Need we tell you who is number one on the newly released Baseball America Top-100 list? Fine. Just in case you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. tops the BA list that includes six other Toronto top prospects.
The inclusion of so many young Blue Jays is a testament to the strength of the organization although most of the players are in the bottom 30 (of the top 100, so that’s still pretty good). Along with Vlad the Younger, the BA list includes Bo Bichette, Danny Jansen, Nate Pearson, Eric Pardinho, Jordan Groshans and Kevin Smith.
This is clearly the most Blue Jays prospects who have been given consideration for the Top 100 in recent memory and they represent a wide variety of talented players.
Behind Vlad is Bo Bichette at number eight while Danny Jansen comes in at #42, Nate Pearson is #70, Eric Pardinho is #84, Jordan Groshans is #89 and Kevin Smith is #91.
It’s interesting to see Pardinho and Groshans so highly thought of. While they both had an excellent professional debut, neither has played above Rookie-ball and still have a lot to prove. For Jansen, the high ranking is an acknowledgement of his strong big league debut and his ability to repeat his success at the Triple-A level. While he’s not projected to be stellar, the dearth of productive major league catchers means that he can be an above-average contributor immediately. For Pearson, who threw only 1 2/3 innings in the regular season, it’s more of an acknowledgement of his unbelievable fastball which registered 104 mph in the Arizona Fall League. Finally, Kevin Smith turned his prospect stock around by making his swing more efficient between his pro debut in 2017 and his first full season in 2018.
Baseball Prospectus also released their top 101 prospects list this week and it, too, features Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the top prospect in the league. Bichette doesn’t fare as well, ranked #12 by BP, down four spots from his BA ranking, while Nate Pearson’s stock is a fair bit higher, at #54 on the BP list. In their chat following the list’s publication, Jeffrey Paternostro noted that Pearson was a tough player to compare with current or former major leaguers because few starting pitchers throw as hard as he does but he threw out the names of Jordan Hicks and Edwin Diaz. Danny Jansen is ranked just 89th by BP, leaving just four Blue Jays in the top 101.
While the Blue Jays are clearly not looking towards a playoff run in the next couple of years, the fact that the Jays have landed so many players on top prospect lists definitely shows that the future is bright for the Blue Jays. While not all prospects pan out, there is starting to be a critical mass, even with the collection of arms who project to start as high as Buffalo in 2019, that will provide the club with the big league regulars and the depth over the coming seasons.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!
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