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Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 34: Hayden Juenger

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Ryley Delaney
4 months ago
The Toronto Blue Jays have a thing for bulk relievers.
This is Blue Jays Nation’s annual pre-season list, in which I’ll take a look at the top 50 prospects in the organization. We’ll look at the player’s stats, my observations, and other publications’ scouting reports if available.
Let’s take a look at Hayden Juenger.

Getting to know Hayden Juenger…

Position: Relief Pitcher
Throws: Right
Born: August 9, 2000
Acquired: 6th-round, 2021 draft (Blue Jays)
2023 Team: Triple-A Buffalo
Previous Ranking: 25
After the Blue Jays signed him to a bonus of $197,500 after the 2021 draft, he hit the ground running for the High-A Vancouver Canadians. In 20 innings pitched, all in relief, Juenger had a 2.70 ERA and a 1.33 FIP, along with a fantastic 45.9 K% and a 5.4 BB%.
The Blue Jays experimented with Juenger as a starter in 2022 with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The righty started 17 of the 20 games he pitched for the team, posting a 4.02 ERA and a 5.04 FIP in 56 innings pitched. Juenger struck out 29.5% of batters, but his walk rate increased to 9.3%. Moreover, a long running issue since 2022 is the number of home runs he’s given up, as he allowed 12 home runs in his brief stint in the Granite State.
Nonetheless, the Jays promoted Juenger to Triple-A Buffalo in 2022, where he had a much better 3.31 ERA and 5.34 FIP in 32.2 innings pitched. Upon his promotion, he only started two of the 18 games he appeared in and had a 24.6 K% and 11.9%, the lowest and highest totals of his career respectively. Moreover, Juenger allowed six home runs in his Triple-A stint.
The 2023 season was a tough one for Juenger in his first full-season at the highest level of the minors. In 75.1 innings pitched, Juenger had a 6.33 ERA and a 4.82 FIP. Juenger struck out 26.4% of batters, but his BB% remained high at 11.2%. The good news is that his HR/9 dropped from 1.65 in 2022 with Buffalo to 1.31. He also had an incredibly high .375 BABIP, the seventh-highest in Triple-A for pitchers with 70+ innings pitched.
Despite the rough season, Juenger ranks on all three lists that have been published so far. On Scott Mitchell’s Top 50 list, Jueneger ranked as his 38th-best prospect, while Fangraphs has him as their 26th-best prospect, and Baseball America has him as their 28th-best prospect.
 
Mitchell notes that Juenger’s command has been an issue and that it was too easy for teams to hit him. Fangraphs note that his low arm slot gives batters a tough look. His fastball sits at 93-96 mph but has touched higher and plays up. He also has a changeup (graded with 50 present value and 55 future value), along with a high-90s slider. Personally, I never appreciated just how devastating a changeup could be until watching Juenger in 2022.
Since Juenger made Triple-A, his stock has declined due to not keeping the ball in the park and command issues. If he irons both those issues out, his stuff is nasty enough to earn him a role on the Jays within the next two seasons.

In case you missed it…

Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown: The honourable mentions
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 44: Zach Britton
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 43: David Guzmán
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 42: Devonte Brown
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 41: Manuel Beltre
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 40: Yhoangel Aponte
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 39: Dasan Brown
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 38: Peyton Williams
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 37: Nick Goodwin
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 36: Hagen Danner
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 35: Rainer Nuñez

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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