BA Newsletter: Subscribe Today!
Use the options to filter your search.
Track Record: Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. was one of the most dynamic players in baseball history, with a dazzling combination of power, speed, arm strength and ability to hit any pitch. Vlad Jr., who signed with the Blue Jays for $3.9 million at age 16 in 2015, doesn't have his dad's athleticism, but he has the hand-eye coordination, bat speed, power and strike-zone discipline to rival any hitter who has come along in years. Guerrero began 2018 by hitting a walk-off home run against the Cardinals in an exhibition game at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, where his father began his major league career. He proceeded to lead the minors with a 1.073 OPS facing Double-A and Triple-A pitchers, becoming the Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year. Scouting Report: Even as a 19-year-old, Guerrero looked like he belonged in the middle of a major league lineup He is a potential superstar in the mold of Manny Ramirez, and it's not out of the question that Guerrero could develop into an 80 hitter with 80 power. He has a preternatural ability to make hard contact and barrel any type of pitch in any area of the strike zone. He has a simple, powerful swing, unleashing fierce bat speed with a compact, efficient path to the ball. He rarely swings and misses and hammers the ball to all parts of the park. He also has phenomenal strike-zone discipline and rarely chases borderline pitches. As an amateur in the Dominican Republic, Guerrero was a heavyset outfielder with below-average speed and arm strength. After signing, he moved to third base, where his arm strength has improved to plus, giving him a chance to stick there--at least early in his career. Guerrero worked diligently to improve his defense in 2018, but he remains a large, stocky player with a lack of first-step quickness that limits his range. At some point, he might have to move to first base or even DH. Wherever he plays, his offensive production will make him an elite player. The Future: Guerrero will be the favorite to win American League Rookie of the Year in 2019, and he might immediately rank among the top overall hitters in baseball. Vladimir Sr. won the AL MVP award in 2004, and Junior has the talent to be in plenty of MVP conversations over the next decade.
Track Record: While Dante Bichette hit 274 home runs and made four All-Star games in a 14-year major league career, his son Bo has a chance to be even better. Bichette quickly catapulted from a 2016 second-round pick to one of the best prospects in baseball by the end of 2017. As one of the youngest players in the Double-A Eastern League in 2018, he drew praise for his offense and impressed on defense. Scouting Report: Bichette has explosive bat speed and a rhythmic swing that generates a lot of torque. He swings hard--sometimes losing his balance--but he's usually in-sync, on time and on plane. He starts his swing with an aggressive leg kick, though he shortens to a toe tap with two strikes. He drives the ball well to the middle of the field with average raw power, and he has the bat speed and strength projection to hit for above-average power in the future. Bichette has worked diligently on his conditioning and fielding and now projects as an average shortstop. He has good body control, quick footwork and ranges well up the middle. He has a tick above-average arm, though he gets tested on balls to his right. With a game built around aggression, Bichette carried that mentality onto the field and often would charge in on groundballs, but in 2018 he did a better job of staying back and making plays under control. He's an average runner whose aggressiveness and reads helped him steal 32 bases. The Future: Bichette is scheduled to open 2019 at Triple-A Buffalo, but he could be in the majors by the All-Star break. With a chance to develop into a plus-or-better hitter and stick at shortstop, plenty of All-Star games could be in his future.
Track Record: After a breakthrough 2017 season, Jansen took another step forward in 2018, posting a .390 on-base percentage for Triple-A Buffalo before getting called up to the majors in August. Scouting Report: Jansen is a high on-base threat with a sharp eye for the strike zone. He's a disciplined hitter who recognizes pitches early, stays balanced and doesn't chase much off the plate. He does a good job of putting himself into favorable counts and swinging at pitches he can damage with a compact swing. Jansen set a career-high with 15 home runs between Buffalo and Toronto in 2018, but he's more of a line-drive hitter with just enough pull-side power for average home run totals. Jansen earns high praise for his leadership and ability to manage a pitching staff. He blocks balls well, but his arm is fringe-average. He could improve his footwork and release to get rid of the ball faster after throwing out just 19 percent of basestealers in 2018. The Future: If everything clicks for Jansen, he could have a similar profile to fellow Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin. He's ready for a larger role in Toronto in 2019.
Track Record: Pardinho was the top international pitching prospect in the 2017 class when the Blue Jays signed him for $1.4 million out of Brazil. He was so advanced that the Blue Jays skipped him over two levels to debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League at 17. He picked apart older hitters to rank third in the league in strikeouts. Scouting Report: Pardinho has outstanding command, polish and feel to change speeds for his age. With a smooth, fluid arm action and a calm, easy delivery with good extension, he repeats his mechanics consistently to throw a high percentage of strikes and locate his fastball to both sides of the plate. He has an advanced feel to mix his stuff and set up hitters, starting with a fastball that sits at 89-93 mph and tops out at 96 mph. His out-pitch when he signed was a curveball that flashes plus, and he now mixes in a swing-and-miss slider that could give him another plus pitch. Pardinho's changeup was a fairly new pitch for him in 2018, but he has the arm action and enough ability to potentially develop it into an average-or-better offering. The Future: As difficult as it is to project a 18-year-old pitcher, Pardinho has the combination of stuff and potentially plus command to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter. Low Class A Lansing is his next step.
Track Record: The Blue Jays drafted Groshans with their first-round pick in the 2018 draft, selecting him No. 12 overall and signing him for $3.4 million. He made his mark immediately in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, dominating that level before a mid-August bump to Rookie-level Bluefield. Scouting Report: Groshans earned rave reviews from those who saw him in the GCL, where he barreled balls consistently and demonstrated an advanced hitting approach for his age. Long and lanky, he has quick bat speed and a knack for finding the sweet spot, punishing good fastballs with the adjustability in his swing to drive pitches on the outer half to right field. Groshans has plus raw power and can take the ball over the fence anywhere from right-center field to his pull side, though he primarily sticks with a line-drive, all-fields approach. In the GCL, he shared time with others at shortstops and saw time at third base. His above-average arm and defensive actions fit on the left side of the infield, but he's more of an offensive-oriented player whose first-step quickness looks better suited for third base, where he has the attributes to become an above-average defender. The Future: If Groshans does slide over to third base, he has the offensive upside to be an everyday regular at the position. An assignment to low Class A Lansing is next.
Track Record: The Blue Jays used the second of their two first-round picks in 2017 to select Pearson, who quickly looked like a steal after dominating the short-season Northwest League while touching triple digits. He looked poised for a breakthrough in 2018, but a back injury prevented him from pitching until May 7, when he threw 1.2 innings before a line drive fractured his right forearm and ended his season. Scouting Report: As a college starter, Pearson sat 92-94 mph and touched 98 mph regularly. With the Blue Jays, he sits in the mid- to upper 90s. He reaches 101 mph in short stints, though he has yet to have an outing of more than four innings to show he can hold velocity. He throws an explosive fastball with late life to get empty swings up and down the strike zone, with steep downhill angle from his 6-foot-6 frame. Since joining the Blue Jays, Pearson has added more power and sharpness to what was once a slurvy slider, cranking it up to the mid- to upper 80s with late tilt. His slider is still inconsistent but flashes above-average. He mixes in an average changeup with late fade. The Future: Pearson, who hit 100 mph in the Arizona Fall League, has the stuff to work as a mid-rotation starter if he proves he can handle a starter's workload.
Track Record: A three-year starter at Maryland, Smith debuted with the Blue Jays in 2017 after signing that summer as a fourth-round pick. Following the season, Smith called the Blue Jays to ask when was the earliest possible date he could report to their complex in Dunedin, Fla. He worked on his swing and broke through with a strong 2018 season. Scouting Report: A student of the game, Smith spent the offseason working to shorten his swing path and increase the amount of time his barrel spends in the hitting zone. His body awareness helped him make that adjustment and be more direct to the ball, and he cut his strikeout rate from 25 percent at Rookie-level Bluefield in 2017 to 21 percent split between two Class A levels in 2018. Smith still projects as a power-over-hit offensive profile, with quick bat speed and plus raw power to drive balls out to all fields. Smith isn't a flashy shortstop, but he is a steady, reliable defender with average defense for the position. He has sure hands and an above-average, accurate arm with a quick release. The Future: Smith raised his stock in 2018, albeit as a college player dominating Class A competition. Double-A New Hampshire will give Smith a chance to prove himself against upper-level pitchers.
Track Record: Reid-Foley struggled through a rough 2017 season, with inconsistent stuff from start to start and fastball command that would frequently escape him. He opened 2018 repeating Double-A New Hampshire and looked much improved. He reached Triple-A by May and then Toronto in August for his major league debut. Scouting Report: The Blue Jays stressed to Reid-Foley the importance of fastball command--especially down and away--and he showed signs of improvement in that area. He has a plus fastball that sits 92-95 mph and reaches 97 mph. The quality of his slider was more consistent in 2018. It's a plus weapon he can bury as a chase pitch away from righthanded hitters or get empty swings when he throws it to the back foot of lefties. He throws an average curveball that sometimes blends with his slider. Reid-Foley switched the way he gripped his changeup in spring training, and at times it showed good action and deception with average potential. Despite unorthodox mechanics, he has been durable. The Future: Reid-Foley has the plus stuff to miss bats and potentially develop into a No. 3 or 4 starter, though he will have to continue to improve his fastball command to get there. He should be able to compete for a job in Toronto's starting rotation to open 2019.
Track Record: Double-A New Hampshire opened 2018 with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette--two top prospects with big league bloodlines. They also had Biggio, the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who went from long shot minor leaguer to a legitimate prospect with a breakthrough season. Scouting Report: After an underwhelming first full season in 2017, Biggio went to work on the load and timing in his swing. He lowered his hands in an attempt to help his bat stay on plane longer through the hitting zone. The mechanical adjustment helped him increase his power and tap into his power more frequently in games. He more than doubled his home run output from 2017, while his isolated power spiked from .130 to .247. Biggio is a three true outcomes player with a high dose of home runs, walks and strikeouts. His swing still has holes--he struck out 26 percent of the time in Double-A--but he's also a patient hitter whose 100 walks ranked third in the minors. Strikeouts will limit his batting average, but his patience help keep his OBP up, and he has above-average power. Biggio is a smart, instinctive player and an average runner. He turns the double play quickly at second base with an average arm, but he's still working to soften his hands and improve his footwork and range. He has spent time at third base (where his arm is stretched), first base and the outfield as well. The Future: Biggio has a chance to develop into an average regular, whether it be at second base or as an offensive-minded utility man. Triple-A Buffalo is his next stop, and he could finish the year in Toronto.
Track Record: As an amateur in the Dominican Republic, Hiraldo earned praise as one of the top hitters in a strong 2017 international class. The Blue Jays signed him for $750,000, and he justified their belief in his bat with a strong offensive showing in the Dominican Summer League. Scouting Report: Hiraldo has a knack for driving the ball from a direct, compact swing. He doesn't generate much separation with his hands to load his swing, but he has explosive hand speed that generates plus bat speed. He's an aggressive hitter who mashes fastballs, with strong forearms and legs that he incorporates to generate average power. He's a pull-heavy hitter who's still improving his pitch recognition and selectivity. Blue Jays scouts were more optimistic than others when they signed Hiraldo about his ability to stick at shortstop, citing his hands and arm strength. His range and defensive actions aren't ideal for shortstop, though he has the defensive skill set for third base. The Future: Hiraldo is still several years away, but he has the offensive upside to profile at third base.
Track Record: In a year in which several Blue Jays prospects improved their stock, Alford was one of the most disappointing players in the system. He followed a promising 2017 campaign by scuffling at the next level, and his on-base percentage dropped 78 points from Double-A to Triple-A in 2018. Scouting Report: At his best, Alford has shown the components to get on base at a high clip, but that didn't come together for him in 2018. He struggled with his timing throughout the year and never seemed to be in sync with his swing. As a result, his strikeout rate jumped from 16 percent in Double-A to 27 percent in Triple-A. Alford doesn't project to hit more than 10-15 home runs in the big leagues, so putting the ball in play more and improving his plan at the plate will be essential for him. Alford is a good athlete and a plus runner, though his arm is below-average. He's a solid-average defender in center field, though the Blue Jays have moved him around all three outfield positions and will likely continue to do so. The Future: Alford has the body control and awareness to make adjustments, but his stock tumbled in 2018. The 2019 season will be critical if he's going to rebound and develop into an everyday player.
Track Record: The Blue Jays used their first-round pick in 2018 on shortstop Jordan Groshans, then in the third round they drafted Kloffenstein, his Magnolia (Tex.) HS teammate. The Blue Jays pulled Kloffenstein away from his TCU commitment with an over-slot $2.45 million signing bonus. Scouting Report: Kloffenstein has an extra-large frame with good athleticism, body control and balance, helping him throw strikes from a sound delivery. His fastball fluctuated anywhere from 89-95 mph as a senior, but he could add a little extra in time. He shows feel for an array of secondaries, with his slider the most advanced. His slider stays in line well with his fastball before breaking late with hard tilt, projecting as an above-average pitch. Sometimes his curveball is more effective than his slider depending on the day, while his changeup is advanced and could give him another above-average pitch with more experience. He's an intelligent pitcher who earns praise from coaches as a student of the game. The Future: Kloffenstein has the potential of a mid-rotation starter, with enough upside for more.
Track Record: The Blue Jays have become one of the most aggressive teams in Latin America. They were in early on Martinez and signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $3.5 million Scouting Report: With a calm, relaxed swing, Martinez produces loft and easy power, driving the ball well from right-center over to his pull side. He has good bat speed and leverage in his swing with considerable strength projection, so he should be able to develop plus power. Martinez didn't dominate games as an amateur, but he generally performed well, both in terms of hitting ability and power. He starts his swing with his bat wrapped behind his head, creating more length for his barrel to travel. Some scouts have concerns about the adjustability of his swing, although he has quick hands and generally does a good job of keeping them inside the ball. The Blue Jays will keep Martinez at shortstop for now, though most scouts project him as a third baseman given his range and how it will likely decrease as he gets heavier. He's a below-average runner with soft hands and a strong arm, giving him the attributes to fit well at third base. The Future: Martinez will likely begin his career in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2019.
Track Record: After piling up strikeouts at Cincinnati, Noda fell to the Blue Jays in the 15th round in 2017. He quickly rebounded in pro ball, winning the Rookie-level Appalachian League MVP award that summer. In 2018, he was bumped to low Class A Lansing, where Noda led the minors with 109 walks. Scouting Report: The first two months of the season, Noda drew a lot of walks but did little else, finishing May with a .203/.443/.308 slash line. After that, Noda settled in, batting .281/.409/.570 the rest of the season. Noda combines extreme plate patience (he walked in 21 percent of his plate appearances last year) with strong forearms and plus raw power from the left side. Noda's power comes with a high strikeout rate, so he doesn't project to be better than a .260 hitter. When he's able to square the ball up, however, he has the bat speed, strength and ability to generate lift in his swing, making him a threat to go deep to all fields with the patience to draw plenty of walks and keep his on-base percentage up. A below-average runner, Noda split time between first base and the outfield corners, with adequate defense at each spot. The Future: Noda's offensive skill set shouldn't give him any issues at the lower levels. His family of comparable offensive players carries considerable 4-A player-type risk, but he could carve out an Eric Hinske-type career as a patient, power-hitting lefty. High Class A Dunedin is up next in 2019.
Track Record: With Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette potentially graduating to the majors in 2019, the Blue Jays restocked their stash of prospects whose dads played in the big leagues by drafting Conine in 2018. The son of former Marlins outfielder Jeff Conine, Griffin entered his junior year at Duke as a potential first-round pick, but an underwhelming spring dropped him to the second round. Scouting Report: Conine's best tool is his plus power, which he generates with an impressive combination of strength and bat speed. Conine's power has shown up in games, but his elevated swing-and-miss rate raised red flags in college. Conine didn't do anything to quiet those concerns in pro ball after striking out in 27 percent of his plate appearances with short-season Vancouver. Conine isn't a free-swinger, but he will have to make an adjustment to swing at better pitches to keep his whiffs to a reasonable level. Conine is a below-average runner and defender who has a plus arm that fits in right field. The Future: If Conine can bounce back in 2019, he has the upside to be an everyday right fielder. Low Class A Lansing is his next step after he serves a 50-game suspension for testing positive for ritalinic acid.
Track Record: After winning 2015 Mountain West Conference co-freshman of the year at Nevada, Stevenson moved to Chabot (Calif.) JC in 2016 and then Arizona in 2017. He showed strong on-base skills but hit just one home run as a senior, then signed with the Blue Jays for $5,000 as a 10th-rounder. Scouting Report: While old for the level, Stevenson had an outstanding pro debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, where he led the league in on-base percentage and drew more than twice as many walks (53) as strikeouts (21). He has terrific plate discipline, patiently working the count and rarely expanding the strike zone. He keeps his hands inside the ball with a knack for the barrel, striking out in just eight percent of his Appy League plate appearances. Stevenson is also an above-average runner. While his contact skills and plate discipline are excellent, his power falls on the other end of the scale. He has well below-average power, so he will have to develop more impact for his on-base skills to transfer at higher levels. Stevenson isn't a true burner, but he has the speed and overall baseball savvy to handle center field. Future: Stevenson should start 2019 at one of the team's Class A affiliates and could move quickly.
Track Record: Murphy missed his senior season of high school with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, but the Blue Jays drafted him anyway as a third-round pick in 2013. He returned to the mound in 2014, but had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and, when that didn't relieve his symptoms, doctors repositioned nerves in his pitching elbow. Murphy threw just four innings in his first four seasons, but he had a breakthrough 2018, winning the Florida State League pitcher of the year award. Scouting Report: Murphy's strikeout rate jumped from 5.8 K/9 with low Class A Lansing in 2017 to 8.3 K/9 in the FSL last year. His velocity has increased over the year, now sitting at 92-95 mph with good movement and reaching 98 mph. He pairs it with a curveball that's still inconsistent but flashes plus. Murphy has tinkered with different grips on his changeup and tried throwing it more often in 2018, but it's still a firm, below-average pitch and a key point for his development. Throwing 152.2 innings was a big development in Murphy's durability and potential to remain a starter given his medical history. The Future: Now on the 40-man roster, Murphy should open 2019 in Double-A. If he builds on last year, he could make his MLB debut by the end of the season, with a chance to be a No. 4 starter.
Track Record: A fifth-round pick of the Astros in 2015, Thornton reached Triple-A two years later, though he struggled in his first exposure to that level. He had better results in 2018, pitched in the Arizona Fall League, then joined the Blue Jays when the Astros traded him for shortstop Aledmys Diaz. Scouting Report: Thornton throws a lively, 92-94 mph fastball that can reach 97 mph, though his best pitch is a plus curveball. The spin rate on Thornton's curveball ranks among the highest in baseball, regularly registering above 3,000 rpm. Thornton's innate feel for spinning the baseball carries over to his slider, a solid-average pitch, though his below-average changeup lags behind. Thornton's results often haven't matched his stuff, dating back to his junior year at North Carolina when he posted a 5.08 ERA. That's surprising because he does throw a lot of strikes and has some deception with a herky-jerky delivery. The Future: Thornton has the stuff and control to fit as a No. 4 starter with a chance for more, though he could also find success in a bullpen role where his velocity would play up. Thornton will compete for a spot on the big league pitching staff in spring training and should be in Toronto at some point in 2019.
Track Record: The Astros gave Perez $45,000 to sign out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Within a few years, his velocity exploded and he developed into one of Houston's top pitching prospects. At the 2018 trade deadline, the Astros sent Perez and two others to the Blue Jays for closer Roberto Osuna. Scouting Report: Perez's best pitch is his fastball, though his velocity fluctuates from start to start. He can reach 99 mph, though typically he sits around 92-96 mph. Perez has struck out more than a batter per inning at every full-season club he's pitched for, despite not having a true out-pitch. He throws a hard slider that's more notable for its power than its depth, coming in anywhere from 88-91 mph. It flashes as an average pitch, though it's not always at that level. He's also working on a fringe-average splitter that he gained confidence in over the course of the season. Perez has a lot of moving pieces in his delivery that he worked to try to simplify in 2018, but he's still erratic with his control. The Future: Added to the 40-man roster, Perez has a chance to make his major league debut in 2019. He will continue to start for the Blue Jays in the minors, but he could ultimately find a fit as a reliever.
Track Record: In 2015, the Blue Jays went over their international bonus pool to sign Vladimir Guerrero Jr., rendering them unable to sign anyone for over $300,000 in the 2016 signing period. That left the Blue Jays looking for bargains, and they may have found one in Moreno, who signed for $25,000. Scouting Report: Moreno has good rhythm and timing at the plate, with a preternatural ability to make contact. With superb hand-eye coordination and some of the best bat control in the organization, Moreno rarely misses when he swings, striking out in just 12 percent of his plate appearances last season. The next step for Moreno is to learn when not to swing, as he's an extremely aggressive hitter who rarely walks, with his bat-to-ball skills getting him in trouble sometimes because he connects for weak contact on pitches he should lay off. Moreno showed more power in 2018, and he has enough power potential for 15-20 home runs in the future. He's an athletic catcher whose blocking and receiving need work, but he exchanges the ball quickly to his average arm, erasing 38 percent of basestealers last year. The Future: An aggressive, contact-oriented catcher, Moreno is similar to Marlins catcher Tomas Telis.
Track Record: Growing up in Panama, Jimenez represented his country in several international tournaments. The Blue Jays spent $825,000 to sign Jimenez in 2017, making him the highest paid Panamanian prospect of the 2017-18 international signing period. The Blue Jays skipped Jimenez over the Dominican Summer League, and he had a steady pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Scouting Report: More than his raw tools, Jimenez sticks out for his baseball acumen that's well beyond his years. Jimenez is a fringe-average runner and doesn't have the quick-twitch explosiveness that a lot of scouts prefer in a shortstop, but he's a savvy, fundamentally sound player with a good internal clock. Some scouts think Jimenez's range would fit better at second base, but he reads the ball well off the bat and has good body control with soft hands and an average arm. Jimenez manages his at-bats well. He doesn't chase much outside the strike zone and uses the whole field, spraying line drives with occasional gap shots, though he might never have more than below-average power. The Future: Rookie-level Bluefield or short-season Vancouver is the next stop for Jimenez in 2019.
Track Record: McKinney has been a high-profile prospect since the A's drafted in in the first round of the 2013 draft. He has bounced around since then, getting traded to the Cubs in 2014, the Yankees in 2016, and then last year traded to the Blue Jays alongside third baseman Brandon Drury for J.A. Happ. It was a strange year for McKinney, whose on-base percentage stayed under .300 in Triple-A, but he hit well when the Blue Jays brought him up to Toronto in August. Scouting Report: McKinney's projection has dimmed since his early years in Oakland's farm system, but he still has a potential big league role. He has a loose, fluid swing from the left side and is a good fastball hitter, though he can get too aggressive swinging at breaking pitches. McKinney has average raw power and hit a career-best 22 home runs between the minors and majors in 2018, showing power from left-center field over to his pull side. McKinney began his career as a center fielder, but he's now a below-average runner with a fringe-average arm rotating between both outfield corner spots. The Future: If McKinney hits like he did in his brief big league stint last year, he has a chance to become a fourth outfielder. He could also become an up-and-down guy bouncing between the big leagues and Triple-A, however.
Track Record: Paulino has had a frustrating career, highlighted by two elbow surgeries and an 80-game suspension after he tested positive for steroids. The Astros dealt him to the Blue Jays for Roberto Osuna. Scouting Report: At 6-foot-7, Paulino attacks hitters with downhill plane on his fastball, which sits at 91-94 mph. Paulino can reach back for more, but he doesn't throw as hard as he did a few years ago. Paulino has a knack for manipulating his secondary stuff, throwing his offspeed more than his fastball in many starts. His changeup is an above-average, swing-and-miss pitch with good separation off his fastball. His breaking ball morphs between a curveball and a slider, with the pitch most effective when he's throwing it with more power in the low 80s. Paulino's peripheral numbers were good in 2018, though his upper-level performance hasn't quite matched his stuff yet, with Paulino still needing to improve his command. The Future: Paulino's history of medical issues give him a dubious future as a starting pitcher. In September, the Blue Jays used him out of their bullpen, with Paulino having the skill set for middle relief.
Track Record: Zeuch became the highest draft pick ever from Pittsburgh's program when the Blue Jays selected him with the No. 21 overall pick in 2016. Injuries to Zeuch's lower back and hamstring limited him to 65.2 innings in 2017, but he showed excellent durability in 2018 with Double-A New Hampshire. Scouting Report: Zeuch's best pitch is is sinker, which he drops on hitters with steep, downhill plane. The pitch has plus velocity in the low to mid-90s and heavy sink, inducing a ton of groundballs and weak contact. He throws a lot of strikes, getting quick, efficient outs by pounding the zone and keeping the ball on the ground. Zeuch's weakness is is lack of a swing-and-miss pitch. His curveball and slider are fringy, with neither looking like it will be a legitimate out-pitch. He also throws a fringe-average changeup. The Future: Zeuch's secondaries and add considerable risk to his profile, though scouts highest on him think he has enough offspeed stuff to develop into a back-end starter. He's ready for Triple-A in 2019.
Track Record: The Blue Jays drafted college shortstops with two of their first five picks in 2017. Their fourth-round pick Kevin Smith had a terrific year and is now the team's No. 7 prospect. Warmoth, a first-round pick, fell flat, doing little to distinguish himself in terms of either performance or tools. Scouting Report: Pro scouts who saw Warmoth for the first time in 2018 were puzzled at how Warmoth was a first-round pick. Scouts highest on Warmoth in his draft year saw a player who was solid across the board with a high baseball IQ and no weaknesses. But in 2018, he gave scouts more of a vanilla look. Warmoth has some stiffness to his swing, though he does consistently put the ball in play. He doesn't drive the ball with much impact, and his power is below-average. He's an average runner with an above-average arm and steady hands at shortstop, though a lot of scouts think he's better suited for second base. The Future: Warmoth trended in the wrong direction in 2018, so 2019 will be key for him to show that last season was more of an aberration than a sign of things to come.
Track Record: Wymer worked out of the bullpen his first two seasons at Texas Christian, then moved to the Horned Frogs' weekend rotation as a junior. He moved back into a multi-inning reliever midway through the season, then signed with the Blue Jays for $478,600 as a fourth-round pick. When he got to short-season Vancouver, Wymer never went more than three innings in an outing Scouting Report: Wymer's future is likely as a reliever, a role that suited him best in college. As a starter, he sat in the low 90s, though out of the bullpen he worked at 93-95 mph. His upper-70s curveball is an above-average pitch, and it played up with more sharpness in short stints. Wymer lacks a reliable third pitch, as his changeup is below-average. Wymer fills the strike zone, showing above-average control. The Future: Wymer will open 2019 at one of Toronto's Class A affiliates, though he could move quickly if the Blue Jays opt to develop him as a reliever.
Track Record: Luciano was acquired from the D-backs, along with minor league reliever Gabe Speier, in June 2018 in exchange for major league outfielder Jon Jay. He spent most of his first season with the Royals by making 11 starts in the Rookie-level Appalachian League followed by two appearances in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Since Luciano's original contract with the D-backs was voided before he re-signed with them, he was eligible for the Rule 5 draft, and the Blue Jays selected him with the No. 10 pick. Scouting Report: Possessing a good feel for pitching, Luciano works off a low-90s fastball that can touch 95 mph. With an efficient delivery and athletic frame, he could add more velocity as he matures. His 84-86 mph slider flashes plus with late tilt. Rounding out his arsenal is an 82-85 mph changeup with above-average potential, giving him three pitches that he can use to get swings and misses. The Future: The Royals weren't even sure Luciano would break camp with a full-season club in 2019, so Luciano is an extreme longshot gamble to be able to stick all year on Toronto's major league roster.
Track Record: McGuire showed promise when the Pirates drafted him with the 14th pick in 2013, but his stock has steadily slid. He was traded to the Blue Jays in 2016, and at Triple-A Buffalo in 2018, McGuire had a modest year then performed well as a September callup in his first major league action. Scouting Report: McGuire's best attributes are on the defensive side. He's a smart, high baseball IQ player who handles a pitching staff well and prepares thoroughly before games. Behind the plate, McGuire receives pitches well and is solid at blocking. His pure arm strength is average, but it plays up because his quick footwork and technique allow him to get rid of the ball quickly. McGuire has a short, contact-oriented swing with good rhythm and a line-drive approach, though he doesn't do much damage. The Future: With Danny Jansen coming up, McGuire is likely ticketed back to Triple-A in 2019. As a good defender with just enough offense for a catcher, McGuire could carve out a career as a backup.
Track Record: Tellez had a big year as a 21-year-old with Double-A New Hampshire in 2016, when he ranked second in the Eastern League in on-base percentage and third in slugging. He followed it up with a brutal 2017 season in Triple-A Buffalo, then bounced back with a solid year while repeating the level in 2018. He made his major league debut as a September callup, performing well in very limited at-bats. Scouting Report: Tellez has flashed the components to be a middle-of-the-order bat, though it's come with roller-coaster performance. He has plus power, generating his thump more from physical strength than pure bat speed. His timing at the plate was better in 2018 than it was the previous year, and he doesn't punch out a ton. Though he got more aggressive when called up to Toronto, Tellez generally sticks with a patient plan at the plate. He's a below-average athlete and runner, and while he did make progress defensively last year, he's still below-average fielder. The Future: If everything breaks right for Tellez, he could develop into a player along the lines of Lucas Duda, but there's also risk he could top out as a 4-A slugger.
Track Record: A sixth-round pick out of Arkansas in 2017, Spangberger was showing promising signs as a hitter when the Rockies traded him to the Blue Jays in the 2018 deal for reliever Seung-Hwan Oh. Scouting Report: Power is Spanberger's best tool. He's extremely strong and can turn around quality fastballs, blasting balls out to all fields with 70 raw power. He put the ball in play more frequently in 2018, cutting his strikeout rate from 26 percent in 2017 to 21 percent last season. Spanberger would benefit from a more selective plan at the plate. Spanberger is a below-average runner, but he has some sneaky athleticism for his size. He's a fringe-average defender at first base, and some scouts would like to see him get time in the outfield corners (something he did a little bit at Arkansas) to increase his versatility. The Future: Spanberger might be a one-trick pony, but if he can keep making strides with his pure hitting ability and approach, his power will continue to give him opportunities as he moves up. He will likely open 2019 with high Class A Dunedin, with a mid-season move to Double-A New Hampshire possible.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up