TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will be sending three of their top prospects to the upcoming Arizona Fall League, with infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., right-hander T.J. Zeuch and catcher/first baseman Max Pentecost all set to extend their 2017 seasons.Toronto will have eight overall participants in the league, which runs from
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will be sending three of their top prospects to the upcoming Arizona Fall League, with infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., right-hander T.J. Zeuch and catcher/first baseman Max Pentecost all set to extend their 2017 seasons.
Toronto will have eight overall participants in the league, which runs from Oct. 10 through Nov. 18. The list also includes right-handers Andrew Case and Jackson McClelland, left-hander Danny Young, catcher Javier Hernandez and outfielder J.D. Davis.
The AFL has six teams with five organizations represented on each one. Every Major League team is required to send at least six players from its organization, and the league is designed to continue the development of legitimate prospects who have a strong chance of making the big leagues.
2017 Arizona Fall League rosters
"The 30 Major League organizations have assigned an array of promising prospects to the Arizona Fall League as always," AFL director Steve Cobb said in a statement. "Approximately 60 percent of them will reach the Major Leagues. Fans can enjoy watching the next big leaguers from the comfort of six of Arizona's state of-the-art Spring Training stadiums."
The AFL will allow Gurriel to make up for some lost time after a right hamstring injury cost him the first two-and-a-half months of the season. He appeared in just one game before the middle of June and has struggled offensively during his first year of professional baseball in the United States at both Class A Advanced Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire.
Gurriel has evenly split his time this year at second base and shortstop. That work will continue in the AFL, but there also has been plenty of speculation about Toronto eventually turning Gurriel into a super utility player who can play all over the field, so it's also possible he could use some of the time in Arizona to play the outfield as well. The 23-year-old is batting .245/.288/.371, with three homers and 24 RBIs in 40 games for New Hampshire.
Pentecost, who is ranked Toronto's No. 9 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, also will be looking to use the AFL to make up for some lost time. The 24-year-old was taken in the first round of the 2014 Draft, but the early part of his career was derailed by a seemingly countless number of injuries. This season will mark the first time in his career that he has appeared in more than 75 games. Pentecost was expected to be the Blue Jays' catcher of the future, but to date, he has appeared in just 20 games behind the plate this season. Pentecost has played 22 games at first, and in another 30 games, he's served as the designated hitter because of his checkered health.
Zeuch, who is the club's sixth-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, is another prominent name to keep an eye on after he was selected in the first round of last year's Draft. Zeuch began the year with Dunedin and posted a 3.62 ERA over 11 appearances, but his season hit a road block because of some back issues. He recently began a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League, and the AFL will be a way for him to increase his innings for the season.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.