Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Top 50 Prospects (and more)

Toronto Blue Jays Top 50 Prospects for 2018

2017 was a disappointing year at the major league level in Toronto after two consecutive trips to the post-season. So far this winter things have been moving slowly as we wait to see how the Blue Jays will fill the holes in the roster. Management has said the plan is to contend again this season rather than blow things up and rebuild. GM Ross Atkins called it a “soft reset,” whatever that means. It appears the plan is to wait out the market and hope to fill some spots with free agents on shorter term deals to help bridge the gap while they wait for the kids to arrive. A number of the top prospects are now into the upper levels and getting close to being ready to make the jump. The future for 2019 and beyond is good.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster





TIER 1:

1. Vladimir Guerrero, 3B  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#3, Mid-#1)
Age: 18 (DOB 03/16/99)
2017 Highest Level: – High A
Guerrero is arguably the top prospect in all of baseball with a very high ceiling. He is the REAL DEAL. He was a combined .323/.425/.485 with 13 HR and 76 RBI over two levels at Lansing (Low A) and Dunedin (High A) this season. The thing that stands out at such a young age is the patience at the plate with 109 walks and only 97 strikeouts in his first two seasons. He is projected to hit over .300 with 30+ HR. He was named by Keith Law as ESPN’s prospect of the year. He will again be the youngest player in his league when he starts 2018 at New Hampshire (AA). ETA: 2019

2. Bo Bichette, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#9, Mid-#2)
Age: 19 (DOB: 03/05/98)
2017 Highest Level – High A
Bichette was outstanding this year having one of the best seasons of all minor league players. He was a combined .362/.423/.565 with 14 HR, 74 RBI and 22 SB over two levels at Lansing (Low A) and Dunedin (High A). Many scouts have said that his unorthodox mechanics will not hold up but he continues to prove them all wrong. He has shown that he can hit, with at least one hit in 91 and multi-hit games in 51 of his 110 games this season. He was named the Midwest League MVP and also won the offensive player of the year award by milb.com. Bichette will be one of the youngest players in the Eastern League at New Hampshire (AA) in 2018. ETA: 2019

TIER 2

3. Anthony Alford, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#1, Mid-#3)
Age: 23 (DOB: 07/20/94)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Alford played across four levels in 2017 including 4 games in Toronto in May where he unfortunately suffered a broken hamate bone. He spent the majority of his time at New Hampshire (AA), both before and after the wrist injury with impressive results hitting .310/.406/.429 with 5 HR and 45 SB. Alford was sent to play winter ball in the Mexican League where he has been lighting it up with the bat hitting .352/.386/.505 along with 2 HR and 8 SB in 26 games. He recently suffered an ankle injury, described as nothing serious that will probably end his winter ball season. He will compete for one of the outfield spots in Toronto at spring training but may need some more time at Buffalo (AAA). ETA: 2018

4. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#2, Mid-#4)
Age: 22 (DOB: 08/30/95)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Reid-Foley struggled in his first crack at New Hampshire (AA). He was 10-11 with a 5.09 ERA in 27 starts. The home runs were the killer for him as he gave up an Eastern league leading 22. He had 122 K in 132.2 IP with his fastball that reaches 97 mph. There is some talk that he will compete in spring training for the #5 spot in the Toronto rotation but more likely will return to the New Hampshire (AA) rotation. ETA: 2019

5. Nate Pearson, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#11)
Age: 21 (DOB: 08/20/96)
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Pearson was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft as free agency compensation for Edwin Encarnacion. He was dominating in his debut at Vancouver (Short Season A). He had a 0.90 ERA in 8 starts with 11.4 K/9. Baseball America recently rated him as having the best fastball and best slider in the system. The 6’4”, 240 lb. right-hander who can hit 100 mph might skip a level and start 2018 in the Dunedin (High A) rotation. ETA: 2020

6. Logan Warmoth, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#10)
Age: 22 (DOB: 09/06/95)
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Warmoth was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft. He is a good all-round hitter who hit .306/.356/.419 at Vancouver (Short Season A) after debuting with a brief stop at Bluefield (Rookie). Some scouts feel his lack of arm strength and the glut of shortstops in the system may see him moving to second base at some point. He might skip a level and go straight to Dunedin (High A) to begin 2018. ETA: 2020

7. Lourdes Gurriel, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#6, Mid-#5)
Age: 24 (DOB: 10/19/93)
2017 Highest Level: AA
After missing the entire 2016 season due to the process coming from his native Cuba, Gurriel showed steady improvement in his first season with the Blue Jays. He struggled in his debut at Dunedin (High A) hitting only .197 but was better against the stronger competition at New Hampshire (AA) when promoted in mid-July. He hit .241/.286/.376 with 4 HR at AA. His ability to play multiple positions may make him that Ben Zobrist-type super-utility player Toronto has been searching for. After the season he was sent to the AFL where he performed well hitting .291/.309/.494 with 3 HR in 21 games. He should return to New Hampshire to start the 2018 season. ETA: late-2018

8. Danny Jansen, C (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#34, Mid-#12)
Age: 22 (DOB: 04/15/95)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Nobody made a bigger move up the top 50 list this year than Jansen. Healthy for a full season and wearing glasses for the first time he was .323/.400/.484 with 10 HR rocketing through Dunedin (High A) and New Hampshire (AA) all the way to Buffalo (AAA). He finished the final month of the season leading the AAA team with a .975 OPS. He should start 2018 at Buffalo (AAA) but could be a factor in Toronto before too long. ETA: 2018

9. Richard Urena, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#5, Mid-#7)
Age: 22 (DOB: 02/26/96)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Switch-hitting Urena had a good season at New Hampshire (AA) where he led the Eastern league in doubles (36) and hit .247/.286/.359. He was rewarded with a September call up to Toronto where he had some early success hitting .324 through his first 9 games but ended up at .206 once the league started to catch up to him. He will be one of the youngest players at the AAA level when he starts at Buffalo (AAA) and should return to Toronto at some point in 2018.

TIER 3

10. T.J. Zeuch, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#10, Mid-#9)
Age: 22 (DOB: 08/01/95)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Zeuch was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. In his second season at Dunedin (High A) he had a 3.23 ERA in 10 starts before suffering a lower back injury. He only pitched in a few rehab starts after that. He was sent to the AFL after the season to get in some extra innings and had impressive results. He had a 3.38 ERA in 24 IP and was the winning pitcher in the championship game. He should start 2018 at New Hampshire (AA). ETA: 2019

11. Rowdy Tellez, 1B (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#4, Mid-#6)
Age: 22 (DOB: 03/16/95)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Tellez was all the rage at spring training last year and was very close to being named the Blue Jays starting first baseman. Instead though he was sent to Buffalo (AAA) where he struggled and had a very frustrating year. After such a strong 2016 season at New Hampshire (AA) he hit a lowly .222/.295/.333 with only 6 HR. He was one of the youngest players at the AAA level so we’ll give him a mulligan and hope that he can get things back on track in 2018 back at Buffalo. ETA: 2018

12. Ryan Borucki, LHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#19, Mid-#19)
Age: 23 (DOB: 03/31/94)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
The left-hander was great this year moving up through three levels. Borucki started the year at Dunedin (High A) with a 3.58 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 18 starts. When challenged with stronger competition at New Hampshire (AA) he was just outstanding. He had a 1.94 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 7 starts before finishing the year with one start at Buffalo (AAA) pitching 6 shutout innings. He also led the entire system with 157 strikeouts. Baseball America recently rated him as having the best changeup and best control in the system. He will most likely start the season in the Buffalo rotation but will become a factor in Toronto at some point in 2018. ETA: 2018

13. Max Pentecost, C (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#13, Mid-#14)
Age: 24 (DOB: 03/10/93)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Injuries have been the story of Pentecost’s career so far. The former first round pick (2014) finally got back on the field this season playing both catcher and first base. He missed the entire 2015 season after having three separate shoulder surgeries. He was restricted to DH only when he returned in 2016. He had a strong start to 2017 at Dunedin (High A) hitting .291/.355/.495 with 9 HR in the first half before losing another month to injury. He was sent to the AFL after the season to make up for lost time but was again shut down due to shoulder soreness and missed the final 8 games. He should start 2018 at New Hampshire (AA). ETA: 2019

14. Conner Greene, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#11, Mid-#13)
Age: 22 (DOB: 04/04/95)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Greene spent his third season at New Hampshire (AA). The results were not good, especially down the stretch when he had a 7.29 ERA and 2.05 WHIP in his last 10 starts. The walk rate was up to 5.6/9 with an Eastern league leading 83 walks. His fastball routinely hits triple digits but he needs to figure out his control. What they do with him in the spring should be interesting. Does he remain a starter and return again to New Hampshire (AA) or possibly to Buffalo (AAA) or is it time to make him a shut-down reliever and get him into the Toronto bullpen? ETA: 2019

15. Edward Olivares, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-#16)
Age: 21 (DOB: 03/06/96)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Olivares is an intriguing prospect who saw his stock rise considerably this season with a breakout year at Lansing (Low A) hitting .277/.330/.500 and leading the team in HR (17), RBI (65) and TB (213). He is a 5 tool player with plus speed also having 20 SB. He was promoted to Dunedin (High A) in August. He will start 2018 back there and should finish the season in New Hampshire (AA). ETA: 2020

16. Justin Maese, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#15, Mid-#18)
Age: 21 (DOB: 10/24/96)
2017 Highest Level: A
Maese lost two months this season with shoulder soreness. When he got hurt in late May he was leading Lansing (Low A) with 5 wins, 54 K and was the only pitcher at the time in the minors with 3 complete games. He was named to the Northwest League All Star Game. He returned in late July to make three rehab starts in the GCL (Rookie) and two starts in early August back at Lansing before being shut down for the season. He should get back on track in 2018 at Dunedin (High A). ETA: 2020

17. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#12(TB), Mid-#37(TB))
Age: 25 (DOB: 12/01/92)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Guerrieri was claimed on waivers from Tampa Bay in November. He is a former first round pick from the 2011 draft who was ranked as the Rays top prospect by MLB Pipeline in 2013 and also ranked by Baseball America at 68 in their top 100 overall. His career record in the minors is 25-13 with a 2.51 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in six seasons. Injuries have stalled his progression twice when he lost all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery and most of last season with further elbow issues that did not require surgery. Healthy again now he will compete in spring training for the #5 spot in the Toronto rotation. ETA: 2018

18. Hagen Danner, C (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#22)
Age: 19 (DOB: 09/03/98)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Danner was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft. He made his debut at Bluefield (Rookie) where he struggled hitting only .160/.207/.248 with 36 strikeouts in 34 games. How long will it be before they consider converting him to a pitcher? Many scouts leading up to the draft thought he would be a better pitcher than catcher. He will probably return to Bluefield to begin 2018. ETA: 2022

19. Jon Harris, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#7, Mid-#15)
Age: 24 (DOB: 10/16/93)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Harris was selected in the first round of the 2015 draft. He was a workhorse leading New Hampshire (AA) with 143 IP. The results however were nothing special after his excellent 2016 season at Dunedin (High A). He was 7-11 with a 5.79 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. A repeat year at New Hampshire is likely for 2018. ETA: 2019

20. Eric Pardinho, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#21)
Age: 16 (DOB: 01/05/01)
2017 Highest Level: DNP
Pardinho was rated as the top international pitcher available in the 2017 IFA class. The Blue Jays gave him a $1.4M signing bonus. Reports are that he is throwing 97 mph and Baseball America recently rated him as having the best curveball in the Blue Jays system. Very impressive for someone that young. He should start 2018 with the GCL Blue Jays (Rookie). ETA: 2023

21. Reese McGuire, C (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#12, Mid-#20)
Age: 22 (DOB: 03/02/95)
2017 Highest Level: AA
McGuire missed two months with a knee injury this season. He played in only 34 games at New Hampshire (AA) but hit .278/.366/.496 with 6 HR, strong numbers for someone who is supposed to be a defense-first catcher. Baseball America recently rated him as the best defensive catcher in the system. He should compete in spring training for the backup role to Russell Martin. ETA: 2018

22. Riley Adams, C (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#24)
Age: 21 (DOB: 06/26/96)
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Adams was drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft and had a strong debut season at Vancouver (Short Season A). He led the team in doubles (16) and was second in HR (3) and RBI (35) while hitting .305/.374/.438. He was also better behind the plate than initial reports suggested with a .994 FPCT and 40% of runners being thrown out. He should start 2018 at Lansing (Low A). ETA: 2021

23. Harold Ramirez, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#8, Mid-#17)
Age: 23 (DOB: 09/06/94)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Ramirez had a disappointing season which saw his numbers decline to .266/.320/.358 after hitting over .300 his previous three seasons. After two full seasons at the AA level he should move up to Buffalo (AAA) to start 2018. ETA: 2020

24. Thomas Pannone, LHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#35 (Cle), Mid-#27)
Age: 23 (DOB: 04/28/94)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Pannone was acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline for Joe Smith. He is a polished lefty who was a combined 7-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.09 WHIP combined with Akron (AA) and New Hampshire (AA). He should start in the Buffalo (AAA) rotation and could get a call-up to Toronto at some point in 2018. ETA: 2019




TIER 4

25. Kevin Smith, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#28)
Age: 21 (DOB: 07/04/96)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Smith was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. He had a good first season at Bluefield (Rookie) where he finished strong hitting .304/.344/.513 in August and had 8 HR overall. He should start 2018 at Lansing (Low A). ETA: 2021

26. Ryan Noda, 1B (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-UR)
Age: 21 (DOB: 03/30/96)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Noda was selected in round 15 of the 2017 draft and outperformed all the players that were selected before him. He was outstanding at Bluefield (Rookie) where he was named Player of the year. He showed good patience and plus power hitting .364/.507/.575 with 7 HR and 18 doubles playing mostly first base. He should begin 2018 at Lansing (Low A) and play more in the outfield.
ETA: 2021

27. Angel Perdomo, LHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#14, Mid-#25)
Age: 23 (DOB: 05/07/94)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Perdomo was 5-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 16 starts at Dunedin (High A) before his season ended in mid-July with an injury. After six seasons in the organization it is time for him to start making his mark. He should move up to New Hampshire (AA). ETA: 2019

28. Kevin Vicuna, SS (’17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-UR)
Age: 19 (DOB: 01/14/98)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Vicuna began the season with an aggressive posting by the organization at Dunedin (High A) and struggled at the plate. When the rookie leagues opened in June he was sent back down to Vancouver (Short Season A) where he hit .280/.333/.307. He finished the year strong at Lansing (Low A) and should begin 2018 back there possibly moving to second base with the number of shortstops in the lower minors. His defense is good enough, the bat will determine how far he goes. ETA: 2020

29. Joshua Palacios, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#22, Mid-#32)
Age: 22 (DOB: 07/30/95)
2017 Highest Level: A
Palacios had a slow start to his season at Lansing (Low A) but finished up strong hitting .328/.403/.421 in the second half. We have yet to see any power, only two home runs so far but that should come as he gets further away from the wrist injury he suffered back in college. He should start 2018 at Dunedin (High A). ETA: 2020

30. Dwight Smith, Jr, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#18, Mid-#29)
Age: 25 (DOB: 10/26/92)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Smith had two call-ups to the majors this past season and hit well in 29 AB’s. Small sample size but he was .370/.414/.429. He should be in the outfield mix for playing time again in 2018 but with the team looking to add at least one outfielder in free agency he should return for his second season at Buffalo (AAA).

31. D.J. Davis, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#20, Mid-#33)
Age: 24 (DOB: 06/27/93)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Has the former first round pick from the 2012 draft finally turned the corner? His second full season at Dunedin (High A) saw him have a strong finish hitting .333 in August with a career high 32 SB. The strikeouts are still high (92) but have been decreasing year-over-year. He should start 2018 at New Hampshire (AA) ETA: 2020

32. Maverik Buffo, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-UR)
Age: 22 (DOB: 09/15/95)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Buffo was selected in round 34 of the 2017 draft. Buffo suffered a UCL injury early in his college career that he chose therapy rather than surgery for. Teams were cautious in the draft which saw his stock drop. In order keep a closer eye on his elbow he debuted in the GCL where he was a bit old for the level. After first appearing in relief he made 5 starts in August where he dominated going 3-1 with 1 ER, 27 strikeouts and 2 walks in 24.2 IP. He should move up to Lansing (Low A) in 2018. ETA: 2021

33. Francisco Rios, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#17, Mid-#31)
Age: 22 (DOB: 05/06/95)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Rios had mixed results this season at New Hampshire (AA) after having a breakout year in 2016. He was 3-9 with a 3.74 ERA as a starter. He was moved to the bullpen in August where the results declined. I could see them moving him up to Buffalo (AAA) in 2018 and using him exclusively as a reliever. His fastball may jump up slightly when working out of the bullpen. ETA: 2019

34. Zach Jackson, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#24, Mid-#34)
Age: 23 (DOB: 12/25/94)
2017 Highest Level: High A
At 6’4” 230 lbs. Jackson is the closer of the future. He continues to show impressive results moving quickly through the system. He started 2017 in the Lansing (Low A) bullpen and was promoted up to Dunedin (High A) in early June. He had 68 strikeouts in 51 IP with 6 saves across the two levels. He is nearly unhittable holding opponents to a .175 average while stranding 81% of runners LOB. He should start the year as the closer at New Hampshire (AA). A promotion to Toronto in 2018 would not be out of the question but an ETA of 2019 is more likely.

35. Jordan Romano, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-#30)
Age: 24 (DOB: 04/21/93)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Romano finished his second successful season since having Tommy John surgery leading Dunedin (High A) with 26 starts. He had a 3.39 ERA with 138 strikeouts and 54 walks in 138 IP. He has an above average slider and a 96 mph fastball. His dominance against right handed batters and struggles against left handed batters may eventually find him in the bullpen. He will however continue to develop as a starter and move up to the New Hampshire (AA) rotation in 2018. ETA: 2020

36. Connor Panas, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-UR)
Age: 25 (DOB: 02/11/93)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Panas is a hometown boy from the Toronto area who was drafted as a college senior in the ninth round of the 2015 draft. He had a breakout season at Dunedin (High A) hitting .276/.364/.475 with 18 HR and 55 RBI. He finished off his season with 2 home runs in the final game to win the Florida State League championship. He should move up to New Hampshire (AA) in 2018.

37. Jonathan Davis, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#25, Mid-#42)
Age: 25 (DOB: 05/12/92)
2017 Highest Level AA
Following up on his breakout 2016 season, Davis put together another solid season at New Hampshire (AA) hitting .249/.361/.379 with 10 HR. Davis was sent to the AFL after the season and was outstanding as the leadoff hitter on the championship winning Peoria team. He hit .295 with a .389 OBP and was 7 for 8 stealing bases. Depending on how things play out this off-season with the OF situation at the major league level, he should be in the mix for a spot at Buffalo (AAA) awaiting his opportunity. If he continues to improve he could make a useful 4th outfielder in the future. ETA: 2019

38. Yennsy Diaz, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#31, Mid-#36)
Age: 21 (DOB: 11/15/96)
2017 Highest Level: A
Diaz had a strong start to the season at Lansing (Low A) with a 2.16 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in his first 4 starts in June. He could not keep up that pace though ending the season with a 4.79 ERA. He has a 97 mph fastball which produced 82 K in 77 IP. He should return to the Lansing rotation for 2018. ETA: 2020

39. Reggie Pruitt, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#33, Mid-#44)
Age: 20 (DOB: 05/07/97)
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Pruitt is an outfielder with blazing speed who Baseball America ranked #20 in the Northwest League and rated him as having the best outfield arm in the system. He had 28 SB at Vancouver (Short Season A). He was much improved in the second half hitting .250/.323/.336 in July and August. He will need to show more with the bat as he moves up to Lansing (Low A) in 2018. Although he is still very raw, he is not likely to be more than a defense first platoon player down the road.

TIER 5

40. Samad Taylor, 2B (‘17 ranks, Pre-#47 (Cle), Mid-UR)
Age: 19 (DOB: 07/11/98)
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Taylor was acquired along with Thomas Pannone in the deadline deal from Cleveland for Joe Smith. He was drafted in the tenth round in 2016 by the Indians. He has shown solid contact so far hitting .294/.344/.422 combined at both Mahoning Valley (Short Season A) and Vancouver (Short Season A). His 6 HR this season is a good sign that the power should be there as well. He should start 2018 at Lansing (Low A).

41. Patrick Murphy, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#35, Mid-#39)
Age: 22 (DOB: 06/10/95)
2017 Highest Level: High A
After being drafted in the third round in the 2013 draft this was really only his second season pitching after injuries stalled the beginning of his career. He spent most of the season at Lansing (Low A) where he had a 2.94 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He got 2 starts late in the season at Dunedin (High A) where he should return to in 2018.

42. Roemon Fields, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#32, Mid-#48)
Age: 27 (DOB: 11/28/90)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
I considered leaving Fields off this list as his age is pushing him beyond prospect relevance but 2017 was the best of his career so he may yet become a factor. At Buffalo (AAA) he hit .291/.355/.352 with 43 stolen bases. I thought when the Blue Jays were scuffling along and having trouble scoring runs last season that promoting the speedy Fields might be the spark they needed but that call never came. His strong base-running skills and good outfield defense may make him valuable as a 4th outfielder.

43. Miguel Hiraldo, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#40)
Age: 17 (DOB: 09/05/00)
2017 Highest Level: DNP
Hiraldo was rated as the top overall bat in the 2017 IFA class. He was signed to a $750,000 bonus. He is a smart hitter who will hit a lot of line drives to the whole field with the chance for power to be there. He should make his debut in the GCL in 2018.

44. Leonardo Jimenez, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-N/A, Mid-#45)
Age: 16 (DOB: 05/17/01)
2017 Highest Level: DNP
Jimenez was signed for $825,000 this past summer as an international free agent from Panama. He is very young, one of the youngest players in the 2017 class. Assistant GM Andrew Tinnish feels he has leadoff or #2 hole potential and a good chance to stay at shortstop.

45. Ivan Castillo, 3B (’17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-UR)
Age: 22 (DOB: 05/30/95)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Castillo was picked in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft from Cleveland. He has spent six seasons with the Indians since signing in 2011 as a NDFA. He briefly reached the AAA level in 2016 but last season was split between Lynchburg (High A) and Akron (AA) hitting .267/.341/.354.

46. Juan Kelly, 1B (‘17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-#37)
Age: 23 (DOB: 07/16/94)
2017 Highest Level: High A
The corner infielder showed some versatility this season playing four games in left field and three behind the plate. Kelly had a strong second half of the season at Dunedin (High A) hitting .303 with 7 HR and 43 RBI. He should move up to New Hampshire (AA) in 2018.

47. Eduard Pinto, OF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-#46)
Age: 23 (DOB: 10/23/94)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Pinto hit only .149 in 15 games at Dunedin (High A) after being acquired from Texas for Jason Grilli in early July. He had a career .304 AVG over his five seasons in the Rangers organization. He won the Northwest League batting title in 2014. Hopefully he can get back to those numbers as he moves up to New Hampshire (AA) in 2018.

48. Bradley Jones, 2B (‘17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-#38)
Age: 22 (DOB: 06/12/95)
2017 Highest Level: High A
Jones had a tremendous start to the season and was a fast rising slugger at Lansing (Low A) hitting .326/.394/.560 with 9 home runs. A broken bone in his hand however ended his season shortly after being promoted to Dunedin (High A) in June. He should return to Dunedin in 2018.

49. Tim Lopes, 2B (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#41, Mid-UR)
Age: 23 (DOB: 06/24/94)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Lopes spent the season at New Hamphsire (AA) which was his second full season at that level after spending 2016 with Jackson, Seattle’s AA team. He hit .271/.338/.390 with 7 home runs, 50 RBI and had 19 stolen bases. He should move up to Buffalo (AAA) in 2018.

50. Yeltsin Gudino, SS (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#43, Mid-#50)
Age: 20 (DOB: 01/17/97)
2017 Highest Level: A
Gudino hit .256 this year at Lansing (Low A). He has increased his AVG, OPS and strikeout rate in each of his four seasons since joining the organization as an IFA in 2013. The errors were down as well this season. He should continue to improve as he moves up to Dunedin (High A).

51. Jason Leblebijian, 3B (‘17 Ranks, Pre-UR, Mid-#23)
Age: 26 (DOB: 05/13/91)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Leblebijian had a good year at Buffalo (AAA) hitting .258/.323/.405 with 11 HR, 22 doubles but the numbers declined dramatically in the second half of the season. He has some versatility having played all around the infield in his minor league career but has played mostly at third base the past couple seasons. Heading into his Age 27 season time may be running out. He will return for a second year at Buffalo (AAA) in 2018.

OTHER NAMES CONSIDERED
Cavan Biggio, 2B – Age: 22 – drafted Rd. 5 2016 – 2017 Highest Level: High A
Travis Hosterman, LHP; Age: 19 – drafted Rd. 11 2016 – 2017 Highest Level: DNP
Cullen Large, 2B; Age: 22 – drafted Rd. 5 2017 – 2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Turner Larkins, RHP; Age: 22 – drafted Rd. 21 2017 – 2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Tim Mayza, RP; Age: 25 – drafted Rd. 12 2013 – 2017 Highest Level: MLB
Alejandro Melean, RHP; Age: 17 – Signed 2017 IFA – 2017 Highest Level: DNP
Eddyzon Moreno, OF; Age: 17 – Signed 2017 IFA – 2017 Highest Level: DNP
Carlos Ramirez, RP; Age:26 – Signed as NDFA 2009 – 2017 Highest Level: MLB
Yorman Rodriguez, C; Age:20 – Signed 2014 IFA – 2017 Highest Level: Short Season A.

SUPER SLEEPER ALERT
Mc Gregory Contreras, OF
Age: 19 (DOB: 08/30/98)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
If you’re looking for someone poised for a breakout who you won’t find on any other lists, this is your guy. The Blue Jays signed him in 2015 with the $10,000 that they had left after using all their international pool money to sign the great Vladdy Jr. After spending 2016 in the DSL he skipped the GCL and was sent to Bluefield (Rookie) this season where he hit .279/.335/.421 with 5 HR and 33 RBI. Baseball America ranked him as the 19th best prospect in the APPY. Grab him before everyone else.

AND WELCOME BACK
Deck McGuire, SP
Age: 28 (DOB: 06/23/89)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
McGuire was the first of the four picks Toronto had in the first round of the 2010 draft, taken before Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard and two picks before the White Sox selected Chris Sale. He spent 3 ½ years in the Blue Jays system before being DFA’d and sold to Oakland in July 2014. He moved around the last three seasons with the Dodgers, Cardinals and Reds. He was 9-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 27 starts in 2017 at Pensacola (AA) and finally made his major league debut as a September call-up with Cincinnati. He is still rookie-eligible and would rank in the tier 4 level of the list but at 28 years old I left him off the list. He signed a minor league contract with Toronto in November and will compete for the #5 spot in the rotation at Spring Training.

2 Comments

  1. This is a great looking list, Greg. It’s more or less in line with my own thoughts of the system.

    Thanks a lot for publishing it.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Monday January 1, 2018 - Fantasy Baseball Links - FantasyRundown.com
  2. San Diego Padres 2018 Top 50 Prospects | Prospects1500

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