A late-season surge up the American League East standings thrust the Blue Jays into the postseason for the second time in as many years in 2016. They continued to surge in October, beating the Orioles in dramatic fashion in the AL Wild Card Game, and then knocking off the Rangers
A late-season surge up the American League East standings thrust the Blue Jays into the postseason for the second time in as many years in 2016. They continued to surge in October, beating the Orioles in dramatic fashion in the AL Wild Card Game, and then knocking off the Rangers to advance to the AL Championship Series, where they were defeated by the World Series-bound Indians in five games.
The Blue Jays did all of that with minimal help from their farm system, as only one player on the team's 2017 Top 30 prospects list, right-handed reliever Danny Barnes, enters the season with big league experience. That should change, though, with an aging team set to give way to an inevitable turnover in the coming years.
• Toronto's 2017 Top 30 Prospects list
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
With Edwin Encarnacion no longer in the fold after his departure via free agency, left-handed slugger Rowdy Tellez, fresh off of his career-best campaign in Double-A last season, seems poised to step in at first base, though probably not until later in the year.
Meanwhile, Toronto's success in developing young starting pitchers such as Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman bodes well for the futures of right-handers Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene, Jon Harris and T.J. Zeuch, all of whom made strides last season and are on pace to debut before the end of 2018.
Looking beyond next season, new No. 1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whom the Blue Jays signed for $3.2 million in July 2015, is the gem of the system and has one of the highest ceilings among all prospects. Though at age 17, he's likely several years away from making an impact. Toronto added another promising young hitter with baseball bloodlines in the 2016 Draft in Bo Bichette, who, after signing as a second-rounder, batted a robust .427/.451/.732 with 15 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs over 22 games in the Gulf Coast League.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.
Jump: Patrick Murphy, RHP (2016: NR | 2017: 17)
Fall: Reggie Pruitt, OF (2016: 13 | 2017: 27)
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.
Hit: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (55)
Power: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (60)
Run: Reggie Pruitt (70)
Arm: Richard Urena (60)
Defense: Reggie Pruitt (60)
Fastball: Conner Greene (60)
Curveball: Zach Jackson (60)
Slider: Sean Reid-Foley (55)
Changeup: Ryan Borucki (60)
Control: Ryan Borucki (55)
How they were built
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Here's a look at the Blue Jays' preseason Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.