Here are the Blue Jays' 2023 Top 30 prospects
There was a time when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette were the dominant forces pushing their way through the Blue Jays’ Minor League ranks. Now, it’s the arms’ turn to take the spotlight.
Pitchers claim the top three spots in MLB Pipeline’s updated ranking of Toronto’s Top 30 prospects, starting at No. 1 with 2022 breakout star Ricky Tiedemann.
The 20-year-old left-hander – the Jays’ only Top 100 prospect at No. 32 – is coming off a breakout first full season in which he posted a 2.17 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings across three levels. Starting in his first offseason, his fastball began sitting around 95-96, aiding his climb, and his mid-80s changeup has the makings of a potential plus-plus pitch with diving action.
Toronto is hoping 2022 first-rounder Brandon Barriera can follow a similar path, although he is a year younger than Tiedemann was he entered pro ball. The southpaw’s fastball-slider-changeup mix is tailormade for a future Major League starting role, and he has an attacking mentality that should ease his transition to full-season play.
Yosver Zulueta has the best velocity (upper-90s) and is the closest to the Majors of the organization’s Top 3 prospects. Finally healthy after dealing with numerous injuries early in his career, the 25-year-old right-hander reached Triple-A in 2022, and while he has numerous off-speed pitches that could help him be a starter, his stuff could be dynamite in a more limited relief look.
The organization isn’t without potentially exciting bats, however. Shortstop/third baseman Orelvis Martinez was pushed aggressively to Double-A last season and responded by setting a New Hampshire record with 30 homers in 118 games. That said, he struggled to make consistent contact and posted just a .203 average and .286 OBP, performances that call into question how close he can get to his immense offensive ceiling. Tucker Toman (2022 77th overall pick) and Addison Barger (see below) give Toronto another pair of potential starting infielders, which could cause a logjam on the Canadian dirt before long – just the type of good problem farm systems crave.
Here’s a look at the Blue Jays’ top prospects:
1. Ricky Tiedemann, LHP (MLB No. 32)
2. Brandon Barriera, LHP
3. Yosver Zulueta, RHP
4. Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B
5. Tucker Toman, SS/3B
Complete Top 30 list »
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2022 preseason list to the 2023 preseason list:
Jump: Addison Barger, INF (2022: NR | 2023: No. 6)
The Blue Jays had long been waiting for the 2018 sixth-rounder to start tapping into his above-average power, and he did so in a big way with 26 homers, a .555 slugging percentage and .933 OPS over 124 games across the top three levels of the Minors. Barger impressed most by improving his swing decisions in search of pitches he could drive, and his strikeout rate was much more palatable too. That marriage of approach and pop could make him an impact for the Jays, no matter where he lands on the infield.
Fall: Irv Carter, RHP (2022: No. 12 | 2023: No. 27)
Toronto has had to bring along the 2021 fifth-rounder slowly, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing for a pitcher still entering his age-20 season. However, Carter’s 5.48 ERA and .270 average-against in 47 2/3 innings between the Florida Complex League and Single-A Dunedin were reasons for concern, and his velocity was closer to average around 91-94 mph. The Jays still believe there could be more to his heater as he ages and that the slider could be above-average, but it’ll take a longer road for him to become a potential back-end rotation option.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 55 – Otto Lopez (Tucker Toman, Gabriel Martinez, Spencer Horwitz)
Power: 60 – Orelvis Martinez (Rainer Nunez)
Run: 80 – Dasan Brown
Arm: 65 – Alex De Jesus (Addison Barger)
Defense: 65 -- Dasan Brown
Fastball: 70 – Yosver Zulueta
Curveball: 55 – Adam Macko (Yosver Zulueta, Sem Robberse)
Slider: 65 – Dahian Santos
Changeup: 70 – Ricky Tiedemann
Control: 55 – Brandon Barriera
How they were built
Draft: 13 | International: 14 | Trade: 3
Breakdown by ETA
2023: 8 | 2024: 7 | 2025: 11 | 2026: 2 | 2027: 2
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 1B: 3 | 2B: 3 | 3B: 1 | SS: 9 | OF: 3 | RHP: 8 | LHP: 3