3 former Blue Jays who are excelling with their new teams in 2023

Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals
Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Despite many of the players that were part of the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization in 2022 are currently struggling to start the season in 2023, including notables Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., there have been a few fortunate ones that have gotten off to a good start with their new teams.

Gabriel Moreno

Gabriel Moreno was part of the huge trade between the Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks that brought in defensive stalwart Daulton Varsho during the 2022-23 offseason. Moreno was the top-ranked MLB prospect at the time, but with the Jays desperately looking for outfield defensive help, and with Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk forming a solid catching tandem already, they took the chance in giving up their top prospect to fill an essential need.

At first, Moreno started off slow with the Diamondbacks, but has really picked it up lately. In his last nine games, he is hitting .407 with an OPS of .989, one home run, nine RBI, two walks and four strikeouts. More notably has been his plate discipline as of late, cutting down his strikeout rate from almost 30% at the start of the season down in half to below 15% in his current streak. In addition, he has thrown out 70% of the baserunners trying to steal off of him. Jays’ fans had been worried that Moreno will eventually be the one that got away right from the moment the deal was made. Unfortunately, the impressive start by Moreno isn’t going to put away that thought any time soon.

Andrew Vazquez

Many may have forgotten who Andrew Vazquez was, as he was signed to a one-year MLB deal by the Jays during the 2021-22 offseason. He appeared in nine games for the Jays in 2022, pitching 6.2 innings, giving up six hits, six runs, three walks and six strikeouts for an 8.10 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He was placed on the 15-day IL for a right ankle sprain later that year in June, and was eventually lost on waivers to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Currently, Vazquez has gotten off to a strong start with the Phillies. He has pitched 12.1 innings and has given up only two runs, with six walks and seven strikeouts for a 1.46 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. With that consistency and also being a left-handed reliever, he might have been a good fit for the Jays’ current bullpen with only Tim Mayza as their lefty specialist. If Vazquez can continue to cut down on his walks and get his opportunities, this can potentially be his breakout year at aged 29.

Nick Frasso

Nick Frasso was one of the Jays’ prospects, along with Moises Brito, that was included in the trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Mitch White back at the 2022 trade deadline. The Jays were looking for pitching depth at the time and chose to part ways with their two promising prospects.

While White is currently on a rehab assignment for the Jays, Frasso has been off to a blazing start with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate Tulsa Drillers. Currently ranked in the top 10 for Dodgers’ prospects, he has made four starts, giving up only three runs, with 26 strikeouts over 18 innings for a 1.50 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. This was in continuation with his success he had demonstrated with the Jays’ Single and High-A minor league affiliates prior to the trade, so it appears that so far he has able to maintain his dominance while moving up the ladder in the minor league system. Frasso looks to become a major contributor for the Dodgers’ organization in a year or two. Whether the trade for White was ultimately worth it for the Jays will depend on the outcomes of both players in the coming years.