Despite trading their first pick, the Blue Jays 2020 draft class is trending well
Photo credit:Creator: Dustin Bradford | Credit: Getty Images
3 months ago
Fun fact, we’re a month and change away from the 2023 MLB Draft.
Over the past three drafts, the Blue Jays have done a great job finding good players, and the COVID shortened 2020 draft is no better example of that.
In a series of three articles, we’ll look at every player drafted in the past three draft classes.. Let’s start with the 2020 draft class.
5th overall pick: Austin Martin
It was quite a surprise to many when Austin Martin fell to the Blue Jays in the 2020 draft. In fact, looking at mock drafts at the time, most had him going second or third in the draft.
Unfortunately for Martin, he hasn’t quite lived up to his draft position. The Blue Jays aggressively promoted the then 22-year-old to Double-A, where he slashed .281/.424/.383 with two homers in 250 plate appearances with the Fisher Cats.
However, he and Simeon Woods Richardson were packaged to the Minnesota Twins for starter José Berríos. With the Twins Double-A team in 2021, he slashed .252/.399/.381 with three homers in 168 plate appearances for a 120 wRC+.
In 2022, he repeated the level but significantly regressed. In 406 plate appearances, the then 23-year-old slashed .241/.367/.315 with two homers for an 89 wRC+. It’s also worth noting that Martin stole 34 bases in 39 attempts, but his professional career hasn’t fared too well so far.
Martin has missed all of the 2023 season due to a UCL sprain (something that has plagued the 2020 Blue Jays draft class). His timetable to return is unknown, but he’ll be Rule 5 eligible at the end of the season.
42nd overall pick: C.J. Van Eyk
Van Eyk made his professional debut with the High-A Vancouver Canadians in 2021. He was 22 years old at the time, and he had a 5.83 ERA and a 4.55 FIP in 80.1 innings pitched. He was pulled from a game on August 26th, 2021.
Towards the end of the year, he was interviewed by Niall O’Donohoe of CSPlusBaseball where he noted that he had Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2022.
Van Eyk returned in 2023, pitched seven innings with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays on rehab assignment. He has a 1.29 ERA and a 4.27 FIP in those seven innings, along with a 32 K% and an 8 BB%.
It’s likely that he’ll be reassigned to the High-A Vancouver Canadians after the rehab is done, but he may find himself in Double-A by the end of the season.
He throws a low-90s fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a curveball which averages over 50 inches of vertical drop. Van Eyk is the only prospect in this class that hasn’t reached the upper minors, something that could easily change in 2022.
77th overall pick: Trent Palmer
The 24-year-old righty will miss the 2023 season due to Tommy John surgery, which he received in August of 2022.
Palmer’s professional career started with the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays in 2021, where he posted a 3 ERA and a 3.50 FIP in 63 innings. He had a great 31.2 K%, but struggled with command as he had a 15.8 BB%.
Palmer spent very little time in High-A Vancouver, as he posted a 4.18 ERA and a 4.76 FIP in 23.2 innings pitched. More importantly, he had a 32.1 K% while his BB% dropped to 7.1%.
With the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, he had a 3.69 ERA and a 4.36 FIP in 31.2 innings pitched. His K% decreased to 24.3%, while his BB% increased to 11%.
Palmer’s changeup is his best pitch, but he can effectively use all four pitches that he throws.
106th overall pick: Nick Frasso
Frasso made his debut in 2021, pitching five innings in Single-A Dunedin.
Like every player we’ve covered so far, Frasso had a UCL injury and like the other pitchers, he had Tommy John surgery. It’s worthing noting he had a shorter recovery due to a different variation of the surgery
Frasso made waves with the Blue Jays in 2022. He started the season with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays, owning a 0.70 ERA and a 1.30 FIP in 25.2 innings pitched. He also had a 42.9 K% and an 8.2 BB%.
He also had great numbers in High-A with the Jays, as he posted a 0.82 ERA and a 2.66 FIP in 11 innings pitched. Like in Dunedin, he had a spectacular 38.5 K% and a 5.1 BB%.
Frasso was controversially traded along with Moises Brito to the Dodgers for Mitch White and prospect Alex De Jesus.
Skipping ahead to 2023, Frasso has pitched 26.2 innings in Double-A, posting a 1.01 ERA and a 1.89 FIP. As you’d imagine, he has a great 35 K% and a very low 4.9 BB%. Frasso is still active according to his MiLB page, but he hasn’t pitched since May 6th.
136th overall pick: Zach Britton
Britton had a solid start to his professional career, slashing .225/.372/.371 with seven homers in 333 plate appearances with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays in 2021.
However, 2022 was his breakout season. With the High-A Vancouver Canadians, he slashed .239/.390/.441 with seven homers in 236 plate appearances. While his 29.7 K% was on the high side, he showed an incredible eye at the plate with his 17.4 BB%.
He earned a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire towards the end of the season, where he slashed .234/.355/.453 with three homers in 76 plate appearances.
Britton gained league wide attention during the 2022 Arizona Fall League, as he slashed .404/.482/.575 with a homer in 56 plate appearances.
The 24-year-old outfielder/catcher has slashed .218/.427/.309 with a homer in 75 plate appearances with the Blue Jays Double-A team. Despite not hitting for a high average, Britton has a higher BB% (26.7%) than K% (21.3%).
Unfortunately, Britton hit the 7-day Injured List on May 26th, the second such time he has been on the IL this season.
What to think about the 2020 class:
Every player but C.J. Van Eyk has reached the upper minors, which could change in 2023. While all these players were drafted out of college, that’s still quite impressive as there was no minor league season in 2020..
Two players have been traded to acquire big league talent, and the remaining players have a solid shot at making the big league team within the next two or three years.
Moreover, Britton is the only player from this draft who hasn’t featured on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 list, but that could change if he hits well after returning from injury.
Next up will be the 2021 class, which will likely be up at some point on Monday. Stayed tuned!
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. Apologies for not being able to supplement the article with video. It’s an issue on Twitter’s end.
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