Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Top Prospects: #28 Joshua Palacios
By Craig Borden
This Brooklyn native and product of Auburn University is beginning to make some noise within the Blue Jays Minor League system. The talented outfielder lands at #28 on the Jays Journal’s Top Prospects Countdown.
After turning down a 31st round draft selection out of High School by the Reds, Joshua Palacios was picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 Draft in the 4th round. He was drafted out of Auburn University where he also ran track. The athletic tools of Palacios were on full display during his debut in the Jays system.
Name: Joshua Palacios
Position: OF Age: 22
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 193 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Left
Acquired: 4th round draft pick in 2016
His 2016 debut had him playing in three different levels where he did nothing but impress. After a quick 13 game stint with the Bluefield Blue Jays in the Gulf Coast League where he got off to a slow start, he blossomed with the Vancouver Canadians. He would play 28 games in the Northwest League and showed off his talents. He would bat .355 with seven doubles, three triples, and thirteen RBI. He also went on to steal four bases in this small sample size. He even earned a late-season promotion to Single-A Lansing with the Lugnuts where he appeared in nine games and raked in 13 hits.
A strong debut for the speedy line drive hitter led to him playing the 2017 season with the Lansing Lugnuts. In his first full season of play, he got off to a slow start. He struggled to adjust at first but he did not let that get him down. In the first half of his season in the Midwest League, he batted .195 while fighting inconsistent play time in 33 games. He then flipped the page and continued to work hard at his game and had a completely different second half.
In a night and day comparison, Palacios natural abilities took over in the second half of the season. in 58 games he put up some video game-like numbers. He batted .328 with 17 extra base hits and 25 RBI. Palacios is a doubles hitter and hit 14 of them in the second half out of his 18 total on the season. He also popped his first two professional home runs and had three triples on the year. Adding to his game he was able to swipe 12 bags while getting caught six times.
Palacios has an advanced approach at the plate that shows patience which allows him to pick out good pitches to line into the gaps. He walked 42 times while striking out 78 times in his 91 game season. The strikeouts did climb in his second half as he averaged nearly one per game but this could be due to him looking to adjust which clearly paid off in other places.
As in the video below you will see his patience at the plate and what his speed can do to fielders. In his last at-bat during this clip, he demonstrates some great base running skills as he catches the left fielder on their heels on what should have been a bloop single. He then dashes to second to lef out the double.
He has a great swing that reminds this writer of
in his early career. He is quick to and through the zone and can spray the ball to multiple fields. This coupled with an approach that has him swinging at good pitches will make him a pesky out for opposing pitchers. As he grows he could develop some power but he is going to always rely on gap to gap hitting and being a solid table setter for the big guys. He needs to continue being a productive on-base guy and continue to play plus defense.
Heading into the 2018 season he is probably destined to start the season with the Dunedin Blue Jays in Single A+. The D-Jays are off of a season that they were the Co-Champions of the Florida State League and will enjoy adding a talent like Palacios at the top of their lineup. He is an exciting player that could be the spark at the top of a lineup. He is a player that eventually could be a piece that the Blue Jays have not had at the top of their lineup since the days of Shannon Stewart.
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