Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Checking in on some Blue Jays prospects who could make their big-league debuts this season
By Nick Prasad9 months ago
The Blue Jays are rolling into May with an 18-10 record and are sitting in the third spot in the American League East right behind the Baltimore Orioles. Toronto snapped a seven-game winning streak while flaunting all the new tools the team employs this year such as polished starting pitching, clutch bats, and ability to battle toe-to-toe with contenders.
As the months fly by, it is important to keep tabs on our grassroots and identify which prospects could make their appearance on the big stage. A few Blue Jays prospects made a solid name for themselves in spring training and were tabbed as possibilities to crack the 40-man roster. Can those names pop themselves out of the rabbit hole again?
Let’s start with the much anticipated right-handed pitcher from Remedios, Cuba, Yosver Zulueta. With a current triumphant pitching staff, Zulueta could be a robust addition to a semi-struggling Blue Jays bullpen. Zulueta sits third in the top 30 Blue Jays prospect rankings and is currently pitching just south of the border for the AAA Buffalo Bisons. In the month of April, Zulueta started slow, throwing between two to three innings a game, totalling 10 innings pitched giving up 12 hits, eight earned runs with eight walks, and 12 strikeouts. His ERA sits at 7.20, however, this isn’t alarming at all.
Zulueta’s ability to climb the organizational mountain and prospect rankings are impressive. His fastball ranks well above average on a 70-grade scale and tops 99mph with a consistent 97-98mph. He struggled with fastball command for a short while and is working to regain his placements. His obvious out-pitch is the curveball which will require more repetition to gain confidence and effectiveness. His off-speed also includes a changeup and a workable slider.
Another name expected in 2023 is Orelvis Martinez, an infielder out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Martinez sits right behind Zulueta, ranking fourth of 30 prospects. Martinez has impressive total career numbers dating back to 2019. Since then, he’s totalled 68 home runs, 205 RBIs over 235 hits, a .229 batting average and a .311 on-base percentage. He’s started off the year slow with only five hits and 10 RBIs through 56 at-bats. Martinez will most likely be ready for a call-up around late summer or early fall.
Addison Barger was one to watch in the spring; he created a strong belief that he could crack the opening-day roster. Barger may very well be the guy that snags third base if Matt Chapman is not re-signed. So far this season, Barger has six RBIs, 18 hits, 10 runs, one home run, a .237 batting average and a .333 on-base percentage. The three-bagger plays in Buffalo AAA and should see the Rogers Center turf this season if he isn’t packaged off in a deal by the trade deadline.
We’ve been introduced to players such as Spencer Horwitz, Hayden Juenger, Adrian Hernandez and David Schneider, who are all looking to climb their way to the top. These names may become more relevant in the coming months, whether it’s through a promotion or the trade deadline.
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