Blue Jays prospect (and model) Conner Greene dominating

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The Blue Jays opened the barn door at the MLB non-waiver traded deadline, letting much of their farm run free. A great deal of talent remains, however, and one of Toronto’s highest-ceiling arms took yet another giant step forward on Thursday in Dunedin. Right-hander Conner Greene struck out 10 batters for the Dunedin Blue Jays, showing us all why he’s climbed into the organization’s top-10 prospects.

Coming off back-to-back six-inning shutouts in his last two starts, the buzz surrounding Greene is exciting, and it’s legitimate. Like many recent Alex Anthopoulos draft picks, Greene is an athletic pitcher with a tall frame. As a seventh-rounder in 2013 out of Santa Monica (High School), he’s also proving to be a great piece of draft value.

Now, I know what you’re wondering. “Model!?” It turns out that the 20-year old has been a model and actor since he was younger. Don’t believe me? Check out this quote from Greene’s bio on, you guessed it, his IMDb page.

"“While applying his baseball talent and skill in hopes of a career in the Major Leagues, Conner is simultaneously fielding offers from the entertainment industry and several high profile modeling agencies. Having appeared in television commercials as a youngster, Conner is as comfortable in front of a camera as he is on the pitching mound.”"

The most important step Greene has taken since turning pro is the improvement he’s made on his fastball, which can now touch the mid-90s. He was an extremely thin-framed young man coming out of High School, but his prospect profile on MLB.com reiterates what we’ve seen with the eyeball test: that Greene has put on some muscle weight.

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Any prospect conversation brings about the immediate question of when we’ll see them at the Major League level, but Green is still two to three years away. All the pieces are there, though, and in many ways, his situation represents the Blue Jays’ prospect system as a whole.

When Alex Anthopoulos dealt the likes of Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, Matt Boyd and Miguel Castro ahead of the deadline, the Jays lost the majority of their close-to-MLB pitching talent. Their current depth is far from ideal, but with the return of Marcus Stroman, potential free agent signings and the possibility of Aaron Sanchez or Roberto Osuna moving into starting roles, the rotation should be OK in 2016.

Given the amount of team control that Toronto owns on their positional players, this gives Anthopoulos an 18-month window to rebuild his farm system without significantly altering the 25-man roster. This MLB-level stability is what allowed for the deals to happen, but at the same time, prospects like Conner Greene allowed for Anthopoulos to be bold. As one of the hottest starters in the system (I mean baseball-wise. Come on.), Greene’s rise through Toronto’s rankings should continue, and his Thursday start was as encouraging as they come.

Next: For Blue Jays and Hutch: It's decision time.

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