Toronto Blue Jays: Evaluating the Talent in High-A Vancouver

Jul 16, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; American League Futures relief pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (31) throws to the plate in the fifth inning of the All Star-Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; American League Futures relief pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (31) throws to the plate in the fifth inning of the All Star-Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Blue Jays are enjoying a successful season thus far in terms of their record and playoff opportunities, another Canadian professional baseball team is enjoying some success of their own.

The Vancouver Canadians, the High A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, have had an impressive pool of talented players flow through their ball club. A variety of breakouts, developments, surprises, and disappointments have been part of the C’s season, and there exist many names worth knowing as a Jays fan.

Several members of the Blue Jays Top 30 Prospects have played at Nat Bailey Stadium thus far. Members of this list have both developed and performed, while others have remained stagnant in their progression as professional baseball players. A handful have broken out, and are making a name for themselves despite lacking recognition. This piece will review a handful of 2022 Canadians and recount their season thus far.

Performing Top 30 Prospects

#3: Ricky Tiedemann

This kid is legit. His off-speed pitches are all thrown with accuracy, while also possessing a plus fastball. These pitches, all with movement, maintain an uncomfortable at-bat for all hitters. At one point during his time in Vancouver, he went 4 games in a row without giving up a run.

If there’s one thing I would say he needs to work on, it is his fastball control. Due to this, he will give up his fair share of walks. The good news is that he’s incredibly young and has a lot of time to develop. If his walk numbers go down, Blue Jays fans are in store for another home-grown ace. The Jays’ top pitching prospect is no longer with Vancouver and was recently promoted to AA just after the All-Star game.

#6: Leo Jimenez

Jimenez, day in and day out, has been very consistent for the Vancouver Canadians. He slowly continues to get better as the year goes on, and I believe he will develop into a fine middle infielder.

The Vancouver Canadians, the High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, have had several notable players take the field for them this year.

I do also want to emphasize that leading up to the All-Star Break, he had been on a tear and has electrified Nat Bailey Stadium. Leo is known for his eye at the plate. After posting an OBP of .517 last year in Dunedin, it’s cooled down to a still impressive .355. The patient middle-infielder could find himself as a serviceable player for the Jays down the road.

#7: Sem Robberse

Another very consistent player for the Canadians. My favourite part about Robberse is he’s not afraid to really attack hitters. He will give up some contact, but this almost seems to work to his advantage as his pitch count is usually quite low.

He’s able to eat up a lot of innings, which has translated into his Canadian leading total. His average against him is low as well, at an impressive .230 on the season. His strong makeup and strike-throwing ability make him a standout pitcher in the lower levels of the minor leagues.

#19: Yosver Zulueta

There is an argument in Vancouver over who’s better: Tiedemann or Zulueta? This guy electrified Nat Bailey Stadium in the very short visit he had here. First of all, he’s got MLB-quality starter gas and I mean this. The gun normally sits around 98-102mph when he throws his fastball, and not many players in High-A could even touch it. He produced 31 K’s in only 6 games at an average of 5 K’s a start that is utterly ridiculous. He only made six starts with the Canadians before being promoted to New Hampshire in late June.

Slumping Top 30 Prospects

#11: Adam Kloffenstein

Kloffenstein has lurked in the Blue Jays Top 30 for the last few seasons. A former third-round pick out of Texas, the right-hander has not produced the numbers you’d expect from someone ranked so highly within the system. His time in Vancouver was short, but what was seen was a lot of contact against him, a lot of walks, but also a lot of strikeouts. There’s no doubt talent in that arm, it’s a matter of him finding consistency.

#12: Miguel Hiraldo

Honestly, I can’t say I understand the hype. He makes the occasional play that will blow your mind, but for the most part, he hasn’t been an overly effective player for the C’s this season.

The one thing that irks C’s fans is he’s not overly clutch. He’ll be at his best when the club is ahead by a few runs or more. But in the biggest spots when the lights are brightest, he tends to shrink. He can change this narrative by continuing to contribute in the 2nd half of the season in which the Canadians have been dominating the Northwest League but he is Rule 5 eligible at the end of the year, something to consider.

Breakout Barger

Unranked: Addison Barger

For a long while, he was the best player on the Vancouver Canadians. He was the #3 hitter who played 3B/SS and plays very smooth defense.

It’s pretty fun to watch him field a ball and compliment it with a very quick release. Due to him being very fundamentally sound, he makes every routine play which helps in a team’s recipe to win games. His bat also has incredible pop. While playing in the Northwest League this season, he was leading the league in almost every offensive category.

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The fans in Vancouver loved Barger as well, as he was always clutch in the biggest moments. In my opinion, he was snubbed from the Top 30 list and should be added to it immediately. He is currently one of the newest Fisher Cats and is off to a hot start.