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Vlad Jr., Bichette lead Blue Jays Top 30 Prospects

MLB.com

After consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to the American League Championship Series in 2016, the Toronto Blue Jays struggled in '17 as they finished 10 games below .500 and fourth in the AL East.

MLB's Top 10 farm systems | Blue Jays Top 30 Prospects list

After consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to the American League Championship Series in 2016, the Toronto Blue Jays struggled in '17 as they finished 10 games below .500 and fourth in the AL East.

MLB's Top 10 farm systems | Blue Jays Top 30 Prospects list

Though the Blue Jays' Major League roster was beset by injuries to key players on both sides of the ball, Toronto's on-field results never came close to matching preseason expectations. And with a player core full of aging veterans, Toronto will rely heavily on its forthcoming influx of young talent.

:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::

Third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette, MLB Pipeline's Nos. 3 and 13 prospects, give the Blue Jays arguably the best prospect tandem in baseball. Both players are elite offensive talents who, with further defensive strides at their positions, could find themselves in the club's big league lineup much sooner than first thought at the outset of their careers.

Toronto's farm system is anything but top heavy, however. Outfielder Anthony Alford gives the team a third Top 100 prospect (No. 47), and he should contribute in the bigs in 2018 along with players such as Danny Jansen, Ryan Borucki, Richard Urena and Carlos Ramirez.

Even more help should arrive in the following years, too. That's especially true on the mound, where the club has promising young arms such as Nate Pearson, T.J. Zeuch and Eric Pardinho -- right-handers who could all jump on the fast track towards joining the Major League rotation with a strong showing in 2018.

:: Top 10 Farm Systems ::

Overall, the Blue Jays' system stands out most for its homegrown talent, as 27 of its 30 prospects are products of the Draft (18) or international signings (9).

What's more, it's a group that's loaded with up-the-middle talent, with five catchers, six middle infielders and three outfielders that have a chance to stick in center field.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.

Jump: Danny Jansen, C (2017: 22 | 2018: 6)
Fall: Jon Harris, RHP (2017: 8 | 2018: 30)

Best tools
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: 80 - Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Power: 65 - Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Run: 70 - Anthony Alford
Arm: 60 - Richard Urena (Reese McGuire, Hagen Danner
Defense: 60 - Reese McGuire (Anthony Alford, Kevin Vicuna)
Fastball: 70 - Nate Pearson
Curveball: 60 - Eric Pardinho
Slider: 55 - Nate Pearson (T.J. Zeuch, Carlos Ramirez, Jordan Romano)
Changeup: 60 - Ryan Borucki
Control: 60 - Ryan Borucki

How they were built
Draft: 18
International: 9
Trade: 3

Breakdown by ETA
2018: 10
2019: 6
2020: 8
2021: 5
2022: 1

Breakdown by position
C: 5
1B: 1
2B: 1
3B: 1
SS: 7
OF: 4
RHP: 9
LHP: 2

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Toronto Blue Jays