The Toronto Blue Jays have already seen a large number of homegrown players make their major league debuts in the past two seasons. From Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Cavan Biggio to Rowdy Tellez to Sean Reid-Foley, the list goes on. But who is going to be the next one?
As the 2019 “development” season goes on, we’re likely to see some more youngsters come up to the major leagues and make their debuts, particularly after the Blue Jays likely trade some veterans away as we close in on the July 31 trade deadline. Here’s a look at some options to come up.
With Ken Giles one of the players with the most potential trade value, we could definitely see a pitcher come up and make an impact. Jacob Waguespack, Jordan Romano and David Paulino have already made their major league debuts, but the next could be Zach Jackson. Jackson is putting up solid numbers in his first exposure to Triple-A baseball with a 3.15 ERA and .188 batting average against. He’s also struck out 36 and walked 20 in 40 innings of work. Walks have always been Jackson’s Achilles Heel but he’s cut them down recently and that could be his key to the big leagues.
Another pitcher on the Buffalo roster who could be in the majors within a month is T.J. Zeuch. Zeuch is back from the IL where he started the year and has one strong start and one not quite strong start in two outings in Buffalo (after two rehab starts in Dunedin). He still has trouble striking out batters but his ability to get ground balls and hit 95 mph as a starter might bode well for a relief role towards the end of the season.
If you go a little further down in the organization, we could conceivably see Jackson McClelland in the big leagues this year. The fireballing righty has brought his ERA down this year to 2.32 with Double-A New Hampshire and has an enviable 34-strikeout-to-14-walk ratio over 31 innings.
As for non-pitchers, there are very few players on the Buffalo roster who haven’t already played in the major leagues except for catchers Patrick Cantwell (IL) and Michael De La Cruz, shortstop Bo Bichette and outfielderRoemon Fields. While it would be a nice reward for De La Cruz who’s having a nice season as a backup in Buffalo, I don’t think that’s too likely. The same goes for Fields who has a decent .261/.344/.315 slash line in Triple-A but he’s not really a solid candidate when someone like Anthony Alford still hasn’t been recalled by the Jays.
That brings us to Bo Bichette. Bichette has recently returned from the broken bone in his hand and has hit .305/.379/.492 in the 15 games since, hitting five doubles, two home runs and stealing seven bases (in seven attempts). But the big question with Bichette is likely going to be playing time and service time. With Freddy Galvis playing shortstop every day for the Blue Jays this year on a guaranteed contract (with an option for next year), will he take a back seat to Bichette or will the club wait until the middle/end of April next year to ensure that the Jays get an extra year of control down the line? Either way doesn’t make things seem likely that Bichette will come to Toronto this year.
As for position players down in Double-A right now, I don’t really see any who are imminently ready for the major leagues although Forrest Wall‘s much improved 2019 numbers indicate that he could move up to Buffalo if there was room in the outfield there.
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