After starting the 2023 campaign off to a scorching hot start, on both sides of the plate, an ex-Blue Jays top prospect's performance has recently come down to earth, further proving why you shouldn't overreact to trades so early in the season.
The ex-Blue Jays prospect in question here is catcher Gabriel Moreno, now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Moreno, who was the Blue Jays No. 1 prospect at the time of his departure, was the odd-man out in the team's catcher surplus this past offseason, as he was dealt to Arizona along with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in exchange for outfielder Daulton Varsho.
Moreno started this season off to an incredibly hot start, which had a lot of Blue Jays fans clamouring that this trade was a colossal mistake for the team. The 23-year-old catcher is slashing .280/.320/.683 on the season, but those numbers have taken a steep decline as of late. Over the past 15 games, he's batting only .190, and over the past 7 games, that average is just .200. His OPS+ on the year has now dipped to 89, which his lower than the piece he was traded for.
The other part of this deal, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., has been very good this season on the offensive end. He's batting .301 with 10 home runs and an OPS currently sitting at .895. While these are great numbers, Gurriel is a free agent at the end of this season, so he will likely only be an option for the Diamondbacks for this season.
Moreno and Gurriel's return, Daulton Varsho, has started to heat up as of late. Despite his slow start, and despite the fact that his numbers for the season aren't as impressive as Moreno's thus far, with a slash line of .222/.293/.395 with an OPS of .688, he's starting to heat up lately, as Moreno's started to slip as of late. Varsho's OPS sits at 93, which puts him just seven percent below league-average as opposed to Moreno's 11 percent.
With a slash line of .273/.385/.546 and OPS of .930 over the past 7 games, the numbers certainly reflect Varsho's improvement as of late as well. His power has started to show as of late too, having already hit three home runs this month, which brings his total up to 11 long balls on the season. Having only played 63 games this season thus far, a 30 home run season is very much on the table for the Blue Jays outfielder, who also remains one of the best defensive players in the league this season.