The Blue Jays sort of operate their franchise like your buddy that chases strippers and always ends up with a massive credit card bill to show for it. Sure, sometimes it makes for a once in a lifetime experience (Josh Donaldson), but other times it’s for fleeting exploits with a disappointing outcome (David Price). Only the bill in this case isn’t an actual physical one, but a bare cupboard once chock full of valuable prospects. In recent years, the Jays have upgraded the major league roster for sure, but have seen prospects like Franklin Barreto, Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, and Miguel Castro leave their system. So now we’re left to review a mortgaged farm with a prized cow, a lot of young calves, and some goats. Confused? Me too! Then again is it any more confusing than a team that needs pitching trading away all it’s young pitching? Time to review the Blue Jays Prospects! You’re excited, I can tell…
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings
Anthony Alford, OF | Age:21 | ETA 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 487 PA, .298/.398/.421, 4 HR, 27 SB, 13.7%BB, 22.3%K
Alford is probably the buzziest name on prospect lists over the last year. Part of it is the tools, he’s athletic, speedy, and full of untapped power potential. The other component is the story and the division 1 college football background, because be honest, we all love a dual-sporter. The thing is over the last year Alford’s skill set evolved beyond just high ceiling toolsy athlete to a legitimate hitter. He’s got 70 grade speed, with a good hit tool and the real question is what will the finished product be? A leadoff hitter that wreaks havoc with his speed and on base skills, working counts, and wearing down pitchers for the mashers behind him; or will he develop the type of power that will push him to the heights of superstardom? I lean toward the former.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Connor Greene, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A/A+/AA
2015 Stats: 132.1 IP, 3.54 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
If six degrees of Charlie Sheen was a thing people outside of the San Fernando Valley worried about, Conner Greene might be headed to the clinic. But alas Conner acted in “legitimate” entertainment with Sheen as a child actor/model. Now that I’ve made everyone including myself hate him, let’s talk about why you should care. Greene’s a young righty with a plus fastball that touches 97, who had a strong showing in the lower minors before hitting a bit of a stumbling block at AA. He needs time to refine his second offers, and find a true arsenal outside his fastball. If he can do that, the ceiling is probably a number two starter. If not, then he’s a starter that’s number two.
Jon Harris, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: SS
2015 Stats: 36.0 IP, 6.75 ERA, 5.2 BB/9, 8.0 K/9
Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 33rd round in 2012, things came full circle last season as he went 29th overall to those same Blue Jays. Harris’ first run at pro ball in short season Vancouver was a bad one; but with a plus fastball, and three breaking pitches that grade slightly above average (slider, 12-6 curve, and change), there’s a lot to like. He’s big and lanky with room to add onto his frame, which should help him fend off some of the fatigue he experienced last season. Dropped a bit in the draft, might be a player you could get in your first year player drafts at a discount.
Max Pentecost, C | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: N/A
2015 Stats: N/A
After sitting out 2015 as he recovered from labrum surgery, the former Cape League MVP looks to stake his claim among the elite catching prospects. He has good across the board tools and the kind of athleticism that leads scouts to believe he’ll stick behind the plate. His quick short swing allows him to hit to all fields, albeit with moderate power. He’s more of a line drive hitter looking to make contact than a power bat. The real worry here is the injury and how he recovers, though the Blue Jays plan to limit his catching by giving him reps at 1B and DH.
Dwight Smith, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 512 PA, .265/.335/.376, 7 HR, 4 SB, 9.1% BB, 12.5% K
Smith is a polished hitter with an MLB ready approach and hit tool. His upside is limited by gap power and a lack of speed, so he profiles more as a 4th outfielder at best. Could see the bigs this year but he’s probably not going to be on our radar unless Toronto’s outfield is ravaged by injury. Played some second in the Arizona Fall League in 2014, and for our purposes a move to the keystone would be best case scenario.
Mitch Nay, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 391 PA, .243/.303/.353, 5 HR, 0 SB, 7.3% BB, 17.1% K
A former first round pick that’s toiled a bit on the professional level, Nay is the kind of player that pops up on prospect list due to raw power ability. The numbers in the Florida State league are quite frankly pedestrian, but it will be interesting to see if he can develop the type of in game power his batting practice exploits hint to. Then again it’s a tricky game when you start to project out future success from batting practice.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., OF | Age: 16 | ETA: 2021 | 2015 Level: N/A
2015 Stats: N/A
I’m not sure what it says about the hitters in the Blue Jays system when the highest ceiling belongs to a 16 year old kid. Then again Vlad Jr. isn’t your ordinary 16 year old in fact he was considered the creme de la creme of the 2015 J3 market, signing with the Jays for $3.9 million dollars. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, close your eyes, well actually wait until after you read this, then close your eyes and envision the imagery of my wonderful prose. Okay, so picture if you will Vlad Guerrero’s swing, bat speed, and hand eye coordination in the body of a 16 year old David Ortiz. Everyone, meet Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He’s got all the hitting intangibles of his father without even a shred of his speed or arm. In fact, more than likely by the time Guerrero reaches the show he’s going to be positioned at first base or as a DH donkey. The bat is real and he’s worth considering late in genesis dynasty drafts or toward the end of the first round in your first year player drafts.
Rowdy Tellez, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 487 PA, .289/.347/.454, 14 HR, 5 SB, 8.5% BB, 18.7% K
A 30th round pick turned donkey with a wrestler’s name, Tellez showed well in the Arizona Fall League hitting .293/.352/.488 with four homers. Spent all of last season in A ball and should see New Hampshire to start the season. You obviously hope he turns into your prototypical big/bad body 1B/DH with 30+ homer power. Well he’s already got the body, with a 6’4 245 lbs frame, and at only 20 years old he’s still years away from his peak power. Rowdy’s a player I like in deeper dynasty formats, where you have enough slots to let someone develop.
Richard Urena, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 536 PA, .262/.284/.407, 16 HR, 8 SB, 2.9% BB, 20.5% K
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, just days after the Blue Jays nabbed Franklin Barreto. Urena has spent his first few years in the organization hidden behind the Venezuelan’s shadow, but with Barreto shipped off to Oakland in the Josh Donaldson trade, Urena’s moved to the top of the list in terms of the Jays middle infield prospects. From all accounts he’s a glove first type, but he took a big step forward in 2015 as he showed legitimate pop, slugging 16 homers across two levels of A ball. He’s still raw in terms of approach and that may not change, but expecting a finished product that hits .250 and provides double digit homers and a handful of steals isn’t out of the question. Probably not an option to consider outside of very deep dynasty leagues.
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 96.0 IP, 4.22 ERA, 6.3 BB/9, 11.7 K/9
A polished young prep arm with a good fastball that sits 92-95 with the ability to touch 98. Reid-Foley struggles at times to find the zone but he’s young and there’s time to find his control. His secondary offerings consist of an above average slider, and an average change. As you can see from the K rate there’s a lot to like. Right? Then….you look at that walk rate. 6.3? Yikes!!! This tells the story of SRF, as us lazy people like to call him. He’s got no idea where it’s going.
D.J. Davis, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 496 PA, .282/.340/.391, 7 HR, 21 SB, 7.0% BB, 21.4% K
An athletic speedster drafted as a Mississippi prep star in 2012. Am I talking about Anthony Alford? No! They have two of these guys, with Davis actually going first at 17th overall. In the first three years of his pro career Davis struggled with the bat before finding his stroke in his second year at class A Lansing. Despite the poor showing early in his pro career there is a speed tool that grades amongst the best in the game, drawing comps to Billy Hamilton. Whether his power and approach develop is really the biggest concern, because if it does we’re looking a truly dynamic fantasy player. With the early struggles the risk factor with Davis is quite high.
Ryan Borucki, LHP | Age:21 | ETA:2018 | 2015 Level: RK/A
Stats: 5.2 IP, 3.18, 4.8 BB/9, 11.1 K/9
Following a elbow injury his senior year of high school Borucki fell to the Jays in 15th round of the 2012 draft. Prior to the injury many projected the hard throwing lefty to go somewhere in the 3rd to 4th round range, which would explain the rather sizable $426,000 signing bonus. What followed was Tommy John surgery that kept him sidelined for all of the 2013 season. He then returned in 2014 and showed what made him a highly regarded prep arm, hitting 94 on his fastball with good life, and mixing in his changeup that many feel might be the best in the organization. For consecutive years evaluators have felt Borucki was on the verge of being the breakout arm of the system, but so far durability concerns and injuries have prevented it from happening.
Angel Perdomo, LHP | Age:21 | ETA:2019 | 2015 Level: RK/A
2015 Stats: 69.1 IP, 2.60 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
A 6’6 lefty with a fastball that touches 94 will get your ears to perk up, and your pants to get tight. Well, lads Perdomo is just that, a big lefty with a good fastball and the kind of frame where an increase in velocity in the coming years isn’t out of the question. The thing with Perdomo is, he’s raw, and that’s where the issue lies. His secondary offerings aren’t great, nor is his control, which led any to believe his future lies in the pen.