Now that the season has wrapped up for the Toronto Blue Jays minor league affiliates, it is a good time to re-rank the Blue Jays top 10 prospects. It was a season of exceptional growth for the system as a whole, featuring stand out performances by several potential high-impact prospects. From the development in the lower levels to break-through performances by the upper levels, the Toronto Blue Jays have very quickly restocked their depth of talent.
Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects
Blessed with a rocket launcher for a right arm, commonly hitting the mid-to-upper 90s, with a ton of arm side action and quickly-advancing secondary offerings, Reid-Foley truly came into his own this past season. He posted a 2.81 ERA across two levels, with a eye popping 10.1 K/9. Reid-Foley went from a high-end potential to high-end prospect in months. Look for the gains to continue.
When the season began, Urena was a 19-year-old prospect with all the tools to be great. Placed in an advanced league, which also happens to be an offensive wasteland, Urena reached new heights. He finished his time in Dunedin hitting .305 and even flashing some extra base pop. The promotion to New Hampshire was the real test and, despite some rough patches, Urena performed admirably, leading many to view the 20 year old as the top prospect in the Blue Jays system.
Alford had a dreadful first half of the season. Injuries plagued him, but his overall performance was very poor, especially considering the type of prospect company he was being viewed in. The second half saw the Alford everyone has come to expect. An .829 OPS, 23 extra-base hits, and plus defense has kept his spot in the Blue Jays top three. Look for a huge bounce back season for Alford in 2017.
4. Rowdy Tellez
Some believe Tellez has the offensive talent to become one of the premier first baseman in the game. Some believe he is a big bodied, big swinging, mediocre athlete who has beaten up on mediocre minor league pitching and is destined to become a AAAA player. While both sides have merit, his power and approach are undeniable. With the Blue Jays on the verge of losing four big bats to free agency, Tellez cold become a mainstay in Toronto’s lineup as early as 2017.
5. Jon Harris
Harris went from potential first round steal to bust in the span of a season. Unquestionably, he had an atrocious beginning to his MiLB career. The way he pitched in 2016 much more accurately depicts the type of talent he has. He posted a 2.71 ERA across two levels, and although his K% declined in Dunedin, he should be able to sustain his growth for the foreseeable future. Armed with a well developed arsenal of pitches, including a 91-95 MPH fastball, the lanky righty has a lot of room to grow into his 6’4 175 lbs body, but the pitch-ability is noticeably well past his physical development.
6. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
In his first year as a professional baseball player, largely at 17 years old, Guerrero Jr. exceeded any and all expectations. He has moved positions and started at a more challenging level than anticipated. With massive power potential, and most of all an already advanced approach at the plate, Guerrero looks to be a cornerstone piece to this minor league system. Although there is a lot of time for regression or progression, look for Vlad Jr. to continue taking large strides in his development.
Despite the fact that the offensive skills have yet to develop to where most believe they should be, McGuire is a Gold Glove-caliber defender behind the plate. McGuire has a great release and a rare ability to think his way through a game for a player of his age. Despite his shortcomings with the bat, he has plenty of time to improve due to his elite status as a receiver. Look for him to continue making gains and possibly see time on a MLB roster next season.
Ramirez has no elite skills and is not a plus athlete. Despite that, he will become a fine MLB player. He has produced results at every level and, next year, he will likely have that chance at the Major League level. Look at Ramirez as the outfield version of Devon Travis: undervalued until you see him play. Ramirez can hit the baseball, and that will drive his success at any stop. He may be a sleeper to replace Michael Saunders next year if an outfielder struggles at all.
Greene is the hardest prospect to place in the system. If the rankings were based off of skill set alone, Greene would be in the top five without question. The problem is, the results and the talent have yet to match up. If that were to ever happen, his combination of mid-to-upper 90’s heat and potentially plus off-speed pitches would make him a future All-Star. 2017 is a big year again for Greene. His K% needs to climb and he must show results at whatever stops he is placed at.
10. TJ Zeuch
At 6’7 and 225 lbs, Zeuch certainly stands out in a crowd. He has an excellent fastball, well developed secondary offerings, and a plus approach to pitching. His first foray into professional baseball was a success. He produced an elite 38/7 K/BB ratio this season in 34 innings pitched. When the 2017 season begins, look for Toronto to challenge the big man in a big way. He should climb the minors quickly, and while his ceiling may not be elite, his floor is exceptionally high. Zeuch climbed three levels in 2016; look for another 2-3 levels this season as well.