8. Kendry Rojas- A (Previous Rank: 11)
21 y.o / LHP / SP
The off-season lets you step back and evaluate a player's season out of the moment and it has left me asking myself "why not Kendry Rojas?". A quick glance at his stats and he seems quite average but there's plenty of underlying promise. Despite a pedestrian strikeout rate, his overall swinging strike rate was well above average at 16% (and is a higher correlation to MLB level stuff). He has consistently added velocity every year and still has the prototypical pitching frame for more. If he can maintain the 94 MPH he opened 2023 with, his riding fastball would be a plus pitch. He can cut it to keep it off barrels and it's already getting above average swing and miss with less than ideal command. His slider is his main put-a-way pitch. It features tough two-plane break and he can use it all over the zone. His changeup is his clear third pitch but he sells it well and it got great results this year. Rojas is still ironing out many of the finer details of pitching, holding back his overall numbers. His walk rate was solid for a pitcher at Single-A but his control can come and go inning to inning. He also has difficulty commanding his pitches for called strikes and stands to improve his sequencing. There's a logical leap for Rojas to take in 2024 which would have him projecting as a middle of the rotation arm.
7. Leo Jimenez- AAA (Previous Rank: 7)
22 y.o / RHH / SS/2B
Jimenez is a staple of this section of Blue Jays prospects lists after a bounce-back year 2023. He's a high probability big leaguer with a strong hit tool and valuable up the middle defense. Jimenez makes tons of contact and is willing to draw a walk. He is capable of a standout exit velocity every now and again but his raw power is below average and his feel for elevating the ball with authority is lacking.
He has had some issues punishing fastballs in particular at Triple-A but his feel for contact should allow him to hold his own against big league stuff. It's a .270/.340/.360 type of profile which would play given his defensive chops. He's not the most athletic shortstop but he's sure handed and could play there as a big leaguer. I evaluated him as a potential plus defender at second base given his tool-set and minor league sample there. He's a candidate to take on the "Espinal role" as soon as this year.