Pair of ex-Blue Jays prospects involved in Berrios trade on the cusp of breaking out

Oct 2, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (78)
Oct 2, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (78) / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of prospects that were at one point among the Toronto Blue Jays' plans for the future are now on the cusp of breaking out for a different major league team.

Austin Martin, 24, and Simeon Woods Richardson, 23, are now members of the Minnesota Twins after being dealt to Minnesota in exchange for José Berríos at the 2021 trade deadline. At the time of the deal, Martin was the Blue Jays No. 2 ranked prospect and Woods Richardson was ranked No. 4, according to MLB Pipeline. They were also both ranked within the top 100 prospects in all of baseball at the time.

Martin was drafted fifth overall by the Blue Jays in the 2020 draft, and him falling to the fifth pick was quite a shock at the time. Martin was essentially a consensus top three pick coming into that draft, with some analysts calling him the "best pure hitter" available, so when he fell to No. 5, the Blue Jays happily snagged him. Martin is primarily a shortstop, though, and with Bo Bichette currently occupying that spot on Toronto's roster, Martin became expandable at the deadline. Woods Richardson, on the other hand, came to Toronto via a trade. He, along with fellow pitching prospect Anthony Kay, were sent to Toronto from the New York Mets in exchange for Marcus Stroman in 2019.

Martin has had injury problems over the past couple seasons which has prevented him from seeing any major league action, while Woods Richardson struggled in the minors over parts of last year, and has seen only six days in the big leagues. Despite this, they, as well as members of the Twins organization, feel they're ready to contribute to the big league squad this season.

"We both handle adversity in different ways, but both (of us) have turned it into something positive. It’s good to learn these lessons because it will only help us in the future."

Austin Martin

While Martin says he is thankful for the adversity he has faced early in his career, Woods Richardson shares the same sentiment.

"Learning how you can develop your skills to help a team win in any situation and whatever role they give you … your plan is to execute that role and help the team. Whatever they have me do, you work on this now so that when your name does get called up, you know exactly what you’ve got to do."

Simeon Woods Richardson

The player the Blue Jays got in exchange for these two prospects, José Berríos, has been excellent so far in his Blue Jays career. Berríos has five years left on the seven-year, $131,000,000 contract he signed with Toronto in late 2021.