A Minor Review of 2016: Toronto Blue Jays

Welcome to the annual series that provides both a review of your favorite teams’ 2016 season, as well as a early look toward 2017. It also serves as a helpful guide for keeper and dynasty leagues.

The Graduate: Joe Biagini (RHP): A Rule 5 draft pick from the Giants last winter, Biagini narrowly snuck onto the team at the end of spring training. Within a couple of months, though, he began pitching in more and more meaningful games — becoming one of Manager John Gibbons’ most trusted relievers by the end of the season. The organization feels that Biagini’s stuff would play well in the starting rotation and has considered sending him back to the minors to work him out as a starter in 2017 but reliever values are at an all-time high this winter so the Jays may be hard pressed to find enough depth that make that move a reality.

The Riser: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B): Just 17, Guerrero Jr. spent the entire 2016 season in advanced rookie ball — his first professional assignment and he excelled against much older competition. He showed great plate/pitch awareness and struck out just 35 times in 62 games (while also walking 33 times). He also has more useable power than most players his age and looks like a potential 20+ home run guy. Guerrero Jr. will turn just 18 in March but the Jays have tentative plans to send him to full-season ball in 2017 — unless he falls flat on his face in the spring. He probably won’t stick at third base but he has the bat to play anywhere. If he continues on this development path in the coming year, Guerrero Jr. will be one of the top five to 10 hitters in the minors.

The Tumbler: D.J. Davis (OF): Davis is just 22 but his days of being a prospect are over. He’s spent three years in A-ball and two of them have been horrendous, while the other was decent (His second year in low-A ball). The speedy outfielder just hasn’t developed an understanding for what he needs to do to be successful: make contact and run like the dickens. Davis also lacks baseball instincts — both in the field and on the base paths where he’s just 100 for 154 in steals (and was caught 30 times in 70 tries between 2014-15). After posting a .558 OPS in ’16, he’ll return to A-ball for a fourth try in ’17 but might be due for a change of scenery.

The ’16 Draft Pick: T.J. Zeuch (RHP): The Blue Jays love their spring pop-up draft guys (Noah Syndergaard was another one) and the Jays nabbed Zeuch with the 21st overall selection. Standing 6-7, he’s the physical kind of arm that the organization covets and he’s seen his fastball jump into the mid-90s at times. He has a four-pitch mix but the secondary stuff needs a fair bit of polishing before he’s ready for the Majors. With the pitching depth that the club is starting to build up, the right-handed pitcher might open the year in low-A ball, although a strong spring might push him to high-A ball. Zeuch, 21, currently projects as a mid-rotation workhorse.

The Lottery Ticket: Clinton Hollon (RHP): A 2013 second-rounder, Hollon had the stuff to go in the first round but maturity/makeup issues pushed him down. The young pitcher has thrown just 76 innings in four years thanks to injuries (including Tommy John surgery), suspensions and substance abuse. Hollon didn’t pitch at all in 2016 after reportedly focusing on getting his life in order once his second suspension ended so there is renewed hope for his 2017 season. If he is able to pitch during the coming season, the Jays might want to consider adding him to the bullpen to try and accelerate his timeline.

For reference sake, here is the 2015 Review.





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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