With the trade deadline only a few short weeks away, we at Tip of the Tower thought it would be a good idea to update our readers with our Toronto Blue Jays prospect rankings. Many of these names will circulate through trade rumours in the coming weeks, as the Blue Jays continue to make a push for the AL East title.
Although many of these players may not make a major league impact this year, they will still be the centre pieces of most potential trades. Here are our top 10 Blue Jays prospects.
1. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
After being promoted to AAA Buffalo earlier in the season, Sanchez was expected to continue on his fast track to the big leagues. But Sanchez has struggled a bit with the Bisons in seven games, giving up 16 earned runs and 17 walks in 33.1 innings of work.
A recent shift to the bullpen might be better suited for the young right hander, since he is projected to fit in the Blue Jays bullpen this year anyways. With a pitching arsenal that generates great late movement, and a mid-90’s fastball, Sanchez has the potential to be a top-end starter for years to come. Even with his recent struggles, he still projects as the Blue Jays’ top prospect.
AAA Stats: 0-3, 4.32 ERA, 33.1 IP, 35 H, 16 ER, 17 BB, 27 K
2. Daniel Norris, LHP, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)
After dominating opponents at Dunedin with the A+ club, Norris has been promoted to AA New Hampshire for the foreseeable future. Equipped with three above average pitches and quality control (27 walks in 86.1 IP this year), Norris looks to be on the rise in the Blue Jays prospect rankings.
The crafty lefty was even ranked above Aaron Sanchez in Keith Law’s prospect rankings for ESPN (Insider Access only). Norris still has lots of room to grow, but when you consider the jump he has made from last season to now, Blue Jays fans have to be pleased. Norris’ progression was highlighted by an appearance in the 2014 MLB Futures game this year. With a flurry of success for Norris in 2014, the future has never looked brighter for him.
A+/AA Stats: 7-1, 2.61 ERA, 86.1 IP, 71 H, 25 ER, 27 BB, 106 K
3. A.J. Jimenez, C, Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
I will be the first to admit that I am higher on Jimenez than others may be, but when you consider the Blue Jays’ current catching situation, Jimenez should be able to provide an upgrade as early as this year. Jimenez is an excellent defensive catcher who has a cannon for an arm, blocks balls very well and most importantly, receives the ball at an exceptional level.
His overall athleticism behind the plate should help the Blue Jays defensively for years to come. Although Jimenez’s offensive production is average at best, his defensive prowess makes him a top-tier prospect – if his elbow can stay healthy.
AA/AAA Stats: 69 GP, 260 AB, .254 BA, .295 OBP, .649 OPS, 26 R, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 16 BB, 44 K
4. Roberto Osuna, RHP, Rehab Assignment (Gulf Coast League)
After under going Tommy John surgery in July 2013, Osuna has worked his way back into the Blue Jays system. The young 19-year old right hander throws a mid-90’s fastball with above average movement. His off-speed pitches were developing well before Tommy John surgery, so Jays fans can only hope that development continues going forward.
Osuna’s great potential will more than likely not be on display until the spring of 2015. In the meantime, Jays fans can follow the young hurlers rehab back to the minors as he throws in Florida.
Rookie Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
5. Mitch Nay, 3B, Lansing Lugnuts (A)
The former Northwest League playoff MVP has above average power that could translate into a middle of the lineup hitter at the big league level. Although Nay is not much of a home run hitter, he is a gap shot guy who could develop into a home run hitter as he gets older – think a young Anthony Rizzo. His defence is okay, but serviceable none the less.
Nay is more than likely two seasons away from being called up to the big club, but if his bat can continue develop, he will prove to be another nice piece for the Blue Jays from what is shaping up to be an above average 2012 class.
A Stats: 93 GP, 361 AB, .277 BA, .337 OBP, .708 OPS, 46 R, 2 HR, 47 RBI, 4 SB, 31 BB, 54 K
6. Dalton Pompey, OF, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)
You would be hard pressed to find a Blue Jays prospect who has had a better 2014 than Pompey. In Class A Florida, Pompey put up sensational numbers that not only catapulted him to the 2014 MLB Futures game, but also a promotion to AA New Hampshire.
With a unique skill set that features speed, contact hitting, great defence and elite athleticism, Pompey has the Blue Jays excited for his future. After flying up to AA New Hampshire this season, it’s only a matter of time until the Mississauga, Ontario native gets a shot at the AAA level if he keeps producing like he has been.
A+/AA Stats: 88 GP, 390 AB, .295 BA, .379 OBP, .830 OPS, 59 R, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 33 SB, 44 BB, 68 K
7. D.J. Davis, OF, Lansing Lugnuts (A)
A former first round pick in 2012, Davis is an elite athlete who has an overwhelming amount of speed that at times draws comparisons to Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton.
If Davis can refine his aggressive approach at the plate to match his elite athleticism, he could be a staple of the Blue Jays outfield in the future. But in the meantime, he is a prospect full of potential that has much to work on.
A Stats: 85 GP, 355 AB, .214 BA, .271 OBP, .595 OPS, 43 R, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 10 SB, 26 BB, 122 K
8. Sean Nolin, LHP, Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
With the Blue Jays trading away most of their pitching prospects over the past few years, Nolin has been one of the few arms to stay with the club throughout all the minor league ranks.
The southpaw has good control but needs to improve his secondary pitches before arriving at the next level. With Nolin having success at every minor league level, he is probably the most MLB ready pitcher in the Blue Jays system with four years of seasoning under his belt. Although he has tons of experience, he will probably project as a number three or four starter going forward.
RK/A+/AAA Stats: 2-4, 3.52 ERA, 53.2 IP, 46 H, 21 ER, 26 BB, 52 K
9. Alberto Tirado, Vancouver Canadians (A-)
At only 19-years old, Tirado is a young right hander who throws three pitches effectively. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s range, while his off-speed pitches could use some more development still – particularly his slider/curveball.
At only 6 feet, 180 pounds, Tirado could certainly use some added weight to his frame. If Tirado’s physical development stays the course with his pitching development, Toronto could have a great young arm from the Dominican Republic. Tirado will more than likely see time in AA next year if he progresses well, likely having him as an option for the Blue Jays in the 2017 season, if all goes to plan.
A/A- Stats: 1-2, 5.98 ERA, 52.2 IP, 55 H, 35 ER, 51 BB, 50 K
10. Franklin Barreto, SS, Vancouver Canadians (A-)
After signing for more than $1 million in 2012, the super talented 18-year old shortstop from Venezuela appears set to fly up the prospects ranks in 2015. At 5 feet, 9 inches, Barreto is not the biggest player on the field by any means. But his aggressive approach on both the offensive and defensive end make up for his physical short comings.
Barreto has deceptively good combination of power and speed, allowing him to generate consistent offensive production. Although many evaluators feel Barreto is not a long-term option at shortstop, his overall game does translate into a major league calibre player. Keep an eye on Barreto in the 2015 season, as he will more than likely be one of the Blue Jays’ most talked about prospects.
A- Stats: 35 GP, 140 AB, .329 BA, .409 OBP, .895 OPS, 30 R, 1 HR, 32 RBI, 11 SB, 13 BB, 27 K
With lots of talent in the Blue Jays farm system, it will be interesting to see how general manager Alex Anthopoulos approaches the trade deadline. Will they be aggressive and go after an everyday major league player like David Price or Cliff Lee? Or will AA keep his stable of young prospects and build the Jays from within for the future?