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Yesterday, I wrote about MLB.com releasing their Toronto Blue Jays Top-30 prospect list and today it’s time to talk about Keith Law, who released his Top-20 list for the Blue Jays a few days ago. I’ll discuss things a little differently since The Athletic is a pay site so I recommend that you subscribe, mainly because they have some terrific baseball writing with John Lott, Kaitlyn McGrath and Andrew Stoeten covering the Blue Jays with Ken Rosenthal and others covering MLB.
Keith Law has been known for his somewhat controversial opinions on prospects but he did write a post back in January when he joined the Athletic’s staff talking about what he looks for. For me this was a great way of setting out how he forms his opinions right from the start.
Law placed four Blue Jays in his Top 100 and his top two prospects are the same as anyone else’s who’s been writing about the Blue Jays. Nate Pearson ranked #11 overall and, like most other sites/writers, has no more Blue Jays until the 70s. Jordan Groshans is the Jays’ #2 prospect, ranking #73 overall but noting “a full, healthy year in 2020 will help establish just how advanced his bat is and whether he has the power to be a star even in a corner (infield position).”
A relatively unusual choice for #3 is Alek Manoah who ranked #76 overall. Clearly Law is higher on Manoah than some who believe there’s a large possibility that Manoah will be relegated to the bullpen. But Law likes Manoah’s ability to hold his velocity deep into games while using an above-average changeup.
At #4 for the Blue Jays and #89 overall is Domincan phenom Orelvis Martinez. Orelvis has been consistently in the top 10 for Blue Jays and came in at #89 for Fangraphs’s Top-100 list. Law likes his physical build, noting that he “is going to be very strong when he fills out.”
Ranking at #5 is Anthony Kay, #6 is Simeon Woods Richardson, #7 is Eric Pardinho, #8 Gabriel Moreno, #9 Alejandro Kirk and rounding out the top 10 is Miguel Hiraldo. There are a couple of interesting notes here. Most people are projecting Woods Richardson much higher than Anthony Kay but Law likes Kay’s overall polish and ability to be a fourth starter “in fairly short order.” For Woods Richardson, there’s a mechanical issue in his delivery that Law isn’t crazy about but likes the upside if he can figure out his breaking ball, noting “there’s a lot of reliever risk here too between the breaking-ball issue and the delivery.”
Pardinho is at #7, which is far higher than most have ranked the young Brazilian after an injury-plagued season in which he still performed well at a level quite above his age level. The Tommy John surgery was mentioned, of course, but he liked the velocity Pardinho showed before the injury although Law doesn’t talk about Pardinho’s offspeed pitches with as much enthusiasm as others (including myself) do.
Another interesting development in Law’s list is that he’s flipped Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno. Most minor league writers rank these two closely but with Kirk on top, probably due to the fact that he’s performed at a level higher than Moreno has so far. That said, Law likes Moreno’s athleticism and the power that he’s shown so far. For Kirk, the body is an issue but Law likes the bat, especially how he’s walked more than he’s struck out and, at least for me, Kirk’s ability to take walks is far more developed than Moreno’s at this point (he’s walking at least twice as often as Moreno).
For Hiraldo, he’s in a similar place on the list as most others. He’s a good hitter, as I saw in Bluefield last year but he does have trouble in the field and is likely to move off the shortstop position.
Law moves Dasan Brown up to #11 on his list but notes (as I did) that “there are a lot of questions with the bat right now.” At #12 is Adam Kloffenstein, right around the same place as other lists have him. King Kloff didn’t throw as hard last year as he did in high school but he’s got good breaking stuff and is very mature on the mound. At #13 is another 2019 Bluefield Blue Jay, Leonardo Jimenez. Jimenez showed me more defensively but didn’t have as much thump with the bat as Hiraldo, though he was a good contact hitter. At #14, I think this is probably closest to where I’d rank Patrick Murphy. Murphy has shown a lot of excellent stuff, hitting as high as 97 or 98 on the radar gun (I’ve heard of him hitting 100 at one point). We’ll see how he recovers from his mechanical issues and injuries in 2020. At #15 is Kendall Williams, lower than some rankings but Law writes that he “needs help with consistency in his delivery.”
Law puts T.J. Zeuch at #16 and he can definitely make an impact at the major league level in 2020 while Will Robertson is #17. Dutch righty Sem Robberse has earned praise for having “one of the best deliveries in the Jays’ system” at #18 while Anthony Alford was #19 (and his stock may be dropping even further). Finally, at #20 is Thomas Hatch, another ranking that I agree with, rather than having him in the high 20s as MLB did.
If you subscribe to the Athletic, you can head over there and check out his list for yourself! What do you think about Law’s rankings?
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