The Blue Jays had three players land on Baseball America’s updated top 100 prospect list. How many might they have on it a year from now?
Despite the fact that the Blue Jays graduated a lot of talent to the big leagues last year including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and more, they still have a strong minor league farm system. The latest evidence was presented with Baseball America’s updated top 100 list, which includes Nate Pearson (#7), Jordan Groshans (#29), and Simeon Woods Richardson (#61).
As encouraging as it was to see three Blue Jays land on the list this year, there’s a chance they could have even more a year from now, depending on how the development of their up and coming stars goes in 2020. I’m not just saying that from a place of bias as a fan either, as there were six more Blue Jay prospects who received votes for the top 100 list that didn’t cute make the cut.
That list included pitchers Alek Manoah, Eric Pardinho, and Adam Kloffenstein, shortstop Orelvis Martinez, and catchers Gabriel Morena, and Alejandro Kirk. Most of those names are likely familiar to many Blue Jays fans, and that’s because there’s a lot of talent there as well.
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Manoah was the Blue Jays’ first-round draft in 2019, and after a successful collegiate career he’s expected to be the type to move quickly through the minor league system. The power-pitcher has all the tools to be a successful MLB starter, and I suspect his name will be among the top 100 prospects next season, and his MLB could follow in 2021 as well.
Pardinho and Kloffenstein are a little bit harder to predict, and they are both quite young. That said, Woods Richardson is only 19 years old as well, so with a strong season from either or both of the right-handers, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them included. They both had successful 2019 campaigns, and there’s a lot to like about the future wave of these two with Woods Richardson and more.
The best of them all could arguably be Martinez, who the Blue Jays spent most of their international free agent bonus money on in 2018. That said, it’s already looking like that may have been a wise decision, as the 18-year-old had an impressive showing over 40 games in Rookie Ball, slashing .275/.352/.549 as a 17-year-old, playing against competition that was generally at least three years old than him.
Last but not least, the Blue Jays have really starting to develop an enviable trove of catching talent. Not only do they have youngsters like Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire already at the MLB level, but Moreno and Kirk could become legitimate big leaguers as well. It’s hard to say what the future brings, but they could also end up as very valuable trade pieces down the line as well, and the 2019 campaign was very encouraging.
Looking ahead, it’s a fairly safe bet that Nate Pearson will make his MLB debut at some point in 2020, which will take him off the top 100 list. However, Groshans and Woods Richardson should return and hopefully move up next year, and I’m willing to bet they’ll be joined by at least Manoah and Martinez, with a decent shot for Pardinho and Kloffenstein as well. Having 4-6 players on the top 100 list is pretty special, but right now, that’s exactly what this minor league system is starting to look like.