It’s time to take a look at the Blue Jays’ organizational depth chart as it sets up heading into the offseason. We’ll go position by position and hope to chart out the Blue Jays’ minor leaguers to see who stands where. I’ve ordered the following list by projected 2020 starting level.
Ah outfielders. This is where things get messy because not every outfield position is created equal. I’ll list all outfielders together but I’m going to put an asterisk (*) next to those who can or do play center field. But usually in the minor leagues, the position within the outfield of players who can play center is fluid with multiple “center fielders” on the same team rotating in and out.
|Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||TOR|
We’re going six deep with this one and the fact that MLB teams have a 26th roster spot in 2020 means that Anthony Alford finally gets a chance to show what he can do. He’s out of options so the Jays will risk losing him if he doesn’t make the roster on Opening Day. There’s talk of the Jays moving Grichuk back to center field and Teoscar back to a corner as well while we’re hoping that Lourdes Gurriel gets the lion’s share of playing time in left field to see if he can duplicate some of his performance with the bat from last year. Billy McKinney may be the odd man out at the beginning of the year since he does have another minor league option.
While one of the six players mentioned above will probably be in Buffalo to start the year, I think Davis, Fields and Wall will be the other three. Davis is on the depth chart for the Jays, with the logjam up there and with Alford out of options, he gets pushed down to Buffalo. Forrest Wall comes up after a strong 2019 and Roemon will continue to be a solid defensive outfielder who can do a lot with his speed.
I do think that Josh Palacios has earned a shot at Triple-A but I don’t know if it’s going to happen at the beginning of the year. Unless a spot is created for him to try his hand in Buffalo, he’ll start out in New Hampshire again. I think Ryan Noda has earned a promotion and we’ll start to get a chance to see if he really can put up some of the numbers he’s had against better pitching while Brock Lundquist gets another chance at the level. Demi Orimoloye may get a shot at Double-A after a season and a half at the Advanced-A level.
I don’t know if Chavez Young or Norberto Obeso showed enough to earn a promotion to Double-A so I think they’ll anchor the outfield in Dunedin to star the season while Reggie Pruitt will try to build on a rough half year in Dunedin to finish 2019. Griffin Conine, after tremendous power production in Lansing, will look to cut down his strikeouts in 2020 in Dunedin.
Lansing will likely see a few old friends return as Griffin Conine was really the only Lugnut outfielder to really have a season that warrants immediate promotion. Steinmetz and Kirwer can both play center field but they may get shunted to a corner as Cameron Eden will probably move up from Vancouver. Both Eden and Robertson were relatively high draft picks in 2019 (Robertson in the fourth round and Eden in the sixth) and need to show what they can do in full season ball in 2020. Neal will also need to get reps to make good on all of the tools he has. Steinmetz, Kirwer or Neal could move up to Dunedin to make room.
|Mc Gregory Contreras||VAN/LAN|
Holy logjam, Batman, that’s a lot of names! Indeed it is. A couple of these guys started 2019 in Lansing but finished in Vancouver (Contreras and Abbadessa) while Ramos is most likely to have a backup role and, with this many outfielders in contention for jobs, could have a “phantom IL” stint. Ammons is actually a surprise from Bluefield who had an outstanding debut after signing as a non-drafted free agent. Horwitz will likely get a lot of time at first base or DH while Scotty Bradley will also catch but could start in Bluefield. That leaves us Berroa, who I’m pretty sure will move to Vancouver from Bluefield and D.J. Daniels who showed some improvement, particularly in translating his plus power potential into games but still needs to get on base more. It’s going to be interesting to see how things shake out once the Vancouver season opens in June.
While we have a ton of guys who project to start in Vancouver, we have only three whom I think will start in Bluefield. Alberto Rodriguez had a strong season in the GCL last year, as did Jhon Solarte. Canadian Dasan Brown will probably go to Bluefield to try to push him after extended spring training.
Several 2019 DSL players will probably move up to the GCL. THe one who I think had the best season was Daniel Oliva so I’ll keep an eye on him. Gabriel Martinez also played well in spurts.
Yup, there are a lot of names here too. The ones to keep a closer eye on include Robert Robertis and Peniel Brito, both of whom got at least $300,000 in signing bonuses in the international free agent IFA) market that begin on July 2. Aside from that, Amell Brazoban is the only guy here who spent 2019 in the DSL and I don’t think his performance (despite playing just about every day in center field) warranted a promotion. That said, he may be moved up just to clear some playing time for a large incoming IFA class.
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