not be used without permission.