Toronto Blue Jays 2024 International Review


Toronto’s top international signing from 2018, Triple-A infielder Orelvis Martinez, is a Top 100 prospect on the verge of breaking into the big leagues. The Blue Jays didn’t spend heavily on one player this year like they did when they signed Martinez for $3.51 million, but they spread their pool space around and came away with a diverse mix of skill sets among position players.

Top Of The Class

The Blue Jays signed 17-year-old Venezuelan catcher Franklin Rojas for $997,500. Rojas has a lot of game experience—including representing his country at the U-12 World Cup in 2019 in Taiwan and at the U-15 World Cup Americas Qualifier in 2022 in Venezuela—but it’s his power tools that jump out in a workout.

He’s 5-foot-10, 170 pounds with one of the best arms for a catcher in the 2024 class. It grades out at least plus and he’s a good athlete who runs extremely well for a catcher with above-average speed, though the run tool figures to back up in the near future. Rojas is still polishing some things with his receiving, but his arm should be a weapon to limit stolen bases. Rojas isn’t tall but he’s able to generate good bat speed to hit the ball out of the park. Against live pitching, his performance as an amateur was good at times but inconsistent, with what could end up a power-over-hit offensive game. 

Names To Know

Junior Arias, OF, Dominican Republic: Early on, Arias stood out for his size and power potential, ultimately signing for $897,500 at 17. He’s 6-foot-4, 190 pounds with hard contact when he squares it up with what should become at least above-average raw power. That power comes with swing-and-miss from an aggressive approach and a righthanded stroke that can get disjointed against offspeed stuff, though he has made progress simplifying his move to the ball. Arias has improved his speed from below-average to become a solid-average runner underway with a good gait. That gives him the chance to develop in center field, though a corner seems likely as he moves up. 

Pascual Archila, OF, Venezuela: The Blue Jays signed Archila, 17, for $847,500. He’s an instinctive player with game skills that stand out at the plate and in center field more so than his raw tools. Archila is a lefty with a medium build (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) and a loose, short swing with good path, using his hands well to put the ball in play at a high clip. He’s well coordinated (he can throw lefty or righthanded) with an adjustable stroke to hit the ball where it’s pitched and use the whole field. It’s mostly a line-drive approach with gap power that has started to tick up, but it will probably always be a hit-over-power profile.

Archila is a conscientious worker on his defensive craft, which shows in the way he reads and tracks balls in center field. He’s a tick above-average runner, so it’s not classic center field speed, which creates some tweener risk, but both his speed and average arm could become plus tools as he gets stronger. He makes accurate throws with good carry from an easy, fast arm stroke. 

Angel Guzman, SS, Dominican Republic: Guzman was one of the better pure hitters among shortstops in Latin America for 2024. Signed at 17 for $767,500, Guzman has a medium build (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) and is a swing-hitter with an efficient, aesthetically pleasing swing. He’s a high-contact hitter with a good approach, shooting line drives around the field with occasional doubles. He’s a plus runner with the athleticism, actions and body control to give him a good chance to stick at shortstop, where he has an above-average arm. 

Juarlin Soto, SS, Dominican Republic: Soto is 6 feet, 170 pounds with a promising lefthanded bat signed at 17 for $547,500. He has quiet hands in a quick, short stroke with loft, showing good bat-to-ball skills with loft. It’s a hit-over-power game right now but with the physical projection for bigger power that could come as he fills out. He’s a solid defender for his age at shortstop with adequate range for now, though as he gets bigger he could end up at third base, with a plus arm that fits on the left side of the infield. 

J.T. Bain, SS, Bahamas: Bain has exciting athleticism and projection to dream on. He’s a wiry 6-foot-1, 160 pounds and still 16 with quick-twitch, explosive movements. Signed for $197,500, Bain shows that twitch at the plate, where he will have to condense some of the bigger movements in his swing but is able to whip the barrel through the zone with good bat speed from the right side, giving him a chance to grow into power as he fills out. He’s a solid-average runner with a strong arm with the look of a player who should get faster as he gets stronger. Bain is at shortstop now and might be able to stay there, though third base or center field could be other potential fits. 

Randy Soto, C, Venezuela: Soto is a lefthanded hitter who boosted his stock with a strong showing during an event for Venezuelan players in Colombia, signing for $117,500. A member of Venezuela’s U-18 World Cup team last year, Soto is an offensive-minded catcher with a strong 5-foot-10 build and a chance to hit for power

Sleeper Watch

The Blue Jays signed catcher Gabriel Moreno out of Venezuela for $25,000 in 2016 and he developed into their No. 1 prospect and now one of the better young catchers in baseball with the D-backs. His cousin, Venezuelan catcher Esmeiquel Arrieche, signed with the Blue Jays—also for $25,000—and has some similar traits to Moreno. He emulates Moreno’s mannerisms in the box and is also an athletic catcher with infield experience. At 5-foot-7, 152 pounds, it’s a smaller frame with a contact-oriented bat from the right side and experience representing Venezuela last year at the U-18 World Cup when he was 16.

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