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Noteworthy Players on Baseball America’s Top 30 Blue Jays Prospects

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Photo credit:MLB Film Room
Bob Ritchie
2 months ago
On January 24, Baseball America (subscription required) published its Top 30 Prospects for all MLB teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays.
Blue Jays Nation’s Thomas Hall covered Toronto’s prospect rankings, primarily focusing on the top ten prospects. This article will present some players outside of the top ten. Please see below the list of prospects and their change in rank compared to Baseball America’s 2023 Preseason report.
There are a few explanatory notes. First, Baseball America uses the 20-80 Scouting Scale. Accordingly, below, you will find the tool grades scale and the overall grading system for hitters and pitchers.
Furthermore, the BA Grade assesses “each player’s realistic upside on the 20-80 scouting scale.” The BA Risk is Baseball America’s determination of the risk associated with the BA Grade. Also, when Baseball America refers to a first or second-division team, they refer to a top-15 team (first division) or a team outside of the top-15 (second division). Onto the prospects!

Enmanuel Bonilla – Centre Field

BA Grade: 50/Extreme
Scouting Grades Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Field: 50 | Arm: 55
The 18-year-old Bonilla is a 6’1”, 180-pound, right-handed outfielder who bats from the right side of the plate. Baseball America described him as “an exciting young outfielder with potential for an above-average hit and power combination.” In 2023, he received a USD 4.1 million international signing bonus, the largest for any international amateur in Toronto’s history and the fourth-highest of all 2023 international signees.
According to BA, “Bonilla was touted as one of the most advanced hitters in the 2023 international class.” He has demonstrated strength, feel and a good balance of aggression and patience. Like many young hitters, he struggles with good in-zone breaking pitches, and his swing can get out of sync. “His ability to hit the ball at good angles and elevate to his pull side portends well for future power gains.”
Concerning footspeed, Bonilla is average and is “likely to slow down as he grows into his body.” His likely future position is as a corner outfielder with an above-average arm.

Landen Maroudis – Right-Handed Pitcher

BA Grade: 50/Extreme
Scouting Grades Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 45 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50
Toronto selected the 6’3”, 195-pound high-school pitcher in the fourth round (#121 overall) of the 2023 MLB June Amateur Draft. In their 2023 Draft Rankings, BA slotted the right-hander at 82. BA opined that Maroudis is “an exciting high school righthander with starter traits and the makings of an average or better three-pitch mix.”
Maroudis has four pitches: fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. “His fastball sits 90-93 mph and touches 96 with above-average ride and good plane.” He recently introduced the slider, which is currently more effective than his curveball.

Adam Macko – Left-Handed Pitcher

BA Grade: 45/High
Scouting Grades Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 40 | Cutter: 30 | Control: 55
Toronto acquired Macko, a 6’0”, 170-pound lefthanded pitcher in the Erik Swanson-Teoscar Hernandez trade. He was born in Slovakia (2000), lived in Ireland (2012-2014), and then lived in Canada. His organized baseball journey began in 2012. Baseball America determined that Macko “has multiple average or better pitches and improving command of his arsenal, giving him a chance as a back-of-the-rotation starter.”
Macko has “a deep repertoire of pitches,” notably a fastball that Baseball America describes as “93-95 mph with heavy ride and run, and the pitch is commanded well to both sides of the plate.” His slider has “moderate sweep,” and his curveball has “a big two-plane break.” Macko has an above-average command of these pitches. His changeup can be effective, but he does not have the command that he does with the previously noted pitches.

Damiano Palmegiani – First, Second, and Third Base

BA Grade: 45/High
Scouting Grades Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Field: 40 | Arm: 45
When you like a player, you draft him twice! Toronto selected the Venezuelan-born Canadian high-school player in MLB’s 2018 June Draft (35th round) and again in the 14th round of the 2021 MLB June Draft. Baseball America opined that “Palmegiani is the type of bat-first prospect the Blue Jays have had success with. He has a second-division regular upside.”
Palmegiani is a 6’0”, 195-pound third baseman who bats from the right side of the plate and throws righthanded. He has risen quickly through the minors and concluded his 2023 minor league season in Buffalo. In the 2023 Arizona Fall League, Palmegiani posted a 0.941 OPS in 101 plate appearances.
Baseball America describes Palmegiani as a “fringe-average contact hitter, adept at doing damage to pitches located middle-in.” He has a good approach, seldom chases pitches out of the zone and has above-average raw power. On the negative front, Palmegiani is a below-average third-base defender and a below-average runner. Baseball America expressed the view that Palmegiani might end up at first base.

Spencer Horwitz – First Base and Designated Hitter

BA Grade: 40/Medium
Scouting Grades Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Field: 40 | Arm: 50
Baseball America assessed Horwitz as a “ready-made bench bat with a chance to be a second-division regular.” His ceiling is limited because he profiles as a first baseman with below-average first-baseman power. His defence and footspeed are below average.

Hayden Juenger – Right-Handed Pitcher

Juenger’s ranking slipped from eighth to twenty-eighth. Below, you will find Baseball America’s overall grades, assessments and tool evaluations for 2024 and 2023.

2024

BA Grade: 40/High
Scouting Grades Fastball: 55 | Slider: 45 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 40
“Juenger is a potential low-leverage reliever capable of going multiple innings, with a chance to debut in 2024.”

2023

BA Grade/Risk: 50/High
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 50
“Juenger projects best as a multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen, but he is capable of filling a variety of roles. He is in position to make his major league debut in 2023.”
2023 was not a successful campaign for Juenger. The grades regarding his fastball, slider and control were lower in the 2024 report compared to 2023.

Tucker Toman – Third Base and Shortstop

Toman’s ranking slipped from sixth to thirtieth. Below, you will find Baseball America’s overall grades, assessments and tool evaluations for 2024 and 2023.

2024

BA Grade: 45/Extreme
Scouting Grades Hit: 30 | Power: 45 | Run: 45 | Field: 50 | Arm: 55
“Toman will need to recapture his hitting ability from his amateur days in order to fulfill his second-division regular ceiling.”

2023

BA Grade/Risk: 55/Extreme
Scouting Grades: Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Run: 45. Field: 45. Arm: 45
“Toman projects out to be a bat-first second baseman who hits for a high average with above-average power projection from the left side of the plate.”
The 2023 campaign was a challenge for Toman, a switch hitter. He struggled with all pitches, but breaking pitches were especially troublesome. Toman continued to perform better as a lefthanded bat than a righthanded bat.

The Last Word

I always find Baseball America’s Top Ten Lists very interesting. We spend much time thinking about the big-league team, as we should. However, Baseball America provides us with a glimpse into the future.

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