Just because the minor league season ends next week, doesn’t mean that development ends for the season.
On Friday afternoon, the Blue Jays announced their six attendees to the Arizona Fall League.
OFFICIAL: Our representatives at the 2022 Arizona Fall League! pic.twitter.com/AfelDqKDD0
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 16, 2022
Let’s go through each of the players on the roster.
Catcher/outfielder Zach Britton enjoyed a breakout season. With the Vancouver Canadians, the 23-year-old slashed .239/.390/.441 with a 17.4 BB% and 28.7 K% along with seven homers in 236 plate appearances.
He was promoted to New Hampshire, where he slashed .234/.355/.453 with a 15.8 BB% and 22.4 K% in 76 plate appearances, adding three homers. Britton will be Rule 5 eligible at the end of the 2023 season.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) August 5, 2022
Zach Britton ranks as Blue Jays Nation’s 37th best Blue Jays Prospect.
Speaking of breakout seasons, the biggest surprise to me here is Addison Barger. The 22-year-old third baseman/shortstop enjoyed a breakout season, first slashing .300/.366/.558 with 14 homers in 292 plate appearances (wRC+ of 150) for the Vancouver Canadians.
A promotion to Double A didn’t slow him down, as he slashed .311/.380/.533 with nine homers in 187 plate appearances (wRC+ of 148) with New Hampshire.
uhhhhhh, I'm pretty sure @AddisonBarger (Addison Barger) just left the stadium.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) August 18, 2022
Furthermore, his K% dropped from 31.6% in 2021 to around 25.9% between the two levels this season. The surprising part about Barger being added to the AFL roster is that he’ll be Rule 5 eligible this off season. The Jays are likely planning to add him to the 40-man roster.
Barger ranks as Blue Jays Nation’s 12th best Blue Jays prospect.
Another surprise to me is Tanner Morris, who is also Rule 5 eligible at the end of the 2022 season. The 24-year-old started his 2022 with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, slashing .312/.430/.468 in 186 plate appearances, which saw him hit five homers and have a 16.1 BB% and K%.
His slash line decreased to .173/.352/.173 with the Buffalo Bisons in 126 plate appearances, but he had an incredible 19.8 BB% and K%, which resulted in a respectable .352 on base percentage.
After a 12 pitch walk, in his first PA, Tanner Morris drives in ANOTHER 2 runs.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) July 23, 2022
Morris is a versatile infielder, getting significant time at third base, shortstop, and second base. Like Barger, it’s likely that Morris will be added to the 40-man roster as teams tend to hide players that are Rule 5 eligible. Another reason why Morris will be sent to Arizona is because he spent significant time on the injured list.
Tanner Morris ranks as Blue Jays Nation’s 20th best prospect.
The soon-to-be 24-year-old reliever converted from a pitcher before the 2021 season. With the Vancouver Canadians, he posted a 2.02 ERA and 3.61 FIP in 35.2 innings. Moreover, he had a 29.4 K% and 8.4 BB% while throwing high 90s fastballs and an above-average slider.
Unfortunately, he missed the majority of the season with an injury, only pitching in 3.2 innings before being shut down.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) August 28, 2021
Already on the 40-man roster, Danner could rise up the minor leaguers quickly if all goes well, as his stuff is incredible. The first step in everything going well is to perform with the Salt River Rafters.
Hagen Danner ranks as Blue Jays Nation’s 31st best prospect.
Like Danner, Tolhurst missed significant time this season due to injury. Drafted in 2019, Tolhurst was drafted all the way back in 2019, yet only made his professional debut on July 28th. This was due to the COVID shortened 2020, as well as an injured 2021 season.
The 22-year-old righty pitched at two levels in 2022, first with the Florida Complex League Jays, where he posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.23 FIP in 5 innings pitched. He had an impressive 38.1 K% and low 4.8 BB% with the FCL team.
@anderstolhurst (Anders Tolhurst) debut K thread!
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) August 26, 2022
He also got a look with the Dunedin Blue Jays, where he’s posted a 2.45 ERA and 4.34 FIP in 7.1 innings, where he pitched mainly as a reliever. His 31.6 K% is still on the impressive side, but he had an elevated 23.7 BB%
While he is Rule 5 eligible, Tolhurst needs innings for his development, therefore the Jays will take the risk.
The 23-year-old righty is in the same boat as Tolhurst and Danner, as he missed significant time in 2022 with an injury.
Selected in the 8th round of the 2021 draft, Gregory has a solid start to his 2022. He posted a 7.24 ERA and 3.60 FIP in 32.1 innings pitched. He has a big arm, as he had a 27.6 K% and 7.6 BB% in that stint. Gregory started six of his ten appearances and had some crappy luck with BABIP, as it was at an incredibly high .382.
Gregory will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in 2024, meaning that his inclusion is just to give him innings for his development.
There’s still winter league:
Fall League happens before the Rule 5 draft, which is why most teams are hesitant to add eligible players to the Fall League. However, after the Rule 5 draft, there is the Venezuelan Winter League, Dominican Winter League, and even the Australian Winter League.
There is a good chance that quite a few prospects that aren’t selected in the Rule 5 draft play some Winter Ball to work on some things.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. Hopefully, these games will be streamed, if that’s the case, I’ll be posting highlights of these players on my Twitter account.