Blue Jays: When could we see Gabriel Moreno?
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats currently have on their roster the Blue Jays top catching prospect in Gabriel Moreno. Through one week of the season he has performed quite well and with the big club struggling behind the plate, the question will now be asked, how close is Moreno to joining Toronto?
The tandem currently for the Blue Jays is Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire after another top prospect Alejandro Kirk went down to injury. Jansen has shown to be a better defensive catcher than an offensive contributor, and while he has only thrown out one base stealer this year, he has only been tested six times over almost 180 innings. He has yet to allow a passed ball in 2021 and only one wild pitch has got by him. However, at the plate the 26-year old has struggled and has a slash line of .101/.173/.246 while striking out 18 times to just six walks. McGuire appears to be more of a place holder for the time being as he was Designated for Assignment after Spring Training concluded, and then worked himself back on the roster after the Kirk injury. Kirk is not expected back to the club until July at the earliest, so the question is how close is Moreno to being MLB ready?
In 2019, I wrote an article that had Moreno as the second most valuable catcher to the Blue Jays future behind Danny Jansen and ahead of Alejandro Kirk. Moreno has started four of the six games that the Fisher Cats have played so far this season and in that time; he has collected seven hits in 17 at bats (.412), which includes three doubles, along with three walks. This is a league that he is more than three years younger than the average age of ball players. Behind the plate, Moreno has thrown out two of four base runners.
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These numbers are a very small sample size, however this past winter Moreno went down to play in the Venezuelan Winter League, which has an average of nearly 28, while he played at just 20 years. In 18 games, Moreno posted a slash line of .373/.471/.508 over 18 games and had almost double the amounts of walks to strikeouts. Behind the plate he also threw out three of the seven base runners.
Moreno just turned 21 years of age this past February and your immediate reaction may be to not rush him and give him more years to develop. However, Moreno keeps passing every test along the road and when you look at Kirk making his debut last year, he made it in his 21-year old season. Moreno has had a better bat and has proven to be better defensively than Kirk through the minor league system.
Each season Moreno has played through the minor league system he has been below the average age and as every season passes he jumps further up and continues to play against players much older. Moreno could be a catcher you see get an opportunity later this season if he keeps progressing at the same rate he has been on so far through the system.