by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
No one is going to argue the team that Toronto has built, as they battle for a World Series title. Thanks to a series of trades and graduations, though, the farm system has been left fairly barren. That’s not to say that there aren’t some intriguing names in the pipeline, but there are also significant questions and the lack of a “sure” impact player on the horizon. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the team’s top prospects:
1) Anthony Alford – Outfielder
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+
Now that he’s finally given up football, the former two-sport star is going to be able to develop his tremendous upside on the diamond. Splitting time between Single-A and High-A he definitely flashed his upside in 2015 by hitting .298 with 4 HR, 35 RBI, 91 R and 27 SB over 413 AB. He also showed an impressive eye at the plate and an improved strikeout rate upon being promoted (strikeout rate // walk rate):
- Single-A – 25.9% // 16.8%
- High-A – 19.2% // 11.0%
Throw in the potential for his power to develop (25 doubles, 7 triples helping to lead to a .421 SLG) and the upside is certainly there. Now that his sole focus is on baseball, look for him to potentially move quickly.
2) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Outfielder
ETA – 2019
Grade – B
It speaks volumes about the state of Toronto’s system that Guerrero is even in the mix for the top spot. That said, the son of former MLB great Vladimir Guerrero has the highest ceiling of any current Blue Jay prospect. Signed for $3.9 million this past July, it’s going to be a few years until we even have an idea of what the soon to be 17-year old is going to develop into. While there have been reports that his future may lie at first base (thanks to questions about his speed/arm), he brings significant power to the table as well as the ability to hit for a strong average. Let’s just be prepared to wait and see.
3) Jonathan Harris – Pitcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B
The team’s first round pick in 2015 certainly didn’t present himself especially well over 36.0 IP at Low-A, walking 21 batters (5.25 BB/9) and posting a 6.75 ERA. There was some poor luck (.388 BABIP, 56.9% strand rate) and it’s an extremely small sample size, so we don’t want to draw any conclusions. There was talk that he should’ve been selected earlier than he was (29th overall), so time will tell if he can develop into a viable Major League starting pitcher.
4) Max Pentecost – Catcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B-
There’s certainly upside, but he lost all of 2015 due to a torn labrum and that’s got to push him down our rankings. Of course, while he showed a strong approach at the plate in 2014 after being selected in the first round (.324 in 105 AB), he drew just 2 walks and didn’t hit a home run. Obviously it’s a small sample size so no one is going to push the panic button based on those numbers. He’s expected to bring both power and average to the table, but we actually need to see it. Hopefully he can quickly put the lost season behind him, but time will tell.
5) Sean Reid-Foley – Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – B- (borderline C+)
He has proven to have strikeout stuff, with 125 K over 96.0 IP across two levels in 2015. However he also couldn’t find the strike zone consistently, walking the ballpark at each level:
- Single-A – 6.11 BB/9
- High-A – 6.61 BB/9
Hopefully finding his control is something that simply will take time, as his size (6’3”, 220 lbs.) and strikeout ability would make him an intriguing starter. That said, if he continues to struggle his fastball would certainly play up as a lights out late reliever.
The Next Five:
6) Conner Greene – Pitcher
7) Rowdy Tellez – First Baseman
8) D.J. Davis – Outfielder
9) Richard Urena – Shortstop
10) Clinton Hollon – Pitcher
Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out our previous Top 10 Prospect Lists: