Blue Jays Farm System Analysis: There are plenty of interesting outfielders in the lower minors
Photo credit:MLB Film Room
5 months ago
This is the last position player article in the series!
Today, we’ll look at outfielders in the organization. As one would expect, a lot of players in the organization have the versatility to play both the infield and outfield. For example, Otto López has played some serious innings in centre field, but he was listed in the middle infielder article.
There are some players listed as outfielders, such as Rafael Lantigua on Buffalo and Daniel Pérez on the DSL Jays who actually play more infield. Furthermore, MacKenzie Mueller is listed as an outfielder on the Vancouver Canadians’ roster, but has transitioned to a left-handed relief pitcher (and an interesting one at that!)
This will probably be the longest analysis until the reliever article, which I’m not looking forward to. So without further ado, we’ll start with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and work our way down to the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays.
Buffalo Bisons’ outfield depth:
The Buffalo Bisons have four outfielders on their roster, three of whom have MLB experience. Jordan Luplow has the most big league experience of the bunch, slashing .211/.312/.429 with 45 homers in 977 plate appearances from 2017-2023. This season with Buffalo, he’s slashing .231/.317/.407 with four homers in 123 plate appearances.
Nathan Lukes has spent a few months on the Blue Jays roster this season, but only had 23 plate appearances, slashing .158/.261/.263. This in turn, has only given him 34 plate appearances with Buffalo this season, where he’s slashing .310/.412/.517. Last season, he slashed .285/.364/.425 with 11 homers (team high) in 484 plate appearances. He just needs an opportunity.
Wynton Bernard has a great story, finally making the big leagues in the 2022 season with the Colorado Rockies after spending over a decade in the minor leagues. He slashed .286/.286/.310 with no homers in 42 plate appearances with the team. He signed with the Blue Jays organization, and is slashing .280/.366/.412 with three homers in 243 plate appearances. I hope he gets another shot in the big leagues, as he can hit for average and has plus speed.
Cam Eden is the only outfielder without MLB experience, and he’s being prepped to play a similar role to Kevin Kiermaier as a second leadoff hitter. This season with Buffalo, he’s slashing .247/.362/.330 with two homers in 220 plate appearances. He’s stolen 29 of 30 bags he’s attempted, and has a 10.9 BB% and 26.4 K%. He does have some power in his game as well, as he hit 12 home runs last season between Single-A, High-A, and Double-A, where he hit 10.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ outfield depth:
The Blue Jays Double-A team have five outfielders on the roster at the moment. The 2022 eighth-round pick Dylan Rock has been the best of the bunch, slashing .293/.357/.507 with four homers in just 84 plate appearances. Moreover, he skipped High-A entirely as he was assigned to New Hampshire to start the season after 89 plate appearances with Dunedin in 2022. He’s unfortunately on the 7-day IL.
Steward Berroa is the most fun player in the organization to was, and he’s slashing .225/.351/.369 with three homers in 198 plate appearances. He has stolen 24 of 31 bases, and has a 100 wRC+. Sebastian Espino has some upside to his game, as he hit 14 homers last season, but has only slashed .210/.289/.328 with three homers in 137 plate appearances. His slash line is up, while his K% is down, but he only has a 68 wRC+, compared to a 59 wRC+ in 2022, also with New Hampshire.
After a slow start, Will Robertson is slashing .191/.300/.401 with eight home runs in 190 plate appearances. His eight homers rank fifth in the organization, and he has a 89 wRC+, which has been about where’s he has been for the past three seasons (88 wRC+ in ‘21, 89 wRC+ in ‘22. Zac Cook has struggled in 2022, slashing .189/.295/.351 with five homers in 132 plate appearances. He hit two homers in the most recent series, and has a 35.6 K% on the season.
Vancouver’ outfield depth:
The Vancouver Canadians have five outfielders on the roster. Garrett Spain has been the best of the bunch and one of the best players in the organization this season. He’s slashing .301/.350/.593 with a career-best seven homers in 123 plate appearances. His 139 wRC+ on the season ranks second in the organization with Riley Tirotta.
Alan Roden is having a good first full pro season, slashing .282/.404/.421 with three homers in 235 plate appearances. He has stolen 13 bases in 15 attempts, and has a higher BB% (12.8%) than K% (10.6%). He has a 127 wRC+ on the season. After a breakout season in 2022, Gabriel Martinez has struggled this season, slashing .233/.297/.344 with four homers in 210 plate appearances. He’s still very young for the High-A level.
Devonte Brown was a non-drafted free agent after the 2022 draft for whatever reason. He’s slashing .248/.331/.402 with four homers in 136 plate appearances. After a 171 wRC+ in 107 plate appearances last season, he only has a 93 wRC+ this season. Dasan Brown (yes, this was intentional) is slashing .217/.286/.307 with four homers in 212 plate appearances for a 59 wRC+. He’s heating up though, slashing .286/.362/.440 with three homers since May 19th.
Dunedin’s outfield depth:
The Dunedin Blue Jays have the most outfielders on the roster, but three of them are on the injured list. Peniel Brito is on the 60-day IL, and hasn’t played this season. He slashed .132/.320/.132 in 50 plate appearances with the FCL Jays last season.
Canadian J.C. Masson is on the 7-day IL, and is slashing .215/.342/.231 with no homers in 79 plate appearances this season. Although his 16.5 BB% is high, he has struggled with strikeouts, as his K% sits at 39.2%. Marcos De La Rosa is salshing .114/.204/.159 with no homers in 49 plate appearances with Dunedin this season. Last year with the FCL Jays, he slashed .207/.336/.450 with six homers in 136 plate appearances, so there’s still hope for him. The 21-year-old is also on the 7-day IL.
Jaden Rudd has been the best producing player for Dunedin this season. The 20-year-old is slashing .253/.407/.367 with two homers in 210 plate appearances, along with a 15.7 BB% and a 24.3 K% for a 127 wRC+. Roque Salinas has had a tough start to his season, slashing .189/.229/.243 with a homer in 179 plate appearances. His wRC+ has dropped from 96 in 2022 to 32 this season.
Like Rudd, Robert Robertis was one player I thought could have a breakout season this season. The 20-year-old outfielder has had a rough season, slashing .184/.291/.224 with a homer in 179 plate appearances for a 54 wRC+. Still, he has some intriguing raw power and hit for average in the FCL last season.
FCL Jays’ outfield depth:
The FCL Jays have five outfielders on their roster, all of which are active.Yhoangel Aponte has been the most impressive of the bunch, as he’s slashing .294/.429/.500 with a homer in 42 plate appearances this season. His 33 K% is a career-high, but he’s been able to draw a walk as he has a 16.7 BB%. It’s still very early in the season, but it;s an encouraging sign.
Victor Arias has the most home runs out of the bunch, and he’s slashing .160/.313/.440 with two homers in 32 plate appearances. Like Aponte, he has a high BB% of 18.8%, but an elevated K% of 34.4%. Yeuni Munoz is similar to the two players, slashing .231/.310/.346 with a 10.3 BB% and a 34.5 K% in 29 plate appearances. He has yet to his a home run this season.
18-year-old Jean Joseph has had a good start to his FCL debut, slashing .261/.433/.261 with no homers in 30 plate appearances. He has a very high 23.3 BB% and a 26.7 K% for a 108 wRC+. Juan Pizarro hasn’t played much since 2019, but has a .107/.278/.107 slash line in 36 plate appearances this season. Like most players we’ve looked at in this section, he has a high BB% of 16.7% and a high strikeout rate of 30.6%.
DSL Jays’ outfield depth:
The Dominican Summer League Jays have four outfielders on the roster. The most notable of which is Enmanuel Bonilla, who was the Blue Jays big international free agent signing in the 2023 period. He’s slashing .200/.349/.343 with three extra base hits and a 14 BB% and 23.3 K%. He has reached base in all 10 games he’s appeared in, and has a hit in six of the last seven games.
David Guzmán is one of two outfielders with a homer in the DSL this season. He’s slashing .147/.341/.294 with a 20.5 BB% and a 9.1 K% in his 44 plate appearances. Impressive raw power for a player that stands 5’7”, 160 lbs. Jonathan Bautista has the other one, and is slashing .125/.300/.313 with a 45 K% and 20 BB% in 20 plate appearances.
That leaves Railin Tejada, who has been one of the better hitters for the DSL Jays, slashing .324/.368/.353 with one extra base hit. He hit two homers last season with the DSL Jays, and his K% dropped from 41.4% in 2022 to 18.4% so far in 2023.
The state of outfielders in the organization:
The Blue Jays are in a weird position for infield prospects. They don’t have a top 30 MLB Pipeline prospect in the upper minors, but Cam Eden and Dylan Rock are having strong seasons.
The lower minors are a different story. Gabriel Martinez has had a rough season after a breakout in 2022, but he’s still young enough that he can turn it around. Dasan Brown remains one of the most toolsy players in the organzation, with 80-grade speed, great defense, and a bat that needs some more polish, but has flashed what it could be.
Moreover, Alan Roden has been the best performing 2022 draft pick for the Jays, as he’s been a fantastic leadoff hitter for the 36-26 Vancouver Canadians.
The Blue Jays gave a franchise record $4,100,000 signing bonus to Enmanuel Bonilla in the 2023 international free agency period. So while he’s been a little bit subpar according to wRC+, the 17-year-old outfielder still has a ton of promise.
Previously in the series…
Blue Jays Farm System Analysis: Looking at the catchers in the organization and finding the breakout candidates
Blue Jays Farm System Analysis: The organization loves their versatile, hit-for-average, corner infielders
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. Next up, we’ll look at starting pitchers, before doing the very, very long, reliever article.
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