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With the minor league season over, it’s time to decide who our Organizational All-Stars are for the Toronto Blue Jays’ system. We usually follow MiLB.com’s announcement with our agreement or disagreement with their selections but this year, we’ll give you our selections first. Maintaining the MiLB.com format, we’ll select a player at each infield position (including catcher), three outfielders, a utility player, a right-handed starter, a left-handed starter and a reliever.
What? How could we not choose Danny Jansen again (he was our Organizational All-Star catcher last year)? Well, Jansen’s numbers were excellent as he hit .275/.390/.473 in his first full season in Triple-A and has done well in Toronto (with an .813 OPS) since his call up to the major leagues.
But Alejandro Kirk, playing for the Bluefield Blue Jays hit .354/.443/.558 for a whopping 1.001 OPS in his Age-19 season. Kirk also launched a team-leading 10 home runs and threw out 43% of potential base stealers.
Honourable Mention: Danny Jansen (BUF)
The 2017 Appalachian League MVP had another MVP calibre year, getting his first full-season assignment with the Lansing Lugnuts. Noda, in his Age-22 year, hit .256 but took 109 walks (setting a Lansing record) and posted a .421 OBP along with a .484 SLG, hitting 24 doubles, four triples and 20 home runs alternating between a corner outfield spot and first base (mostly at first after Kacy Clemens was promoted to Dunedin).
Honourable Mention: Joseph Reyes (GCL)
Biggio broke out in a big way, hitting 26 home runs in his first exposure to Double-A pitching while moving around the diamond to increase his flexibility (he’ll play the outfield in the Arizona Fall League). With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. out of the lineup (either due to injury or promotion), pitchers pitched less to Biggio but he still took his walks, posting a .252/.388/.499 slash line, driving in 99 runs in 132 games. He took 100 walks but also struck out 148 times.
Honourable Mention: Ivan Castillo (DUN)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
What can be said that hasn’t been already about Vlad? With a combined .381/.437/.636 slash line, a combined 20 home runs and 37 walks with 38 strikeouts (racking up more strikeouts than walks only when reaching Triple-A), Vlad was dominant. ‘Nuff Said.
Honourable Mention: Jordan Groshans (GCL-BLU)
The Blue Jays are blessed with a plethora of talent in the middle infield, seeing several players emerge as potential big leaguers over the past couple of seasons. Despite starting the season in 2017 first-round pick Logan Warmoth‘s shadow, some early season struggles by Warmoth and most-of-the-season excellent of his own, Kevin Smith emerged as the club’s second-ranked shortstop prospect behind only Bo Bichette. But Smith had a better year, hitting .302/.358/.528 with a combined 31 doubles, six triples and 25 home runs while stealing 29 bases in 35 attempts, split between Lansing and Dunedin.
Honourable Mention: Bo Bichette (NH)
Stevenson was dominant in his draft year, tearing up the GCL before moving up to the Appalachian League and continuing to have his way with pitchers there. While he wasn’t much of a power threat (just two home runs), he was seemingly always on base, hitting .369/.511/.523 combined, taking 64 walks and striking out just 29 times and stealing 21 bases in 22 attempts.
Ramirez repeated Double-A for the second time in 2017 and had a rough year, putting up just a .678 OPS in 121 games. This year, in 120 games at the same level, Ramirez, in his Age-23 season, won a league batting title and posted an .838 OPS, hitting a career-high 11 home runs along with 37 doubles (also a career-high).
Young was a young, 20-year-old addition to the Lansing Lugnuts but he more than handled the challenge, hitting .285/.363/.445 with 33 doubles, nine triples and eight home runs, leading the team with 44 stolen bases.
Lopez started his season by blowing the doors off the barn in Bluefield, hitting .364/.382/.636 over seven games in Rookie Ball before he was promoted to Vancouver where he continued to hit and be a versatile defensive piece for manager Dallas McPherson. He hit .297/.390/.434 with seven doubles, four triples and three home runs, stealing 13 bases and playing second base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions.
Honourable Mention: Ivan Castillo, Nash Knight
For an organization which boasts of its position-playing prospects, there was a significant number of righthanded pitchers from which to choose. Reid-Foley edges out Patrick Murphy, in my estimation, thanks to the huge strikeout totals that he racked up while keeping his walk rates (and home-run rates) down. Overall, in 129 2/3 innings in the minors, Reid-Foley had a 3.26 ERA (including a 2.03 ERA in New Hampshire) with a 1.18 WHIP and 150 strikeouts with 50 walks. He’s obviously had a little bit of success in the major leagues and has made himself a strong contender for a 2019 rotation spot.
With better-known commodities like Angel Perdomo (injured for much of the year and only occasionally effective) and Thomas Pannone (suspended for over half the year) out for extended periods, Zach Logue emerged as the Blue Jays’ minor-league system’s top lefty (after Ryan Borucki, who has been taking regular turns in Toronto’s rotation). Logue had a 3.15 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, striking out 129 and walking only 34 in 154 1/3 innings split between Lansing and Dunedin (with about 2/3 of those innings at the higher level).
Honourable Mention: Ryan Borucki (BUF)
Bergen, after throwing a total of 28 2/3 minor league innings since being drafted in 2015, finally got a whole season under his belt and rocketed up the system, throwing 56 2/3 innings with a stellar 0.95 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, striking out 74 batters and walking only 15. While he gave up a run in his final outing of the regular season, Bergen had a streak of 18 games and 21 1/3 innings in which he didn’t give up a single run (from July 3 to August 29), allowing just a .421 OPS against while striking out 29 batters in that span. He went even longer (from June 19 to August 29) without allowing an earned run.
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