Earlier today, the Toronto Blue Jays made 15 cuts from their Spring Training location, which included a pair of top prospects and a handful of players who had spent time on the 26-man roster in 2021.
The two most popular names are of the two top prospects listed by MLB.com: Gabriel Moreno and Orelvis Martinez. Moreno was late to make it to Spring Training due to some Visa issues and never actually got into any games. He has recently come to the forefront of fans’ minds as the catcher of the future after showing an elite skill level at almost every level of minor league baseball. In 2021, Moreno spent the majority of the season with Double-A New Hampshire but also had a cup of coffee at Triple-A Buffalo. In total, the now 22-year old collected 29 extra-base hits and 45 RBI over 37 games last season, as well as posting a slash line of .367/.434/.626.
Martinez had an impressive Spring Training as he got into eight games and collected four extra-base hits, including two home runs in just 13 at-bats, while also picking up a pair of walks. During his 19-year old season in 2021, Martinez showed his power as he collected 56 extra-base hits (28 home runs) over 98 games split between Vancouver and Dunedin. It will be interesting to see if Martinez starts the season in Vancouver or makes the jump right away to New Hampshire.
The Blue Jays also optioned Otto Lopez, Josh Palacios, Anthony Kay and Thomas Hatch who all spent time on the active roster in 2021. Hatch and Kay are both likely sent down to Triple-A to be stretched out as starting pitchers and are looking to rebound after tough seasons. Hatch missed the first half of 2021 with a right elbow impingement. When he returned, Hatch was effective as a starter with the Buffalo Bisons, however, he was not as sharp in two of his three outings with the Blue Jays. Kay has struggled to solidify himself since the former first-round pick was traded to the Jays in 2019. Kay spent 2021 constantly travelling back and forth between Buffalo and Toronto. Over the three seasons since the Blue Jays acquired him from the Mets, he has posted a 4-2 record with a 5.50 ERA over 68.2 innings.
Orelvis Martinez was among 15 players cut at Blue Jays Spring Training on Monday, but his power numbers will have him on the radar going forward.
Palacios made the club out of Spring Training in 2021 due to George Springer starting the season on the injured list, but he was sent down to Buffalo in late April where spent the remainder of the season outside of three games in August. He surprised me this spring with his power as he hit a pair of home runs, one of which left the park. In total, Palacios went 4 for 12 with a triple, two home runs and four RBI in eight appearances. Palacios will be in the mix with a few other outfielders as the fifth outfielder and first to be called up.
Lopez made his one and only major league appearance in August last year with just one at-bat. He split 2021 between Double-A and Triple-A where he posted a slash line of .315/.379/.437, but the 23-year old is stuck in a group of several infielders on the Blue Jays prospect list. He may become a valuable trade chip later in the season.
The remaining players that were released were Chavez Young, Fitz Stadler, Adrian Hernandez, Casey Lawrence, Max Castillo, Chris Bec, Leo Jimenez, Bowden Francis, and Hagen Danner. Danner is the most interesting story as he was drafted as a catcher back in 2017, but converted to a pitcher last season. Danner pitched in Vancouver in 2021 where he posted a 2.02 ERA over 35.2 innings and averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
From the players that were cut from the Spring Training camp, who do you think makes the first appearance back with the Blue Jays this season?