Become A Baseball America Insider
Use the options to filter your search.
TRACK RECORD: Pearson pitched mostly out of the bullpen for Florida International as a freshman before transferring to the JC of Central Florida in 2017. While there, his stock climbed. The Blue Jays drafted him 28th overall that year and signed him for $2,452,900. In 2018, a back injury prevented Pearson from pitching until May 7. He returned, threw 1.2 innings, then didn't pitch again during the regular season when a line drive fractured his forearm, though he came back for the Arizona Fall League. In 2019, Pearson made a case as the best pitching prospect in the minors as he rose three levels to finish the year in Triple-A. SCOUTING REPORT: Pearson has an extra-large frame and an elite fastball. He sits in the upper 90s, regularly touches triple digits and has climbed as high as 104 mph in the AFL in 2018. His fastball rides up and explodes with late life in the zone. One of the biggest leaps forward for Pearson came with his slider. It was a slurvy, low-80s pitch in college that he sharpened after his first year. Now it's a legitimate out pitch, earning plus or better grades and flashing plus-plus potential with power and late tilt. Pearson hasn't needed to use his changeup much, but it gives him a third legitimate weapon as a solid-average pitch, while his curveball is more of a fringy pitch he mixes in every once in a while. Pearson fills the strike zone and has an athletic, efficient delivery that he repeats well. That all points to a durable starter, but questions remain. His 101.2 innings were a career high, though he hasn't missed time due to operations or issues with his throwing arm. However, the Blue Jays kept Pearson on a restrictive workload. He alternated between starts of five and two innings by design for most of his Double-A time, though he threw 90-plus pitches in five of his final seven starts, including 100-plus pitches in two of them. The fact that Pearson throws with so much velocity on every fastball also gives some scouts concerns about whether that's a durability risk. THE FUTURE: If Pearson shows he can handle a starter's workload, he can be a frontline arm with potential to be a No. 1 or 2 starter. He's probably headed back to Triple-A to begin 2020, but he's one of the Blue Jays' five best starting pitchers right now and should be in Toronto by midseason.
TRACK RECORD: Groshans generated positive buzz the summer after he signed for $3.4 million as the 12th overall pick in the 2018 draft. The arrows continued pointing up in 2019 after a hot start at low Class A, but a left foot injury limited him to just 23 games the entire season and he didn't play after May 13. SCOUTING REPORT: When healthy, Groshans looked like one of the top offensive forces in the lower levels. He has a long frame and generates fast bat speed, with a knack for being on time. He has athletic hitting actions and an advanced approach for his age, with the ability to hammer premium velocity while also recognizing offspeed pitches and has the malleability in his body and swing to barrel soft stuff. He has good plate coverage, particularly for a taller hitter, and he has plus power to drive the ball out of the park from right-center over to his pull side. At shortstop, Groshans has an above-average arm and gets good reads off the bat, though his first-step quickness and range lead a lot of scouts to project a move to third base. He has the attributes to develop into an above-average defender if he moves to third base. THE FUTURE: Health is the only thing that has held back Groshans, who has a chance to develop into a plus regular who could hit toward the top or middle of a big league lineup.
TRACK RECORD: Woods Richardson was one of the youngest players in the 2018 draft when he signed with the Mets as the 48th overall pick. One year later, he was the key prospect the Mets sent to Toronto in the Marcus Stroman deal and finished the year with a strong showing at high Class A. SCOUTING REPORT: Woods Richardson posted a sparkling K/BB ratio in his first full season, especially for a pitcher who is the same age as many 2019 high school draft picks. Little about him resembled an 18-year-old, from his strong, athletic frame to his advanced pitchability and poise on the mound. His fastball sits at 91-95 mph and he fills up the strike zone, projecting to have plus control. His fastball plays up because of its riding life, high spin rate and ability to generate extension out front, allowing him to get swings and misses up in the zone. He throws a slider and a curveball, with his slider the go-to when he's ahead in the count, grading out as an above-average pitch with a chance to tick up. His changeup has a chance to be average or better. He spent time working on his changeup in 2019 and it has a chance to be an average or better pitch. THE FUTURE: Between his stuff, control and strong, durable frame, Woods Richardson has a chance to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter. He should be in Double-A at some point in 2020 as a 19-year-old, putting himself in position to make his major league debut by age 20 or 21.
TRACK RECORD: The Blue Jays signed Kirk out of Mexico in 2016, but he only played one game the next year due to a hand injury. Since then, Kirk has raked, even after a promotion to high Class A in May. SCOUTING REPORT: The first thing that jumps out is Kirk's body, like a shorter version of Pablo Sandoval, which is an immediate turnoff for many scouts. But Kirk is also one of the best pure hitters in the minors. He has short arms, a compact swing and outstanding bat control. His tight stroke, bat speed and ability to track pitches helps him let the ball travel deep before deciding to swing. Kirk shows a sharp eye for the strike zone and has drawn more walks than strikeouts at every level. He struck out just 10 percent of the time in 2019, barreling good fastballs and offspeed pitches in all quadrants of the zone. Kirk has a hit-over-power profile, though there's more impact potential to unlock if he takes a more aggressive approach ahead in the count. Kirk's skeptics think his body will force him off the plate and question what they believe are below-average defensive skills. Others see a solid blocker who excels at framing, is prepared and works well with pitchers. He has an average, accurate arm, and threw out 38 percent of runners in 2019. THE FUTURE: Kirk will get a chance to stick behind the plate and will head to Double-A New Hampshire in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: During his first two seasons at West Virginia, Manoah moved between the starting rotation and the bullpen. After his sophomore year, he had an electric summer in the Cape Cod League, then continued to dominate in his junior year. He was the No. 11 overall pick in 2019, with the Blue Jays signing him for $4,547,500, and he had immediate success in the short-season Northwest League. SCOUTING REPORT: Manoah is enormous. He's built like Aaron Harang, and will have to keep his conditioning in check. He uses that massive frame to produce a huge fastball. It's a lively, running pitch that sits around 93-96 mph and touches 98 mph. When Manoah needs a putaway pitch, he goes to his slider, which flashes plus and gets him swings and misses. Manoah was primarily a two-pitch guy in college, though his changeup has shown average potential. Manoah is more athletic than he looks, with a repertoire and delivery that should allow him to remain a starter. He has improved his strike-throwing over the past year and didn't walk many hitters in college or pro ball in 2019, though he needs to sharpen his fastball command. THE FUTURE: Manoah is trending in the right direction, with the ability to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter. He should open 2020 at a Class A affiliate with a chance to reach Toronto by 2021.
TRACK RECORD: The Blue Jays signed Martinez in 2018 for $3.51 million, the largest bonus for a 16-year-old in the 2018-19 international signing period. He immediately showed why the Blue Jays were so high on him, ranking as the top prospect in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old in his pro debut. SCOUTING REPORT: Martinez uses his body well in his swing. There are a lot of moving parts, but he's usually able to keep his swing in sync, which enables him to generate quick bat speed and easy plus power. He taps into that power in games (his seven home runs tied for second in the GCL), taking advantage of good hitters' hands to make frequent contact. Martinez can get too jumpy early in the count, but he mostly has a calm, advanced approach for his age and condenses his leg kick when he gets to two strikes. Martinez's hands play well at the plate and in the field. He has a strong arm, but his range and footwork are stretched thin at shortstop, and given how much bigger he's likely to get, third base is where he probably lands. THE FUTURE: With Miguel Hiraldo and Leonardo Jimenez one level ahead of Martinez, the Blue Jays have to sort out where they're going to send all their infielders in 2019. Martinez could be ready for low Class A Lansing if the Blue Jays want to push him aggressively.
TRACK RECORD: Moreno had a low profile in Venezuela when the Blue Jays signed him for $25,000 in 2016. He has raised his status considerably over the last two seasons, emerging as one of the better catching prospects in the lower levels of the minors. SCOUTING REPORT: Moreno's hand-eye coordination is elite. He rarely swings and misses, with a strikeout rate of just 11 percent in 2019. His swing has evolved since signing—he has added bigger, more athletic movements in an effort to drive the ball with more impact—and his athleticism and body awareness help him make adjustments quickly. Moreno isn't that big, but those changes have helped him display more power, with a chance to be a 15-20 home run hitter. Moreno isn't a free-swinger, but he walked in just 6 percent of his plate appearances. He will get himself into trouble when he expands the zone and makes soft contact on pitches he should lay off, though he did a better job in those areas last season. Moreno is athletic and gets rid of the ball quickly to get to an average arm, throwing out 33 percent of runners in 2019, but his blocking and receiving need to improve. THE FUTURE: Moreno will head to high Class A Dunedin in 2020. He has the upside to develop into an average or possibly better regular behind the plate.
TRACK RECORD: Hiraldo signed for $750,000 in 2017, when several clubs considered him one of the best hitters in his international class. Hiraldo performed well his first two seasons and stood out as one of the top prospects in 2019 in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. SCOUTING REPORT: Hiraldo has a lot of qualities of a good hitter, with a knack for barreling baseballs. He doesn't load his hands back much to start his swing, but hand speed helps his bat explode through the zone. It's a direct, compact swing, and Hirado uses his legs and hips well to usually be on time and produce average power that should increase. Hiraldo clobbers fastballs and he generally has a good approach for his age. However, he needs to improve his breaking ball recognition and he has a pull-heavy approach, so he will need to make adjustments to better handle pitches on the outer third. His hands and arm are fine at shortstop, but his range is stretched thin there already. His stocky body suggests he's going to slow down as he gets bigger. He has the defensive skill set and offensive profile for third base. THE FUTURE: Hiraldo should be ready in 2020 for low Class A Lansing, where he'll continue refining his hitting approach.
TRACK RECORD: The Mets drafted Kay with the 31st overall pick in 2016, but he missed the entire 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2018, and in July 2019 the Mets traded him and righthander Simeon Woods Richardson to the Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman. He made his major league debut as a September callup. SCOUTING REPORT: Kay has a strong fastball from the left side, sitting at 92-94 mph with the ability to reach 96. Early in the year at Double-A, Kay commanded his fastball well to both sides of the plate, though when he moved up he got himself into trouble when his command escaped him and he fell behind in the count too often. Kay mixes in a curveball and changeup, with scouts split on which pitch they prefer depending on when they see him. When Kay got to Toronto, his curveball was more effective, an average pitch in the upper 70s. His mid- 80s changeup is a fringe-average pitch that can flash a tick better. THE FUTURE: If Kay tightens his fastball command, he projects as a back-end starer. He should be in Toronto's rotation immediately. His future could improve with a better third pitch.
TRACK RECORD: In the first round of the 2018 draft, the Blue Jays picked shortstop Jordan Groshans, then in the third round they took Kloffenstein, his Magnolia (Texas) High teammate. Kloffenstein was one the youngest players in his draft class and didn't turn 19 until the end of the 2019 season, which he spent carving up hitters in the college-heavy, short-season Northwest League. He ranked No. 5 in the league's loaded Top 20 prospects list. SCOUTING REPORT: Kloffenstein is built like a power pitcher with a solid fastball, but also has impressive feel for his age, both with his control and ability to manipulate his breaking stuff. His fastball sits at 90-93 mph, with a peak of 95. Kloffenstein has an innate feel for spinning his mid-70s curveball and low-80s slider. Both are at least average with a chance to be plus. He shows feel for a potentially average or better changeup as well that fades away from lefties. THE FUTURE: Kloffenstein has a starter profile and, given his youth, there might be another gear coming for his stuff. If it does, he could be a mid-rotation starter, with low Class A Lansing as his next step.
TRACK RECORD: The Blue Jays signed Lopez out of the Dominican Republic for $60,000 in 2016. He had a low profile until 2019, when he won the batting title in the low Class A Midwest League in his full-season debut. SCOUTING REPORT: Lopez doesn't have flashy tools, so he doesn't jump out immediately, but he's a baseball rat and a gamer with a knack for barreling baseballs. Lopez has good bat control with a linedrive, all-fields approach. While it doesn't show in his numbers, Lopez is strong and has at least average raw power. There's more untapped power potential if Lopez can make an adjustment to his approach. He generally shows a sound feel for the strike zone, though there are times he could be more selective. Lopez spent most of his time at shortstop, though he played some second base and corner outfield as well. THE FUTURE: Moving around the diamond may be his role going forward, as his defense might be stretched thin as an everyday shortstop, with average speed and arm strength. High Class A Dunedin should be his next step.
TRACK RECORD: Machado was one of the most promising players the Blue Jays signed from a deep 2019 international signing class. SCOUTING REPORT: He has an exciting blend of explosive athleticism, tools and advanced game skills for his age with the ability to play a premium position. Machado has a direct, compact swing from both sides of the plate and a good approach, leading to a high contact rate. It's an efficient stroke with fast bat speed, showing gap power now with the bat speed and strength projection to potentially develop average pop. He's around an average runner now, and while speed is a tricky tool to project up, that could end up happening with Machado given his explosiveness and running gait. Machado is a notch behind Rikelvin de Castro as a defender, but he also projects to stick at shortstop. He has a quick first step and moves his feet well, with the range for the position and secure hands as well. His arm is a slightly above-average tool that's tickling plus and should be there consistently in the near future. THE FUTURE: The Dominican Summer League is likely where he will make his pro debut in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: Yamaguchi is the son of sumo wrestler Taniarashi. Yamaguchi has played in Nippon Professional Baseball for 14 seasons, long enough that he has earned international free agent rights, meaning a team signing him does not need to pay a posting fee. He began his career as a closer before moving to the rotation in 2014. Yamaguchi was suspended in 2017 for an incident when he was accused of shoving a security guard and doing damage at a hospital. SCOUTING REPORT: Yamaguchi does not blow hitters away. His belowaverage fastball sits at 87-93 mph. It actually gained a tick in 2019 to average 90 mph after sitting at 89 for several previous years. But Yamaguchi uses a forkball, slider, curveball and changeup as well. His forkball has become a bigger and bigger part of his approach in recent years, and is a pitch that induces chases out of the zone. Yamaguchi's delivery adds deception as well. He can be difficult for opposing batters to time because he hangs over his balance point on the rubber. He has average command and control. THE FUTURE: Yamaguchi provides value to a major league team because of his durability and his ability to slide between starting and relieving roles. He carries some risk because of his lack of velocity, but North American hitters aren't used to seeing many forkballs, which may help Yamaguchi.
TRACK RECORD: The Blue Jays have made a habit in recent years of drafting extra-large framed pitchers with their top picks. They added two more in 2019, taking Alek Manoah in the first round and another 6-foot-6 righthander in Williams with their second-round pick, signing Williams for $1,547,500. SCOUTING REPORT: Williams has some similarities to righthander Adam Kloffenstein, Toronto's thirdround pick the previous year, as a big-bodied righthander with good but not overpowering stuff that has a chance to tick up in the next few years. Williams throws strikes with downhill plane on a fastball that sits in the low-90s and can reach 95. He doesn't have a plus pitch, but he has feel for three secondary pitches—particularly his breaking stuff—that could all be average or better. That includes a mid-70s curveball that can miss bats at times, though he does tend to get around it sometimes, along with a slider and changeup both in the low 80s. THE FUTURE: Williams has the stuff of a back-end starter, but he has the physical projection for his stuff to improve and potentially slot in higher up in a rotation. He could follow Kloffenstein's path by going to short-season Vancouver in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: Pardinho was the best pitching prospect in the 2017 international class when he signed with the Blue Jays out of Brazil for $1.4 million. He showed why international scouts raved about his polish, skipping two levels to the Rookie-level Appalachian League in his pro debut and dominating there in 2018. His 2019 season was a disappointment, however, as a sore right elbow prevented him from pitching until June 26. When he returned, his stuff wasn't as explosive as it was the previous year. Pardinho now will miss the entire 2020 season after having Tommy John surgery in February. SCOUTING REPORT: With a small, compact frame, Pardinho has a free-and-easy delivery with smooth arm action, but he mostly worked at 88-92 mph in 2019, down from the previous year when he sat in the low-90s and reached 96. When Pardinho is at his best, his curveball flashes plus and he can elicit empty swings with a slider that could develop into another above-average pitch. His changeup isn't there yet, but there's potential for it to develop into an average pitch THE FUTURE: It's likely that Pardinho just wasn't at 100 percent when he pitched in 2019. When he comes back in 2021, there's a chance his stuff returns to what he showed in 2018 and his stock could bounce back. But the step back in his stuff in 2019 combined with his Tommy John surgery adds more risk to his profile.
TRACK RECORD: The son of former Marlins outfielder Jeff Conine, Griffin looked like a potential first-round pick as he entered his junior year at Duke. He didn't live up to those expectations, dropping him to the second round in 2018, and after the season he tested positive for the stimulant ritalinic acid, prompting a suspension for the first 50 games of the 2019 season. Conine played just 80 games but still led the low Class A Midwest League with 22 home runs, with a .576 slugging average that was 97 points above the next qualified hitter. SCOUTING REPORT: Conine has a straightforward profile: gigantic power with a lot of strikeouts. Conine is strong, has fast bat speed and plus-plus raw power. Conine clobbers the ball when he connects, especially when he gets a pitch in the middle to lower part of the strike zone. But Conine's swing also has holes and he swings and misses too often on pitches in the strike zone, especially when pitchers attack him up, leading to a 36-percent strikeout rate, a significant red flag for a college hitter in low Class A. THE FUTURE: He showed more plate patience than he did the previous year, so if Conine can cut his swing-and-miss rate, he could have success as a three true outcomes player. He's a below-average runner with a plus arm in right field. He will head to high Class A Dunedin to begin 2020.
TRACK RECORD: Jimenez played for Panama in multiple international tournaments growing up, and his instincts for the game were part of what drew the Blue Jays to sign him for $825,000 in 2017. While Jimenez doesn't have much physical strength yet, his swing and high baseball IQ have helped him perform well so far through Rookie ball. SCOUTING REPORT: Jimenez is a savvy, fundamentally sound player who doesn't have the same quicktwitch explosion as some other young shortstops, but he does a better job than many of his peers of being able to slow the game down and play under control. He manages his at-bats well, usually staying within the strike zone with good bat path, plate coverage and solid bat-to-ball skills for his age. Jimenez got a little stronger in 2019 and his average exit velocity jumped a few miles per hour, but he has yet to hit a home run in pro ball and probably will never have more than below-average power, so his offensive game will rely more on his on-base skills. Jimenez doesn't have the quick-twitch athleticism some clubs prefer at shortstop, so some scouts see him as a second baseman, but he has a chance to stay at shortstop. He's a fringe-average runner with soft hands, an average arm and good body control at shortstop, where he reads the ball well off the bat. THE FUTURE: Jimenez has the upside to be a top 10 prospect in the system a year from now, but how much stronger he gets will have a major impact on his future.
TRACK RECORD: The top international signing bonus from the Blue Jays in 2019 went to de Castro, who got $1.2 million at 16 years old out of the Dominican Republic. SCOUTING REPORT: A loose, wiry athlete, de Castro quickly draws attention for the way he moves at shortstop. He's a fast-twitch, high-energy defender with clean actions, showing smooth hands, quick footwork and a nose for the ball. He's a potential plus glove at shortstop, with average speed and arm strength that could tick up as he gets stronger. That's especially for his arm given his arm speed. De Castro has a simple, compact stroke from the right side and makes consistent contact, showing good rhythm and timing in the box. It's an approach geared to hit line drives to all fields with occasional gap shots. He should grow into more extra-base thump once he gets stronger, though power doesn't project to be a big part of his game. THE FUTURE: The Dominican Summer League should be his first step in pro ball.
TRACK RECORD: Murphy was in the midst of a strong stretch with Double-A New Hampshire heading into early June when umpires informed him that they determined the toe tap with his left foot in his delivery was illegal. Murphy stayed in the rotation, but he got knocked around in his next two starts, and even with time off to re-work his mechanics, he never got in sync trying to adjust to a new delivery. SCOUTING REPORT: It was another setback for Murphy, who has had Tommy John surgery, an operation for thoracic outlet syndrome and another operation to reposition nerves in his pitching elbow. The delivery setback adds a lot of uncertainty to Murphy's projection, but he has a power arm, sitting in the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball with the ability to dial it up to the upper 90s. He pairs it with a power curveball that has good shape, sharp bite and that he does a good job landing for strikes, flashing as a plus pitch. He throws a fringe-average change, but he's primarily a fastball/breaking ball pitcher. THE FUTURE: Murphy will try to regroup in 2020 and has a chance to be a back-end starter, though he could fit as a multi-inning reliever as well.
TRACK RECORD: The Blue Jays spread their international bonus pool money around in the 2019-20 signing period, coming away with a deep collection of talent. Part of that depth includes Mesia, who signed out of Venezuela at 16 and has emerged as one of the club's best 2019 signings. SCOUTING REPORT: Mesia has power and explosiveness to his actions. He performed well in Tricky League and Dominican instructional league games since signing, with a compact swing from the right side of the plate. He has fast bat speed, a knack for the barrel and makes hard contact with an all-fields approach. He shows flashes of above-average raw power right now, giving him a chance to hit and hit for power at a high clip for a catcher. Mesia has strong legs, is athletic for a catcher and projects to stay behind the plate, with a strong arm that tickles plus now and projects to be there consistently soon. THE FUTURE: Mesia will likely debut in the Dominican Summer League.
TRACK RECORD: Born in the Dominican Republic, Espinal grew up in Florida and was a $50,000 signing as a 10th-round pick of the Red Sox in 2016. Two years later, the Red Sox traded him to the Blue Jays for outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce. In 2019, Espinal performed well enough at the upper levels for the Blue Jays to add him to the 40-man roster after the season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. SCOUTING REPORT: Espinal doesn't have a big ceiling, but he should carve out a major league career with his ability to make contact and fill in at different positions. Espinal has good bat control and a mature two-strike approach, striking out in just 14 percent of his plate appearances in 2019. He has well belowaverage power, enough for perhaps 8-12 home runs in a full season, but his bat-to-ball skills and feel for the strike zone help him get on base at a solid clip for someone who can play up the middle. An average runner with a slightly above-average arm, Espinal is an athletic player who bounces around between shortstop, second base and center field, with average or better defense at each spot. THE FUTURE: Unless his power jumps, he is probably stretched thin as an everyday regular, but he has the contact skills and defensive flexibility to be a utilityman, with a good chance to make his major league debut at some point in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: Rodriguez was a famous name early on in the scouting process of the 2017 signing class and ended up signing for $500,000 that year. After debuting in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, he took a step forward in 2019 in his first season in the United States. SCOUTING REPORT: Rodriguez is a high-contact hitter from the left side with a swing geared for low line drives. There are some unconventional parts to his swing, but he uses his hands well and puts the ball in play with a loose, quick stroke. Rodriguez has a solid eye for the strike zone for his age and he makes hard contact when he connects, but his swing doesn't have much loft and he doesn't project to be a big power threat, creating more risk for his profile as a right fielder. He improved his defense in right field, with his speed and arm strength both grading out around average. THE FUTURE: Developing more home run power will be the key for Rodriguez to develop into an everyday player on a corner.
TRACK RECORD: Brown was the first Canadian player selected in the 2019 draft, with the Blue Jays picking him at No. 88 overall and signing him for $797,500. Brown was one of the youngest players in the class, only turning 18 after his first season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League ended. SCOUTING REPORT: Brown is bursting with quick-twitch, explosive athleticism, with a large gap between his physical potential and the rawness of his baseball skills. He's an 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, with the instincts and average arm strength that give him the tools to develop into a plus or better defender in center field with plenty of range and closing speed. Those wheels should also make him a high stolen base threat once he improves his technique and ability to read pitchers. As a hitter, Brown has excellent bat speed, enabling him to catch up to good velocity even when it's in on his body, and he puts himself into good hitting positions, but his feel for hitting and timing are still raw, especially when it comes to adjusting to offspeed pitches. Brown doesn't have much in-game power right now, but for a long, slender player, he shows surprising ability to drive the ball with impact in BP because of his bat speed. THE FUTURE: Given his youth and present hitting ability, Brown will likely head to either Rookie-level Bluefield or short-season Vancouver in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: It's the seventh year in the Prospect Handbook for McGuire, a first-round pick of the Pirates out of high school who they traded to the Blue Jays in 2016. McGuire spent most of 2019 in Triple-A Buffalo until the Blue Jays brought him up to Toronto at the end of July, his second stint in the big leagues after he was a September callup in 2018. SCOUTING REPORT: McGuire's defense is what carries him. He's a smart player who is well prepared and earns high marks for his ability to handle a pitching staff and call games. He receives pitches well with soft hands, and while his arm strength is average, his quick footwork helps him get his throws off swiftly and on target. Offensively, McGuire has a short swing and makes a lot of contact, but his power is well below-average, so there isn't much impact when he does connect. THE FUTURE: Unless he can develop more power, McGuire's offensive upside at this point may be limited, but he could have enough ability at the plate to stick around as a backup catcher, a role he should fill in Toronto in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: Alford was a top three prospect in Toronto's farm system for three straight years after the 2015-17 seasons. But the last two years, Alford has struggled at the upper levels because of a mixture of complications with his swing and nagging injuries. Alford, who spent most of 2012-14 focused on football as the quarterback at Southern Miss and later a defensive back for Ole Miss, has flashed tantalizing athleticism and hit well in Double-A New Hampshire in 2017, but he has yet to take the next leap. SCOUTING REPORT: Alford has above-average bat speed but he gets into an awkward launch position with a high back elbow and doesn't keep his barrel through the hitting zone very long. That leads to timing issues, with Alford often late or caught in between on his swings. Alford has worked to make adjustments, but he missed a month in the middle of the 2019 season with an oblique injury, and being on the cusp of the big leagues and in Toronto as a September callup, those changes were difficult to make when the results are what matter. He's strong, but his game power is below-average. Alford is a plus runner who can play solid-average defense in center field with a 40 arm. THE FUTURE: Now 25, Alford has to show he can produce quickly, whether that comes with Toronto or another organization
TRACK RECORD: After the 2018 season, Smith was trending up. He spent his first full season raking through two Class A levels, with a swing adjustment that clicked to go with impressive power from a shortstop. However, in 2019, everything seemed to go wrong. SCOUTING REPORT: Smith got off to a slow start in Double-A New Hampshire, and he tried to selfcorrect and tinker with his swing, but those adjustments never led to better results. After the season, Smith went to the Arizona Fall League, where he led the league with 38 strikeouts in just 67 plate appearances. Smith isn't that far removed from a successful 2018 campaign, and he still shows quick bat speed and above-average raw power. Smith is a student of the game and made different tweaks to his swing last year, but he has to find a way to get his swing back to where it was in 2018, and to stay more disciplined in the strike zone. THE FUTURE: There's a split camp among scouts on his fielding, with some thinking he's a position change candidate, while others like his defense at shortstop, where he has good hands and an aboveaverage arm with a quick release.
TRACK RECORD: Murray has cruised through the Blue Jays farm system quickly, with performances that jump out more than his raw stuff. In his first full season, Murray led Toronto's farm system with 169 strikeouts, 50 more than the No. 2 player in the organization. SCOUTING REPORT: He does it without overpowering anyone—his fastball mostly ranges from 87-92 mph—but with a tremendous amount of deception. It's a high-spin fastball relative to his velocity, and because of how difficult it is for hitters to track the ball out of his hand, Murray is able to generate surprising swing-and-miss when he throws his fastball. He throws a slow curveball that gets mixed reviews from scouts, with the ability to miss bats and keep hitters off-balance at times, but it's often a fringe-average pitch and still inconsistent. Developing a better changeup would be big for Murray to play off his fastball, but it's still a below-average pitch for him. Murray is a solid-strike thrower who is smart and well prepared, studying the strengths and weaknesses of opposing lineups. It's an unconventional profile, and while a lot of pitchers who rely on deception get filtered out once they reach the upper levels, Murray has already had some success at Double-A. THE FUTURE: He could end up breaking through along the lines of Josh Collmenter to develop into a back-end starter.
TRACK RECORD: The Blue Jays signed Diaz out of the Dominican Republic for $70,000 when he was 17 in 2014. He reached the upper levels of the system in 2019, eventually making his major league debut on Aug. 4 before getting sent back down to the Eastern League. SCOUTING REPORT: Diaz has a plus fastball, sitting at 92-96 mph, with the ability to reach back for 98 mph. He's able to get swing-and-miss with his fastball, thanks to the velocity and the life on that pitch. Despite that, Diaz's overall strikeout rate is modest, as he doesn't have a true out pitch among his secondary offerings. His changeup is a 45 to 50 on the 20-80 scouting scale, while his breaking ball has its moments but is a fringe-average pitch. Diaz has made strides with his control, but he throws across his body and needs to still throw more strikes, especially without a bat-missing secondary weapon to fall back on. THE FUTURE: Diaz should head to Triple-A Buffalo to open 2020 and, while there's some chance he can develop enough to pitch as a back-end starter, it's more likely he ends up in the bullpen—possibly a multi-inning relief role—where his fastball could play up in shorter stints and he wouldn't have to work over a lineup multiple times.
TRACK RECORD: Morris performed at a high-level as a draft-eligible sophomore at Virginia in 2019, then signed with the Blue Jays for $397,500 as a fifth-round pick. Morris had a good track record of getting on base as an amateur and he continued to do that when he got to the short-season Northwest League. SCOUTING REPORT: Morris is a disciplined hitter who does an excellent job controlling the strike zone. He doesn't chase much, working himself into favorable counts and has good bat control with a simple lefty stroke, so the components are there for him to be a high on-base threat. His swing and approach are geared toward hitting line drives and sending the ball the opposite way, which limits his power. There could be more untapped power in there for Morris if he adjusts his approach and learns how to pull pitches with authority, but he probably will always have a hit-over-power profile. Morris was a shortstop in college but is likely to end up at second or third base eventually, with some scouts thinking he might head to the outfield. He has a strong arm for the left side of the infield, but he's a below-average runner who lacks the first-step quickness or range for shortstop. THE FUTURE: He should be in low Class A Lansing to start 2020.
TRACK RECORD: Robertson had two big years at Creighton and helped his stock with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League in 2018. The Blue Jays drafted him in the fourth round in 2019 and signed him for $422,500 before making his pro debut in the short-season Northwest League. SCOUTING REPORT: Roberton has plenty of bat speed and strength to produce above-average raw power. He doesn't need to sell out to generate that power, with a short, level stroke that leads to a good amount of contact for a power hitter. There is some stiffness to his stroke, however, and he has an aggressive approach, so there are concerns about how that will affect him once he starts facing more advanced pitching. Robertson will have to mash as a corner outfielder with limited defensive value. He's a below-average runner with an average arm and needs to improve his reads and routes, projecting as a below-average defender. THE FUTURE: He should be ticketed for low Class A Lansing to begin 2020.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up