During the sprint that is the 2020 MLB season, teams will have a 60-man player pool they can draw from. With no minor league season being played, teams are dependent on these players to play during their season.
Diving into the Blue Jays player pool there is a handful of prospects that could make their MLB debut this season. Here is a look at which prospects could debut in 2020.
Most Likely to Make Debut
Selected in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Nate Pearson will make his debut in 2020, it is only a question of when. Similar to how the Blue Jays used the excuse for Vladimir Guerrero Jr in 2019 about development, the team appeared set to do the same to Pearson, although all fans and writers know it is more about service time.
Pearson impressed in four appearances in the spring, pitching seven innings and allowing just one run on two hits and 11 strikeouts. Pearson jumped three levels during the 2019 season posting a 2.30 ERA in 101.2 innings and 119 strikeouts. Standing 6’6”, 245 lbs, Pearson is a flame thrower that hits triples digits with almost ease.
More from Toronto Blue Jays News
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
Acquired in 2018 for soon to be World Series MVP Steve Pearce, Santiago Espinal has been impressing since he was acquired. It was likely Santiago was going to make his MLB debut this year even without the 60-man player pool and he had a chance of even breaking camp with the big club. Espinal is a versatile player that can play all over the diamond and was having a very successful Spring Training. He was given every opportunity by the club and he was delivering. In 13 games Espinal was batting .417 with seven extra-base hits and could be the perfect utility player on the club.
Another acquisition in the 2018 season, the Blue Jays acquired the former first-round pick Forrest Wall from the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline two years ago. Wall climbed to AAA Buffalo after starting the season in New Hampshire. Wall brings speed and a bit of gap power as he hit 30 doubles last year. It is still unclear what direction the club is going with the center field position, Wall could get the opportunity to earn some playing time. Wall got into 14 games this Spring and batted .304 with three extra-base hits while going 3 for 4 in stolen bases.
There is a lot of hype coming to Austin Martin since he was taken fifth overall by the Blue Jays. With two spots left on the 60-man player pool and the player/team coming to an agreement on his contract, it is likely the team puts him on the roster. It is doubtful the team wants a wasted year where he cannot develop, so having him at minimum being part of the 60-man player pool seems like an obvious decision.
Martin was known as the consensus best hitter in the past draft and can play any position on the field. With comparisons to Mookie Betts, it will be interesting to see if the club just lets him run with an opportunity.
The 11th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Alek Manoah only pitched 17 innings last year in Vancouver so the chances of him jumping all the way into major league games is a little too much of a pipe dream. However, he appears to be physically strong enough already and pitched well in limited innings last year. It is unlikely he gets into a game but not out of the question.
There have been different opinions out there saying Alejandro Kirk could make his debut, however, this is another pipe dream. The 21-year old had just eight at-bats in Spring Training and although he had four hits and a home run, the Jays would likely need to see an injury to two of either Danny Jansen, Caleb Joseph, and Reese McGuire to get any serious thought about getting into a game.
Unflashy, But Will Make Debut
If there was a blimp on Ross Atkins resume while in Toronto it was how the ending of Josh Donaldson’s tenure happened. The team was only able to get an almost 27-year-old prospect rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in a trade for Donaldson. Since being acquired in August 2018, Julian Merryweather has thrown just six innings in the organization and the soon to be 29-year old needs to show what he has. Merryweather could get used out of the bullpen as an audition to see what kind of commitment the team wants to make to him.
The Blue Jays acquired Thomas Hatch last year, he reported to AA New Hampshire and pitched effectively for the remainder of the season. His most impressive stat that was even better than his 2.80 ERA was the fact he had 34 strikeouts to just 2 walks over 35.1 innings pitched. Hatch was already added to the 40-man roster going into 2020 and it was likely he was going to see an opportunity.
Which other prospects do you think will make their major league debut this year?