Prospect #24 – Eric Pardinho
The first prospect on this list I am legitimately worried about losing is 20-year old Eric Pardinho, which is why I think the Blue Jays will add him to the 40-man roster. Pardinho, who has been with the club since signing with them back in 2017, underwent Tommy John surgery in February 2020 and finally got back on the mound in July this past season, however was shutdown with elbow soreness after just two appearances. Throughout his minor league career he has always been one of the youngest players at each level he pitched at and had posted a 2.48 ERA over 90.2 innings with a 10.2 strikeout rate. It will be all dependent how his health is progressing, if the Blue Jays have any indications that he is healthy they will need to be careful to not expose him.
Prospect #23 – Adrian Hernandez
Another younger prospect, Adrian Hernandez will turn 22 years old just prior to Spring Training. The Mexican born international free agent signing split time between Dunedin, Vancouver and New Hampshire this past season. Between the three teams, Hernandez threw 62.1 innings in the bullpen, posting a 2.74 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and an astonishing 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings. I have little doubt that if Hernandez isn’t put on the 40-man roster that there will be teams who will want to put in a claim and take a chance on him.
Prospect #17 – Samad Taylor
Samad Taylor has had a very busy 12 months of baseball as last December he went to the Australian baseball league during their summer months, came back to North America to play for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats during our summer, and recently he has been playing in the Dominican Winter League.
Taylor is a versatile player that spotted in at five different positions for New Hampshire this past season. The 23-year old was acquired back in 2017 for Joe Smith and is known for his speed and displayed that again as he stole 30 bases this past year, while stealing a combined 70 in his previous two minor league seasons. Taylor also brings some power as he had 34 extra-base hits this season, while posting a slash line of .294/.385/.503 with the Fisher Cats. Taylor may find a role with the Blue Jays this upcoming season and will likely be added to the 40-man roster.
Prospect #11 – Leo Jimenez
The former international free agent signing, Leo Jimenez is an interesting decision for the Blue Jays. He is their #11 prospect and is still just 20-years old, but has not played above Single-A baseball. Jimenez plays shortstop, but is behind a handful of better prospects playing the same position. At the plate he does not bring much power, as he has just one home run in 154 minor league games. Jimenez does have a good eye at the plate as he had a .315 batting average and a .517 on-base percentage over 54 games with Dunedin and walked more than he struck out (54:36) this season. The Blue Jays could add him to the 40-man and use him as a trade piece or take a chance other teams don’t want to hand a roster spot over to him.
Prospect #6 – Miguel Hiraldo
Miguel Hiraldo is the highest rated prospect that could be exposed on the Blue Jays for the draft and he is in a similar case than Jimenez. Hirlado turned 21-years old at the end of this season and had good, but not outstanding numbers. He split time at second and third base for the Dunedin Blue Jays this year where he made a total 24 errors. 2021 was the first time he spent any substantial amount of time at the hot corner and it showed as he posted an .843 fielding percentage in 89 chances. At the plate he had a slash line of .249/.338/.390 with 37 extra-base hits. One the bases, Hiraldo went 29 for 34 stealing bases. In one sense, it appears he is too far away from being Major League ready to take a roster spot, but I am not sure if the Blue Jays want to roll the dice on losing a top prospect.
Which of these players do you see the Blue Jays adding to the 40-man roster and which do you see getting claimed in the Rule 5 Draft?