Toronto Blue Jays bolster their farm system with deadline deals

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Teoscar Hernandez
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Teoscar Hernandez /

The MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone but the Toronto Blue Jays did not have the fire-sale that many expected.

Despite trading veterans Franciso Liriano (to Houston) and Joe Smith (to Cleveland) the Toronto Blue Jays basically kept their 2017 roster intact, holding onto pending free-agents Marco Estrada and Jose Bautista.

In terms of this year’s club these deals won’t make a huge difference. The Jays called up Brett Oberholtzer and JP Howell from Buffalo to replace Liriano and Smith and they acquired veteran outfielder Nori Aoki from Astros.

But it’s the prospects that Toronto acquired that may have the greatest impact on the team moving forward. Here is a quick look at Teoscar Hernandez, Thomas Pannone, and Samad Taylor.


Similar to the trade the Jays made for Liriano last season, the club took on more money to obtain a better prospect. In 2016 Toronto gave up Drew Hutchinson at the deadline and got Liriano, and prospects Harold Ramirez, and Reese McGuire in return.

Hernandez is the most exciting of the players coming to Toronto. The 24 year old has been consistent this season in Triple-A Fresno, with a .279 average, .369 OBP, 12 home runs, and 12 stolen bases  in 79 games this season.

The Dominican outfielder appears close to contributing at the Major League roster, as he’s already played 42 games for the Astros over the last two seasons.

Before yesterday he was ranked ninth on Houston’s MLB Pipeline prospect list, and is now ranked fifth for Toronto.

With Bautista and Ezequiel Carrera potentially leaving after 2017, Toronto will have an outfield that includes Aoki, Kevin Pillar, and Steve Pearce. Near-MLB ready outfielders Dwight Smith Jr., Dalton Pompey, Anthony Alford, and now Hernandez will also be in the mix.

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins seems pretty excited about the addition of Hernandez.

"“He’s a well-rounded player,” Atkins said. “He runs well, throws well, gets on base, has some power, can play all three outfield positions.“It’s extremely difficult to acquire talent that you can say all of those things about that you will have five-plus years of control of and can potentially be someone that you can count on year in and year out.”"

Hernandez will start in Buffalo, but Atkins believes he could be back in the Bigs as early as this September.

Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline ranked the top prospects that were traded before Monday’s deadline and Hernandez was ranked 11th on that list.

Since Liriano would probably have walked after the season, getting a veteran outfielder and a near-MLB ready prospect in return seems like a win for Toronto.


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The 23 year lefty seems a little further off than Hernandez. Having started the season at Single-A Lynchburg, he was quickly promoted to Double-A after pitching 27.2 scoreless innings. He has continued to impress for the Akron RubberDucks, with a combined 8-1 record, a 1.96 ERA, and 120 Ks at the two levels.

Pannone is now ranked 21st on Toronto’s prospect list, and MLB Pipeline predicts that he could make the Bigs by 2019. The scouting report on him suggests that he could be a solid back of the rotation starter, or possible a reliever.

He has a fastball that can reach up to 93 mph but scouts say he will have to rely on the deception of his pitches rather than his power.

Atkins is a big fan of Pannone, having drafted him in 2013 when he was still GM of the Cleveland Indians.

The Rhode Island native was ranked as the 32nd best prospect traded this season and will be assigned to Double-A New Hampshire.


The Single-A second baseman is the furthest away of these three prospects. A 2016 draft pick, he just turned 19 three weeks ago, but he has excelled so far in his brief career. In 28 games this season for the Single-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers he batted .300, with a .328 OBP.

The Blue Jays already have a logjam of middle infielders, with Bo Bichette in Dunedin, Richard Urena and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in New Hampshire, Nate Pearson in Vancouver, and Kevin Smith in Bluefield. So the team is not sure where Taylor will be assigned when he joins the organization.

Next: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada working on an extension

Teams can still make trades throughout August, but it becomes a little more complicated as players have to pass through waivers. Depending on how this month goes, the team may look to make further moves to get younger for 2018.  Reports have surfaced that the Jays are attempting to re-sign Estrada, but keep an eye Bautista and Carrera as potential August trade options.