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Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

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Reviewing the pre-season Blue Jays prospect list

MLB: All Star Game-Futures Game
Vladimir Guerrero Jr
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

This list was originally posted January 27th, 2017

1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr, 3B, Grade B+: Age 18, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $3,900,000, you may have heard of his father; hitting .312/.406/.460 between Low-A and High-A, 45 walks against just 40 strikeouts; has made good progress with his defense at third base; upside: his dad with better strike zone judgment and a hot corner glove. Certainly a Grade A prospect now.

2) Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Grade B+: Age 21, second round pick in 2014 from high school in Florida; 4.74 ERA in 82 innings in Double-A, 73/37 K/BB, 81 hits; not a great transition to Double-A but he’s young and the ERA overstates things a bit; main problem has been gopher balls, change in ground ball/fly ball tendency.

3) Richard Urena, SS, Grade B+: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012; hitting .245/.290/.368 in Double-A, 24 walks, 70 strikeouts in 359 at-bats; steady with the glove and showing gap power with 26 doubles; given youth still has substantial potential.

4) Lourdes Gurriel, Jr, INF-OF, Grade B: Age 23, Cuban, signed for $22,000,000 in November; opened season on disabled list; back now but hitting just .231/.260/.330 in 91 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; sample size too small to be meaningful especially given circumstances; I still don’t really know what to think of him.

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies
Anthony Alford
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

5) Anthony Alford, OF, Grade B: Age 23, third round pick in 2012, mashed Double-A (.325/.411/.455), promoted to majors and broke hamate after eight at-bats; now on rehab assignment in High-A; a really fun player to watch with tremendous athleticism and improving skills; will have to see if hamate injury saps his power temporarily.

6) Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Grade B: Age 22, 30th round pick in 2013; hit .297/.387/.530 with 23 homers, 63 walks, 92 strikeouts in 438 at-bats in Double-A in 2016; 2017 has been much weaker at .206/.279/.329 in 298 at-bats in Triple-A; detailed scouting reports will be illuminating; too soon to give up but it is fair to note that there have always been doubters.

7) Jon Harris, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 23, first round pick in 2015 from Missouri State; having some problems with Double-A transition, 5.18 ERA in 99 innings with 73/33 K/BB, 118 hits; like SRF, Harris has given up a lot of homers this year; he’s pitched better recently and may be making necessary adjustments.

8) T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Grade B-: Age 22, first round pick in 2016 from University of Pittsburgh; 3.23 ERA in 53 innings in High-A, 42/14 K/BB, showing expected polish; went on disabled list with undisclosed injury June 5th.

9) Conner Greene, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, seventh round pick in 2013; another guy struggling with Double-A transition, 4.73 ERA in 93 innings with 66/56 K/BB, 91 hits; in his case gopher balls aren’t the problem but too many walks are.

10) Justin Maese, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 20, third round pick in 2015 from high school in Texas; 4.24 ERA in 64 innings in Low-A, 54/20 K/BB; went on disabled list in June with undisclosed injury but is now on rehab assignment; can hit 96 but still working on secondaries.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Bo Bichette in the 2017 Futures Game
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

11) Bo Bichette, SS, Grade B-/C+: Age 19, second round pick in 2016, son of Dante Bichette; ridiculous season, hitting .385/.444/.606 between Low-A and High-A and was over .400 for much of the spring; 15 steals, 32 doubles, 11 homers; maybe he doesn’t stay at shortstop long-term but with the bat that doesn’t really matter; has blown every expectation out of the water.

12) Angel Perdomo, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 23, signed out of Dominican way back in 2011; 3.73 ERA in 75 innings in High-A, 65/43 K/BB in 74 innings; went on disabled list July 8th with undisclosed injury; command the main issue here, high upside lefty.

13) J.B. Woodman, OF, Grade C+: Age 22, second round pick in 2016 from University of Mississippi; hitting .242/.323/.379 with 29 walks, 107 strikeouts in 248 at-bats in Low-A; on disabled list since July 3rd; Midwest League sources like physicality and power/speed potential but worry about approach, holes in swing.

14) Max Pentecost, C, Grade C+: Age 24, first round pick in 2014 out of Kennesaw State; career slowed by injuries; hitting .289/.344/.465 in High-A; splitting time between catcher and first base; he can hit but we still need to see how his defense pans out.

15) Joshua Palacios, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, fourth round pick in 2016 out of Auburn, nephew of former MLB player Rey Palacios; hitting just .233/.308/.309 in Low-A, disappointing following strong 2016 debut; like Woodman, there are tools here but he is less refined than the typical college bat.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays-Workouts
Reese McGuire
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

16) Reese McGuire, C, Grade C+: Age 22, first round pick by the Pirates in 2013, acquired at trade deadline in 2016; missed most of this season with knee surgery; hitting .216/.311/.363 in 51 at-bats in Double-A, on rehab assignment right now; no change in profile, strong glove with questionable bat.

17) Harold Ramirez, OF, Grade C+: Age 22, signed by Pirates out of Colombia in 2011; came over at the 2016 deadline; hitting .258/.307/.356 in Double-A, disappointing after hitting.306/.351/.401 at the same level in 2016, still young of course.

18) Ryan Borucki, LHP, Grade C+/C: Age 23, 15th round pick in 2012, 3.58 ERA in 98 innings in High-A, 109/27 K/BB, 95 hits; looks ready to move up to Double-A.

19) Francisco Rios, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 22, signed out of Mexico in 2012, 4.03 ERA in 67 innings in Double-A with 52/27 K/BB; went on disabled list yesterday with undisclosed injury.

20) Zach Jackson, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 22, third round pick in 2016 from University of Arkansas; 2.86 ERA with 39/19 K/BB in 35 innings between Low-A and High-A with 23 hits allowed; classic bullpen stuff and approach.

OTHER GRADE C+/C:

Dwight Smith, OF: .277/.336/.399 in Triple-A, hit .370/.414/.444 in 27 major league at-bats; certainly worthy of more major league time.

Feel free to ask for about anyone mentioned above, anybody not on the pre-season list, and the 2017 draft. I’ll answer in the comments section.