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Guerrero has a chance to quickly develop into one of the game’s top offensive threats. An 80 hitter with 80 power isn’t out of the question, with Guerrero possessing an elite combination of bat speed, hand-eye coordination, plate discipline and power packed into an efficient swing. The main thing that has slowed Guerrero has been a patellar strained of his left knee, which has sidelined him since June 6. Guerrero has just rejoined New Hampshire. He has a shot to become the first minor league hitter to top .400 in a full season this century.
One of the best hitters in the minors, Bichette has high-end bat speed, an aggressive approach and he has shown more game power as the season progressed, making adjustments to Double-A pitchers who have tried to use his aggressiveness against with with early-count offspeed stuff. While Bichette mostly draws attention for his hitting ability, the most encouraging signs have come on the defensive end, with Bichette now looking like a true shortstop with good instincts and footwork.
The Blue Jays drafted Pearson with the No. 28 overall pick last year and he quickly looked like a steal, overpowering short-season Northwest League hitters and running his fastball up to 101 mph. Signals were pointing toward a breakout season for Pearson, but instead he’s going to miss most of 2018. A back injury kept him from pitching until May 7, when he lasted 1.2 innings before being hit by a line drive that fractured his right forearm. It wasn’t an elbow or shoulder injury, but it still stalls Pearson’s development. The Blue Jays are hopeful he can pitch again in 2018, but there isn’t a timetable for his return.
After a three-level rise in 2017, Jansen has continued his success this year in Triple-A. A high contact hitter with sharp strike-zone discipline and 10-15 home run power, Jansen has the on-base skills to carry him as a potential above-average regular with a chance to reach the big leagues by the end of this season.
After a layoff from competitive baseball coming over from Cuba in 2016, injuries slowed Gurriel and hampered his performance in his first season with the Blue Jays in 2017. He has looked more comfortable and more athletic in 2018, combining to hit .299/.328/.467 between Double-A and Triple-A. Defensively he’s probably stretched thin as an everyday shortstop, but he has the offensive potential to fit at second or potentially third base as well.
In the offseason, Smith called the Blue Jays and asked them when was the earliest possible date he could report to their complex in Dunedin, Fla. He worked with Blue Jays hitting coaches to shorten his swing path and keep his barrel in the hitting zone longer, and those adjustments have fueled one of the biggest breakthroughs in the minors. He’s not a flashy defender but he’s a steady, fundamentally sound fielder with good internal clock.
While most of the Blue Jays’ top prospects are trending in the right direction, Alford has stumbled in 2018. After striking out in 16 percent of his Double-A plate appearances last year, Alford’s whiff rate has nearly doubled this year in Triple-A as he battles to get his rhythm and timing on point. The tools are still intact and he has time to rebound, but it’s been a discouraging regression from the improvement he showed last year.
The top pitching prospect in the 2017 international class, Pardinho is taking polished for his age to a new level. So advanced that the Blue Jays skipped him over the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and sent him straight to the Rookie-level Appalachian League, where he’s filling the strike zone and missing bats at a high clip. He’s one of the most exciting teenage pitching prospects in the game, working off a lively low-to-mid 90s fastball, a plus curveball and a slider he’s been using this year as a putaway pitch too.
The No. 12 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Groshans is off to a terrific start in the GCL. He has above-average raw power and arm strength, and he has shown a sound hitting approach as well early in his pro debut. The Blue Jays plan to develop Groshans at shortstop, though a lot of scouts believe his best fit will be at third base.
Biggio has gone from a fringe organizational player last year to a legitimate prospect in 2018. He adjusted his load and timing at the plate, lowering his hands a bit to help his bat spend more time in the hitting zone. Biggio still has his holes that lead to a higher strikeout rate, but his combination of patience and above-average power from the left side give him a chance to be an everyday regular at second base.
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