Blue Jays: Traded last year, how are they doing this spring?
Last season, the Toronto Blue Jays decided to dip into their prospect/player pool and acquired some veteran talent to help push for the postseason. While the team would get bounced in the wild card series against the Tampa Bay Rays, it was the first time the Blue Jays had reached the postseason since 2016 and their first trip since the organization went through a few tough rebuilding years.
This article looks at the prospects that were traded at last year’s deadline (which was August 31st due to the COVID delay) and how they are performing with their new teams so far this spring.
Griffin Conine – Outfielder
Traded to the Miami Marlins in exchange for infielder Jonathan Villar
The Toronto Blue Jays 15th top prospect back in 2019, outfielder Griffin Conine played two seasons with the organization before being traded last season. For his minor league career, Conine has amassed a .266/.348/.515 slash line with 29 home runs, 97 RBI, and a .863 OPS in 137 games spread across Rookie League and Class A with the Blue Jays.
Known for his raw power in the batter’s box, the left-handed hitter did struggle with strikeouts and specifically with off-speed pitches when he was a member of the Blue Jays farm system. Son of former MLB player Jeff Conine, he would miss 50 games during the 2019 campaign as he tested positive for ritalinic acid, a banned substance under the MLB/MiLB.
This Spring, Conine did not receive an invite to the Marlins MLB training camp, but does find himself as the organization’s 20th ranked prospect. Considering his father was known as ‘Mr. Marlin’ and the organization drafted him back when he was a high school student (he did not sign and went to Duke instead), the story kind of makes sense that the younger Conine would find himself in the Marlins organization at some point in his career. Look for Conine to begin the season in AA.
Kendall Williams – Pitcher
Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with 1B/OF Ryan Noda in exchange for pitcher Ross Stripling
Chosen by the Blue Jays in the second round during the 2019 draft, Kendall Williams only pitched one season in the Blue Jays farm system before being shipped off to the Dodgers at last year’s trade deadline.
A rising pitcher at the famed IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the 6’6 right-hander has a wide-ranging arsenal and will most likely see an increase in his velocity as he continues to develop and grow in the Dodgers farm system. While with the Blue Jays, Williams would make six appearances (five starts) for the Rookie League Gulf Coast Blue Jays and would pitch to a 1.13 ERA with 19 strikeouts and a 0.813 WHIP across 16.0 innings.
Currently ranked as the Dodger’s 25th top prospect, Williams earned an invite to the MLB training camp and has appeared in one game for the team this spring, surrendering one hit and one walk along with two strikeouts and no earned runs in one inning of work. The right-hander will most likely find himself in A-ball this season with a few years of development to go before seeing any potential MLB action.
Ryan Noda – First base/Outfield
Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with pitcher Kendall Williams in exchange for pitcher Ross Stripling
Included alongside Williams in last year’s deadline trade to the Dodgers, first baseman/outfielder Ryan Noda was the other ‘player to be named later‘ to complete the exchange for current Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling.
Drafted in 2017, Noda spent three years in the Blue Jays farm system, reaching High-A and crafting a .272/.422/.478 slash line with 40 home runs, 193 RBI, and a .900 OPS in 307 games. He was invited to the Blue Jays spring training camp this year before being dealt on February 23.
Noda was also invited to the Dodgers Spring Training camp this year, featured in 10 games with 12 plate appearances so far this Spring. The former Blue Jays prospect has a .111/.333/.111 slash line with six strikeouts, one walk, and one RBI off of one hit. The Illinois native will most likely begin the season in AA for the Dodgers.