Connor O’Halloran Looks Like Fifth-Round Find For Blue Jays


Canadian lefthander Connor O’Halloran is off to a strong start in his first full season. He required just seven outings to earn a promotion from Low-A Dunedin to High-A Vancouver.

“We wanted to see him establish a solid routine, which he has done,” Blue Jays farm director Joe Sclafani said. “He attacked, threw a ton of strikes and executed pitches once he was ahead, leading to strikeouts and soft contact.

“He does a great job at keeping hitters off-balance. He’s a good teammate and worker. We felt like he was ready for the challenge of working against more advanced hitters.”

In the process, the 2023 fifth-round pick out of Michigan is beginning to look like a real draft find, something the Blue Jays desperately need more of.

Righthander Alek Manoah, drafted 11th overall in 2019, had an all-star season in 2022. But aside from him, recent Toronto draft success stories are difficult to find.

Second baseman Davis Schneider, a 28th-rounder in 2017, is perhaps the best example, with first baseman Spencer Horwitz, drafted in the 24th round in 2019, raking at Triple-A Buffalo and awaiting the chance to join Schneider in the majors.

Lefthander Ricky Tiedemann, a 2021 second-rounder out of junior college, is another strong find, helping counter the Blue Jays’ spotty first-round record in recent years.

O’Halloran logged 37.1 innings in seven starts for Dunedin, striking out 45 and walking 13 to go with a 3.13 ERA. The 21-year-old pitches at 89-91 mph and succeeds more with precision and deception created by his low three-quarters arm slot.

His mid-80s slider is a real weapon he can locate and rely on for swings-and-misses.

O’Halloran picked up where he left off during his first start at Vancouver, throwing five shutout innings with four more strikeouts.  

“We’re going to continue to work on some opportunities we see on the strength and movement sides to see if we can unlock some things on the velo side,” Sclafani said.

“Ideally that would help his pure stuff tick up a bit on multiple pitches, but he has a great foundation to work off of. We’re excited about the start he has gotten off to.”

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone