With Baseball America releasing their Top 10 Blue Jays prospects list today, we thought we would look at what the site has been saying about the Blue Jays this offseason. Note: I only be selecting short quotes from the site because much of this information is behind their paywall. I highly recommend Baseball America’s coverage of the draft, international scouting and the minor leagues, so if you want to get more information, subscribe or purchase their Prospect Handbook that comes out over the winter.
Baseball America’s Top 10 Blue Jays Prospects
- Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
- Anthony Alford
- Sean Reid-Foley
- Conner Greene
- Richard Urena
- Rowdy Tellez
- T.J. Zeuch
- Bo Bichette
- Jon Harris
- Justin Maese
None of these names are really surprising on the list although the added depth from Vladdy, Zeuch and Bichette are likely pushing Harris and Maese down. While some systems have guys in the bottom half of the top 10 who are either very marginal prospects, even Maese and Harris are projecting to be major league pitchers. This really shows that, while the top of the Jays’ system was emptied out in 2015, there is still depth there.
Looking at the list, if you’ve read my own scouting reports (in our premium content section), you’ll see that our analysis of Vladdy is pretty much the same as what I’ve seen and reports I’ve gotten from scouts with whom I’ve spoken.
I might reverse Reid-Foley and Alford. While Alford is really growing into his power (with a couple of home runs and doubles in the Arizona Fall League already, as well as a career high in home runs last year), I rate Reid-Foley’s potential big league value as a bit higher than Alford’s (despite the apples-to-oranges comparison).
Speaking of Reid-Foley, he’s ranked higher than Conner Greene. While Manuel believes that Greene’s pure stuff is better than Reid-Foley’s, Reid-Foley has made huge strides in command and development of his curveball which is better than his slider. Manuel brings in some questions from scouts outside of the Blue Jays’ organization about Greene’s makeup, particularly in his “dedication to learning pitch sequencing and attention to detail, both on and off the mound.” If you’re a subscriber to both our premium content section and Baseball America’s, you’ll know that Manuel’s analysis parallel’s mine from having seen both pitchers over the past several years. Greene’s command needs to improve, as does his ability to throw his slider for strikes (while his changeup is outstanding). For me, Reid-Foley gets the edge due to the movement and command of his fastball and the improvement in his offspeed pitches.
Again, I find what Manuel writes about Richard Urena echoes what I’ve written in the past and he’s saying pretty much what we’ve been hearing about Rowdy Tellez.
I enjoyed reading about T.J. Zeuch since I haven’t been able to see him yet (hopefully in spring training next year), and he should be on a fairly accelerated program with a forecast of a Dunedin assignment in 2017.
Another player whom I haven’t seen yet is Bo Bichette (I was hoping that he’d have been healthy and promoted to Bluefield by the time I got there). Manuel calls his swing “unconventional . . . with an exaggerated, deep load” but noted that it’s worked very well for him. Scouts like his hand and bat speed, seeing him “as an above-average hitter with at least plus power” and is compared (at least a bit) to Josh Donaldson.
Baseball America likes Harris as a #4 starter, noting that he needs at least one “plus pitch” to bring that projection higher.
Finally, Maese, at #10, seeks “early-count contact and gets it, usually on the ground.” He has a heavy sinking fastball and has a hard slider, using a new grip. He’s compared to Henderson Alvarez and Aaron Sanchez but with a bit less velocity.
Manuel also gives us a “Top 10 Prospects Insider” article giving us, among other juicy tidbits of information, the best tools in the organization. I won’t give away everything, but some of the players listed are certainly not among the top 10 prospects. Shoutouts go to Cavan Biggio for Best Strike-Zone Discipline, Roemon Fields for Fastest Baserunner, Zach Jackson for Best Curveball, Ryan Borucki for Best Changeup and Best Control with Reggie Pruitt getting the nodd for Best Defensive Outfielder and Best Outfield Arm and Javier Hernandez as the Best Defensive Catcher.
Draft Report Card
Finally, we have the Blue Jays’ Draft Report Card, which came out last week, also by John Manuel. Manuel Sums up the Jays’ 2016 draft, giving us the top players in a variety of categories.
Best Pure Hitter: Joshua Palacios
Best Power Hitter: Bo Bichette
Fastest Runner: Dom Abbadessa and Chavez Young
Best Defensive Player: Palacios and J.B. Woodman
Best Fastball: T.J. Zeuch
Best Secondary Pitch: Zach Jackson
Best Pro Debut: Bichette, Bradley Jones, Palacios
Best Athlete: Palacios, Young, D.J. Daniels
Intriguing Background: Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Luke Gillingham
Closest to the majors: Jackson, Kirby Snead
Best Late-Round Pick: Young, Travis Hosterman
The One Who Got Away: Chris Lincoln
You can see all of Manuel’s comments if you have a subscription to Baseball America.
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