Which Blue Jays top prospects will be first to reach the major leagues?

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins
Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

The roster construction of the Toronto Blue Jays has been the subject of much scrutiny over the past few months. After an offseason that left much to be desired, the players in place have settled into their roles in the opening two weeks of the new season. 

Although the minor league system is again ranked toward the bottom of the league, there are some candidates to join the big leagues should injuries or poor performance occur. Orelvis Martinez, Jays Journal's No. 3 prospect, has been knocking on the door for the past several years and this could be the year he finally breaks through. With 86 home runs over his past three minor league seasons, there’s no questioning the 22-year-old’s power. 

Martinez battled through a terrible start to the 2023 season that saw him hit just .089 in April at Double-A New Hampshire. The Santo Domingo native worked hard to cut down on his strikeouts, improve his pitch recognition, and produce much better results for the rest of the season. 

By the time he had arrived in Buffalo, Martinez was also being asked to play a new position, second base. He may never be known as an elite defender, but the young slugger seems most comfortable at that spot. He can also play shortstop or third base, so if any of the Jays’ infielders is unavailable, Martinez will most likely get the call. 

The Blue Jays have already used a trio of players at third base in the early days of the 2024 season. As expected, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa has often received most of the playing time at the hot corner, but Ernie Clement and Justin Turner have also been mixed in. 

If any of those three goes down, it could be Addison Barger (Jays Journal No. 4) who is called upon. He’s a natural third baseman with a powerful left-handed swing and decent speed. The 24-year-old has also been getting reps in rightfield to increase his versatility. He battled injuries in 2023 but still, hit 25 doubles, nine homers, and a .745 OPS in 94 games. The 2018 sixth-round pick is off to a hot start with the Bisons this season, hitting .290 with a homer and eight RBI. 

The health of pitchers has never been more of a hot-button topic, and the Jays’s staff has been no stranger to the injured list. Different ailments have delayed the start of Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano’s campaigns and Alek Manoah struggled in his most recent start in Dunedin. That opened the door for Bowden Francis to win the fifth starter’s spot with a strong spring, but he’s looked shaky over his first two starts. 

If things continue as is, an opportunity could be given to the team’s top prospect, Ricky Tiedemann. He’s got his issues to work out after being pulled in the second inning of his second start of the season for Buffalo. He walked four batters and threw just 19 of 44 pitches for strikes. If Tiedemann can find his command, he could step into the rotation and give it some sizzle on the back end. If Manoah or Francis figure it out, “Big Ricky” could also be a September call-up out of the bullpen.