Toronto Blue Jays should be excited about prospect Manuel Beltre
Hailing from Invivienda, Dominican Republic, infielder Manuel Beltre is one of the newest prospects to join the Toronto Blue Jays this past off-season.
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting multiple areas of the MLB season last year, the international free agency period underwent some major changes, the biggest change being the date for free agents to sign moved being moved from July 2, 2020 to January 15, 2021.
The deal would be announced on January 16th, with the Blue Jays signing 11 players that day with Beltre being the prize acquisition. The two sides would agree on $2.35 million, taking a rather large chunk out of the Blue Jays $5.348 million international pool that the team is allowed to use for international free agents this signing period. At 16 years old, Beltre stands at 6’0 and 172 pounds and was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 24th international free agent available this signing period. On the 20-80 scale, Beltre possesses a 55 in hitting and his arm, with his power, fielding, and running rounding out at 50.
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Scouts rave about Beltre and his hitting ability, as he already has a solid resume under his belt at such a young age. Beltre has been featured on the Dominican Republic’s U14 and U15 national team’s as well as various showcases and tournaments with Perfect Game since 2016 and at the Cal Ripken World Series in 2017. Beltre had a verbal commitment to play for Florida International University before signing with the Blue Jays.
In the batter’s box, the right-hander has a short leg kick and is able to get the barrel through the zone very quickly. He is a plus hitter, being able to put the ball in play across the entire field for both contact and power. Beltre has shown that he has the ability to hit for extra bases and should get some increased power as he progresses and continues to grow into his frame. His stance in the box is repeatable and easy, putting the bat through the zone and hitting the ball with an exit velocity sitting around 90 mph.
Defensively, Beltre has been used as a shortstop but could be moved to second or third base as he plays and moves through the farm system. He is athletic and possesses a quick transfer from catching to throwing, an attribute that could see him continue to get reps at shortstop or at third base as he possesses a powerful arm.
His speed is described as above-average with a 60 yard dash time of 6.98 seconds and finds a way to get to the ball because of his athleticism and baseball IQ, another aspect that impresses the Blue Jays scouting department. Overall, Beltre projects to be an above-average fielder, which is great to see considering he is known more for his batting ability and isn’t just a ‘hitter only’ type of player.
All in all, Manuel Beltre is a prospect that Blue Jays fans should be very excited to see join the organization. There is obviously still a lot of development and time to see whether Beltre can progress and make his way through the Blue Jays farm system, but he already has experience playing against talented players his own age through the Perfect Game program and could see a quick transfer from the Dominican Summer League to stateside Rookie Ball sooner rather than later.
As per his social media, Beltre is already getting work in what appears to the Blue Jays Dominican Academy in Santo Domingo, doing drills and putting time in at the gym.
While he may not be playing at the Rogers Centre over the next year or two, Manuel Beltre is one player Blue Jays fans should keep an eye on over the next few years.