5. Logan Warmoth
When Logan Warmoth was drafted this past summer, he was widely considered one of the most polished position players available. He has an advanced feel for the game, despite maybe lacking one true elite skill, and showed that in his first season of pro-ball, especially once arriving in Vancouver.
With the ability to hit the ball gap-to-gap (with projectable line drive power), play excellent defense and offer enough speed and athleticism to keep teams honest, Warmoth has the ability to climb quickly through the minor leagues. Look for the well-rounded Warmoth to begin this season with the Lansing Lugnuts and begin his quick ascent through the Blue Jays organization.
4. Nate Pearson
Nate Pearson stands out from a crowd both in stature (6’6 245lbs) and in stuff. With the ability to reach back and hit 101 MPH with his fast ball, in a starting role, Pearson is a truly elite pitching prospect.
Beyond the massive velocity, Pearson also showed the ability to throw strikes and mix his developing breaking ball successfully. In his first 20 innings as a pro, Pearson pitched to a 0.90 ERA, and only allowed 7 hits and 5 walks while striking out 26. He should also being the 2018 season in Lansing with the Lugnuts, and could potentially sniff AA New Hampshire by years end.
Look for the hulking righty to continue to dominate the low-minor leagues, and develop his secondary pitches on route to establishing himself as a top 50 MLB prospect by years end.
3. Anthony Alford
If it wasn’t for the off-season acquisitions made by the Blue Jays, Anthony Alford was a legitimate option to break camp with the big club after spring training. the additions of Grichuk and Granderson give Alford the opportunity to get a little more seasoning in AAA Buffalo to begin the year.
With 70 speed, excellent hand eye coordination, plus approach, and excellent CF defense, Alford has all the tools necessary to become a future MLB all-star. Look for him to post big numbers in Buffalo and force his way onto the Blue Jays roster by the trade deadline this season. As we have all seen, the only thing that can stand in Alford’s way is injuries, so hopefully he can have a clean healthy season and show the Blue Jays what he and his elite skill set are capable of doing.
2. Bo Bichette
Bo Bichette has risen as far or further in the 1.5 professional seasons as anyone in his draft class. Considered by many to be a good hitter but maybe slightly over-rated, consensus believed due to his odd approach at the plate he would get exposed as a professional, Bichette has proven to everyone that he is far from overrated.
He followed up his exceptional first season with arguably a more impressive year in 2017 hitting .362 with .988 OPS across 2 levels. Bichette was ranked as the #14 overall prospect in the MLB this spring, and although he doesn’t have a true defensive position that will not stop the still 19 year old Bichette for driving his way into a September call-up conversation this season.
There is almost no limit to Bo Bichette’s offensive potential, and it will amazing to watch him grow and develop in 2018.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr
In the history of the MLB Pipeline 20-80 prospect ratings, no player had ever been given an 80 grade for their hit tool. That is until this spring and 18 year old Vladimir Guerrero Jr. That shows the level of excellence this prospect has with the stick. With an advance eye (more Walks than strikeouts), exceptional raw power (rated a 70 tool), a fringe plus arm, decent athleticism, and an ability, unseen since his father, to but hard contact on almost everything he swings at, Vladimir Guerrero Jr is a rare, once in a generation offensive talent.
Much like Bichette, Guerrero doesn’t have a natural defensive position, although he has made massive strides at a young age playing 3B. Guerrero’s bat will carry him to the big leagues very quickly, some say as early as late in this season, especially if Toronto trades Josh Donaldson.
Look for the Miguel Cabrera-like Guerrero to continue to build his case as Major League Baseballs top prospect talent. Also, begin to make Blue Jays upper-management have to consider how long until the still 18 year old Guerrero can become an everyday contributor at the MLB level.