The Toronto Blue jays are calling up top prospect, catcher Gabriel Moreno, from Triple-A Buffalo. Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extrabase broke the news. Keegan Matheson of MLB.com adds that Moreno’s call-up is likely to coincide with Toronto’s upcoming weekend series in Detroit.
Catcher Danny Jansen was placed on the IL with a broken pinky finger on his left hand after being hit by a pitch in Monday’s game and is likely out for at least two weeks. Zack Collins was recalled from Buffalo to replace him, and had a solid game today in Kansas City, going 2/4 with a solo home run as the starting catcher.
Moreno is the fourth highest-ranked prospect in the MLB and given he’s already on the 40-man roster, no corresponding move – apart from demoting Collins – is necessary to add him to the MLB roster.
The Toronto Blue jays are calling up top prospect, catcher Gabriel Moreno, from Triple-A Buffalo. Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extrabase broke the news.
According to Matheson, “the club is still evaluating whether it will add Moreno to the roster for Game 1, but the 22-year-old will be activated during the series in Detroit.”
He’s likely here to split the catching duties with Alejandro Kirk, and to DH as well to see how his bat can help. One area he should help immediately with is making contact: he has only struck out in 11.9% of his 948 plate attempts in the minors, including at a 17.1% rate this year. That compares with the Blue Jays overall at 21% so far in 2022.
Whether it’s only for two weeks until Jansen returns from the IL, or whether that injury is more serious than reported, Moreno certainly looks to offer more upside than Collins. Should he prove he belongs, that also gives the Jays trade options from a position of strength at the catching position as the July trade deadline approaches.
A debut on the road against the 23-33 Detroit Tigers also perhaps makes sense to ease the pressure on the rookie, but also allows him to rub shoulders with fellow Venezuelan, Tiger legend, and sure-fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Surely playing against Miggy will be a career highlight for the kid?
Moreno, age 22, was signed for $25,000 out of Venezuela in August 2016. He burst onto the scene last season as one of baseball’s top prospects after hitting .373/.441/.651 with eight homers in 32 games at Double-A New Hampshire before being shut down with a fractured left thumb.
He then led the Arizona Fall League in doubles, and so far this year, the right-handed slugger has been raking with Buffalo, slashing .377/.406/.783 with 8 doubles, one home run and 23 RBIs in 35 games and 146 plate attempts.
As MLB.com notes, “[he] shows a quick and compact swing that he uses with promising hand-eye coordination to make a good amount of contact — he struck out in only 14.8 percent of his plate appearances in 2021 — and hard contact at that.”
They also note that Moreno,
"has made promising developments behind the plate as well. An infielder at the time of signing, the 22-year-old puts his athleticism to use with blocking, receiving and throwing. He has an above-average arm with a quick release, capable of controlling the running game as he did with a 40 percent caught-stealing rate last year. Moreno saw some time at third base in the AFL, but his ceiling behind the plate is immense as a potential All-Star."
Like last season, when starter Alek Manoah was called up on May 27th as a 23-year-old, with only nine minor league starts on his resume, or when catcher Alejandro Kirk made his debut as a 21-year-old in September 2020 after playing with High A Lansing in 2019, the front office has shown they’re not afraid to start the MLB service time clocks for prospects they believe can help make this a more competitive roster.
What do you think Blue Jays fans? Can Gabriel Moreno help improve this club as they seek a World Series championship in 2022 and beyond?