Nate Pearson impresses, Hagen Danner on the rise, Adrian Hernandez heading to Mexico and more minor league notes!

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 year ago
The Jays’ season may be over, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exciting things happening in the organization.
There are three ongoing leagues in which Jays’ prospects are participating in, and last night was a big showing for a few Jays’ prospects.

Nate Pearson:

Pearson technically isn’t a prospect anymore, but he’s someone that should always be in the back of our minds. The 26-year-old is pitching for the Tigres del Licey this winter, and pitched a scoreless inning last night. He registered two strikeouts, a groundball out, and threw nine of his 13 pitches for strikes. 
Although I don’t have the velocity readings, the ball was zipping. Pearson has pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts to start his LIDOM career.
Pearson spent the majority of the season injured, first with mononucleosis, and then a lat injury he had suffered in a rehab game.

Hagen Danner:

Another flamethrower pitcher who spent the majority of the season on the IL, Danner is uh, really friggin good.
Hagen Danner is looking like a legit bullpen option next season. He sits high 90s, with a slider averaging 85-88 mph, and was considered a “cutter” by savant last night. Interestingly, it’s not a typical slider, as it has a ton of downward movement. He also has a low 80s curveball that has 50 inches of vertical drop.
If Danner stays healthy, we could see him pitch in the MLB next season as he’s already on the 40-man roster.

Hunter Gregory:

Hunter Gregory also pitched last night. He finished with a line of 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, and 2 K. The walks were worrisome, but Gregory limited the damage and picked up the win. The 8th round pick in 2021 last pitched in Vancouver on June 18th, so it’s nice to see him pitch in game action once again.

Rainer Nunez:

Switching over to position players, we have first baseman, Rainer Nunez. The 21-year-old was one of the breakout prospects of the season, slashing .299/.328./.482 with 15 homers in 384 Low A plate appearances (and also won the batting title).
He continued his breakout season in Vancouver, slashing .321/.379/.491 with four homers in 116 plate appearances with Vancouver. Interestingly, his BB% jumped from 3.6% in Dunedin, to 8.6% in Vancouver.
 The first baseman hit an absolute nuke of a home run in the Estrellas Orientales game on Tuesday evening. Furthermore, Spencer Horwitz also plays for Estrellas but isn’t on the week one roster. I wonder if he’ll play some innings in left field to give room to Nunez.

Zach Britton:

The 2020 5th rounder is an intriguing prospect. He slashed .239/.390/.441 with seven homers in 236 plate appearances with Vancouver in 2022. His K% of 29.7% was on the high side, but he had an incredible 17.4 BB%.
Upon his promotion to Double A, he slashed .234/.355/.453 with three homers in 76 plate appearances. His K% dropped to 22.4%, while he still owned an impressive 15.8 BB%. Playing as a catcher and corner outfielder, it’ll be interesting to see how the 24-year-old continues to develop. Perhaps the Jays have another good catching prospect on their hands?
In Tuesday evening’s game, Britton went 2-3 with a walk in a tough at bat. He also had a two RBI triple with an exit velocity of 102.2 mph. He hits the ball hard, has one of the best eyes in the organization, and has some versatility. Very exciting.

Addison Barger:

Barger will soon be a top 5 prospect in the Jays organization, and potentially a top 100 prospect in the MLB. His .188/.278/.375 slash line with two homers in 36 plate appearances doesn’t stick out in the Fall League, but let’s dig deeper.
Barger has put the ball in play 26 times in his 36 plate appearances (four walks, six strikeouts), nearly half of those balls in play are considered a “hard hit ball”, or over 95 mph and over. Furthermore, eight of those balls in play have been over 100 mph.
I don’t track data from any other team, but my assumption is that his 46.15% hard-hit percentage has to be one of the highest in the league. Add in the fact he’s averaging 86.9 mph on batted balls, and you can see why I, along with other scouts and prospect fans think Barger could be an impact player.

Adrian Hernandez:

The 22-year-old reliever was transferred to Caneros de los Mochis in the Mexican Pacific League. The reliever had great numbers before a shoulder injury in the middle of the season, but was unable to pitch as well as he did before.
Hernandez (along with Nunez and Barger) will be Rule 5 eligible in the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s protected.
It’s exciting to see how all these players develop over the next few seasons!
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.  I’ve created a database feautring every current and past Blue Jay participating in winter leagues this season, which you can look at here.



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