The Blue Jays have made an addition to their 60-man player pool, calling up 20-year-old catching prospect Gabriel Moreno to join the club at the Alternate Training Site in Rochester.
Catcher Gabriel Moreno, a consensus top 10 prospect in #BlueJays system, has been added to the club’s 60-man player pool.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) August 15, 2020
Moreno is currently ranked as the Blue Jays’ No. 8 prospect by MLB.com. Signed as a shortstop during the international free agent signing period in 2016, the Blue Jays shifted Moreno behind the plate and he’s broken out as one of the organization’s top catching prospects.
Last season in Low-A Lansing, Moreno slashed an impressive .280/.337/.485 line. He also made contact on an eye-popping 88 percent of his swings and threw out 33 percent of stolen base attempts. Moreno is a bat-first prospect, but his incredible athleticism means he has the potential to be an all-around elite catcher.
So, why now? Is there anything behind the Blue Jays adding Moreno to the 60-man pool a month into the season?
The thing that jumps out to me is that only players who are a part of the 60-man pool can be traded this season. So, if the Jays go ahead and pull the trigger on a deal, perhaps one to help their chances of winning now, they would have to deal talent from their player pool. I’m not saying that Moreno was added so he can be traded, but it does give the Jays that flexibility.
Another thing to consider is that Moreno will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the off-season, so the Jays will have to add him to their 40-man roster at some point. Riley Adams, another catching prospect, is also eligible for the Rule 5, so the Jays could be in a situation where they have four catchers — Moreno, Adams, Danny Jansen, and Reese McGuire — on their 40-man, which is obviously more than you’d usually see.
With that in mind, it wouldn’t be overly shocking to see the Jays pull the trigger on a deal involving one of their catchers. Maybe it’s Moreno or Adams getting moved for a win-now player. Maybe it’s Reese McGuire getting dealt to a contending team as a backup catcher upgrade. Who knows.
Of course, there’s also a pretty good chance that this move is simply about just getting Moreno into intrasquad games in Rochester. This would give Toronto’s three catchers at the Alternate Training Site, which could also open the door for an Alejandro Kirk call-up.