Baseball America, one of the top prospect sites and sources of baseball news has released its list of top 100 prospects in baseball and there are three young Blue Jays on the list.
We’re going to be talking about Nate Pearson a lot this year and, while I didn’t write a post about it (I didn’t have time to write much when I was in India), he landed at #22 on Jim Bowden’s list of Top 50 prospects for The Athletic, released earlier this month. One of Bowden’s key statements that I actually happen to agree with, having seen Pearson pitch a few times, is that “some scouts are concerned that the fastball is too straight at times.” I’ve seen marginal guys getting around late on a fastball but still hit it out of the park because it’s fairly straight and it’s going to go a long way if it’s hit right.
So I was expecting to find Pearson a little further down when I was scanning Baseball America’s list, but, lo and behold, he shows up at #7 for BA. They give him an 80-grade for his fastball with a 60-grade slider and 55-grade changeup. A nice new feature is that the give an average fastball velo for 2019 and have it listed as 97 mph, which is pretty insane.
Pearson is clearly the Jays’ top prospect and the fact that Baseball America is ranking him very highly (MLB.com ranked him as their #2 righthanded pitching prospect as well, behind Casey Mize of the Tigers) is a really good sign that Pearson is poised to really help out the Blue Jays, as early as this year. Interestingly, he ranks as BA’s top righthanded pitcher, falling behind only lefty MacKenzie Gore (#6, of the Padres) in pitching prospects. (Mize was ranked #13 for BA, if you’re wondering.)
I wasn’t surprised by who the next Blue Jay on the list was, but I was a little tickled by how high he featured on the list. BA ranked shortstop Jordan Groshans at #29 despite his mostly lost 2019 season. The 20 year old only played 23 games last year for Lansing but hit the cover off the ball, averaging an 89-mph exit velocity. BA calls him “a gifted hitter with growing power, expect Groshans to rise quickly if he stays healthy.”
Personally, I wonder if Groshans will be ranked this highly anywhere else, but I think that BA is higher on some of the Jays’ youngsters than some of the other sites.
The third (and final) Blue Jay to make the Top 100 list wasn’t even in a Blue Jay uniform until the trade deadline. Simeon Woods Richardson has impressed the Baseball America staff to land him at #61 in baseball and they particularly like his control and makeup, noting that his average fastball velo was 93 mph. His fastball was rated at a 60-grade with a 50-grade curve, 55-grade slider and 50-grade changeup while his control earned a rare 70-grade. BA wrote, “One of the prizes received by Toronto in the Marcus Stroman trade, Woods Richardson mixes an intriguing arsenal of four average or better pitches with impeccable control.” Another exciting aspect of Woods Richardson’s profile is that he won’t be 20 until after the 2020 season and I’d peg his MLB debut for 2021 based on how he’s done so far.
But that’s not all. The list was compiled by having the editors file Top-150 lists and obviously not every player listed on a Top-150 can make the Top-100. Several Blue Jays appeared on individual editors’ lists but they noted that Alejandro Kirk, in particular, was among prospects who didn’t miss the Top-100 by much. Other players listed on Top-150 lists who didn’t make the Top-100 list included Adam Kloffenstein, Alek Manoah, Orelvis Martinez, Gabriel Moreno and Eric Pardinho.
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