Baseball America’s Blue Jays 2022 International Prospect Review

On Monday, Ben Badler of Baseball America announced the “2021-22 International Reviews” focused on the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Top of the class,” Luis Meza:
Obviously, 17-year-old Luis Meza is the Jays’ prime signing.
Arguably the best catcher in the class, Meza signed for a bonus of $2,050,000, which was announced on January 15th. Meza is an athletic catcher, which helps him block well. Furthermore, his ability to receive is impressive for such a teenager.
It’s noted that Meza has the opportunity to develop into an above-average defender, an important trait for the most important position on the diamond. As for his bat, his approach is considered advanced, connecting with the ball more often than not. He is also a spray hitter and has more of a hit tool than a power tool.
However, as the 17-year-old matures, it’s likely he adds more muscle, which will increase his power.
From MLB Pipeline, he ranks as the Jays’ 20th best prospect. Below are his grades.
Hit: 50
Power: 50
Run: 45
Arm: 50
Field: 50
Overall: 50
Although not related to Baseball America, MLB Pipeline notes that he has great baseball fundamentals and his arm has become stronger, which will help throw out runners. Per MLB Pipeline and Baseball America, he’ll likely start in the Dominican Summer League.
“Names to know:”
According to Baseball America, there are three names to know, two of which are outfielders. I wrote about their signings, but here we’ll go more in depth.
Jean Carlos Joseph:
Signed for $450,000, the 5’11, 160 pound Joseph has the potential to develop into a real good centre fielder. His routes are great and he has a good jump off the bat. Furthermore, Baseball America also notes that the 17-year-old Joseph has a strong arm.
In terms of offense, he is a line drive hitter (which has the highest batting average, don’t forget), but added more power since the amateur scouts h …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

I grew up hating baseball. These Toronto Blue Jays changed that.

Growing up in Alberta, I was never really exposed to baseball as a kid.

In fact, I wasn’t even exposed to it at all. I feel like baseball is one of those sports that’s inherited in some way. Your grandfather maybe would sit by the radio tracking the game with a stats sheet, or maybe your father did too.
For me it was all about hockey and football. I grew up Edmonton Oilers hockey, and I grew up a Chicago Bears fan and am still a diehard to this day.
I found myself engrained with thoughts that baseball was, well… a “dumb sport.” I bought into tropes like “the games are too long,” or “there’s not enough action,” or “the players aren’t real athletes,” et cetera, et cetera.
As I grow older, I’ve found these tropes to be the farthest thing from the truth. You see, two years ago I started working at the Nation Network full-time. I got to work closely with guys like Cam Lewis, and Tyler Yaremchuk, both massive Jays fans, and through osmosis I started becoming a Jays fan too.
You see, there are few things I love more than good stories. I went to school to be a Journalist and worked full-time in the n …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 66: What an Opening Weekend!

Blue Jays baseball returned to Toronto with a bang.

In their first normal Home Opener in three years, the Blue Jays put on an insane show, coming back from 7-0 down to pull off a 10-8 win. They picked up another win on Saturday and then appeared they were on their way to a sweep before the pitching imploded for 11 unanswered runs.
We talked about the wild ride that was Opening Weekend, the comeback and the electricity of the biggest crowd the Dome has seen in years, the clutch performances of the bullpen, the difficult times the starting pitchers had and whether it means anything or not, and, of course, the huge bats.
After that, we looked around the American League and talked about what the other teams got up to before looking ahead to an important series against the Yankees in New York. Remember, we can’t say It’s Early anymore, not after last year.
You can listen to the episode here…

POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

 

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Aaron Judge turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension

There are 13 baseball games on the slate tonight, but, naturally, the New York Yankees are grabbing headlines.

Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman spoke to reporters today ahead of New York’s season-opener this afternoon against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium and said that the team and Aaron Judge haven’t been able to come to terms on a contract extension.
He even outright said in the interview that the Yankees offered the slugger a seven-year contract worth $213.5 million, which is $30.5 million annually. Judge, of course, is eligible to hit the open market as a free agent for the first time in his career following the 2022 season.

Brian Cashman says the #Yankees offer was $30.5 million per year. pic.twitter.com/xuyWDNaqtq
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) April 8, 2022

After an injury-riddled 2020 season, Judge had a huge bounceback season for the Yankees in 2022, slashing a .287/.373/.544 line with 39 dingers over the course of 633 plate appearances. Judge finished fourth in American League MVP voting, his best finish since his breakout season in 2017 in which he won AL Rookie of the Year and finished second in MVP voting.
Since 2017, Judge ranks fourth in baseball in terms of FanGraphs’ wins above replacement, behind only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Jose Ramirez. The contract would make Judge the second-highest-paid outfielder in terms of average annual salary, but the $213.5 million total falls short of the $365 million deal that Betts signed with the Dodgers and the $426.5 million deal Trout inked with the Angels.
Given Judge’s durability concerns and the fact he’s not likely to stick in the outfield for long, he isn’t going to be able to command the same money as Betts and Trout, who are both elite …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The five best Trades of the Shapkins era

Now that the baseball season is upon us, and the Blue Jays off-season is likely done, it’s time to rank the best Blue Jays moves since Shapiro and Atkins took over in late 2015.
Honorable mentions:
The Jose Berrios trade could easily go down as one of the better trades, but it depends on how both Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson develop. The same case could be made for the recent Matt Chapman trade, but that depends on how he performs as well as the prospects that the Jays lost.
Lastly, I will include the Randal Grichuk for Raimel Tapia and Adrian Pinto in this section. While for 2022 it’s already a good move, depending on how Pinto develops, this could be an all-time best trade for the Blue Jays. However, we are not there yet.
Like the trade mentioned above, a trade that benefited both teams was when the Jays sent Steve Pearce to the Red Sox for Santiago Espinal. Good trade.
My editor mentioned this one as well, but trading for Jason Grilli and cash for Sean Ratcliffe drastically improved the team to sneak into a wildcard position. In fact, you could probably fit acquiring Joaquin Benoit for Drew Storen in this category as well.
In terms of trades that are okay, but not great, the Marcus Stroman to the Mets for Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson stands out. This trade was a go …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Don’t worry about prospects, the Blue Jays will have a great opportunity to re-stock their farm this summer

I won’t lie, I was offended by Baseball America’s ranking of the Blue Jays farm system as they ranked 19th.
The reason that the team ranks so low is twofold, as the likes of Alejandro Kirk and Alek Manoah graduated, but the team also traded multiple prospects away in the Jose Berrios trade and the Matt Chapman trade. The list came before the trade with Oakland, so we might be even lower now.
That leaves the Jays with what one can assume is a weakened farm system, however, that might not be for long.
The 2022 MLB draft:
The MLB and MLBPA will be working on both an international draft and removing qualifying offers during the season. Thankfully, the Jays will still be entitled to the two compensation draft picks they received for Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray signing elsewhere this off-season in free agency after the team issued each player a qualifying offer. 
These two picks will likely take place around the 65-75 range, meaning that the Blue Jays will get four picks in the top 75. Adding to that, their third round pick would also likely take place before the 100th pick, so that’ll be five picks before 100.
This means that the Blue Jays will have a prime opportunity to replace the talent they moved from their farm system to add to their big league club over the past eight months.
This allows for further trades down the line:
With the knowledge that the team will pick five times before the 100th pick, there is peace of mind in knowing that they can trade numerous prospects without unloading the farm. For example, if the Jays were to trade for a player like Jose Ramirez, they could trade upwards of three good prospects, but can replenish the farm system in July.
I mention the word “sustainability” a lot in my articles for Blue Jays Nation. One way to be a sustainable team is to be able to keep the pipeline flowing by identifying which prospects will make an impact, such as Gabriel Moreno and Orelvis Martin …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 62: Digging into the new CBA, gearing up for transaction season, and more!

Baseball! It’s back!

The last time we recorded, it was all doom and gloom about how this stalemate between Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association was going to drag on and on and on for months and the thought of a full 2022 season seemed hopeless.
Well, here we are now. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been reached and we’re going to have a normal, 162-game season.
We went through the changes from the CBA and what it all means for the Blue Jays, ranging from the baseball stuff, like the 12-team playoff format, all the way to the economic stuff, like the possible International Draft. We also dug into some early Off-Season 2.0 rumours, as the Blue Jays are apparently in the mix to make a big splash before the start of the season.
My goodness, it feels nice to talk about actual rumours!
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How does MLB’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement affect the Blue Jays?

Baseball is back!

MLB and the Players’ Association agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Thursday so we won’t have to deal with this bullshit until after the 2026 season. You can read everything about the deal at The Athletic if you subscribe or USA Today if you don’t.

Some final details of a CBA where players made some notable gains:• Pre-arb bonus pool at $50m• Min salary: $700k, $720k, 740k, $760k, $780k• CBT: $230m-$244m• Draft lottery at 6 picks • Universal DH• Amateur draft is 20 rounds• Player can be optioned 5 times per yr
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 10, 2022

I’m going to through the interesting changes that are coming with the new CBA and what it means for the Blue Jays…
It’s going to be easier to make the playoffs
A key concession that the players gave to the owners was increasing the post-season field from 10 to 12 teams.
There had been talks about a 14-team field, but the two sides met in the middle on 12. It looks like this new format will involve the top two division winners in each league will get a bye to the divisional round while the other four teams in each league play a three-game wild-card series.
This, of course, is advantageous to the owners for obvious reasons, in that playoff games are extremely lucrative and adding an extra round of games means a whole bunch more revenue. Back in 2020, the post-season was expanded to 16 teams in order to help offset the revenue that was lost due to most of the season getting wiped by COVID-19.
The arguments against the expanded post-season field largely comes down to not wanting to water down the meaning of a 162-game season. I fully understand the argument and don’t necessarily love the idea of letting mediocre teams into the post-season, but I also cheer for a team that’s trapped in the American League East, so I’m not complaining.
This is a win for the Blue Jays, who finished sixth in the American League last year.
An …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Joe Biagini and Greg Bird to minor-league deals

As Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association slowly inch towards a Collective Bargaining Agreement at a glacial pace, the Blue Jays gave us something to talk about today as they inked two players to minor-league contracts.

First, we’ll talk about the return of an Old Friend, Joe Biagini…

#BlueJays have signed Joe Biagini to a minor league deal.
— Jamie Campbell (@SNETCampbell) March 10, 2022

The Blue Jays originally acquired Biagini from the San Fransisco Giants through the Rule 5 Draft and he wound up playing a key role in the team’s 2016 season as a late-inning reliever. The following season, they tried to convert Biagini back into a starter, but that didn’t work quite so well, as he posted a 5.34 ERA in 2017 over 44 outings, 18 of which were starts.
In 2019, Biagini was sent to the Houston Astros along with Aaron Sanchez and prospect Cal Stevenson in exchange for Derek Fisher. Biagini would wind up only tossing 19 innings for the Astros over two seasons, but he was a part of a combined no-hitter with Sanchez, Will Harris, and Chris Devenski.
Most recently, Biagini spent the 2021 season in the Chicago Cubs organization. He posted a 5.50 ERA in Triple-A over the course of 22 outings, 19 of which were starts, and he had one scoreless three-inning outing at the big league level.
As of right now, the Blue Jays rotation will feature Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Alek Manoah, while Ross Stripling, Nate Pearson, and possibly another off-season addition compete for the fifth spot. The organization has a fairly enigmatic situation when it comes to starting pitchers in the mix for Triple- …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Gabriel Moreno tops Baseball America’s list of top Blue Jays prospects

Of course, as I’m doing my top 20 prospects, Baseball America releases their top 30 prospect list. In this article, we’ll be looking at all prospects on their list that didn’t make mine, as well as some interesting prospects in terms of their ranking.

Due to Baseball America being a paid subscription, I won’t reveal where each player ranks. However, I do recommend purchasing BA as it’s a fantastic resource if you love prospects…

Toronto Blue Jays Top 30 Prospects. With Gabriel Moreno at No. 1: https://t.co/3XPjdb69D4
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) March 8, 2022

The prospects that didn’t make my list…
Many of these prospects ranked in my article for both position players and pitchers that missed out. If you wish, you can click the link to see why some of the following prospects didn’t make my list.
Nate Pearson ranks in the top 5. While I don’t consider him a prospect anymore, he still has potential to the moon. They also included Thomas Hatch, a 27-year-old in the teens, and Josh Palacios, a 26-year-old at the back end of the list.
The first player (note due to age) that doesn’t rank on my list is Estiven Machado. The 19-year-old only had one plate appearance in 2021 due to injury, but he certainly is an enticing prospect as he’s great with the glove and makes contact.
The recently drafted pitcher, Irv Carter, ranks nearly in the middle of the list. The fifth rounder chosen out of high school will be making his professional debut come April. He currently projects as a reliever, but if the 19-year-old can work on his mechanics, his projection can change to that of a starter.
CJ Van Eyk is also featured on this list. I had mentioned in an article and on Twitter that CJ Van Eyk underwent Tommy John surgery to end 2021. He still has potential, but he likely won’t pitch until mid-2023.
Adam Kloffenstein ranks next and after a rough 2021, he has fallen down many prospect lists. 2022 will be a huge season for the 21-year-old, as it looks like he’ll start the season in Double A. He still has loads of potential, however, the results have to come as well.
Tanner Morris is a utility infielder worth watching, as the 23-year-old had a solid slash line in Vancouver while displ …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation