It's the best time of the year. Christmas is approaching, a new year is nearly upon us and Baseball America has their Blue Jays top-ten prospects list out (subscription required).
We have already broken down the No. 10 pick, Nate Pearson, now it's time to move on to who BA believes is the No. 9 best prospect in the Jays' system, Hayden Juenger.
Juenger, 22, was only just recently drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 MLB Draft but seems to be on the fast track through the organization, making it all the way up to Triple-A last season.
Strictly a reliever, Juenger "started" 19 games last year between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo, functioning as an opener and only going a max of three (or sometimes four) innings at once. He will be used exclusively as a reliever once he makes it to the big leagues.
His unique delivery paired with three nasty pitch offerings are what makes Juenger so dangerous on the mound. His primary fourseam fastball ranges from 93-97mph and mixes a mid-80's slider and changeup in as well. What makes his secondary pitches so strong is the fact that he is able to use them to his advantage against both righties and lefties.
Baseball America gives his fastball a 60 on the 80-grade scale while both the slider and changeup get a 50. Overall, his control is deemed a 50 as well, not a bad mark but not exactly enough to set the world on fire.
Last year as a 21-year-old in Double-A and Triple-A, Juenger made a total of 38 appearances with 19 of them coming as an opener. He went 3-7 but posted a 3.76 ERA and 100 strikeouts against 37 walks in 88+ innings.
If there's a major concern to be had in Juenger's game, it'd be the longball. Last year, he surrendered 18 home runs, good for a 1.8 HR/9 rate which is nowhere close to ideal.
Sure, there are some holes in Juenger's game, but he is still extremely young and has risen through the Blue Jays' system at lightspeed. That being said, Baseball America says that he will likely make his big league debut in the upcoming campaign.