The Jays had one of the better – if not best – first rounds in this year’s draft, snagging potential first overall pick Jeff Hoffman, who succumbed to Tommy John surgery, and Max Pentecost, the best overall catcher. The club’s top prospect, Aaron Sanchez, was recently pushed to the bullpen which is likely to hasten his arrival in Toronto. And southpaw Daniel Norris is certainly making people take notice with his breakout season.
For a look at the club’s Top 10 Prospects heading into the year click HERE
1. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Age: 22
At some point – and soon – the production will need to match the front-of-the-rotation hype that’s been tattooed on the former first rounder’s forehead. Sanchez, who was recently moved to the bullpen, which likely means an impending promotion to Toronto, has struck out just 20.1% of the batters he’s faced since the start of 2013. This season will mark also mark the first time he surpasses 100 innings in a year.
2. Daniel Norris, LHP, Age: 21
The 6-foot-2 hurler continued to cement his status as one of the more intriguing left arms in the minor leagues. After overpowering the rookie ball and low Class A competition, Norris, a second round pick three years ago, fanned 29.0% of the batters he faced while posting a miniscule 1.89 FIP with Dunedin. The Jays’ front office recently bumped him up to Class AA where he’s struck out 25 and walked eight in his first 17.0 innings.
3. Max Pentecost, C, Age: 21
The best overall catcher in the collegiate ranks this season, the club grabbed the Kennesaw State superstar with the 11th pick this June. Split between his brief stints in the Gulf Coast and Northwest Leagues, Pentecost is hitting .368/.375/.447. For his full pre-draft analysis click HERE.
4. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Age: 21
The Blue Jays played the first round to perfection, grabbing Hoffman, who was viewed as a potential #1 pick heading into the season but slid due to Tommy John surgery, and followed that up with Pentecost two picks later. Both players ranked as the #12 and #13 collegiate players on my big board. For Hoffman’s full pre-draft analysis click HERE.
5. Dalton Pompey, CF, Age: 21
The system’s biggest offensive riser this season – and a participant in the Futures Game – Pompey got off to a scorching start in Dunedin, hitting .319/.397/.471 before his promotion to Class AA. And while Dunedin’s home park tends to inflate offensive numbers, Pompey hit .291/.379/.432 on the road.
6. Franklin Barreto, SS, Age: 18
Barreto has torched the Northwest League competition this season, topping the average offensive production by a whopping 54% en route to hitting .336/.415/.496. The power hasn’t developed into solid homerun territory, but it should in the coming years.
7. Robert Osuna, RHP, Age: 19
Osuna hasn’t thrown a meaningful pitch since undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of July last season. Prior to the injury, however, the teenaged right-hander flashed a consistent ability to miss bats with the potential to develop better than average control in the lower levels of the minors.
8. Mitch Nay, 3B, Age: 20
A supplemental first rounder last June, Nay has been solid, nothing more, during his first action in full season ball, hitting .277/.337/.371. Through his first 157 games, Nay’s posted an unimpressive .107 Isolated Power.
9. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Age: 18
An intriguing right-hander with plenty of upside, Reid-Foley was nabbed with the 49th overall pick this June. So far he’s thrown just 2.2 innings, striking out three and walking a pair.
10. Chase DeJong, RHP, Age: 20
DeJong looked like another potential breakout candidate after his impressive stint in the Appalachian League last year (56.0 IP, 66 K, and 10 BB). But what’s the saying about the best laid plans? Oh, yeah…they often go awry. DeJong has posted a 4.64 FIP to go along with a below average strikeout rate (7.15 K/9), though the control has been impressive (1.96 BB/9).
Photo Courtesy of ECU Media Relations via Reflector.com.