The Blue Jays are well into their offseason, making moves for extra bullpen help, adding a veteran to their coaching staff, in Don Mattingly, and just recently, improving their outfield, with the big signing of Kevin Kiermaier. A strong area of focus for this offseason will be the Blue Jays catching scenario, specifically Gabriel Moreno.
The Blue Jays may be sitting comfortably from behind the dish, knowing their catching scenario is at an advantage in terms of performance and value. The trio of Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk, and Gabriel Moreno is built for the present and future. Most importantly, it’s built to attack the current trade market. My best guess is that Toronto will retain Gabriel Moreno, and possibly deal one of the other 2 catchers; this would be best case scenario, as Moreno is set to be the best catcher the Jays have had since Pat Borders.
Gabriel Moreno was the talk of the farm system all of 2021, putting up numbers and showcasing his powerful makeup. Following this was a stellar performance in the Arizona Fall League, which really opened the eyes of the prospect critics.
Finally, the Blue Jays top prospect was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on June 11, 2022, to kick off the start of his much-anticipated major league career. Moreno saw 62 games in AAA Buffalo, and 25 games with the Blue Jays in 2022; this totaled 340 plate appearances. In his Buffalo stint, he recorded 75 hits, 3 homeruns, 39 RBIs, 7 stolen bases, a .315 batting average, and a .386 on-base percentage.
His 25-game stint with Toronto displayed 22 hits, 1 homerun, 7 RBIs, a .319 batting average, and a .356 on-base percentage; Moreno faced some high-caliber teams, including Seattle, Philadelphia, and the American League East beasts.
My first expectation is to see Moreno as the No. 2 string catcher to start the season. His tools and profile fit the role, and his development as a rookie will depend on more time behind the dish in the big leagues. I expect Moreno to start between 47-76 more games and 200 more plate appearances in 2023, with the anticipated departure of either Kirk or Jansen in the trade market.
My 2023 general projection has Gabriel Moreno ending the season with 68-75 hits, 8-11 homeruns, 43-51 RBIs, and an on base percentage ball park between .320 and .370. As per defensive, we’d love to see him air out the arm more with more opportunities to deliver a throw to second. Moreno is aggressive defensively, and we will see the full repertoire with more game time.
The only setback for Moreno would be Toronto retaining all 3 catchers, which may have him start the year off in Buffalo again. However, this also won’t be bad, as he still seeks to dig up that consistent power we all know he has, to bring up the show.