The Blue Jays have seen loads of recent success from their player development staff. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah, and Alejandro Kirk are just some of the recent success stories we have seen. Even with the recent influx of young talent, Toronto still has plenty of exciting prospects in its system. Headlined by Ricky Teidemann, there are multiple bats and arms that have the potential to be Major League contributors. On top of all this, they recently signed MLB.com’s seventh-ranked international prospect Enmanuel Bonilla. We did not include the signings from this international period in our lists but if we did, he would rank ninth.
Toronto Blue Jays Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects
1. Ricky Tiedemann, LHP
Age: 20/2022 Stats (A/A+/AA): 78.2 IP/2.17 ERA/0.86 WHIP/117 K
In what appears to be a clear win for the Blue Jays’ player development and scouting team, they selected Ricky Tiedemann in the third round of the 2021 draft. After spending time with Blue Jays’ coaches, he burst onto the scene in 2022, reaching three Minor League levels with a combined ERA of 2.17. Amongst pitchers 20 years or younger and at least 75 IP, Tiedemann trailed only Eury Pérez in swinging strike rate. His windup features a low arm slot that provides deception against both lefties and righties. He has plus control of three different pitches and gets strikeouts with each of them.
The fastball has added three miles per hour of velocity since joining the organization and now comfortably sits around 96. He regularly blows the pitch past both lefties and righties up in the zone. The slider is a huge breaker (sometimes looking like a curveball) that Tiedemann locates well. He locates it especially well backdoor to righties. He also has a plus circle changeup that sits in the mid-80s. With plus control and three plus pitches, Tiedemann could continue to move quickly through Toronto’s system. He projects as a front-end starter with ace upside.
2. Addison Barger, 3B
Age: 23/2022 Stats (AA/AAA): 467 AB/.308/.378/.555/26 HR/9 SB/80 R/91 RBI
The Blue Jay saw a developmental project in Addison Barger when they took him in the sixth round of the 2018 draft. The breakout for Barger came in 2021 when he swatted 18 home runs at High-A. He followed this up by hitting 26 home runs between three different levels in 2022, making it all the way up to Triple-A. Barger (who is naturally right-handed) swings from the left side featuring a massive leg kick. Think Josh Donaldson but lefty. This swing combined with his pull tendencies gives Barger plus power and the potential for 25-30 home runs.
Right now, Barger has close to average speed but does not profile as a prolific base stealer. Despite hitting over .300 in 2022, the biggest question mark is how well his hit tool will perform against Major League pitching. The swing path is excellent and should provide Barger with high BABIPs, but he runs high strikeout rates. FanGraphs documents how Barger is prioritizing making more contact and chasing less. In 2021, Barger posted a swinging strike rate of 18% but made significant strides in reducing this to 12.8% in 2022. If Barger can keep his strikeout rate close to the league average, he will be a very useful fantasy asset.
3. Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B
Age: 21/2022 Stats (AA): 433 AB/.203/.286/.446/30 HR/6 SB/57 R/76 RBI
Since signing Orelvis Martinez back in 2018, the Blue Jays have been aggressive with him and up until this season he was up for the challenge. As a 20-year-old in Double-A, Martinez struggled, posting a .203 batting average. This is to be expected as Martinez was almost four years younger than the average player. Despite struggling to hit for average, Martinez still hit 30 home runs. Like Barger, he features a big leg kick and strong pull percentages, helping amplify his power. Martinez has the highest power ceiling in Toronto’s system with 35-40 home run potential.
His hit tool is concerning, but it is important to remember he is only going to be 21 this season. During the second half, he reduced his strikeout rate to 25.9% while increasing his walk rate to 11.4%. His swing is designed to hit a lot of fly balls, but he should still see improvement on his .217 BABIP. Martinez will never hit close to .300, but if he can continue to improve his contact skills .250 is in the realm of possibilities. Even without much speed and a below-average hit tool, the power upside Martinez possesses is enough to take a shot on him. He has massive fantasy upside if he ever puts it all together.
4. Brandon Barriera, LHP
Age: 19/Did not play in 2022
Standing at 6’2”, Brandon Barriera comes straight over the top with a fluency that is rare for a left-handed pitcher of his age. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with ease and there is room for him to continue adding velocity to this pitch. His slider pairs nicely with this and is thrown with the same arm motion as his fastball. Sweeping away from lefties in the low-80s, the pitch can be untouchable at times. Barriera also mixes in a changeup to righties to help keep hitters off balance. The stuff is years beyond his age, making Barriera one of the most exciting 2022 draft prospects. There is some relief risk due to his size and the chance his fastball does not increase velocity. He profiles as a mid-rotation starter with upside for more if the Blue Jays can develop him like they have Ricky Tiedemann.
5. Cade Doughty, 2B
Age: 22/2022 Stats (A): 103 AB/.272/.370/.495/6 HR/3 SB/21 R/24 RBI
The Blue Jays selected Cade Doughty 78th overall in the 2022 draft. In his final collegiate season at LSU, Doughty hit 15 home runs in 282 plate appearances, good for a 32/600 pace. Then, at Low-A, Doughty mashed six home runs in 119 plate appearances (30/600 pace). Only two 2022 draft picks hit more home runs than him in their debut season (Dalton Rushing and Gavin Cross). The power is legit for Doughty who swings from the right side of the plate. He features a small toe tap before his hands explode through the zone. He is especially dangerous over the inner half of the plate where he does most of his damage.
The hit tool is of slight concern. Doughty sometimes flails at outside pitches leading to weak contact. Adjusting to take pitches the other way will be key to reaching his full potential. Doughty never had a strikeout issue at LSU and although he posted a 24.4 K% at Low-A, his swinging strike rate was below 13%. His strong contact skills and plate discipline should help him post solid averages and on-base percentages. Doughty feels like one of the safest players in this organization and still has a high ceiling. Batting .275 with 25 home runs is well within his range of outcomes.
6. Gabriel Martinez, OF
Age: 20/2022 Stats (CPX/A/A+): 352 AB/.293/.355/.477/14 HR/4 SB/58 R/59 RBI
Gabriel Martinez signed with the Blue Jays four years ago at 16 years old. He made his professional debut in 2019 and split the 2022 season between Low-A and High-A. In a career year, Martinez flashed signs of becoming a big-time asset moving forward. He blew past his previous career high of two home runs with 14 while hitting just under .300. Since signing with Toronto, Martinez has continued to grow into his 6’0” frame and the power has come with it. His swing has always been designed for pull-side power helping turn his raw power into game power.
Sometimes a free swinger, Martinez struggles to lay off outside pitches at times. There is still plenty of time for him to improve in this area and he has above-average contact skills which lead to confidence in his long-term hit tool. .270 and 20 is a realistic projection for Martinez. Martinez profiles to have a safe floor and a relatively low ceiling due to the lack of game-changing power and below-average speed. A very good, but unspectacular prospect who could be underrated.
7. Rainer Nunez, 1B
Age: 22/2022 Stats (A/A+): 467 AB/.304/.340/.484/19 HR/0 SB/65 R/82 RBI
Rainer Nunez signed with Toronto back in 2017 and has completely dropped off the radar since. Nunez struggled before the pandemic and looked like a lost cause. He responded by posting a 125 wRC+ in 2021 and a 130 wRC+ this season. He hit a career-high 19 home runs and followed that up by winning rookie of the year for LIDOM, leading the league in home runs with seven. His raw power is incredible. He posted a max exit velocity of 114.2 mph and hit five balls over 110 mph. His swing is designed for more line drives which could damper his home run totals, but the power is legit.
Nunez tends to swing and miss when he tries to tap into his power. In 2022, he posted a swinging strike rate over 17% and will need to adjust if he wants to keep improving. The BABIP is bound to come down from the .358 he posted this season, but he still has the potential to hit around .270 if he keeps the strikeouts in check. Players spending this much time at low levels tend to struggle, but hopes are high for Nunez. The ceiling is .270 and 30 home runs which is worth taking a shot at. Late bloomers always pop up and tell me Nunez’s swing doesn’t remind you of Marcell Ozuna’s.
Blue Jays prospect Rainer Núñez is the LIDOM home run leader after hitting his fifth against Gigantes tonight. pic.twitter.com/Xms99on5JI
— Arving Gonzalez (@ArvingGonzalez) November 30, 2022
8. Dahian Santos, RHP
Age: 20/2022 Stats (A/A+): 86 IP/4.50 ERA/1.26 WHIP/142 K
The 2019 signing out of Venezuela is filled with potential. In the whiff and strikeout department, Dahian Santos was every bit as impressive as the top-ranked prospect, Ricky Tiedemann. In just his second full season of professional baseball, Santos struck out over 38% of batters with a swinging strike rate of 17.4%. These numbers are in large part to a plus-plus slider sitting in the low-80s. Santos also relies on a changeup that generates a high number of whiffs against lefties. He likes to use his fastball, which has a lot of arm-side run, up in the zone despite the velocity only sitting in the mid-90s.
Santos opens up in his rotation early with full arm and leg extension. He falls off toward the first base side leading to inconsistencies in his command throughout his early career. Not only is the walk rate a concern (11.9% in 2022), but the lack of control leads to loud contact. His preference to work up in the zone leads to a lot of fly balls which could lead to home run trouble as the competition increases. Santos has plus stuff but carries significant relief risk.
9. Tucker Toman, 3B
Age: 19/2022 Stats (CPX): 38 AB/.289/.391/.368/0 HR/0 SB/4 R/5 RBI
The Blue Jays selected Tucker Toman 77th overall in the 2022 draft. The switch-hitting infielder currently plays shortstop and third base but is more likely to end up at third long-term. This puts more pressure on his bat to play up to its ceiling. Toman generates more power from his quick left-handed swing. The swing is pretty, and the power projection gives Toman dynasty relevance.
The hit tool is what leaves Toman down at ninth in this ranking. Through his final year of high school and in his first taste of professional action, Toman showed a tendency to pull off the baseball. This leads to high strikeout and ground ball rates. Toman needs to stay through the baseball and use the whole field to tap into his power. In the small sample size of 38 at-bats, he posted a concerning swinging strike rate of over 33%. Toman profiles as a high ceiling low floor player. Watch for positive development in the 2023 season before investing.
10. Adam Macko, LHP
Age: 22/2022 Stats (A+): 38.1 IP/3.99 ERA/1.38 WHIP/60 K
Adam Macko was the biggest prospect sent back to Toronto from Seattle in the Teoscar Hernández trade. Macko was formerly a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft and has moved slowly through the Minor Leagues. Since debuting, striking opposing batters out has never been an issue. He has posted a strikeout rate of at least 33% at all three levels he has touched. He features a fastball that sits 93-96 but likes to rely heavily on his breaking pitches. The curveball is his best pitch, but the slider is not far behind. Even his changeup profiles as at least an average pitch.
Macko’s plus stuff is overshadowed by below-average control. Macko struggles with walks and locating in the zone consistently. Additional concerns stem from a lack of durability—Macko has never pitched more than 38 innings in any season. These concerns likely land Macko in the bullpen long term where he pitched exclusively from in the 2022 AFL. Having yet to pitch above High-A at 22 years old, he likely profiles as a high-leverage reliever with above-average stuff.
11. Spencer Horwitz, 1B
Age: 25/2022 Stats (AA/AAA): 403 AB/.275/.391/.452/12 HR/7 SB/77 R/51 RBI
Since being drafted in the 24th round of the 2019 draft, Spencer Horwitz has done nothing but hit. Across a full season, he has never posted a wRC+ below 124. He demonstrates well above-average plate discipline having walked over 14% of the time in each of the past two seasons with plus contact skills. He is not the biggest slugging first baseman but posts excellent pull rates allowing his average power to play up. This is crucial to his maintaining fantasy relevance at a position like first base.
The hit tool profiles as close to average, but there are some concerns under the surface. While at Double-A, he hit .216 with only one of his ten home runs coming against lefties. There is significant platoon risk to Horwitz’s profile. In addition, he tends to run high ground ball rates. Without much speed, this could result in lower BABIPs while also lowering his home run totals. At 25 years old, the ceiling is fairly low, and it is difficult to project more than a role player from Horwitz.
12. Yosver Zulueta, RHP
Age: 25/2022 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 55.2 IP/3.72 ERA/1.29 WHIP/84 K
When it comes to talking about Minor League pitchers with the best pure stuff, Yosver Zulueta needs to be at the center of any conversation. As Zulueta comes through his windup, he keeps the ball close to his ear providing helping provide additional deception. He has one of the best fastballs in the Minor Leagues, sitting easily in the upper-90s. Both his slider and curveball profile as plus pitches with the ability to strike batters out and he mixes in a changeup mostly to lefties. The 33.9% strikeout rate from 2022 is enticing but is supported by an alarming 12.9% walk rate.
Zulueta is now 25 years old and has never thrown more than 55.2 innings in any professional season. The Blue Jays have had to be careful after he needed Tommy John surgery in 2019 and tore his ACL in 2021. Durability and control issues create significant relief risk in Zulueta’s profile. He is most likely to end up in a high-leverage relief role but will need to limit the free passes to be successful.
13. Alex De Jesus, SS
Age: 21/2022 Stats (CPX/A/A+): 434 AB/.263/.370/.433/14 HR/2 SB/73 R/64 RBI
During the 2022 trade deadline frenzy, you might have missed Mitch White being traded from Los Angeles to Toronto. Alex De Jesus joined White in making the trip up north and should not be forgotten about. De Jesus signed back in 2018, but is still just 20 years old and played most of the 2022 season at High-A. He features a small toe tap at the plate followed by his hands exploding through the zone. He has plus raw power with a swing designed to hit line drives and land the ball in the gaps. The hit tool has shown flaws including high strikeout rates, but the swinging strike rate is not bad for a player his age (13.4% in 2022).
Labeled as a shortstop right now, he is likely destined for a move to third base. This puts more pressure for power on a bat that is unlikely to produce more than 20 home runs. De Jesus does not provide any speed and will need to tap into more of his raw power to provide fantasy relevance at the hot corner.
14. Sem Robberse, RHP
Age: 21/2022 Stats (A+/AA): 111.1 IP/3.23 ERA/1.16 WHIP/97 K
Sem Robberse signed out of the Netherlands in 2019 with very little professional baseball experience. The Blue Jays saw potential and have managed to increase the velocity on his fastball while pairing it nicely with his secondary offerings. All three of his secondary pitches profile to be average or slightly above average while his fastball sits between 92 and 94 mph. His four-pitch arsenal profiles as starter material, but without elite spin or velocity the ceiling is capped. The command of his pitches took a significant step forward in 2022, helping provide a stable floor. Robberse profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter with the chance for more if the Blue Jays can help him continue developing.
15. Dasan Brown, OF
Age: 21/2022 Stats (CPX/A/A+): 307 AB/.283/.383/.420/6 HR/24 SB/65 R/24 RBI
Drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft, Dasan Brown has always been known for his speed and fielding abilities. Brown is one of the fastest players in the Minor Leagues, instantly making him fantasy relevant. He stole 24 bases in just 84 games last season between three different levels. He has 30-steal potential if he can make it to the Major Leagues.
The biggest word in the statement above is if. Two issues that have plagued Brown throughout his professional career are high ground ball and strikeout rates. With below-average power, Brown will need to demonstrate an improved hit tool if he wants to make it to the Major Leagues and be fantasy relevant. The speed alone gets him onto this list, but we should not expect his 2022 BABIP of .405 to repeat itself again in 2023. The best-case scenario for Brown is something like Jorge Mateo’s 2022 season.
Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Cliff Welch/ Icon Sportswire