New names change up Blue Jays' Top 30 Prospects

August 13th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Keegan Matheson’s Blue Jays Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

There’s been a changing of the guard in the Blue Jays’ farm system. 

The 2023 Draft class and some recent breakouts have freshened up our Top 30 rankings, which are now fully updated. Those breakouts aren’t just refreshing for the organization, they’re needed after a slow start across the board. 

Toronto’s pitching prospects have had a particularly tough year, which hasn’t even spared top arms Ricky Tiedemann and Brandon Barriera, both of whom have dealt with injuries. The Blue Jays’ MLB rotation and bullpen have been excellent, though, lessening the need to draw from a farm system that has collectively turned it around over the past month.

Here’s a look at the new names and much more.

First, the Blue Jays' top prospects:

1. Tiedemann, LHP (No. 33 in MLB)
2. Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B (No. 93 in MLB)
3. Arjun Nimmala, SS
4. Barriera, LHP
5. Addison Barger, INF

Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:

Jump: Alan Roden, OF (Preseason: NR | Midseason: 7

Roden has put together a remarkable season, hitting .308 with a .431 on-base percentage between High-A Vancouver and Double-A New Hampshire. Once you see Roden’s batting stance, you won’t forget it, with his hands held high above his head. It works, and when the selective outfielder swings, he’s a contact and on-base machine.

Roden is suddenly one of this system’s most exciting prospects with a distinct offensive profile. There isn’t much power to speak of just yet, but much like Spencer Horwitz and some of Toronto’s other recent Draft picks, his on-base ability has the potential to be a top-end MLB tool. 

Fall: Otto Lopez, INF (Preseason: 14 | Midseason: NR)

Lopez’s fall is a surprising one. He was in a battle for the final roster spot right up to the last days of camp, but even when he lost out to Nathan Lukes, it looked like Lopez would be an option for the Blue Jays at most of the positions on the diamond. That hasn’t happened, and with Lopez batting just .251 with a .637 OPS in Triple-A Buffalo, other prospects, such as Davis Schneider, Barger, Martinez, Horwitz and Rafael Lantigua, have positioned themselves ahead of him. Lopez still profiles as a very useful depth piece capable of providing speed and versatility from the end of the bench, but Toronto’s depth at his positions has improved significantly. 

Here are the players added to the Top 30:

3. Nimmala, SS (2023 Draft, Round 1)
7. Roden, OF (2022 Draft, Round 3) 
8. Landen Maroudis, RHP (2023 Draft, Round 4) 
9. Juaron Watts-Brown, RHP (2023 Draft, Round 3) 
14. Chad Dallas, RHP (2021 Draft, Round 4)
18. Kendry Rojas, LHP (2020 international signing)
21. Jace Bohrofen, OF (2023 Draft, Round 6)
24. Connor Cooke, RHP (2021 Draft, Round 10)
28. Mason Fluharty, LHP (2022 Draft, Round 5)

IMPACT CALLUP: Addison Barger, INF

Schneider has hit the ground running in the big leagues, and the No. 13 prospect is already becoming something of a cult hero, but Barger (No. 5) has put himself in position to be the next man up if the Blue Jays have a need. 

Barger starred in Spring Training, then missed time with an elbow injury and took some time to get rolling again, but he’s playing his best baseball at the right time. Since returning to Triple-A in late June, Barger is slashing .256/.377/.466 with six home runs over 34 games, and there’s more power in there for the hard-swinging lefty. The recent injury to Bo Bichette was a lesson that Toronto’s depth can be tested at any time, and if it is, Barger has earned that next look.

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 -- Leo Jimenez (Roden, Horwitz)
Power: 60 -- Martinez
Run: 80 -- Dasan Brown
Arm: 65 -- Barger
Defense: 65 -- Brown
Fastball: 70 -- Yosver Zulueta
Curveball: 55 -- Juaron Watts-Brown (Adam Macko)
Slider: 60 -- Cooke (Dahian Santos, Fluharty, Dallas, Watts-Brown)
Changeup: 70 -- Tiedemann
Control: 55 -- Barriera