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Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown: The honourable mentions

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
5 months ago
As per tradition, there were some that missed the Blue Jays Nation’s Top 50 list.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 26 players that missed out on the Top 50 list, whether they fell off, may have breakout season, or I just wanted to talk about them.
This one will be a long one, so let’s get started.

Fell off the Top 50

Tanner Morris ranked as the 32 prospect in our mid-season ranking, but is 26 years old and didn’t have the best season in Triple-A. He slashed .281/.390/.394 with six homers in 411 plate appearances, along with a 14.8 BB% and a 19.7 K%. He has a good hit tool, not a lot of power, and will probably fill a utility role.
Otto López being an honourable mention may come as a shock, as he was our 37th-best mid-season prospect. However, the 25-year-old had an abysmal 2023 season, slashing .258/.313/.343 with two homers in 346 plate appearances in an injury-filled season. There’s also a chance that he’ll be designated for assignment soon, as he’s out of option years.
Jimmy Robbins had a strong season in 2022 in Single-A, High-A, and Double-A where he had a 30.2 K% and a 9.8 BB% in 76.1 innings, along with a 2.59 ERA and a 3.62 FIP. Unfortunately, the 2023 season wasn’t as strong for the 26-year-old lefty with New Hampshire, posting a 4.67 ERA and a 4.45 FIP in 86.2 innings pitched, along with a 21.9 K% and 13.8 BB%.
Sam Shaw will more than likely be back on the Top 50 list at some point in the future, and the 18-year-old had a good start to his professional career. He slashed .207/.425/.276 with two doubles in 40 plate appearances in the Florida Complex League, and even ranked as Fangraphs’ 30th-best Jays prospect. It’s just a numbers game, but with a strong 2024, he’ll be on the list.
Robert Robertis was an outfielder I pegged for a breakout year after slashing .290/.353/.402 in the FCL with two homers in Double-A during the 2022 season. Unfortunately, Robertis struggled in 2023 with the FCL Jays and Dunedin Blue Jays, slashing .184/.287/.230 in 230 plate appearances, along with a 12.2 BB% and a 29.1 K% and only hit one homer.
Trenton Wallace missed out on the pre-season list due to injury. He pitched 40.1 innings in High-A and had a 1.79 ERA and a 2.98 FIP, along with a 30.1 K% and a 7.1 BB%, before struggling in his 8.1 innings in Double-A. The stuff is nasty, and with a good start to his 2024 season, he’ll probably be back on the list.
Alejandro Melean had such a strong start to 2022 with the High-A Vancouver Canadians, posting a 1.69 ERA and a 3.22 FIP in 32 innings pitched. He struggled against more advanced batters in Double-A to end the 2022 season, and repeated the level in 2023. Melean improved a bit, posting a 4.41 ERA and a 4.79 FIP, along with a 22.1 K%, but the 12.8 BB% remains high. Still has one of the best changeups in the organization, though.

Pitchers that just missed

Here, we’ll look at 11 pitchers that just missed out on the list.
Rafael Sánchez had a strong start to his 2023, posting a 2.27 ERA and a 2.91 FIP in 35.2 innings pitched, along with a 30.9 K% and a 3.6 BB% in Dunedin. The 24-year-old’s tenure in High-A didn’t go as well, posting a 5.17 ERA and a 4.34 FIP in 78.1 innings pitched, along with a 22.2 K% and a 6.7 BB% with High-A Vancouver. He was one of only five pitchers to reach the century mark for the Jays in 2023. Best pitch is a changeup.
Paxton Schultz is another pitcher to reach the 100-inning pitched mark in 2023. His numbers with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats were solid, with a 3.30 ERA and a 3.02 FIP in 46.1 innings, alongside a 27.3 K% and a 9.6 BB%. The numbers weren’t as good with Triple-A Buffalo, as he had a 5.92 ERA and a 6.09 FIP in 62.1 innings, along with a 20.6 K% and a 14.3 BB%.
Devereaux Harrison probably should have made my list, and if there’s a trade that features one of the unreleased articles, he’ll probably occupy the 50th spot. He pitched exclusively with the Canadians last season and had a 2.95 ERA and a 5.10 FIP in 94.2 innings pitched, which is quite surprising for a pitcher who started just two games in college. As a starter, Harrison had a 2.88 ERA and a 5.03 FIP in 81.1 innings pitched, along with a 22 K% and an 8.6 BB%. Nasty slider too.
Lazaro Estrada is always on the fringe of the Top 50. The 24-year-old had a 2.83 ERA and FIP in 76.1 innings pitched in Dunedin, along with a 33.3 K% and an 8.4 BB%, starting nine games of the 28 he appeared in. The curveball lost some spin rate, but it’s still by far the best in the organization. Don’t discount the fastball or slider either, both are at worst, average pitches.
Ian Churchill was one of the best relievers in the Jays organization last season statistically. Between Single-A and High-A, the left-handed pitcher had a 0.89 ERA and a 3.41 FIP, along with a 31.5 K% and a 15.2 BB%. Churchill hides the ball well, and the low-90s fastball pairs well with the slider and changeup.
Pat Gallagher had a strong season between Single-A and High-A. The 23-year-old had a 3.13 ERA and a 3.80 FIP in 63.1 innings pitched, along with a 29.4 K% and a 7.1 BB%. Don’t be shocked if he makes the list in the mid-season update. Gallagher features a high-80s fastball, curveball, splitter, and curveball.
Ryan Jennings produced a strong 2023 season, posting a 3.98 ERA and a 3.52 FIP in 43 innings pitched, along with a 30.9 K% and a 9.6 BB%. Jennings’ fastball sits in the mid-90s and has a good curveball.
Mason Fluharty is a soft-tossing lefty that gets the job done. He started his season with the High-A Vancouver Canadians and had a 0.59 ERA and a 2.79 FIP in 15.1 innings pitched with a fantastic 36.2 K% and an 8.6 BB%. Upon his promotion to Double-A, his numbers jumped to a 4.25 ERA and a 4.06 FIP in 42.1 innings pitched, but maintained a high 28 K% and a 9.3 BB%. Interesting release point, and the slider is gross.
Gage Stanifer didn’t have a great professional debut, posting a 6.33 ERA and a 4.42 FIP in 42.2 innings pitched in the FCL, along with a 24.4 K% and an 11.9 BB%. He’s one of only a handful of pitchers in the organization with a splitter and has already touched the upper 90s with the heater. He’s a breakout candidate in 2024.
Nolan Perry is another breakout candidate and also a 2022 draftee (as the last five pitchers have been). Like Stanifer, the high school drafted pitcher struggled in the FCL, posting a 7.28 ERA and a 4.05 FIP in 38.1 innings pitched. The 20-year-old has a 28.3 K% and an 8.9 BB% and is ranked as Scott Mitchell’s 25th-best Blue Jays prospect. Fastball, splitter, slider, curveball mix.
Luis Quiñones also throws a splitter. In 86.1 innings pitched during the 2023 season with New Hampshire, Quiñones had a 4.80 ERA and a 4.90 FIP, along with a 29.1 K% and a 9.5 BB%. More importantly, he dropped his BB% from 15.9% in 2022 to 9.5% in 2023..On top of the splitter, he features a slider, curveball and low-90s fastball.

Position Players that just missed

Here, we’ll look at 11 position players that missed.
Daniel Pérez signed with the Jays during the 2023 International Free Agency period and slashed .294/.421/.479 with five home runs in 205 plate appearances, along with a 15.6 BB% and a 19.5 K%. Usually, these numbers would warrant a spot in the Top 50, but he did this as a 21-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. Still, keep an eye on the left-handed batting first baseman as he faces competition his age.
Edward Duran was acquired at the 2022 trade deadline along with Anthony Bass and Zach Pop as a player to be named later. In 2023 between the FCL and Single-A, the catcher had a .315/.422/.417 slash line and two homers, along with a 15.6 BB% and 13 K% in 154 plate appearances. It’s likely he’ll start the 2024 season in Dunedin and could very well be on this list come August.
Phil Clarke was probably the best catcher in the organization during the 2023 season. With New Hampshire, the backstop slashed .260/.381/.391 with six homers, along with a 12.7 BB% and a 14.3 K% in 259 plate appearances. He had a sneakily good season, but the defence needed work as he allowed eight passed balls and only threw out about 20% of batters. Still, he’s the best the Jays have for upper-minor catchers.
Angel Guzman is a shortstop the Jays signed during the 2024 IFA period. He could hit for a bit of power (grade 55 by MLB Pipeline) and stick at shortstop. He’s definitely a player to monitor come June when the Dominican Summer League kicks off.
Miguel Hiraldo bounced back in a big way during the 2023 season, slashing .275/.334/.453 with 12 homers in 354 plate appearances with the Double-A Fisher Cats. His 115 wRC+ was his best total since 2019, but his 31.4 K% was the highest in his career. He’ll likely start the 2024 season with New Hampshire.
Riley Tirotta started his season off hot with High-A Vancouver, slashing .303/.411/.539 with three homers in 107 plate appearances, along with a 14 BB% and a 28 K%. However, his numbers after his promotion to Double-A took a hit, as he slashed .213/.327/.373 with eight homers in 269 plate appearances, along with a 13.8 BB% and a 28.6 K%.
Steward Berroa has been in the organization forever, but the 24-year-old centre fielder had a strong season. In Double-A, Berroa slashed .272/.380/./414 with seven homers in 396 plate appearances, along with a 14.4 BB% and a 26.8 K%. His numbers took a hit in Triple-A, slashing .156/.283/.222 in 54 plate appearances. Berroa’s 47 stolen bases in 57 attempts was the second-most in the organization and also plays mean centre field defence.
Victor Arias had a good season for the third straight year, slashing .222/.395/.393 with four homers in 152 plate appearances in the FCL, along with an additional home run in Single-A. He had a little taste of Double-A as well towards the end of the season, which the Jays usually do for young position players who’ll start the year in Single-A. His max exit velocity touched 107 mph, so there’s a lot to be excited about.
Jaden Rudd is another player I pegged to have a breakout season, but just didn’t reach that level… yet. Last season in Dunedin, Rudd slashed .201/.376/.277 with two homers in 426 plate appearances, along with a 16.7 BB% and a 25.6 K%. Rudd has always had a great eye at the plate, but the K% jumped up from around 19%. He also stole 21 of 25 bases.
Andres Sosa will be a catcher to monitor in the upper minors. It was a relative down season for the 26-year-old, as he had a 132 wRC+ in 2022 for the High-A Canadians, with that dropping to 109 in 2023 during his 92 plate appearances. Sosa also struggled in Double-A, slashing .228/.322/.339 with a homer in 148 plate appearances. Super athletic and a great leader.
Aneudi Escanio had a rough season in 2022, but was one of the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays’ best hitters in 2023. He slashed .262/.355/.514 with two homers in 125 plate appearances with a 10.4 BB% and a 16 K%. Fangraphs ranked him as their 29th-best Jays prospect, noting he’s very athletic and they gave him a 60 speed grade.
It’ll be interesting to see how all of these players do during the 2024 season, but don’t be surprised if a few of them make it to the mid-season Top 50 list.

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

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