Written By: Nathan Hutchinson
Follow Him on Twitter: @hutch1760
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
**Right below is the Blue Jays Top 20 list simplified. Scroll further down for FULL Present/Future Grades, FV, ETA and summaries on EACH PLAYER ranked in the system! Tons of Statistics on each player as well! Some player highlights, future outlooks and more, enjoy!**
If you like Podcasts, Click here to take a listen to the Blue Jays Top 20 Pod where you can hear our prospect Analysts discuss the Top 5 prospects, and 5 others they find interesting in the system! Who doesn’t like more prospect analysis?
|1||Nate Pearson||RHP||1st Round: 28th Overall – 2017 Draft|
|2||Austin Martin||3B/OF||1st Round: 5th Overall – 2020 Draft|
|3||Jordan Groshans||SS||1st Round: 12th Overall – 2018 Draft|
|4||Simeon Woods-Richardson||RHP||Trade with Mets – 2019|
|5||Orelvis Martinez||SS||International FA Signing – 2018|
|6||Alek Manoah||RHP||1st Round: 11th Overall – 2019 Draft|
|7||Alejandro Kirk||C||International FA Signing – 2016|
|8||Gabriel Moreno||C||International FA Signing – 2016|
|9||CJ Van Eyk||RHP||2nd Round – 2020 Draft|
|10||Adam Kloffenstein||RHP||3rd Round – 2018 Draft|
|11||Miguel Hiraldo||2B/SS||International FA Signing – 2017|
|12||Kendall Williams||RHP||2nd Round – 2019 Draft|
|13||Eric Pardinho||RHP||International FA Signing – 2017|
|14||Dasan Brown||CF||3rd Round – 2019 Draft|
|15||Anthony Kay||LHP||Trade with NYM – 2019|
|16||Griffin Conine||RF||2nd Round – 2018 Draft|
|17||Leonardo Jimenez||2B/SS||International FA Signing – 2017|
|18||Rikelvin De Castro||SS||International FA Signing – 2019|
|19||Otto Lopez||SS/2B||International FA Signing – 2016|
|20||Joey Murray||RHP||8th Round – 2018 Draft|
1. Nate Pearson RHP – Toronto Blue Jays (MLB)
23 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’6’’ 250 lbs. – ETA: 2020
Pearson was selected 28th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, and in his first two seasons of pro ball, he struggled with injuries. But in 2019, he showed he can potentially stick as a starter, throwing 101 innings over 3 levels, A+, AA, and AAA.
Pearson has an electric arm, as his FB can touch 102mph and sits between 96-99 in his starts. His off-speed is improving, his slider has always been his best secondary pitch, a true wipe out slider with excellent break. His changeup has come a long way since his junior college days, as he keeps his arm speed and mixes locations well, his curveball is a pitch that Pearson has been working on. In interviews, he says he very confident throwing the curve in any count.
Unlike a traditional flamethrower, Pearson has shown good command of all his pitches, a 2.4 BB/9 in 25 starts. Pearson is extremely talented and has all the tools to be a top 15 starter in baseball, but injuries have forced his inning count to be monitored and he hasn’t been allowed to pitch deep into games. 2020 will be a big year for Pearson to prove he can stick as a starter.
2. Austin Martin 3B/OF
21 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’0’’ 185 lbs. – ETA: 2022
NO PROFESSIONAL STATS
A truly special player, Martin has been told by the Jays that he will play at 3B for now. With outstanding tools at the plate, Martin has everything you could want in a lead-off hitter.
A full breakdown on Martin was done in the Jays Draft Analysis. (click HERE)
3. Jordan Groshans SS – Lansing Lugnuts (A)
20 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’3’’ 205 lbs. – ETA: 2022
The 12th overall pick in 2018 has quickly become one of the top SS/3B prospects in baseball. Groshans missed most of 2019 with a foot injury but he was extremely impressive in limited action.
Groshans has a good mix of contact and power, as he has quick hands and can get to everything. He’s polished at the plate, good plate discipline and pitch recognition. Groshans is sometimes too patient, he gets caught looking for a certain pitch and hits the ball into the ground too much, with a 21.9% K rate and a 13.5% BB rate.
Defensively, Groshans played both 3B and SS in his short 2018 season, and then only SS in 2019. He struggled at SS, .909 Fld% in 2019. But, he has a very strong arm but may outgrow the infield and be forced to move to the OF. Playing either at 3B or in the outfield long-term makes the most sense.
With such a limited sample size at the plate, it’s tough to tell what kind of player Groshans will be.
4. Simeon Woods-Richardson RHP – Dunedin Blue Jays (A Adv)
19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’3’’ 210 lbs. – ETA: 2021
Acquired at the 2019 trade deadline, Woods-Richardson has quickly become one of the most hyped Blue Jays prospects.
He spent most of the year in High-A ball as an 18 year old last year, which is not common for a pitcher. He’s very polished and has already shown the ability to use 4/5 pitches effectively, his fastball sits 93-95 with both four-seam and two-seam grip. His slider has a good break and he commands it well, it sits between 80-84 and plays well off the fastball down in the zone. His changeup is solid, as he keeps his arm speed and gets good fade.His curveball is a nice 4th pitch, 77-80mph with good movement, it’s used primarily down in the zone, often as a setup pitch.
Woods-Richardson is incredibly polished for a 19-year-old, so much so he would’ve pitched in AA in 2020.
5. Orelvis Martinez SS – GCL Blue Jays (RK)
18 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’1’’ 188 lbs. – ETA: 2023
Orelvis Martinez was signed by the Jays on July 2nd, 2018 for 3.5 million. In his first pro season in 2019, he was one of the most powerful players in the GCL, hitting 8 doubles, 5 triples, and 7 home runs in 142 at-bats.
A very pull happy hitter, Martinez pulls the ball over 60% of the time. The biggest reason why he’ll be fine with the pull happy mentality is that it’s not affecting his K rate, with only 17%.
His swing is long and is rhythm-heavy, he gets into his load early and uses a front foot twist or a toe tap to time up the pitcher. On video, it looks like a pretty steep VBA.
At SS Martinez is below average defensively at shortstop, and doesn’t fit their long term, 3B or the OF makes sense. So much power projection with Martinez, but an extreme pull hitter with raw hitting tools.
6. Alek Manoah RHP – Vancouver Canadiens (A Short)
22 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’5’’ 260 lbs. – ETA: 2022
The 11th overall pick in 2019 MLB Draft, Manoah made just 6 starts after joining the Jays.
Manoah a big power RHP with a power FB/SL combo, FB sits 94-97 with good sink that he’ll use early and often. His SL is good, it projects to be a plus strikeout pitch with more consistent movement. His CH is solid, although hasn’t been used a ton, it flashes good fade, but the arm speed is sometimes a tell. Manoah misses’ bats at a high level and gets a bunch of weak contact as well as a 39.7% K rate.
His delivery is repeatable, and his underrated athleticism allows for Manoah to stay in sync. In the future, Manoah will need to continue to develop a 3rd and 4th pitch, while improving his command. Lots to like with his tools and a strong frame.
7. Alejandro Kirk C – Dunedin Blue Jays (A Adv)
21 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 5’9’’ 220 lbs. – ETA: 2021
Signed in 2016 out of Mexico, Kirk missed his first couple seasons due to injuries but a full 2018 and 2019 have Kirk as a top-ranked prospect in the Jays system.
A bigger guy, Kirk is listed at 5’9 220 lbs. by MLB.com. Kirk has underrated mobility behind the plate, he receives well enough and has good catch and throw ability.
Kirk’s biggest strength is his bat, a plus hitter Kirk has excellent bat to ball skills to go along with his plus eye and good plate discipline, a 11.2 K rate is hard to ignore. His power is weak, and his swing is very horizontal gets minimal launch on pitches below the belt, but he hits line drives all over the field, 25.4 line drive rate.
Kirk is likely a DH in the future with an OBP over SLG mentality.
8. Gabriel Moreno C – Lansing Lugnuts (A Full)
20 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 5’11’’ 160 lbs. – ETA: 2022
A 2016 International FA signee, Moreno was looked at as a project catcher. With incredibly raw tools, his athleticism and energy behind the plate are intriguing.
Moreno has a natural feel for the barrel and a good approach to hitting, he likes to swing early and often, which sometimes leads to him being over-aggressive. He makes a ton of hard contact, lots of line drives, and some gap power. He often puts the ball in play and doesn’t walk or strikeout very much.
At catcher, Moreno is solid, with good and throw skills and an outstanding release when throwing. His receiving and blocking are both still very raw but flash average to above-average.
Moreno has the skills to be a good all-round catcher in the MLB, a high-floor, low-ceiling catcher.
9. CJ Van Eyk RHP
21 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’1’’ 200 lbs. – ETA: 2023
NO PROFESSIONAL STATS
Van Eyk, one of the more polished college starters from the 2020 draft but has some some command concerns. An excellent CB and developing CH/SL.
A full breakdown on Van Eyk was done in the Jays Draft Analysis. (click HERE)
10. Adam C RHP – Vancouver Canadiens (A Short)
19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’5’’ 245 lbs. – ETA: 2022
A truly competitive force on the mound, Kloffenstein, the Jays 3rd round pick in 2018, is a big-time arm. In his first full season in 2019, he made 13 starts in Low-A, where he was very impressive.
His FB sits 90-94 with sink and can reach 96, his off-speed pitches are very advanced as he already has a plus feel for spinning the baseball. He can shape his SL to be both a wipe out pitch around 82-85 and as a cutter 88-90, and he has big swiping CB in the 70s with tight spin that tunnels well with his FB.
His FB can sometimes get a little too flat and he gets hit harder than he should. His command is solid but he’s sequencing is a little too predictable.
Kloffenstein’s mechanics are repeatable, and his good athleticism allows him to pitch with energy. Kloffenstein is a power pitcher with starter traits but a small sample size and some long-term injury possibilities.
11. Miguel Hiraldo 2B/SS – Lansing Lugnuts (A Full)
19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: Ri – 5’11’’ 170 lbs. – ETA: 2023
Signed out of Dominican Republic in 2017, Hiraldo has had the pure hitter label since he was a 16-year-old. In 2 full seasons of pro ball Hiraldo has lived up to the hype, hitting a combined .300/.354/.460.
At the plate, Hiraldo has plus bat speed and improving feel for the barrel. His swing is short and realizes on his lower half staying in sync with his hands. He has shown some pop to use pull side when he elevates the ball.
In the field, Hiraldo can play 3B, 2B, and SS, bue from the looks of it, Hiraldo projects as a 2B or a 3B rather than sticking at SS due to his smaller frame and inconsistent arm. Hiraldo also has great instincts on the bases and is aggressive.
One of the most talented hitters in the Jays system, Hiraldo possesses all skills to be an above-average 2B at the MLB level.
12. Kendall Williams RHP – GCL Blue Jays (RK)
19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’6’’ 205 lbs. – ETA: 2024
In the 2nd round of the 2019 MLB draft, the Jays selected the Vanderbilt commit with huge upside in his right arm.
Williams a long lean body with plenty of projection and room for added strength. His FB sits 92-96 with late life, he throws lots of strikes and isn’t scared to throw it in any count.
He has 2 breaking balls, a SL and a CB. His SL is solid but doesn’t project as well as the CB. The SL will develop into more of CU in the future while CB fits perfectly in with a high ¾ arm slot. His CH projects as a plus pitch, it flashes great fade and dives out of the zone for plenty of swing and misses.
Williams is still growing and that hasn’t been helpful for him to continue to repeat his delivery and fine-tune his mechanics. Williams has so much potential but is still incredibly raw, classic high ceiling low floor RHP.
13. Eric Pardinho RHP – Lansing Lugnuts (A Full)
19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 5’10’’ 155 lbs. – ETA: 2023
A flamethrower signed out of Brazil in 2017, Pardinho was hitting 95mph+ as a 16-year-old with ease. He was flying through the Jays system when he suffered an injury in early 2019 and then choose to get Tommy John Surgery before the 2020 season.
Pardinho has a 4-pitch mix, a FB in the mid-90s with extremely good command. He has a SL with good shape and tight spin, but his best pitch is his CB, a high-70s offering with outstanding break and tunnels off the high FB very well. His CH is improving but doesn’t project long-term as more than just a different look.
Pardinho has an advanced feel and understanding for pitching with a plan. He has a good delivery and clean arm action, but he’ll need to gain some strength in his lower half.
Pardinho has all the tools to be a mid-rotation starter but 2 arm injuries in less than a year have slowed the development and are cause for concerns long-term.
14. Dasan Brown OF – GCL Blue Jays (RK)
18 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’0’’ 185 lbs. – ETA: 2023
The top-ranked Canadian in the 2019 MLB Draft, Brown was selected by the Jays in the 3rd round after an impressive showing at both the U18 world championship and the U18 Pan-Am Games. Brown made his debut for the Jays in the GCL.
He struggled a bit towards the end of the season with making contact and staying consistent. An extremely raw hitter, Brown has shown some hitting ability and some gap power but hasn’t consistently been able to make contact and drive the ball. He’s a true CF with 80-grade run and good ability to read the ball in the air.
Brown is a project and the Jays know that and are prepared to give him time to develop.
15. Anthony Kay LHP – Toronto Blue Jays (MLB)
25 Years Old – Bats: L – Throws: L – 6’1’’ 200 lbs. – ETA: 2020
The other half of the Jays haul for Marcus Stroman, Kay pitched in AAA for the Jays where he had success and was awarded a couple starts in September with the big league club.
At 25, Kay will need to prove he can stay a long-term starter in 2020. The Jays are high on Kay, allowing him to have the chance to win the 5th starter job in camp.
Kay has a good FB, sits 92-95 that is effective inside vs both LHH and RHH. His CB is his best pitch, it plays like a FB until just before the plate where it breaks. His CH is average and its decent down in the zone. Kay has decent command and repeats his delivery well.
If Kay can’t figure it out as a starter, he’ll be forced to move into a bullpen role.
16. Griffin Conine – Lansing Lugnuts (A Full)
23 Years Old – Bats: L – Throws: R – 6’1’’ 200 lbs. – ETA: 2022
The Jays’ second-round pick in 2018, Conine was an intriguing draft pick. After hitting 7HR in 55 games in short-season A ball, Conine was given a 50-game suspension due to positive drug tests in the 2019 offseason. When he returned, he hit 22HR in 80 games.
Conine has massive power, but with his power comes swing and miss, and Conine has massive swing and miss concerns. He struck out 125 times in 304 at-bats in A-ball. He draws a decent amount of walks and hits a bunch of doubles. He uses the whole field and makes hard contact. In RF, Conine is average, with a plus arm and solid range.
With Conine, you’re getting a high SLG% and a high K rate. It’ll be interesting to see how he’ll fare vs. better pitching.
17. Leonardo Jimenez 2B/SS – Lansing Lugnuts (A Full)
19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 5’11’’ 160 lbs. – ETA: 2023
Signed out Panama in 2017, Jimenez has been a known commodity for many years. Since signing with the Jays, he’s been a solid hitter and has played well in the field.
At the plate, Jimenez has good all-around skills and is continuing to improve his approach. He has minimal power but has some juice in the gaps and runs hard out of the box. With some added strength and a more analytically-minded swing, Jimenez should be a solid doubles and triples hitter.
In the field, Jimenez is solid at the SS and 2B. He has good hands with plus instincts. Jimenez may never be a top talent, but his instincts and hard work make up for it.
18. Rikelvin De Castro SS
17 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’0’’ 150 lbs. – ETA: 2025
NO PROFESSIONAL STATS
The Jays’ biggest 2019 INT FA signee, de Castro was commonly looked at as one of the top defenders in the class.
At the plate, de Castro is smooth and uses his whole body in his swing. His hands and his front side are in sync, he makes contact out in front. A line-drive approach, de Castro has minimal strength to the deep parts of the field but has a frame that could have power with an approach and swing change.
Defensively, De Castro is outstanding, as his hands and footwork are advanced, and his arm works well at SS. De Castro is a very raw prospect, but the raw tools have projection and he’s a hard worker.
19. Otto Lopez 2B/SS – Lansing Lugnuts (A Full)
21 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 5’10’’ 160 lbs. – ETA: 2022
A late signee, Lopez began his pro career as an 18-year-old in Rookie Ball. In 2019 Lopez broke out hitting .324/.371/.425 with 5HR and 50RBI. Also, Lopez had multiply 7+ game hit streaks in 2019.
In the batters’ box, Lopez has an advanced approach for a leadoff hitter. His swing is simple, he stays back and has a line drive approach and he makes tons of contact. Most of which comes on hard ground–balls where he uses his legs to beat out infield singles.
He’s crafty on the bases and is extremely aggressive, 20SB and 15CS. Defensively, Lopez has played everywhere other than 1B and C. He fits best up the middle (at SS, 2B, and CF) due to his speed, range, and hands.
Lopez hits well enough to be a platoon hitter with the ability to play multiply positions defensively.
20. Joey Murray RHP – New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)
23 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’2’’ 195 lbs. – ETA: 2021
A 8th round pick in 2018, Murray has moved through the Jays system at ease, passing through 3 levels in 2019. Murray is a smart pitcher; he doesn’t have the best stuff or the fastest FB, but he understands pitching at a high level.
His FB sits 89-92 and is commonly referred to as an “invisi-ball”, he gets lot’s swing and miss and mixes locations very well. His off-speed stuff is pretty solid. He has a hard SL with good movement down in the zone. His CB is decent, it sits the high 70s with a big break. His CH is poor, his arm speed slows, and he doesn’t keep the same extension he does on his FB.
Murray has good mechanics and hides the ball well in his delivery. Murray is nothing more than a 4/5 starter, but his high baseball IQ and smart pitching should be able to give him some success at the MLB level.
Honorable Mentions: Will Robertson, Kevin Smith, Yennsy Diaz, Sem Robberse, Ryan Noda, Santiago Espinal and Estiven Machado
Links to all other Team Top 20 Rankings: CLICK HERE!