Since life isn’t fair, just as I had finished writing a zillion words on the 50 guys who were attending Blue Jays spring training, the team announced a list of other guys who would also be showing up to camp in Dunedin. I mean, we knew there were going to be non-roster prospects at big league camp, but, now that there’s an official list, let’s talk about them.
OFFICIAL: We’ve signed LHP Brian Moran to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Additionally, we’ve extended Spring Training invites to the following players. pic.twitter.com/YNx1o6sPTF
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 7, 2020
LHP Brian Moran: The most recent minor-league signing by the Blue Jays, Moran made his debut with the Miami Marlins last season at the age of 30. Moran was actually selected by the Blue Jays in the Rul 5 draft back in 2013 but was purchased by the Angels immediately after. He’s posted good numbers in the minors as a reliever with high strikeout totals but hasn’t really earned much of a chance beyond that. Given Thomas Pannone is the only lefty reliever the Jays have on the 40-man, it isn’t surprising they’re looking for others.
RHP Bryan Baker: One of the three players Colorado sent to Toronto in the Seung-hwan Oh trade a couple of years ago, Bryan Baker is knocking on the door of the Major Leagues. He’s a 25-year-old who switched to the bullpen while still in Colorado and has found added velocity since doing so. The issue for Baker is control as he walked six batters per nine innings between Double- and Triple-A in 2019.
RHP Nate Pearson: It’s just a matter of time before we see Nate Pearson, Toronto’s top prospect and one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, join the Blue Jays. Pearson will start the season in Buffalo and we’ll surely see him called up before the end of the season.
LHP Kirby Snead: Drafted in the 11th round of the 2016 draft, Snead has worked his way up the Blue Jays’ system the past few seasons, establishing himself as a somewhat interesting bullpen prospect. Given Toronto’s lack of left-handed relievers, a good showing in Buffalo could really put him on the Major League radar.
RHP Ty Tice: The 16th-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2017, it took Tice just a couple of years to work his way from Low-A Lansing to Triple-A Buffalo as he posted quality numbers out of the bullpen at each stop. Unlike Snead, though, Tice has a huge list of righty relief arms ahead of him on the depth chart.
C Riley Adams: Of the Blue Jays’ wealth of quality catching prospects, Adams is the closest to Major league ready as he played most of his season in New Hampshire last year. The 2017 third-round pick slashed a .261/.366/.433 line between Single- and Double-A last year, putting him on the map as a quality prospect. We’ll likely see Adams spend the year in Buffalo along with veteran catcher Caleb Joseph.
C Alejandro Kirk: After a monster season in the lower minors, Kirk has rocketed up the Blue Jays’ prospect depth chart, earning him an honourable mention in Baseball America’s most recent Top 100 list. Kirk slashed .290/.403/.465 line between Low- and High-A in 2019 and will surely make the jump to Double-A to start the 2020 season.
INF Nash Knight: An undrafted college player signed by the Blue Jays back in 2016, Knight is known mostly for his glove and positional versatility. He hasn’t ever produced at a high level in the minors and is mostly an organizational depth guy.
INF Kevin Smith: After a breakout 2018 season that resulted in him rocketing up Toronto’s prospect depth chart, Smith had a massive step backwards in 2019, slashing a .209/.263/.402 line in Double-A. Apparently, this was the result of a change to his swing, so hopefully, Smith can go back and do whatever it was he was doing before last season.
INF Logan Warmoth: Toronto’s top pick from the 2017 draft was on his way to bust territory, but a strong showing in Dunedin (albeit, on his second go-around at the level) coupled with a good month in the Arizona Fall League, Warmoth has shown life. A good year in Double-A would put him back on track to being a legitimate prospect.
OF Josh Palacios: The fourth-round pick of the Blue Jays in that aforementioned 2017 draft, Palacios had a decent season in New Hampshire, slashing a .266/.371/.416 line, but has a lot of work to do in order to push his way through the logjam of outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart.
OF Forrest Wall: Same goes for Wall, the main player who came back in the Oh trade. Wall was once a first-round pick but he hasn’t found his stroke at the minor league level yet. The one thing Wall has going for him in the fact he’s a centre fielder and second baseman, and positional versatility is something the Blue Jays love. He’ll start the year in Buffalo but has a lot of work to do in order to make it through that same logjam.
OFFICIAL: We've signed RHP Rafael Dolis to a 1-year deal with a club option for 2021. Dolis had a 2.11 ERA in the JPCL last season.
To make room, INF Breyvic Valera has been designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/ooivWkT2g5
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 9, 2020
Also! The Blue Jays officially announced the signing of reliever Rafael Dolis, the reliever coming back to the Majors from Japan. In a corresponding move, utility guy Breyvic Valera was designated for assignment. It was shocking to see Valera continue to survive so many rounds of cuts, but his tenure on the roster finally came to an end this weekend.