Toronto Blue Jays News

Should the Blue Jays Consider Replacing GM Ross Atkins?

TORONTO, ON - JULY 13: Ross Atkins general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks during a press conference after naming John Schneider the interim manager of the team, at Rogers Centre on July 13, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 13: Ross Atkins general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks during a press conference after naming John Schneider the interim manager of the team, at Rogers Centre on July 13, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Nov 13, 2019; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins speaks with members of the media during general managers meetings at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Farm is Bare

The Jays currently only have two top 100 prospects as per Baseball America’s midseason update: catcher Gabriel Moreno and lefty starter Ricky Tiedemann. They noted:

"With the Blue Jays in a competitive window the organization has traded from the farm system heavily in recent seasons."

And when top prospect Moreno graduates full-time to the big club, FanGraphs analysis of potential future value in the farm system would rank the Jays’ system 26th out of 30 teams.

MLB Pipeline ranked it 20th in their 2022 midseason update and noted that “there are questions about how much pitching this group can provide future Toronto staffs.”

Perhaps more worrisome is that their four top draft picks this past June are all now top ten prospects, which suggests the organizational depth is very thin if they can all immediately land in the top ten. They include first-rounder and LHP Brandon Barriera as well as infielders Josh Kasevich, Tucker Toman, and Cade Doughty.

Could that also mean some of the previous top infield prospects like Orelvis Martinez, Leo Jimenez, Otto Lopez and Miguel Hiraldo have taken a step backwards? As per MLB Pipeline, “a deep group of Toronto [infield prospects] has taken a step back, affecting the overall health of the system.”

This is the exact opposite of what Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins promised Jays fans when they were hired. They talked about the importance of player development and a deep farm system, with waves of prospects being developed to provide sustainable depth for the big league club.

Instead, they’ve now traded away four of their first-round draft picks since their first draft in 2016, including T.J. Zeuch, Jordan Groshans, Austin Martin, and Gunnar Hoglund.

As for player development, in seven years of work in Toronto, Ross Atkins has only drafted and signed the following players who made the 26-man playoff roster this year: Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Alek Manoah, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno. The other homegrown players like Jansen, Romano, Tim Mayza and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., were already signed and with the organization when he arrived. Given how weak the farm system is, the big pronouncements on a sustainable farm system and the emphasis on player development, Ross Atkins bears much of the blame for this as well.

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