Jays Journal's Top 30 Blue Jays Prospects - 2024 Update

Orelvis Martinez
Orelvis Martinez / Mark Brown/GettyImages
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14. Yosver Zulueta- AAA (Previous Rank: 9)
26 y.o / RHP / RP

With relievers I have a strict philosophy. Stuff comes first. Zulueta is 26-years old and has consistently been an erratic strike thrower but he has two 60-70 grade pitches which means he's a tweak away from MLB success. We saw Jordan Romano, Felix Bautista, and many more dominant relievers break out at this age so there's plenty of precedent here. The best run Zulueta had all season was the last 11.2 innings after returning from the Development Complex and that's no coincidence. He ironed out his delivery and ditched his 96 MPH four-seam fastball completely. It makes sense because his 96 MPH sinker grades out and performed much better thanks to it's fantastic sink and run. At Triple-A where home runs ran rampant, Zulueta allowed just 1 all season. Hitters had a pitiful 18.8% Flyball rate against him. I've yet to mention his slider which has a good case for being his best pitch. He tweaked it at the Development Complex and now throws it a bit harder at 86 MPH with less sweep. A change like this is typical of a pitcher looking to trade movement for command. The whiff rate on the pitch was over 40% on the season and the new tweaked version had a 124 tjStuff+. It's entirely possible that Zulueta never throws enough strikes to be a big league reliever but there's not much sense in giving up on a pitcher that profiles similar to Jordan Hicks.

13. Enmanuel Bonilla- DSL (Previous Rank: 25)
17 y.o / RHH / OF

The prize of the Jays' 2023 IFA class, Bonilla had a 127 wRC+ in his Dominican Summer League debut. He picked up steam as he got more comfortable and had a 185 wRC+ in August to end his season. He reached base in all but 2 games. Bonilla is already hitting the ball up to 108 MPH at 17 years old and has the physicality to grow into double plus raw power. Right now he's lacing groundballs and line drives all over the field to the tune of a .410 BABIP. He's still learning to make his best contact in the air like most players his age but he has the thump and swing to hit for 30+ home run power in the future. His swing decisions are solid, he's aggressive when he needs to be but he's willing to walk too. Bonilla struck out at a 24.3% clip which is on the high end for a big bonus player in the DSL. He'll over-swing on breaking balls and will need to improve the consistency of his mechanics. Whether these are growing pains or warning signs is in the eye of the beholder. There's a very high amount of risk here based on age and experience but few in the system can match the upside Bonilla presents as a potential corner outfield masher.