Toronto Blue Jays’ 2021 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Zach Lindgren ranks the Top 50 prospects for the Toronto Blue Jays.

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

Fresh off their first playoff appearance since 2016, the Blue Jays have a young, up-and-coming team with a farm system that has pieces to contribute to the core in the near future. It is a Top-10 system within the league right now and has a nice mix of pitchers and position players. Let’s dive right in and investigate.

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball-focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as highly.

 

1. Nate Pearson, RHP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: RHP

ETA: 2020

Despite having a rough 2020, I am still a firm believer in Pearson reaching his ace-like potential. The epitome of a power pitcher, Pearson’s fastball regularly reaches triple digits and has plus-plus potential. He also has a plus slider that sits in the upper 80s with good late glove-side movement. He rounds out his arsenal with a curveball and changeup, both of which have the potential to be at least slightly above average. Look for Pearson to take a leap forward in 2021 and settle into the Jays’ rotation for years to come.

 

2. Austin Martin, SS/OF

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Alternate camp (60 man player pool)

ETA: 2021

The No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Martin is a pure hitter that has experience playing all over the diamond. Personally, I believe he was the best overall prospect coming into the draft, so as a Jays fan I am ecstatic about them being able to select him fifth overall. He has a quick twitch bat that should allow him to hit the gaps consistently while supplying league average power. Look for him to move through the system quickly, especially if Toronto continues to move closer to contention.

 

3. Jordan Groshans, SS/3B

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2021

Another pure hitter, Groshans has big time power with the ability to still make consistent contact. He tore up the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2018 and reports have been glowing in limited game action since then. Defensively, Groshans is likely to be pushed to 3B long-term where he could be part of a formidable Blue Jays infield. Like Martin, look for him to rise quickly through the system and begin to contribute in 2021.

 

4. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2021

The key piece of the Marcus Stroman return, Woods-Richardson has a nice four-pitch mix with room to grow. His fastball can push up to 95 MPH with good arm-side run and some scouts believe he can add more velocity as he continues to grow into his frame. Scouts also believe Woods-Richardson will have plus command, which will allow him to develop into a frontline pitcher. Out of his two breaking pitches, his upper-70s curveball has plus potential while his mid-80s slider has good late breaking action. If all breaks right, he could debut in 2021 and establish himself as part of the rotation in 2022.

 

5. Alek Manoah, RHP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A-Short

ETA: 2022

A 6-foot-6 RHP out of WVU, Manoah is the epitome of a power pitcher and can reach triple digits with his fastball. He complements his plus fastball with a devastating slider and a developing changeup. Some scouts believe all three pitches grade out as above-average, which would allow Manoah to develop into a frontline starter. One area of concern is command, as he primarily pitched out of the bullpen for most of his collegiate career. Keep an eye on how his command improves as he makes his full-season debut in 2021.

 

6. Orelvis Martinez, SS

 

Age:19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2023

Signed for $3.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, Martinez is a pure hitter who has been compared to Adrian Beltre. While he has a ways to go to reach that lofty comparison, he has the potential to hit for both average and power at the game’s highest level. Defensively, Martinez will be given the chance to stick at SS but could grow out of the position, with many people believing his long-term position is 3B. Look for him to make his full season debut in 2021.

 

7. Miguel Hiraldo, SS/2B

 

Age:20

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2023

Another pure hitter, Hiraldo signed for $750,000 in 2017 and then tore up the Appalachian League in 2019 to a tune of .300/.348/.481. He is very physically mature and projects to have plus power in the show. Defensively, scouts worry about his ability to stick at SS and he could be a player that turns into a super utility type. It will be interesting to see if Hiraldo can continue to mash against more advanced pitching in 2021.

 

8. Alejandro Kirk, C

 

Age:22

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: 2020

Debuting in late 2020, Kirk showed a quick bat and a natural feel for hitting as he helped the Jays reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016. He should be able to hit for a decent average with a little pop in his bat, and if he continues to put up the numbers he did in 2020 he will take more playing time away from Danny Jansen. If he does, he will be a top-12 fantasy contributor at the position in 2021.

 

9. Gabriel Moreno, C

 

Age:20

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2023

A free swinger, Moreno is extremely athletic and should have no problem sticking behind the plate as a catcher. Offensively, he has plus power and a knack for putting the barrel on the ball. However, at times he tends to chase, which is something he will have to clean up at the next level. Look for the Jays to move Moreno slowly through the system.

 

10. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP

 

Age:20

Highest Level: A (Short)

ETA: 2022

A 6-foot-5 RHP, Kloffenstein was signed well above slot in the same draft as Jordan Groshans, his high school teammate. Kloffenstein has two above-average pitches, a fastball that can reach the upper-90s up in the zone and a breaking ball that can be manipulated into a slider/curveball. At times he also turns his fastball into a sinker, allowing him to get a lot of ground balls. Look for Kloffenstein to make his full season debut in 2021.

 

11. Manuel Beltre, SS

 

Age:16

Highest Level: N/A

ETA: 2025

Beltre technically isn’t a Blue Jays prospect yet as he’s part of the upcoming signing class, however the expectation is that he will sign with the Jays on January 15th. Like with most 16-year-olds, he is very raw but he has a very projectable swing and has the potential to rise quickly through the system. In FYPDs, Beltre is a boom or bust prospect.

 

12. CJ Van Eyk, RHP

 

Age:22

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2023

A projectable pitcher out of Florida State, Van Eyk has a good three-pitch mix including a mid-90s fastball, a 12-6 curveball and a developing changeup. He projects as a mid-level starter but could be serviceable fantasy-wise if he continues to develop his changeup. Look for him to debut in full-season ball.

 

13. Eric Pardinho, RHP

 

Age:19

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2023

Pardinho is legit and would be much higher on this list if it weren’t for his injury woes. He had Tommy John surgery in early 2020 and had a number of other arm injuries over the first two years of his pro career. When he was healthy, Pardinho pitched to success as a young 18-year-old in the Midwest league, meaning he has the stuff to compete. If he recovers nicely from Tommy John, look for him to shoot up prospect rankings and significantly impact the Jays rotation in 2023.

 

14. Leonardo Jimenez, SS/2B

 

Age:19

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

More of an all-around player, Jimenez has average to above-average tools across the board as opposed to one stand out tool. He is solid defensively up the middle and could hit for average at the highest level, making him an ideal super utility candidate. Look to see if he has any trouble with more advanced pitching as he continues to move up the minor league ladder.

 

15. Otto Lopez, SS/2B

 

Age:22

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

An unheralded prospect, Lopez has hit at every level and shown an instinctive ability to contribute everywhere he has played. In the Midwest League in 2019, Lopez hit .324/.371/.425 while stealing 20 bases and providing solid defense. While he is unlikely to continue that level of production as he climbs the minor league ladder, he will be worth monitoring as we move into 2021.

 

16. Rikelvin De Castro, SS

 

Age:17

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

A true shortstop, De Castro can pick it with the best of them and there is zero question he will remain at that position for the foreseeable future. Offensively, De Castro is a line drive hitter that sprays the ball all over the field. He will go as far as his bat takes him as there is no question that his defense will play in the show. Look to see how he fares stateside offensively in 2021 before buying into De Castro.

 

17. Estiven Machado, SS

 

Age:18

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Signed at the same time as De Castro, Machado is viewed as a superior hitter while not being on the same level defensively. While some might argue that makes him a better fantasy prospect, I believe that De Castro’s defense gives him a better chance of reaching the show and Machado will need to improve his whole game to fully get there. However, Machado is a switch hitter with impressive athleticism so he will be an interesting prospect to watch as he makes his stateside debut.

 

18. Patrick Murphy, RHP

 

Age:25

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: 2021

Murphy’s minor league career has looked like a rollercoaster more than a natural progression at this point, as he has battled significant injuries in 2013, 2014, and 2016. In 2018 he put it all together and continued his success into 2019 before it was ruled that his delivery was illegal. After working on a new delivery, Murphy struggled and was unable to replicate his prior success. Over the Covid-19 pandemic, Murphy has stated that he is now comfortable with his new delivery and is looking forward to returning to play, in which case he can make an impact in Toronto sooner rather than later.

 

19. Dasan Brown, OF

 

Age:19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

The first OF on this list, Brown is a prep player from Canada that oozes athleticism. He has plus plus speed to go along with developing hit and power tools, meaning if those continue to develop at an ideal pace he could be a player. The Jays will be patient with Brown, knowing that he could turn into a weapon if it all pans out. From a fantasy perspective, Brown is the ultimate boom or bust prospect.

 

20. Kevin Smith, SS/3B

 

Age:24

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2022

Smith has significant power, albeit with significant swing and miss. He tore up the Midwest and Florida State leagues in 2018 before struggling against more advanced pitching in 2019, leading the Eastern League in strikeouts. If he can cut those down, he should be able to be a power guy in the show, whether that is in an everyday role or off the bench.

 

21. Anthony Castro, RHP

 

Age:25

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: 2020

After debuting in 2020 for the Tigers, Castro was claimed by the Jays and figures to factor into their bullpen plans in 2021. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he complements it nicely with a slider and changeup, allowing him to keep hitters off balance. The closer role in the Jays pen is up for grabs and while Castro doesn’t have the inside track, should he continue to have success he will have his opportunities to pitch meaningful innings sooner rather than later.

 

22. Julian Merryweather, RHP

 

Age:29

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: 2020

An old prospect at 29, I put Merryweather in this spot because I believe he will have significant impact innings in 2021. While that may not be fantasy relevant immediately, he will be worth keeping an eye on should he ever get the chance to close. He mixes a mid-90s fastball well with a devastating changeup, while occasionally flashing a plus curveball. Should he stay healthy, Merryweather will impact ball games in 2021 and for years to come.

 

23. Sem Robberse, RHP

 

Age:19

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Signed out of the Netherlands, Robberse has pitched in only five games in the GCL, but flashed plus plus stuff and is a prospect to watch in 2021. As he continues to grow physically, he should add velocity to his fastball which will pair nicely with a wipeout curveball and a developing changeup. Robberse is one who could rise quickly up these rankings should he continue to perform in 2021.

 

24. Will Robertson, OF

 

Age:23

Highest Level: A (Short)

ETA: 2023

A power hitting corner outfielder, Robertson will need to continue to hit in order to progress through the organizational ranks. If Robertson improves his approach he will be one to watch, however at the moment I believe he will struggle with more advanced pitching.

 

25. Riley Adams, C

 

Age:24

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2022

Another catcher in a system loaded with them, Adams has the ability to hit and hit for power. Some scouts question his defense but most believe he has the potential to be a bat first backup catcher, which as we all know is valuable in the big leagues. In order for him to be fantasy relevant though he will need to improve his defense which would lead to more playing time at the highest level.

 

26. Nick Frasso, RHP

 

Age:22

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

Drafted in 2020 with significant injury history, the Jays were intrigued by Frasso’s upside and he is a true boom or bust pick. He has an upper 90s fastball and complements it well with a sweeping curveball and tight changeup. He does have significant reliever risk, however the Jays seem poised to try him as a starter and if he succeeds there he will shoot up these rankings.

 

27. Trent Palmer, RHP

 

Age:21

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2023

A stocky RHP out of Jacksonville University, Palmer has a nice four-pitch mix which scouts believe will help him remain in the rotation. He has a mid 90s fastball with a splitter-like changeup to go along with two different developing breaking pitches. Palmer is definitely someone who will need to show results in the minor leagues before warranting any fantasy consideration.

 

28. Yennsy Diaz, RHP

 

Age:24

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: 2020

Diaz signed in the same signing class as Vladimir Guerrero Jr./strong>, giving him plenty of motivation. Diaz has above average stuff with a upper-90s fastball and above average curveball that causes plenty of swing and miss. The problem, however, is that he often struggles with command. Diaz is likely relegated to the bullpen for the rest of his career, however should he put it together he could have some value as a late innings reliever.

 

29. Joey Murray, RHP

 

Age:24

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2021

Murray is a bit of an enigma, as his fastball sits around 90 MPH but he has dominated every level he’s pitched at. For whatever reason, hitters have described his fastball as invisible and he has been extremely effective. While it is unlikely to continue against MLB hitters, Murray is a name worth monitoring as he could develop into a Kyle Hendricks type pitcher, which would be a huge win for the Jays organization.

 

30. Josh Winckowski, RHP

 

Age:22

Highest Level: A-High

ETA: 2023

Winkcowski throws a heavy sinker that averages 93 MPH and complements it nicely with a decent slider. If all breaks right for him he could fill out the back-end of a rotation, however he is likely to be headed for the bullpen long-term. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the upper minors in 2021.

 

31. T.J Zeuch, RHP

 

Age:25

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: 2020

A 6-foot-7 RHP, Zeuch made his MLB debut in 2020 and had moderate success as a back-end starter. While he is likely to serve as depth in AAA, Zeuch offers potential and could factor into future plans if he learns to harness his fastball a little more. I firmly believe Zeuch is the type of pitcher who would benefit from some Driveline-style training, which would allow him to weaponize his fastball.

 

32. Chavez Young, OF

 

Age:23

Highest Level: High-A

ETA: 2022

Young had a dominant 2018 in Lansing before coming back to earth a little bit in 2019. He has a decent power-speed combo and will move up to AA in 2021. Should he continue to hit, he could contribute to the Jays as a fourth outfielder.

 

33. Hector Perez, RHP

 

Age:23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2022

Perez is likely a reliever long-term as he has struggled as a started in New Hampshire. At this point, I believe he is strictly a depth option but he could contribute at some point over the next few years.

 

34. Ryan Noda, 1B

 

Age:24

Highest Level: High-A

ETA: 2023

Noda had a nice season a few years back and was counted on as a high OBP/power producer. Unfortunately, as he’s moved up the minor league ladder he has struggled to hit more advanced pitching, which has led to an astronomically high strikeout rate. At this point he projects as a bench bat at best.

 

35. Forrest Wall, OF

 

Age:25

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: 2021

Originally acquired from the Rockies in 2018, Wall was re-signed this offseason and will be outfield depth for the 2021 season. He has a decent speed/average combo and should be among the first call ups in case of injury in the Jays outfield. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much fantasy value unless he significantly improves his offensive profile in AAA.

 

36. Samad Taylor, 2B

 

Age:22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2022

Taylor has struggled since reaching AA and therefore has been passed on the organizational depth chart by other infielders. He has average tools across the board and will need to significantly improve his offensive profile in 2021 in order to have fantasy relevance.

 

37. Tanner Morris, SS

 

Age:22

Highest Level: Short-A

ETA: 2023

Another all-around infielder, Morris initially struggled in Vancouver before finding his footing at the end of the season. I believe he could rise up these rankings quickly should he have success in his full season debut, however he will need to improve his power profile in order to have fantasy relevance.

 

38. Hagen Danner, C/1B

 

Age:22

Highest Level: Low-A

ETA: 2023

Danner struggles with the hit tool, as he has consistently had a batting average below the Mendoza line every time he first debuts at a level. Despite that, he has plus plus power and should he begin to hit for average he will be a prospect to monitor. Look for him to repeat Low-A in 2021 and hopefully get promoted by midseason.

 

39. Logan Warmoth, 2B/SS

 

Age:22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2023

Being a former first-round pick, Warmoth gets the benefit of the doubt more often than not but his leash is beginning to run out. He has struggled consistently as a pro and has been passed by many other infielders in a system stacked with them. He will have to significantly improve in AA in 2021 to have any fantasy impact.

 

40. Kevin Vicuna, SS

 

Age:22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2023

Vicuna should spend the majority of 2021 in AA where he will have to improve his offensive profile significantly to have any impact at the major league level over the next few years. He has been consistent over his career which includes a .250/.314/.346 slash line in Dunedin in 2018.

 

41. Demi Orimiloye, OF

 

Age:24

Highest Level: High-A

ETA: 2023

A former teammate of mine, I played with Orimiloye on prep teams in Canada prior to him being drafted by the Brewers. As a former teammate and friend, I have a soft spot for Orimiloye and believe he has a power/speed profile that can play at the game’s highest level. However, it is no secret that Orimiloye will need to improve his hit tool in order to advance through the system as his strikeout rate is simply too high. Look for him to begin 2021 in AA.

 

42. Curtis Taylor, RHP

 

Age:25

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2022

Acquired in the Eric Sogard trade from the Rays, Taylor could contribute out of the Jays pen in 2021. He does have significant health risks but is a name to watch if he makes the team out of spring training.

 

43. Maximo Castillo, RHP

 

Age:21

Highest Level: High-A

ETA: 2023

An interesting piece, Castillo could be a nice innings eater in the future as he has thrown a lot of minor league innings while remaining effective. He mixes three pitches nicely and could be a back-end started should everything break right for him.

 

44. Justin Maese, RHP

 

Age:24

Highest Level: High-A

ETA: 2023

Maese has been injured almost two full years, however back in the day he was a highly ranked prospect who oozed potential. Should he return from his injuries and be the pitcher he was in the past he will shoot up these rankings, however it is hard to rank him higher than this at the moment. He will be interesting to watch in 2021.

 

45. Philip Clarke, C

 

Age:22

Highest Level: Short-A

ETA: 2023

A solid hitter, Clarke hit well at Vanderbilt and continued to hit in his brief pro debut. While the Jays system is stacked with catchers, should he continue to hit in full season ball in 2021 he will rise quickly. I predict Clarke to be much higher on this list in 2022.

 

46. Alejandro Melean, RHP

 

Age:20

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2024

A 2017 J2 signing, Melean was effective in Rookie level Bluefield and has a mid-90s fastball that could play up. Look for him to make his full season debut in 2021.

 

47. Davis Schnieder, 2B/3B

 

Age:21

Highest Level: Short-A

ETA: 2024

Schneider struggled in Vancouver and got sent back to Bluefield where he raked to a tune of .313/380/.550. Look for him to get a shot at full season ball in 2021 where he will look to build on his success.

 

48. Andrew Sopko, RHP

 

Age:26

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: 2021

The return in the Russell Martin trade, Sopko struggled in AAA but should return there as long relief/an emergency starter. He won’t have much fantasy value going forward.

 

49. Mc Gregory Contreras, OF

 

Age:22

Highest Level: Low-A

ETA: 2023

Contreras hit well in Short-A in 2018, but struggled mightily in Low-A in 2019, resulting in him being sent back to Vancouver. Look to see if he can build on his 2018 success in 2021.

 

50. Juan De Paulo, RHP

 

Age:23

Highest Level: Low-A

ETA: 2023

The return from the Kevin Pillar trade, De Paulo struggled mightily in 2019 and will need a significant bounce back in 2021. Despite that, he does have some potential and can potentially be a bullpen piece in the distant future.

Photo by Cliff Welch & John Byrum/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)

Zach Lindgren

uOttawa | Lund University | Ottawa BlackJacks | Pitcher List

  • Avatar BB says:

    Just FWIW, Zeuch debuted in 2019 and his showing that year is probably more indicative of his overall value than the odd assortment of numbers he put up in half as many innings in 2020.

    • Zach Lindgren Zach Lindgren says:

      You are correct, my mistake. However despite having a little bit of success in 2019 he will likely just be starter depth unless he manages to redefine his profile.

  • >