The Toronto Blue Jays farm system is one of the best in the majors. With their prospects, the Blue Jays will continue to dive into their pipeline throughout the 2021 season. They have kept a strong foundation, giving themselves plenty of options to work with. This farm system has improved in the last two years with strong drafts and smart trades. They have a ton of pitching depth with two positions where teams want to have the most prospect capital: catchers and shortstops.
With the 2021 minor league season underway, let’s look at some storylines surrounding some of the club’s prospects.
Blue Jays Farm System Storylines
Alek Manoah’s Timeline
It’s no surprise to see Alek Manoah assigned to Triple-A Buffalo. Manoah graduates from Class-A, bypassing three levels of minor league baseball: Low-A, High-A, and Double-A. The 23-year old will join a rotation that includes top prospect Nate Pearson, right-handers T.J. Zeuch and Jacob Waguespack, and Nick Allgeyer. On the mound, Manoah averages a 94 mph fastball with a high 90’s slider. Those pitches also come with an above-average changeup and a curveball he can throw for strikes.
Providing that Manoah pitches well in Buffalo, the question of when he’ll get the call to the majors will begin to increase.
Jordan Groshans and His Lost Development Time
Jordan Groshans hasn’t seen a pitch in a real pro game since May 2019. Groshans spent time with injuries he suffered along with the pandemic wiping out the 2020 minor league season. But, he did spend all of last season at the Blue Jays alternate site, facing pitchers who were more advanced than himself. To continue his progression, the 21-year old must get as many at-bats as possible with playing time on the field. Those are what he needs to check off to have a healthy, productive season. If all goes well in Double-A, it’s easy to imagine the possibility of an MLB debut in 2022.
The Team With the Best Chance of Competing in its League
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have a lot of talent. Buffalo has a good starting rotation, but that will remain until Pearson and Manoah are called up to the majors. The Fisher Cats have a team with prospects from Austin Martin, Jordan Groshans, Simeon Woods Richardson, Gabriel Moreno, Chavez Young, and Otto Lopez. The 2021 roster is likely New Hampshire’s best team since 2018, when the team had Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerreo Jr., and Cavan Biggio.
— New Hampshire Fisher Cats (@FisherCats) May 5, 2021
The Prospect to Make the Biggest Noise
Austin Martin. He has a great feel for the ball, making contact with a quick right-handed stroke that efficiently gets into the strike zone. Martin controls the zone very well, showing no weaknesses at the plate. The Blue Jays drafted the Vanderbilt alum in the first round last year as a shortstop, and they want him to play at that position. The thing is, Groshans is continuing to develop at shortstop. Both players will spend time playing shortstop. When Martin plays at shortstop, Groshans will play third base. When Groshans plays shortstop, Martin will play centerfield.
In two games, Martin’s slash line is .333/.600/.500 with a 1.100 OPS. He made a spectacular minor league debut.
Austin Martin: Halfway to the Cycle
(He singled in the first inning and then just hit this double in the fourth. It’s 4-0 NH.) pic.twitter.com/Epb2XJ7ysF
— New Hampshire Fisher Cats (@FisherCats) May 4, 2021
Other Blue Jays Farm System Storylines, Roster Notes
Right-handed pitcher Eric Pardinho is still progressing in his rehab from Tommy John surgery a year ago. The Blue Jays expect the 20-year old prospect to pitch with a full-season affiliate later on this year, but there is no timeline for his return.
With the recent contraction of the minor leagues, the Vancouver Canadians switched from the Blue Jays’ short-season single-A affiliate to the Class-A Advanced club this year.
Prospects Filling Out Toronto’s Minors Rosters
Triple-A Buffalo Bisons
Joey Murray, Josh Palacios
High-A Vancouver Canadians
Adam Kloffenstein, CJ Van Eyk, Will Robertson
Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays
Orelvis Martinez, Miguel Hiraldo, Yosver Zulueta, Sem Robberse