A Minor Review of 2015: Toronto Blue Jays

Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

A Minor Review of 2015: Blue Jays

The Graduate: Roberto Osuna, RHP: The Jays received significant contributions from two rookies in 2015: second baseman Devon Travis, and Osuna. The former’s second half of the year was ruined by a cyst in his shoulder, which wasn’t discovered until exploratory surgery. The latter opened the year in lower leverage situations but quickly assumed the closer’s role when another rookie (later traded to Colorado) Miguel Castro faltered and got hurt. Osuna, 20, showed an advanced feel and understanding of pitching — as well as a fearlessness that cannot be taught — but he still experienced freshman hiccups and was homer prone at times.

The Riser: Anthony Alford, OF: Drafted 112th overall on raw athletic ability alone, every team in baseball knew Alford had plans for playing college football. Toronto took a gamble and allowed him to play football after signing and he appeared in just 25 games in his first three pro baseball seasons. Committed to baseball full-time in 2015, he improved by leaps and bounds throughout the year and quickly became Toronto’s best hitting prospect. He has gap power, 30+ steal potential and walked more than 14% of the time in 2015 despite his limited experience. His strikeout rate was at 26% in Low-A ball but he lowered it below 20% after moving up to High-A ball which further illustrated what a quick study he is. The Jays refused to part with him at the trade deadline and it’s easy to see why. He could be in the Jays’ outfield in 2017.

The Tumbler: Max Pentecost, C: The Jays’ first round pick from 2014 (11th overall), Pentecost has appeared in just 25 games in two seasons due to a litany of injuries — including labrum surgery. The large amount of time off is certainly cause for concern, as are the injuries that have created a cloud around the young athlete’s ability to stick behind the plate. A move away from catching would definitely have a further negative impact to Pentecost’s value but may be necessary. He needs a strong, healthy season to get back on track. Toronto’s other top catching prospect, Danny Jansen, also struggled through injuries in 2015.

The ’15 Draft Pick: Jon Harris, RHP: The Jays also selected Harris out of high school but he spurned their advances and spent three years at Missouri State University. He did not pitch well at all after turning pro and had an ERA above 6.00 in Low-A ball. The right-hander struggled with both his command and control but it may have been mostly due to fatigue. Toronto will certainly hope that their curse around drafting college pitchers in the upper levels of the draft (David Purcey, Zach Jackson, Chad Jenkins, Deck McGuire) ended with Marcus Stroman. If he rebounds, Harris has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter. The club received better-than-expected early returns from fifth rounder Jose Espada, a prep pitcher out of Puerto Rico.

The Lottery Ticket: Angel Perdomo, LHP: Signed way back in late 2011, Perdomo has followed the path of many taller hurlers who have struggled to repeat their mechanics due to long levers. The 6-6, 200 pound lefty spent two years in the Dominican Summer League and then two more in Rookie ball in North America — showing breakout stuff in 2015. He walked 30 batters in 69.1 innings, showing his control is still a work in progress, but his command improved and his stuff is overpowering when he’s on. The organization faces a tough decision with Perdomo, as his slow development means he needs to be added to the 40-man roster this fall to be protected from December’s Rule 5 draft but he may not be MLB ready in three years once his option years expire (if added now). His talent may be worth a flyer by a club like the Phillies, Reds, or Braves.





Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Damaso
Member
Damaso

I’m a bit surprised Alford wasn’t on all the midseason top lists after putting in one of the best performances in milb given age and level, backed up by a legit 5-tool talent base.

vince
Guest
vince

That sounds a bit like revisionist history. He was not even sniffing honorable mention to begin the year. I did not view him as much of an omission on mid-season lists. He will certainly be on everyone’s lists now though. Players have fluky halves all the time, typically inflated by one hot stretch. A full season of performance is worth a lot more than two disjointed halves. A full season is much harder to fake.

Damaso
Member
Damaso

it’s not like he was a nobody coming into this year. other prospects were ranked despite similar lack of track record.