Nate Pearson—delivering a pitch in the 2017 Northwest League final for the Vancouver Canadians—is the number one prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system according to Baseball America.
Baseball America has rated three former Vancouver Canadians pitchers among its Top 10 Toronto Blue Jays prospects.
Fireballer Nate Pearson retains his title as the best prospect in the Toronto system after making his major league debut with the Jays in 2020, just three years after the right-hander was drafted 28th overall and helped the Canadians win the Northwest League title. Pearson’s first time on the the major league mound came in Washington where he tossed five scoreless innings against Max Scherzer and the Nationals July 29. He ended the year with five strikeouts in two shutout frames in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series in Tampa Bay.
2019 C’s hurlers Alek Manoah and Adam Kloffenstein placed seventh and ninth respectively. Manoah—the 11th overall pick in the 2019 draft out of West Virginia—spent 2020 at the Blue Jays alternate site in Rochester, New York while Kloffenstein—the Jays’ third rounder in 2018—pitched in the independent Constellation Energy League in his home state of Texas.
The fourth Blue Jays pitching prospect in the top 10 did not suit up for the C’s but there is still a Vancouver connection of sorts. Right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson—rated fourth by Baseball America—was acquired from the New York Mets along with lefty Anthony Kay for 2012 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Marcus Stroman.
Baseball America 2021 Top 30 Toronto Blue Jays Prospects
- Nate Pearson, RHP *
- Austin Martin, SS
- Jordan Groshans, SS
- Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
- Alejandro Kirk, C
- Orelvis Martinez, SS
- Alek Manoah, RHP *
- Gabriel Moreno, C
- Adam Kloffenstein, RHP *
- Miguel Hiraldo, SS
- C.J. Van Eyk, RHP
- Otto Lopez, SS/2B *
- Estiven Machado, SS
- Eric Pardinho, RHP
- Thomas Hatch, RHP
- Leonardo Jimenez, SS
- Victor Mesia, C
- Rikelvin De Castro, SS
- Patrick Murphy, RHP *
- Anthony Kay, LHP
- Santiago Espinal, SS/2B
- Will Robertson, OF *
- Nick Frasso, RHP
- Trent Palmer, RHP
- Dasan Brown, OF
- Joey Murray, RHP *
- Tanner Morris, SS *
- Yosver Zulueta, RHP
- Sem Robberse, RHP
- Philip Clarke, C *
* Played for Vancouver
2018 C’s infielder Otto Lopez came in at number 12 after spending time in instructional league and playing winter ball for Escogido in the Dominican Republic for a second straight offseason. 2016 C’s pitcher Patrick Murphy was rated 19th after making his major league debut last September with four relief appearances in which he recorded a 1.50 earned run average. Murphy’s road to the bigs encountered a speed bump when he had to revamp his pitching delivery due to an illegal toe tap in 2019.
2019 outfielder Will Robertson was rated 22nd after spending time in instructional league camp in Dunedin last year and 2018 righty Joey Murray slotted in at number 26 after his stint at the alternate training site. 2019 infielder Tanner Morris came after Murray at 27. BA notes that Morris lost weight after reporting to instructional league last year. Morris’ 2019 C’s teammate Philip Clarke slotted in at number 30. He was also at instructs but pulled a hamstring near the end of camp.
In BA’s Best Tools survey, Pearson has the top fastball and slider while Murphy gets top curveball honours. 2017 C’s catcher Riley Adams is rated the best power hitter in the Jays farm system and fellow 2017 Canadian Chavez Young is considered to have the best throwing arm in the outfield.
Ben Badler held a Blue Jays prospect chat back in November and listed Adams and 2016 C’s outfielder Josh Palacios as players who stood out in their performance at the alternate training site.
“Adams does have huge raw power and you could see adjustments he made in his swing to keep his weight back longer, which helps him stay behind the ball better, and he went on a home run binge toward the end of camp. Palacios stood out for his offensive performance at the alt site. He’s 24 with Double-A experience, so he should be ahead of some of the younger guys there, but he’s very much in the picture to make his major league debut next year.”
Other observations from Badler …
- Robertson was “hitting well” at instructional league and Clarke had “a good instructions”
- 2018 Toronto first round pick and Kloffenstein’s high-school teammate Jordan Groshans “probably starts at High-A (Vancouver) next year.”
- Manoah “should be able to start, but I’d like to see how the stuff plays over a full season against pro hitters.”
- Zeuch: “More of a fungible, up-and-down 4A type arm for me. I just don’t see him having the stuff to miss enough bats against major league hitters.”
- On future BA Top 100 Prospects lists: “You could make an argument for Manoah, Moreno, maybe even Kloffenstein, but they may have to wait to show it more in real games in 2021 to make that jump.”
- Murphy “has a big fastball/curveball combo that looks like it should work in a relief role.”
- Best raw power in the Jays system: “With (2018 Vancouver Canadian Griffin) Conine gone, Adams got the nod more just for the best raw power, whether you want to measure that by more traditional scouting measures or the exit velocities they’re posting. Long term, I expect Groshans and Martinez to have more productive in-game power because they’re better hitters who are going to make more contact and tap into their power more against live pitching. It’s not a huge gap, but we went with Adams for the raw power edge.”
MLB.com Top 30 Blue Jays Prospects
MLB.com has 11 Vancouver Canadians among its Top 30 Blue Jays prospects. Pearson is atop the list with Manoah (#5) and Kloffenstein (#10) also remaining in the top 10. Lopez is at 13, Murphy checks in at 18 and Robertson is slotted at 22. Adams is behind Roberston at 23 and 2016 C’s right-hander T.J. Zeuch begins a run of four Canadians to round out the top 30. Behind Zeuch at 27 is Murray, Young and 2017 second baseman Samad Taylor.
2019 Vancouver Canadians outfielder Will Robertson is rated the number 22 prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays system by both Baseball America and MLB.com.
Young and Taylor are playing down under for the Canberra Cavalry and they helped their squad reach the Australian Baseball League playoffs. Taylor hit a key three-run homer with Young on second base in an eventual 12-11 victory over Brisbane Saturday.
In 24 games, Taylor has hit .250 with five doubles, two home runs and 15 runs batted and has stolen three bases in as many tries for Canberry. Young was sidelined with a foot injury according to FutureBlueJays.com and has played just seven games where he has hit .217 with a pair of RBI. As a result, the 23 year-old from Freeport, Bahamas made a cameo appearance in the broadcast booth.
Best of luck to Taylor and Young in their playoff drive with Canberry.
Luciano in YVR?
FutureBlueJays.com has released a series of features of who could wind up where in the Jays farm system in 2021.
When projecting the C’s potential pitching staff, FutureBlueJays.com lists former Blue Jay Elvis Luciano as one possibility to see time in Vancouver if there is baseball to be played. The first player born in 2000 to reach the major leagues, Luciano managed to stay long enough on the Toronto roster in 2019 after he was taken from Kansas City in the 2018 Rule 5 draft. The Boca Chica, Dominican right-hander will turn 21 on February 15.
Another story from FBJ suggests that C’s fans—provided there is baseball in YVR this summer—could see a talented info trio of Martinez, Hiraldo and Jimenez, the 6th, 10th and 16th rated prospects in the Jays system by Baseball America.