Entering the 2021 season, the Toronto Blue Jays had a farm system that ranked within the top ten within all of Major League Baseball. Four Blue Jays prospects were featured on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 list to begin the season, with pitcher Alek Manoah moving into the ranks at #95 after the first month of baseball to move the total to five players.
With Manoah now in the show, he may be losing his status on the top prospect list very shortly, but there is a good chance that another Jays’ farmhand may be taking his spot within the ranked prospects list sometime soon.
Blue Jays prospect Gabriel Moreno is having a breakout season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. With the Blue Jays possessing a few quality catching prospects, Moreno is one of the younger players of the group at 21 years old and is the furthest from the big leagues down in AA.
Blue Jays catching prospect Gabriel Moreno is destroying the ball in AA, and with Riley Adams currently with the active roster, now seems like the perfect time to promote Moreno to AAA and see if he can keep producing at the next level.
Through 24 games this season, Moreno features a .381/.436/.639 slash line with five home runs, 30 RBI, and a 1.076 OPS through 110 plate appearances. He currently leads the Double-A Northeast league in OPS and AVG while placing second in OBP, RBI, and SLG. Defensively, Moreno has been excellent behind the plate as well, sporting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage while throwing out 12 baserunners on 29 chances for a 41.3% caught stealing percentage.
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With Jays’ catcher Danny Jansen currently on the injured list, AAA catcher Riley Adams has been called up to the active roster with Juan Graterol and recently promoted Rodrigo Vigil filling in with Adams promoted to the major leagues.
With Moreno performing well with the Fisher Cats, it seems like a prime opportunity to let the Venezuelan catcher play against some more polished competition and see if he can handle pitchers with big-league experience like T.J. Zeuch, Nate Pearson, and Thomas Hatch in AAA with the Buffalo Bisons.
With Jansen out with a hamstring injury, it seems like Riley Adams could be with the Blue Jays for more than the minimum 10 days, which could be a good opportunity to see if Moreno could keep hitting well and throwing runners out at second at the next level of the system.
There is always a concern that promoting Moreno to AAA too soon could hinder his development to become a starter at the major league level, but with the Blue Jays struggling to get production from their catching corps, it seems like letting Moreno take a few cuts with the Bisons could produce results that would benefit the team even with the development risk. The guy is hitting almost .400 at the AA level and leads the league in multiple batting categories, so it would be interesting to see if he can keep that momentum going in AAA.
When Adams most likely returns to the Bisons when Jansen is healthy, Graterol could be moved to keep Moreno on the roster and let the two players tandem each other as most teams do with their catchers given the complexity and physical taxation behind the plate. The risk is there if Moreno performs poorly with the Bisons but it’s going to be tough to keep having him hit in Double-A when he clearly seems ready to make the jump.
The Blue Jays decided to move Alejandro Kirk from Single-A to the active roster no problem, now it’s time to extend the same principle to Gabriel Moreno and let him get some reps in AAA.