Looking at the Blue Jays outfield, the club heads into the 2022 season with four everyday MLB calibre players on their roster in George Springer, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. This could change before the club starts up Spring Training and a new CBA is hopefully in place, as Gurriel Jr. and/or Grichuk could be moved before the season begins this year as the club looks to improve other areas on the roster.
On the Blue Jays top 30 prospect list, there are five players listed as outfielders: Otto Lopez, Samad Taylor, Dasan Brown, Josh Palacios, and Will Roberston. Taylor is a potential Rule 5 draft candidate if the draft does occur this offseason while Lopez is most likely fighting for a spot on the active roster as a bench infielder rather than an outfielder. Robertson and Brown are at least two to three seasons from knocking on the big league doors while Palacios could be an interesting name to watch in 2022.
With Anthony Alford and Jonathan Davis no longer in the Jays farm system, Palacios is one of the next candidates in line if one of the core four finds themselves on the injury list next year. I think it is unlikely the club rolls into the new year with five outfielders on the active roster but Palacios could find himself in the mix if the club chooses to do so, with his strongest competitors being the recently signed Mallex Smith and Nathan Lukes as of right now.
After being sidelined with an injury for most of 2021, Blue Jays prospect Josh Palacios will be looking to bounce back in 2022.
Palacios made his MLB debut last season with Hernandez hitting the IL due to COVID-19 early in the season, mustering just seven hits through 35 at-bats with 11 strikeouts and four RBI, struggling to find his bat at the Major League level. He was solid defensively, playing every single outfield position before being sent back down to AAA. The season turned south for Palacios a week later when he ended up on the IL with a broken hand, an injury that would sideline him for almost three months. He would finish the year with a .627 OPS through just 16 games in AAA Buffalo.
After his first crack at the big league level, it was super unfortunate to see Palacios end up on the IL for most of the campaign after the injury troubles that plagued Springer for a good chunk of the summer. This would have been a prime opportunity for the New York product to get some Major League at-bats under his belt as a bench player, competing alongside Davis, Corey Dickerson, and Jarrod Dyson for playing time with the Blue Jays.
Currently ranked as the club’s #21 prospect, Palacios is on the 40-man roster and has two minor league options, which could see him ride the options bus this summer. If Gurriel Jr. or Grichuk get traded or one of the current outfielders finds themselves on the IL, Palacios would have the inside track over Smith and Lukes considering he is already on the 40-man but a strong Spring Training and staying healthy for the 2022 campaign will go a long way for Palacios to earn more playing time at the MLB level.
Known for his athleticism and ability to put the ball in play, 2022 could be an important year for Josh Palacios to prove to the Blue Jays organization that he can hang with the big boys in Toronto and provide some value off the bench whether it be as a pinch hitter or a defensive substitute.
His path to the Majors may be blocked at the moment, but a trade or an injury could provide an opening for Palacios this season, providing the former fourth-round draft pick an opportunity to bounce back from his injury-riddled 2021 campaign and prove he belongs on the active roster.