This is my kind of system. It’s heavy on hitters…hitter heavy?…heavy hitting!? This means I won’t have to lull you to sleep with descriptions of potential mid-rotation starters recovering from their second Tommy John surgery. Goodnight moon. Goodnight brush. Goodnight boy whose arm is now mush. Oh yeah, and Toronto has the numero uno spec in all the land! You may have heard of him. If not, check out Grey’s redraft analysis, then click back here and scroll down like two inches. Then keep scrolling because I talk about nine more prospects. I’ll wait here and stare into the middle distance while you do all that.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019
Vlad Jr. is so good, I gave him his own post! He’s got it all…serious redraft value as a prospect (I’d expect an April call-up) and the ability to impact every offensive category outside of steals. Steamer is giving him close to 600 plate appearances in 2019 with 20+ homers and a line of .306/.368/.511. At just nineteen he’s poised to begin a career as a perennial fantasy favorite. He hasn’t even played a game in the majors yet and he’s already getting picked in the fourth and fifth rounds of 2019 standard redrafts.
2. Bo Bichette, 2B/SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019
At 20 years old, Bichette succeeded in the Eastern League (AA) – hitting .286 with 11 homers and 32 stolen bases. He’s a high-ceiling prospect with a plus hit tool that should help him actually reach it (the ceiling that is). I’m impressed by his BB/K rates as well. He took a free pass in 8% of his appearances and limited his strikeouts to 17%. He’ll likely start the year in Triple-A, and while his ETA is not as clear as Vlad’s, I’d expect to see him midsummer.
3. Jordan Groshans, SS/3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2022
The Jays selected Groshans in the first round of the 2018 draft. He’s a high school bat that will take some time to develop, but all of his tools grade as average or better and down the road I could see him impacting multiple offensive categories from the left side of the dirt. That’s a nice get in fantasy even with a longish wait, so I ranked him 14th in the first-year player rankings just outside the first round (depending on league size). He’ll get his first taste of full-season ball after hitting .296 with five homers in short season last year.
4. Kevin Smith, SS/3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
Smith has some serious offensive upside if he can continue to refine his approach in the upper minors. In 2018, he played in both Single-A and High-A, hitting .302 with 25 homers and 29 steals. His hit tool grades as just average – which probably seems crazy given his .302 batting average – but it’s worth noting he was a tad old for A-ball. I’m excited to see how he fares in Double-A, where his stock could really take off.
5. Cavan Biggio, 2B/3B/OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2019
At 23, Biggio had a solid 2018 campaign at Double-A. He hit .252 with 26 homers, 20 steals, and a walk rate of nearly 18%. He has the pedigree and patience to make it in the pros and the power to hit 20-25 homers, but he also strikes out a lot and I’m not sure what position he’ll end up at. This could mean he ultimately finds a role as a super-utility type. That could actually be pretty useful in fantasy leagues in the style of Marwin Gonzalez, etc.
6. Anthony Alford, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
It really seems like Alford has been around forever. And in a way he has…drafted in 2012! Six years is an eternity waiting for a prospect, but it’s not a huge surprise given that Alford was more of an athlete-first-learn-baseball-second type of spec. He’s also been prone to injuries which have stalled development. Alford has the potential for the elusive power/speed combination, but I fear his pure hitting ability and tendency to swing and miss will limit his upside.
7. Danny Jansen, C | Age: 23 | ETA: 2019
Catching prospects can be tricky. They tend to take a while to develop (it’s a tough position to learn) and they don’t hold a ton of value in most fantasy leagues (I remember my first and only fantasy football draft and somebody told me to treat kickers like catchers). That said Fred, Jansen is pretty much fully cooked (95 at bats in MLB) and has the offensive numbers to be worth some attention in fantasy. Across two levels in 2018 (MLB and AAA) he hit .269 with 15 homers. He’s a disciplined hitter as well – walking in nearly 12% of his appearances compared to a 15% strikeout rate.
8. Orelvis Martinez, SS | Age: 17 | ETA: 2023
Martinez is an international signing with lots of offensive potential. But as it is with most 17-year-prospects, it’s still just a lot of potential and projection. He already displays plus power, which is a very good sign, and he has the chops to stick at either short or third defensively. I’d take him in the late-second/early-third round of a first-year player draft.
9. Miguel Hiraldo, 3B | Age: 18 | ETA: 2023
Another international youngster, Hiraldo racked up about 280 plate appearances in Rookie ball in 2018, where he hit .300 with a pair of homers and 18 steals. He showed good patience with a BB% close to 9% and a K% of 15%. I don’t think you can count on him to be a source of steals in the future…as he fills out he may trade some of those wheels for power.
10. Nate Pearson, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
Fine…one pitcher. But that’s it! I battled between Pearson and Reid-Foley for this spot. Arguments with myself are my favorite kinds of arguments because I always win. Or is it I always lose? Foley is closer and had the better 2018, but on stuff (including a double-plus heater) I still go with Pearson. The fastball/slider combo should yield nice strikeout numbers and with some polish I think he could be a viable mid-rotation starter in the majors – worst case a decent reliever. A back injury and a liner off his arm kept him shelved for most of 2018 so I wouldn’t expect to see him in Toronto this season.