Blue Jays: Five lesser known prospects to keep an eye on in 2023

Michael Fisher
Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages
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Manuel Beltre, SS/2B

Manuel Beltre signed with the Blue Jays in 2021 as a 17-year-old. The Dominican youngster, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 24 prospect in the 2021 International class, spent 2021 in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) and 2022 in the Florida Complex League (FCL) before finishing the year with a handful of games in Low-A.

Beltre's scouting grades don't pop off the page as anything spectacular. They show a player with a solid foundation, especially when you remember that he is 18 years old. His FanGraphs scouting report describes him as "a polished, skills-over-tools amateur prospect whose work habits might enable him to outpace lower-variance projections."

The young infielder projects an average-level hit tool, which he showed in the DSL. He slashed .225/.391/.346 but walked at an impressive 17.6% clip while striking out 13.9% of the time; it's a good sign anytime a player walks more than he strikes out. In a small sample of five games in Low-A, he walked less but swung the bat with more authority, slashing .381/.409/.571.

Scouts grade his running and speed as average to slightly above average, so he knows how to handle himself on the basepaths. He had 10 steals in his 53 DSL games and swiped nine bags in 49 games in the FCL. In addition, his fielding and arm both grade as average to slightly above average.

The power seems to be where scouts don't think he'll make an impact. At 5-foot-9, he hasn't generated much power so far in his young career, with a .071 ISO and four home runs in 107 games.

As his MLB Pipeline scouting report reads and as noted by Blue Jays MLB.com reporter Keegan Matheson before the 2022 season, people within the Jays' organization are already excited by Beltre's natural leadership and charismatic personality and see him as a future "culture driver" for the club.

I'm excited to follow Beltre's development. Still, with him just beginning his time in Single-A ball and being 18 going into the 2023 season, it looks like he's at least a couple of years away; FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline both list his ETA as 2025.

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