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Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

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Checking in on the Jays system

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates
Vladimir Guerrero Jr
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the Toronto Blue Jays.

This list was originally published March 8th, 2018

*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

1) Vladimir Guerrero, Jr, 3B, Grade A: Age 19, signed out of the Dominican Republic for $3,900,000; hitting .401/.448/.668 with 14 homers, 22 walks, 28 strikeouts in 247 at-bats between Double-A and brief injury rehab in rookie ball; ridiculous combination of pure hitting ability and power; defense works at third base; basically his dad with a better feel for the strike zone and the ability to stay at the hot corner.

2) Bo Bichette, SS, Grade A: Age 20, second round pick in 2016 from high school in St. Petersburg, Florida; hitting .273/.330/.454 with 10 homers, 30 doubles, 27 steals, 34 walks, 73 strikeouts in 399 at-bats in Double-A; not as gaudy as his 2017 campaign but very solid considering age/level/position; may fit better at second in the long run.

3) Anthony Alford, OF, Grade B+: Age 24, third round pick in 2012, hitting .222/.301/.329 with five homes, 24 walks, 81 strikeouts in 242 at-bats in Triple-A, 13 steals; impressive physical tools still here, performance spotty with International League pitching exposing holes in his approach plus injuries haven’t helped; looked like he was putting things together with strong June but slumped again in July; stock down a bit but not sure how much just yet.

4) Ryan Borucki, LHP, Grade B/B+: Age 24, 15th round pick in 2012 from high school in Mundelein, Illinois; 3.27 ERA in 77 innings in Triple-A, 58/28 K/BB, 62 hits; promoted to majors and has been quite effective so far, 2.79 ERA in 29 innings, 23/10 K/BB, 33 hits; still a few rough edges but has all attributes of a number three starter for the future.

5) Nate Pearson, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 21, first round pick in 2017 from JC of Central Florida; opened late due to back/oblique injury, made one start and was hit in the arm by a line drive, resulting in broken ulna, on DL.

6) Danny Jansen, C, Grade B: Age 23, 16th round pick in 2013 from high school in Appleton, Wisconsin; hitting .265/.390/.458 with 10 homers, 42 walks, 44 strikeouts in 260 at-bats in Triple-A; showing more isolated power this year while maintaining strike one judgment; defense has slipped a bit this year statistically but overall a successful transition to the IL, should be ready for MLB trial soon.

7) Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, second round pick in 2014 from high school in Jacksonville, Florida; rebounding well from odd 2017 season, posting 3.04 ERA in 115 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 132/42 K/BB, 87 hits; command still wobbles at times but has been more consistent in general this year, particularly strong over last few weeks with 2.52 ERA in last 10 starts; ready for a trial soon.

8) Logan Warmoth, SS, Grade B: Age 22, first round pick in 2017 from University of North Carolina; hitting .233/.306/.296 with one homer, 20 walks, 46 strikeouts in 189 at-bats in High-A; steady defense but hitting has been weaker than expected, very little power standing out in particular with indifferent plate discipline. Stock down some.

9) Riley Adams, C, Grade B: Age 22, third round pick in 2017 from University of San Diego; hitting .220/.324/.343 with four homers, 36 walks, 78 strikeouts in 268 at-bats in High-A; less power than expected; has played great with the glove, throwing out 50% of runners with very low error and passed ball rates; I think he’ll get to the power more often eventually.

10) T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, first round pick in 2016 from University of Pittsburgh; rebounding well from 2017 back injuries; has 3.52 ERA in 125 innings between High-A and Double-A, 81/33 K/BB, 2.00 GO/AO; more strikeouts would be nice but holding his own overall.

11) Reese McGuire, C, Grade B-: Age 23, long-time denizen of prospect lists, originally drafted by Pittsburgh Pirates in first round in 2013 from high school in Covington, Washington; hitting .238/.327/.336 with 28 walks, 61 strikeouts in 244 at-bats in Triple-A; still gets good reviews for defense but bat has slipped back into old patterns after (possibly illusionary) progress in ’17; glove will still get him to majors.

12) Samad Taylor, 2B, Grade B-: Age 20, 10th round pick in 2016 by the Cleveland Indians from high school in Corona, California; traded to Jays with Thomas Pannone for Joe Smith last summer; hitting .225/.312/.374 with six homers, 32 steals, 38 walks, 71 strikeouts in 342 at-bats in Low-A; has made good progress with his defense, flashes intriguing speed/power combo on offense but needs more reps; has breakout potential next year.

13) Carlos Ramirez, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 27, converted outfielder, looked like a nice breakthrough reliever following excellent’17 season; posted 5.01 ERA in 32 innings this year in Triple-A with 33/20 K/BB; claimed on waivers by Oakland Athletics, has walked nine in 8.1 MLB innings this year; has the stuff to succeed if he throws strikes.

14) Richard Urena, SS, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, signed from Dominican Republic in 2012; hitting .215/.242/.311 in 219 at-bat between Triple-A Buffalo and A-ball injury rehab; 5-for-18 during brief major league sojourn; glove is solid, bat has been weak since reaching high minors; still young enough to improve but no real sign of it yet, stock trending down.

15) Thomas Pannone, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, ninth round pick by Indians in 2013 from Southern Nevada, over in the Smith trade; 80-game suspension for PED use, just now working his way back, 5.77 ERA in 39 innings between High-A/Double-A/Triple-A, 40/7 K/BB, 51 hits; has a 27/1 K/BB in 25 innings in Triple-A but with 33 hits allowed, 5.33 ERA; still intriguing due to extreme control.

16) Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Grade C+: Age 23, 30th round pick in 2013 from high school in Elk Grove, California; would have been a third round pick on talent but had signability issues; hitting .262/.330/.426 with 10 homers, 30 walks, 51 strikeouts in 298 at-bats in Triple-A; not great but much better than last year at the same level; still think he may need a change of scenery but he’s reversed last year’s stock slippage.

17) Max Pentecost, C-1B, Grade C+: Age 24, first round pick in 2014 from Kennesaw State; hitting .215/.255/.327 with 14 walks, 67 strikeouts in 251 at-bats in Double-A; very disappointing with the bat this year, good news is that glove has been decent after missing considerable time with injuries; hitting has slipped with shaky strike zone issues.

18) Joshua Palacios, OF, Grade C+: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2016 from Auburn; hitting .271/.338/.370 with five homers, 15 steals, 36 walks, 102 strikeouts in 384 at-bats in High-A; I think there may be more power potential in the bat than commonly realized but strike zone/contact will be concerns when he reaches Double-A.

19) Eric Pardinho, RHP, Grade C+: Age 17, signed out of Brazil last summer for $1,400,000; just getting his career started, 3.86 ERA with 39/11 K/BB in 28 innings in Appalachian League, 24 hits; could use fewer walks but this is a decent way to begin.

20) Ryan Noda, 1B-OF, Grade C+: Age 22, 15th round pick in 2017 from University of Cincinnati; hitting .256/.417/.446 with 11 homers, 79 walks, 99 strikeouts in 305 at-bats in Low-A; extremely selective hitter with decent power, some concern he may be too passive as he moves up but so far it works; limited to a corner defensively.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Cavan Biggio, 2B; hitting .249/.395/.514 with 21 homers, 78 walks, 112 strikeouts in 321 at-bats in Double-A; power surge seems real and stock is up, but still some contact concerns; defense is versatile.

Maximo Castillo, RHP; 5.45 ERA in 92 innings in Low-A, 79/34 K/BB; not a good year statistically but just 19 years old.

Mc Gregory Contreras, OF; hitting .267/.325/.552 with seven homers, four walks, 39 strikeouts in 116 at-bats in Northwest League; intriguing power but contact/patience are issues.

Hagen Danner, C; Hitting .255/.407/.340 with nine walks, 13 strikeout in 47 at-bats in Appalachian League; bat looks better than last year, glove needs polish, only 19.

Roemon Fields, OF; Hitting .238/.309/.395 with 23 steals in Triple-A; off compared to last year, at age 27 not likely to improve much.

Ryan Gold, C; Hitting .269/.314/.362 with six walks, 30 strikeouts in 130 at-bats in Low-A; reliable receiver though needs to improve throwing

Taylor Guerrieri, RHP; 4.70 ERA in 44 innings in Triple-A, 28/16 K/BB, 2.38 GO/AO; I still think there’s something here but he’s 25 now.

Lourdes Gurriel, 2B; .299/.328/.467 in 184 at-bats in Double-A/Triple-A, has mashed since arriving in majors at .322/.340/.503; 3/29 BB/K in 143 at-bats is weak but it hasn’t hurt him so far; at this point it looks like his rather poor 2017 season was related to adjustment issues coming over from Cuba, seems more comfortable this year in all respects and the talent is showing.

Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jon Harris, RHP; 4.60 ERA in 108 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 85/23 K/BB, 123 hits; not a great year on the surface but has a 53/11 K/BB in last 55 innings, stock level.

Zach Jackson, RHP; 2.53 ERA in 46 innings in Double-A, 58/39 K/BB, just 20 hits; walks need to come down but the K/IP/, H/IP make him bullpen arm to watch.

Tim Lopes, 2B; Hitting .282/.332/.363 with zero homers, 12 steals, 22 walks, 45 strikeouts in 273 at-bats in Triple-A; reliable glove, but more pop would be nice.

Justin Maese, RHP; will miss entire season with shoulder injury.

Connor Panas, OF; Hitting .242/.300/.386 with eight homers, 20 walks, 64 strikeouts in 293 at-bats in Double-A; power production down while making Double-A transition.

Orlando Pascual, RHP; Bullpen use in Northwest and Midwest Leagues, 2.82 ERA in 22 innings, 19/13 K/BB, 18 hits; small sample but decent thus far, control needs tightening.

Angel Perdomo, LHP; 3.50 ERA in 62 innings in High-A, 73/21 K/BB, 53 hits, at age 24 he needs to move up a level for a fairer test.

Yorman “Not the Reds Guy” Rodriguez, C; Hitting .297/.350/.351 in NWL, just 74 at-bats so far, 2/14 BB/K is unattractive and defense needs more polish.

Jordan Romano, RHP; 3.40 ERA in 116 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 104/40 K/BB, 83 hits; could stand to lower walks but everything else is solid.

Dwight Smith Jr, OF; .249/.351/.358 in 201 at-bats in Triple-A, .261/.364/.500 in 46 at-bats in the majors, seems clear he can be a competent fourth outfielder with a solid bat.

Kevin Smith, 3B-SS; Hitting .311/.366/.559 with 19 homers, 25 steals, 33 walks, 97 strikeouts in 399 at-bats in Low-A/High-A; solid glove too, often overlooked (perhaps due to boring name syndrome) but stock is rising rapidly, do not miss out on this one.

Kevin Vicuna, SS; Hitting .266/.307/.358 with 10 steals, 18 walks, 56 strikeouts in 372 at-bats in Low-A at age 20, not much pop and needs more patience but has potential.

Chavez Young, OF: Hitting .285/.352/.444 with five homers, 22 steals, 37 walks, 82 strikeouts in 354 at-bats in Low-A; switch-hitter, very good with the glove in center field, enough with the bat to make him a sleeper.

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