Just days after the Toronto Blue Jays inked Hyun-Jin Ryu, we meet as scheduled many months ago to discuss their minor league system. The fates are aligned this Holiday season. 

And it’s pretty good–this system–considering what it graduated to the big leagues last year.

Is it Christmas-morning good? 

Like gathering around the prospect fire with your favorite baseball humans good? 

Maybe not, but it’s good enough in pitching that help should be coming soon enough to pair with the promising young hitters Toronto’s assembled. Don’t sleep on Tellez and Teoscar, by the way. They aren’t exactly what you’re hoping to find under the tree, sure, but they’re solid stocking stuffers within reach of 30 home runs in 2020. 

 

1. RHP Nate Pearson | 23 | AAA | Mid 2020

There’s probably somebody somewhere who thinks Nate Pearson is the best pitching prospect in baseball. If so, I doubt we’d find a long line of people willing to call it ridiculous. 

I used the phrase “bully on the mound” when discussing Luis Frias, and Pearson is a bully to the bullies. I don’t mean to glorify a base evil of humanity but to describe how the combination of a power pitcher’s stuff, pace, pitch mix and demeanor can make him the big kid on the playground. Think Max Scherzer. There’s a momentum to it. At some point you’re fighting gravity in the dugout. Nate Pearson is gravity. 

 

2. SS Jordan Groshans | 20 | A | 2022

He’s hardly played since being drafted 12th overall in 2018, but Jordan Groshans slashed 337/427/482 in 23 games in the Midwest League at 19, which is in line with his profile as a guy who hits everywhere he goes. Could be sunshine and rainbows from here if he can stay healthy. And wash his hands.

 

3. RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson | 19 | A+ | Mid 2021

“Why so many tiers, man!? Gonna scroll my hand off!” 

Sorry for the digit strain, but SWR is Dwight Gooden 2.0, so he gets his own tier!

Was discussed as a Doctor K in the making as a prospective Met anyway. 

Just a young Metropolitan about Manhattan who became the main piece in a trade for Marcus Stroman. Not sure if the distinction buys him a free slice, but I think he’ll be good enough to have Met fans bemoaning Stroman someday. His dominance (0.88 WHIP) at 18 in High A puts him in extremely rare air. 

 

4. 3B Orelvis Martinez | 18 | R | 2023

5. RHP Alek Manoah | 22 | A- | 2022

6. RHP Adam Kloffenstein | 19 | A- | 2023

Strong tier here. Good case for all three to be list-climbers this season.

I don’t think he’ll be a trivia question someday, but it might be long noted that Orelvis Martinez received a bigger signing bonus than Marco Luciano. The International market is peak wild west, but the top guy is often the most obvious Dude. Might still be the case here, which makes a pretty great case for Orelvis on our fantasy rosters. 

Waiting for Alek Manoah to fall their way on draft day might’ve felt a little like Nate Pearson 2.0 in the front office. The 11th overall pick has big enough stuff to cruise through the system if Toronto gives him the green light. Will be interesting to track him at a level where fastball slider isn’t enough, probably not until AA.

Ground ball machine Adam Kloffenstein is just the slow jam baseball might be heading toward if he can keep blending grounders and strikeouts. The uppercutting of swings and the allure of the punch out has led pitchers away from the bottom of the zone. But you can get grounders on the inner half. Guys like Kloffenstein and Luis Castillo do both. Infield shifts and juicy balls should lead us back toward a focus on mitigating airborne contact to some extent. Anywho, Kloffenstein is an arm built for now and later, like the Jays are hoping to be with this Ryu signing. 

 

7. C Alejandro Kirk | 21 | A+ | 2022

Captain Alejandro T. Kirk is pretty cool when he’s not hounding Leonard “Bones” McCoy to do something doctors should not be expected to do. Kirk is 5’9” and 220 pounds but makes it work in the box with a discerning eye and compact swing that adds up to dreamy plate skills numbers (13.8% BB, 11.2 % BB in 72 A+ games) and solid production (153 wRC+) despite a slightly capped upside. 

 

8. 2B Otto Lopez | 21 | A | 2022

9. OF Dasan Brown | 18 | R | 2024

10. RHP Eric Pardinho | 19 | A | 2023

We’re off the beaten path a little with these guys, by which I mean they’re probably fringe own-able in most leagues. Could swap Anthony Kay or Miguel Hiraldo in depending on league structure. 

Strike-zone discernment seems to be a strength in Toronto’s scouting, except on the pro side where Randal Grichuk has pictures of the higher ups engaged in illicit endeavors. Otto Lopez will need no such insurance against the whiff, but he could stand to borrow some of Grichuk’s untapped power. Would play well with his .324 batting average and 12.8 percent strikeout rate. As is, he’s kind of a Blake Snell meme. 

The top Canadian taken in the 2019 draft at 88th overall, Dasan Brown probably has better healthcare than you, and he’s definitely faster on the bases, where he’s a plus-plus runner right now with a chance to get faster. At the least, his six-foot, 185-pound frame should help him keep his speed even if he fills out a little. He’s a long way off like all these bats, and his 148 wRC+ in 14 games at rookie ball doesn’t tell us much, but you can’t hate a .444 OBP even in a meaningless sample. 

Among the tougher players to evaluate, Eric Pardinho makes it look easy on the mound, even as an 18-year-old in the college-age Midwest League, but at just 5’10”, he makes it hard on scouts accustomed to fading guys his size and being rewarded over time for doing so. The odds are against him being an impact starting pitcher, but Marcus Stroman came through this organization, and having people in the building who think a short starter can work because they’ve seen it could someday make a difference in how long a window he gets.

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Merry Christmas! If you celebrate that… If not, Merry whatever heathen holiday you celebrate!

    • Snacks Zillion says:
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      Same to you and all the guys at RazzBall!

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Thanks Grey and Snacks and Drew!

        And Happy New Year to all!

  2. Drew says:
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    The merriest or Christmas cheer to the razzball crew.

    On the recent podcast you mentioned being out on Tommy Pham based on early ADP, would you consider him around pick 65-75 in a standard 5v5 league!?

    Also, When will rankings begin? #CantWait

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Not really a fan of Pham, 75 sounds fair price tho… rankings start Jan 13th, merry Christmas!

  3. goodfold2 says:
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    finished up the top 150 (took me a while as i stopped to at least glance at a lot of your team posts, i’ll be going over all of them fully now, plus a ton of the sites listed at “fantasy rundown prospects 2020”) a full 40 of them are draftable in the super deep 30 team with max 40 prospects 6×6 (OPS/holds added) dynasty. that probably should get me through the 1st 2 rounds, i have picks total at 22nd, 52nd, 80th, 82nd, 112th, 142nd, 144th and 172nd. 4 open prospect slots so some guys are getting dropped/called up when they’ll need to be during draft. roster now after tags is:
    C (1)
    CI (2): mcneil (MI/OF 7.400,002 per ending 20)
    MI (2): dannys antana (CI/OF .4 per ending 20, but could franchise again next year at same price since he’ll be in arb)
    OF (3): e.rosario (4.19 per ending 20, his real life deal will be bigger next year)
    – demeritte (.4 ending 22, he’s currently listed on starting roster bench at RR)
    – d.fisher (2.350,500 per ending 20)
    util (1)

    SP (3, but want in the 5-6 range): c.sale (restricted, so i can pay the 20 whatever mil he gets bid up to or take and supplemental 1st AND 2nd for what his bid price will be. the scarier part isn’t paying the 20+ it’s that somebody might show up and bid him up to like 6 or so YEARS, that’s bad. we have to pay half of a contract if we cut it, however the max for a 1 year is 12. no max for multi-year and 6 years is the longest term bid legally).
    – rey lopez (.4 ending 20)
    – yarbrough (.4 ending 21)

    RP (3, but can and should fit 6 with the 3 other P slots, unless days you have more than 3 starters going):
    -sherfy (.4 ending 23, at 45 and change so if he’s brought up he’ll have to be left up shortly, but i DO need to call up or drop a bunch of guys to draft here shortly and have no bullpen at all yet)
    – b.martin (TEX, .4 ending 22, he’s already over 50 innings so if i call him up he’s up, did get some leverage last year and is listed as getting some right now)

    that leaves me with 15 spots to fill in FA or call ups, assuming let’s say sale ends up at about his real life price (23.5 per) i’ll have roughly 5 mil per remaining slot (on average our budget is 115 and 25 active roster slots so that’s close to the 4.6 average. always smart to leave about 1.6-2 mil free to fill it with FA’s when injuries occur (4 IR slots).

    prospects (40)
    C: okey (CIN)
    CI: e.rios (47 at bats, so can be shuttled up and down), vientos, d.ellis (ARI), w.craig, denton (STL), lavalley (CIN), padlo (TB), kubitza (ATL)
    MI: paredes, w.perez (DET), a.tejada (TEX), k.smith (TOR, the blow up in 2018 horrible in 2019 guy, prospectors are currently apologizing for moving him up so much lately, not the mallrats guy), a.rondon (TB)
    OF: adell, kirilloff, trammell, victor to the 2nd mesa, pedro gonzalez (TEX), t.ornelas, g.whitley (TB, former real life 1st rounder), v.garcia (STL), c.brannen (BOS), cozens (TB), dj davis (TOR), tocci (no team ex PHI and TEX), v.reyes (DET, listed at batting 9th at RR, might call up, have to stay up if i do he’s far over at bats)
    SP: w.crowe (boring, but floor seems safe, guys like these are useful in 30 team leagues, if for no other reason you save money to spend elsewhere while adding to SP depth, yarbrough is another slightly better example of this), c.hernandez (KC), c.rodriguez (LAA), kilome (bullpen risk), sauer (NYY), diplan (bullpen risk), a.smith (SD, i can’t even find this guy anymore in team lists, used to have boring starter upside)
    RP: j.guzman (MIA, doubt he’ll end up a starter), staumont (still hasn’t improved from 3 years ago when he had helium, can’t even find him at KC’s depthchart either), v.alcantara (ex-DET, was in majors last couple of years pretty sure, if called up has to stick)

    state of team: you’ll notice by far my best prospects are OF. basically every year i draft best hitter in 1st round at 18-22nd. and usually the top end MI/CI guys are gone by there. also the top SP in that class often gone (trammell acquired by trade not draft). this year i might be best off nabbing a 1st round SP (skubal/ed cab/cantillo/balazovic would probably be around there but probably not at 2.22) then nabbing a top ranked hitter later (you are seriously higher on guys like matos (about 100 higher than others), c.wong (i can’t even find anybody else ranking that guy anywhere at all), toro, s.brown, maybe cavaco. what you think in general here?

    couple of quick(er) questions:
    2. vlad gutierrez SP CIN. you have him at 146th overall, but 9th at CIN. meanwhile the guys at CIN in spots 5-8 are not in the top 150 (siani, acosta, stephenson (i could’ve traded for him last year, probably still could. i didn’t realize OBP wolf was at CIN before when you say “they might want him back”), callihan). i get that the time difference between 150 prospects list (oct 13th) and CIN list (nov 6th) could cause some discrepancies but that’s not a long time diff and 4 player gap seems odd. what am i missing in this?

    next up i’ll make team lists for guys available. it appears at the rate you’re going on the team lists (about every 3-4 days, which is awesome) you’ll be done like feb 3rd or so, right about the time my draft is ending here. also i’ll be back trying to figure guys just past top 150 overall, i’ll go off your team lists and also prospects live’s 1st year mock draft, and 361’s top 200 for guys that likely just barely missed your top 150, but i want to see who you are lower or much higher on in general. you are far ahead of all those other sites in general, at least the ones culled at fantasy rundown prospects 2020 compiled sites lists (361, PL, fantrax (they do good work too), pitcherlist, rotoprofessor, fangraphs (always awesome detail there, but good lord those go slowly, pretty sure last year they didn’t even finish the team lists till like may, some years then don’t even finish them)).

    • goodfold2 says:
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      sorry 361 has team lists, 365 has a top 200 list. not the same site.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        another larger gap with swaggerty 8th at PIT, 120th overall (hayes 116th, 3rd at PIT), but these 4 not in top 150: bae, lolo, mojica, oliva. maybe this is just a situation where you knew when making the top 150 you wanted certain guys in it, then later noticed you also have 4 guys on each of these teams being better than them, but didn’t notice how high they’d be when doing the 150 weeks earlier. if this is true i should slot these 8 CIN/PIT guys into the top 150 and just make it bigger, which is fine since i need a much bigger overall board anyway to get through our psycho deep draft. then it’s just going about finding how many more of these types there are, along with making up the rest of an overall board.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Thanks goodfold2!

          Gutierrez was a case where I realized I was way high on him and could maybe rank him a little closer to the chamber to help people from buying at a price that removes some of the big profit potential Vlad has.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          In general I had to make the call early as to how to treat the rankings I’d just put out before doing the systems.

          I decided it would inhibit growth to defer to them. At which point I realized the best data set would come from throwing the rankings out (to the best of my mental ability anyway) while I was in each system, if that makes any sense.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            right, so that does sound like if there was a new top overall set either vlad g. and swaggerty would be a good deal lower or those 8 PIT/CIN guys would all be decently higher than before. after going over 365’s top 200 and prospects live’s 1st year player mock draft at least oliva, is pretty high.

            1. which say 5 of my guys would you drop first when i need to during draft? probably tocci (never did much and has now been thrown off 2 teams), then some mix of dj davis, kubitza (or another of my CI prospects that haven’t done anything), maybe a.smith or a.rondon.

            2. what you think about barreto, owner is trying to trade him for some mix of prospect not named trammell/adell/kirilloff and pick not as high as 1.22. is on a great contract of .4 till end of 22.

            i’ve gotten through most of 365’s top 200 and about halfway through PL’s 1st year player mock draft (at about pick 50ish) so i’ll have some names to see if any of them would be near the top 150 or so, and those that just aren’t as well.

            • goodfold2 says:
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              only negative on barreto’s contract is if he’s put back in minors again he’s over his at bats.

  4. Brian Carruthers says:
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    What are thoughts on Kay? Why is he missing from your list??

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, Brian!

      And thanks for reading!

      I mentioned him in the 8-10 blurb; you could probably just swap him in somewhere there if you prefer him to Lopez.

      I don’t think he has enough fastball, specifically that his natural tail is a problem, but he spins well for breaking balls and could certainly make some big gains.

  5. Harley Earl says:
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    Hey Itch!

    Nice piece! Just curious, has anyone actually seen Jordan Groshans play? I’ve got him and I hear great things about him. But it would be nice to actually see great things on the field rather than hear about their potential!

    One more question, Do you have any comps for what you think Groshans might eventually be someday, say 2022 or 2023?

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, Harley Earl!

      Yeah Groshans is more myth than man at this point. Big fork in the road this year.

      And not really, no, on the comps. Might be kinda Kieboomy I guess.

  6. Scott Blackwell says:
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    Hello,
    Thanks for all the prospect information. Looking to build a solid bench to make it through 162.
    Do any of these players that are Available on the Wire look like adds?
    Ryan Braun, Niko Goodrum, Rowdy Tellez, Teoscar Hernandez, Marwin Gonzalez.

    Bench:
    Vogelbach, Fletcher LAA, Jackie Bradley, Tommy Pham, Kyle Lewis, Tauchman NYY, Carpenter STL, Voit NYY, Cesar Hernandez TOR, Mark Canha

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