Toronto Blue Jays 2022 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat
Following today's release of our new Blue Jays Top 10, Ben Badler answered your questions below.
Ben Badler: Good afternoon, thanks for all the questions already in the queue so far, let's get started.
- Ben: Spencer Horwitz has been hitting well in the AFL after dominating the Northwest League. I know he is a low power first baseman but is there hope for him?
Ben Badler: I think he's one of the more intriguing sleepers in the organization. Great plate discipline and he made some adjustments with his swing later in the season that led to harder contact, higher exit velos, more power later in the season. If you watch his swing from early in the season, he had his hands out away from his body when he started his swing. If you watch him now or saw him in August, he has his hands tighter into his body, it helps him hold a better position in his swing for longer, and he’s able to generate more quickness and power in his swing. Defensively, he's very limited, and it's the type of profile where you want to see it work against upper-level pitching before you buy in, but he's definitely a quiet-ish, arrow-up type guy heading into 2022.
Kyle Weatherly (Timmonsville, South Carolina):
- Higher ceiling? Orelvis Martinez or Jordan Groshans?
Ben Badler: Orelvis. Groshans makes a lot more contact, but Martinez has significantly more power and I think he eventually can learn a balance between contact and power as he gets older. I don't think either of them is a SS long term, but also better defensive reviews on Martinez.
- Hi Ben - Thanks for the chat - What’s the latest on Pardinho? Assuming he is healthy, where do you see the Jays assigning him to start 2022? What does he need to work on to meet his upside? What IS his upside? Thanks -
Ben Badler: He had a setback during his rehab before, so he's still in the rehab program, didn't pitch during instructs. So not much new to add, except the obvious in that his durability is a bigger risk factor than it was coming into the year.
- I noticed Jordan Groshans one of the top Blue Jays prospect is not in the 2025 line up feature wondering why.
Ben Badler: The future lineups are more of a fun toy exercise using only players currently in the organization. I think Orelvis is more likely to be their 3B of the future.
Taylor V. (Seattle, WA):
- Is there a conversation to be had for Moreno over Rutschman for best C prospect or is that too crazy?
Ben Badler: I wouldn't agree, and I think the strong majority of evaluators wouldn't see it that way, but I can't say you would be alone in that camp either.
- I was surprised to see Moreno has as much movement as he does at the beginning of his swing. Does that bother you at all?
Ben Badler: I think some of the movements Moreno added to his swing going back 2-3 years ago have helped him become a more dynamic hitter. Throughout his career he has always been a low swing-and-miss guy, but early on, he was also a high contact, low power guy. Now that he's gotten stronger over the last year or two, those more dynamic movements that he's able to control have helped him drive the ball with more impact and extra-base damage without sacrificing contact because his hand-eye coordination and quickness to his swing are so good.
Warren (New London):
- I was pretty high on Dasan Brown in 2019, but 2021 was rough. It looks like the tools are still there. How optimistic are you that he is going to hit?
Ben Badler: I think the lost 2020 season really hurt him more than most players. They drafted him in 2019 knowing he was a terrific athlete but still raw as a hitter, so to lose all the reps and coaching he would have had last year put him in a tough spot. Not writing him off, but the bat has a long ways to go.
Tim (Proctorville, Ohio):
- Tanner Morris turned in a solid bounce-back season. Is he someone who might climb in the top 30 and be a valuable utility player in the Majors?
Ben Badler: For sure going to be in their top 30. It's a pretty efficient lefthanded swing, good mix of contact sills and ability to control the strike zone, manage his at-bats well. One of his biggest offensive needs is just getting stronger, but some of the base-level offensive components you look for with his barrel feel and plate discipline are there if he can find a way to grow into more power.
- How many Blue Jays' prospects do you think will be in BA's Top 100?
Ben Badler: Probably 3-4.
Jon KK (Elkhart, IN):
- What's your best guess for where all the catchers are two years from now?
Ben Badler: I think Gabriel Moreno is their catcher of the future and is getting the majority of the reps behind the plate in Toronto by then. I love Alejandro Kirk, but it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up somewhere else with Moreno coming up.
- Thank you for doing this chat. Can you tell us everything we need to know about Estiven Machado, Dasan Brown and Vistor Mesia?
Ben Badler: Touched on Brown earlier, but Machado only had 1 PA this year because of some really bad hamstring problems, so he's a 2019 international signing with 1 PA in what normally would have been his first two pro seasons. I loved him when I saw him, he's an athletic shortstop with a quick, compact swing from both sides, good feel for the barrel in games, but it's hard to have a ton of conviction not just on his future but just his present ability when he's played so little.
Ben Badler: Mesia got more mixed reviews. Hit well early in the FCL, then his chase habits got more exposed when he got promoted.
- You know we have to ask -- who is one sleeper lower in the system you like?
Ben Badler: I can give you two: Yhoangel Aponte, an OF who played in the Dominican Summer League, and Kendry Rojas, a LHP who pitched in the FCL this year.
Ben Badler: Aponte has very good defensive instincts, has a good eye for the strike zone, and he makes harder contact than you would think from just looking at his numbers. He's the type of guy I think the Blue Jays development staff can help take off in the next few years.
Ben Badler: Rojas had a 39-5 K-BB in 23.2 IP in the FCL. Not overpowering velo, but throws a ton of strikes, there's arm speed for him to throw harder down the road and a hard slider to miss bats in there.
Molly (New Jersey):
- Is Jordan Groshans' lack of power in 2021 about him adjusting to the advanced level at AA or have evaluators soured more on that tool? Could this be similar to what happened to a player like Bryan Reynolds and the lowering of his prospect stock due to the lack of power shown in the minors? Thanks for your time Ben!
Ben Badler: He makes a lot of contact, he uses the whole field and he did hit fairly well in what I would consider an aggressive assignment given his age and limited playing time so far in pro ball. The concerns from scouts have been related to his bat speed and power potential, not that it's a slow bat but just wondering what his ultimate power numbers will look like, especially for a guy who's really more of a 3B than a SS. The optimistic outlook is that he's been more focused on condensing his swing movements over the past year or so to focus on contact and seeing the ball better on-base skills, and that going forward he can build from there to tap back into more power he showed earlier and learn which pitches he should try to be more aggressive with for damage. It's just not that same loose, whippy, easy bat speed power that you see from someone like Orelvis Martinez.
Brett (Stratford, On):
- Who has the best chance of jumping high into the Jays top prospects like Moreno?
Ben Badler: If we're talking about top 25 overall prospect in baseball level, I would say Orelvis Martinez. If we're thinking of someone at the lower levels who might jump to the top of the Blue Jays list in a couple years, I'd say Manuel Beltre or Ricky Tiedemann. Beltre's pure hitting ability is very advanced for his age, polished feel for the strike zone and his swing with better underlying indicators than his raw DSL numbers might suggest.
Ben Badler: Tiedemann I might just even be underrating right now... the short-stint, small sample size jump in his stuff after he signed is just so much better than what he ever showed as an amateur. He's the most obvious arrow-up guy from their pitching group.
Evan (New York):
- No Miguel Hiraldo or Adam Kloffenstein in the top 10 this year. Is this a function of guys who jumped ahead of them, or did they take steps back? Have their outlooks changed going forward?
Ben Badler: Both I guess, the reality is the system is thinner than usual in the top 10 because of graduations and trades, so both of their stocks individually are down from where they were coming into the year.
ABRAHAM (NORTH YORK):
- Which prospect not on the top ten list do you think has the highest ceiling in the majors.
Ben Badler: Estiven Machado is the biggest X-factor in the system. If he can stay healthy, I could see him taking off, but there's not a ton of recent looks to make that forecast.
- Hi Ben, thank you for the chat! Were guys like Victor Mesia, Sem Robberse, or Samad Taylor considered for the top 10 at all? What kept them off/could propel them onto the list in the future?
Ben Badler: Samad Taylor was close, I know some scouts who are quite high on him. He has outstanding bat speed, it's quick and explosive, he's a plus runner, and he did a better job this year after making a change in his setup to be able to control some of the movements in his swing. But it's still a 29% strikeout rate in Double-A, so there's still contact risk there even while his stock is definitely up.
Ben Badler: Robberse is pretty polished especially relative to his background up to 94 mph with very good feel for spin and shape on his breaking stuff. Some mixed reviews on him, but if he can continue to add more velocity, he's a guy who could pop.
- Hi Ben, What’s the separation between top catching prospect like Rutschman and Gabriel Moreno from the other catchers in the top 100? The catching position seems to be really deep. Are they a clear cut above the rest?
Ben Badler: To me, Rutschman is still on a tier of his own. He has more power than Moreno, better strike-zone discipline than Moreno... I love Moreno, but you could put Rutschman at first base and he would still be one of the game's best prospects. Having someone like him also be able to be defend the way he can behind the plate is why he's the No. 1 prospect in the game.
Ben Badler: We do have an unusually strong group of catching prospects right now, but Moreno is the No. 2 catching prospect in baseball for me.
- Any feedback on Christian Feliz you can share?
Ben Badler: An enormous human being with enormous power potential between his size, bat speed and the way he hits the ball already. Hopefully can make enough contact and manage his at-bats well enough to tap into that power in games, but so far so good after his DSL season.
- THE FCL Jays had the best, or close to the best, hitting team in the league. The team had some relatively unknown hitters, Amell Brazoban, Gabriel Martinez, and Adriel Sotolongo. Did any of those get enough positive comments to make it to the top 30?
Ben Badler: Gabriel Martinez is the name to watch from that group. There's actually some swing similarities to Moreno, short and quick to the ball with good rhythm, feel for the barrel and strike-zone judgment. More of a line drive approach right now, hope is he comes into more power, especially for someone who's defensive home is probably LF or some think 1B, but definitely components to like with his swing and on-base skills.
Ben Badler: Thanks for all the questions, always enjoy these BA subscriber chats. NL East Top 10s start on Friday, talk to you all again soon.