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Blue Jays prospect Josh Kasevich reflects on first full pro season in Vancouver

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Tyson Shushkewich
2 months ago
At the 2022 MLB Draft, the Toronto Blue Jays had four picks within the first two rounds as the club received draft pick compensation for Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray signing elsewhere during the previous offseason. Alongside their regular second-round pick, the Jays also had the 77th and 78th overall picks in the compensation round.
The first-round pick was used on prep southpaw Brandon Barriera, and the next three picks were used on infielders, starting with Oregon product Josh Kasevich in the second round.
“I still remember that day, sitting with my family and girlfriend, just waiting to see any news,” said Kasevich, speaking to Blue Jays Nation. “It was such a surreal process and a memory that I will never forget.”

Blue Jays prospect Josh Kasevich discusses the 2023 season

Kasevich had crafted quite a resume with the Ducks through three seasons, posting a .303/.374/.424 slash line with 11 home runs and a .797 OPS while walking at the same rate he struck out through 569 plate appearances (48 apiece). Defensively, Kasevich started at third base during his freshman season but moved to shortstop and stayed on the right side of second base over the next two years. His freshman campaign was limited to just 14 games due to the COVID pandemic.
Following the draft, the Blue Jays had Kasevich in Dunedin for medical testing and signing off on the official paperwork, and the California product got right to work. He eventually found himself in some late-season games with the Blue Jays in single-A. Through 25 contests, the righty-batter authored a .681 OPS with eight doubles and seven RBIs while continuing to keep a keen eye at the plate with 11 walks compared to nine strikeouts. The Jays split his time between third base and shortstop with Dunedin, committing four errors through 222 2/3 innings.
“I think one of the first differences I noticed between college ball and professional baseball was just overall talent,” said Kasevich. “College programs are very team-oriented and follow game plans throughout the lineup, but here in pro ball, the talent level of the pitchers and position players is just next level. Everybody is super tooled out here, and it is a noticeable difference.”
With his first taste of Blue Jays baseball in the books, Kasevich took what he learned during the year and kept working in the offseason.
“I went into the offseason last year with an open mind towards my hitting. I had some ideas on what to do with my swings, and working with the Jays staff helped me refine some of the finer points of my overall plate appearance and helped me get ready for my first full season.”
To begin the 2023 campaign, Kasevich was taking his talents back to the West Coast where he would join the Vancouver Canadians, his eventual home for the season. With the Canadians, the 22-year-old appeared in 94 games and produced 19 extra-base hits (including four home runs) while getting on base at a .284 average and finished the year with a .728 OPS and a .310 BABIP. Kasevich also collected 11 stolen bases while continuing to draw walks at a 9.9% clip while striking out at 10.7%, again drawing near stat lines at the plate while finishing with a 103 wRC+.
On the field, Kasevich slotted mostly at shortstop again (585 1/3 innings with a .945 fielding percentage) but also spent some time at third base, second base, and in the DH spot throughout the season. The Canadians secured a spot in the championship series against the Everett AquaSox, with Vancouver taking home the title through four games. In the series, Kasevich led off each game while adding two hits and an RBI.

Kasevich and his time with the Canadians

“This past season was so much fun,” said Kasevich. “Playing at Nat Bailey Stadium is such an intense atmosphere; the fans are always showing up in droves regardless of what day of the week it was. We had talked as a team about taking home the championship, and to be able to win it all with such a great group of guys is an amazing feeling and one that I will not forget.”
Looking ahead, the former Oregon Duck currently ranks #12 on the MLB Pipeline’s top prospects list, with his plate discipline and contact ability on full display. Scouts believe his athleticism and the arm to stick at shortstop for the foreseeable future, and it will be interesting to see if the Jays explore using him at third base again this year, where the infielder could see a move to double-A at some point in 2024.
For now, Kasevich is focused on this offseason and continuing to get better. “It might sound cliché, but I just want to improve every aspect of my game. I want to incorporate some of the things I learned this year and really cement them into my swing. As well, I want to focus on the subtle parts of my game and really understand my body more while utilizing proper nutrition and workout routines to expand my range and develop an even stronger routine.”

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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