As the team limps through the final month of a fairly miserable 2017 season, the focus has shifted to the future. After back-to-back seasons in the playoffs, we aren’t used to prospect watching, but here we are!
Today, the Blue Jays announced that eight players in the minor leagues will be joining the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League.
RHP Andrew Case
RHP Jackson McClelland
LHP Daniel Young
RHP T.J. Zeuch
C Javier Hernandez
C Max Pentecost
IF Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
OF Jonathan Davis
The most notable names on this list are last winter’s Cuban free agent splash Lourdes Gurriel, and Max Pentecost and T.J. Zeuch, the Blue Jays’ first round picks from 2014 and 2016 respectively.
Gurriel’s first season with the organization has been largely derailed due to a hamstring injury suffered back in April. The 23-year-old was sidelined for a month-and-a-half and had a difficult time getting back on track with Single-A Dunedin. All told, Gurriel has played in just 58 games this season, owning a .230/.267/.335 slash line between Single- and Double-A.
Despite the rough season, Gurriel is still one of few prospects the Jays have that can potentially make an impact on the team next season. Due to his versatility as a multi-position player, he’ll be in the running for a spot on the team’s 25-man roster in 2018, and a strong AFL showing would help his cause.
Pentecost has also had a hell of a time staying healthy since being selected by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 2014 draft. After his first season as a professional, Pentecost underwent shoulder surgery and ultimately missed the entire 2015 season. In parts of four years with the organization, Pentecost has only played in 171 games, and a good chunk have been spent at either first base or designated hitter as his future behind the plate is questionable.
Zeuch has had a curious season in Dunedin as he’s come on and off the disabled list twice with an undisclosed injury. He’s only made 10 starts in Single-A this season due to those two disabled list trips, but owns a solid 3.62 ERA. Since being drafted, Zeuch has has made 22 starts between a handful of low minor league levels and owns a 4.05 ERA.
All three players have major upside but badly need to see more game action, which is pretty much exactly what the Arizona Fall League is for.
Last season, the Jays sent Anthony Alford, Danny Jansen, Ryan McBroom, Conner Greene, Tim Mayza, John Stilson, and Matt Dermody to play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL. Alford had a particularly good showing and it seemed to play a role in the breakout season he’s had in the minor leagues in 2017, and on the flip side of that, Jansen and Mayza put up mediocre numbers in the AFL but both have broken on to the organization’s map this year. Hopefully Gurriel and Co. can follow suit.