10. Rowdy Tellez
People have soured on Tellez after one down season it seems. Many rankings have him placed lower than I do, and I cannot understand this at all. In Tellez the Blue Jays have a hulking 22 year old first baseman of the future, with a much needed lefty bat as well. Did he struggle greatly in his first season at AAA? Yes, most certainly. But that shouldn’t take away from the base knowledge that he has massive power, a solid approach, and on average, Tellez was 4.7 years younger than his average competition.
The poor season that he had can be blamed on a million different things, from notable family issues that we discovered later in the season to abysmal success against LHP, even some nagging injuries. I am nowhere near giving up on the massive potential he has in his bat, and when the season begins I look for Tellez to build off of the excellent final 125 AB’s he had last season, and return to the level of slugger he showed himself to be while tearing apart all other levels of the minor leagues.
9. Sean Reid-Foley
Let’s just get this out of the way now….I love Sean Reid-Foley. I believe he has all the skills necessary to become an excellent #2 starter at the MLB level. Given his ability to pitch in the mid-90’s, with phenomenal run and tilt, Reid-Foley’s fastball has the potential to be a dominant pitch even at the next level.
Much like Aaron Sanchez during his minor league career, Reid-Foley will have to learn 2 things: The first is fastball command, he has a lot of movement on this pitch and occasionally he loses the zone. The second is the knowledge that he doesn’t need to trick hitters as often as many other pitchers. He has the ability to attack hitters with his fastball and watch them struggle. It’s that good of a pitch.
Reid-Foley will not turn 23 until nearly September. He is young, and blessed with a power arm and he flashes 2 above average secondary offerings. He had a poor season with New Hampshire, but I look for him to rebound in a big way in 2018.
8. TJ Zeuch
The most polished pitcher in the Blue Jays system by far, TJ Zeuch has all the tools in his massive 6’7 235 lb frame to become a front line MLB starter, and I believe there is a chance Blue Jays fans will get the opportunity to see him pitch as early as this season.
Zeuch consistently pitches in the mid-90’s with his fastball, and has excellent secondary stuff and very good control. He is yet another 22 year old that is on the fast track to the Major Leagues. Throughout his college and minor league career he has been compared to some of the games best, with the most common comparables being the recently deceased Roy Halladay or former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. Zeuch has that type of frame and talent.
Look for Zeuch to begin the season with AA New Hampshire, and quickly become a front runner to pick-up spot starts at the Major League level.
7. Teoscar Hernandez
Blue Jays fan had the opportunity to get a very nice look at the multi-talented but strikeout prone Hernandez late in the 2017 season. He could not have performed much better in his first 95 plate appearances than he did. Launching 8 HR’s, posting an OPS of .908 and grading out very well at all 3 OF positions.
Now the bad, Hernandez struck out in nearly 40% OF HIS AB’s in his Jays debut. This has been a large problem for him his entire minor league career and this trend is unlikely to change. Hernandez is very unique talent, who has shown all the necessary skills to begin this season as an everyday player for the Blue Jays. Look for Hernandez to offer speed, power, and excellent defensive versatility to the Jays. He will have his share of slumps and struggles due to his boom or bust approach, but none the less Hernandez should end up being a very valuable piece as we go forward.
6. Lourdes Gurriel
At number 6, Lourdes Gurriel appears. He is one of the largest unknowns in these rankings. He has immense talent in all areas. Power, sneaky speed, and can literally play almost anywhere on the diamond. He had a very slow start to his minor league career due to some nagging injuries but began to gain traction as the season went on. In the fall season Gurriel really showed what he could do, and hopefully he can continue that momentum into this season.
Gurriel shows exceptional bat speed, that is the first thing I notice when I watch him. The second is a very natural feel for the game. Those skills alone can carry him far, but there is so much more to his game. It looks like the Jays have kind of pegged him as a super-utility type player at this point, but with the way the ball explodes off of his barrel with his short quick approach, I see his bat becoming a real strength in the near future.