By: Tyler Kelaher
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Before the start of the 2017 regular season, Baseball America ranked the Blue Jays’ farm system 20th in the league. A year later, Toronto cracked the top ten with the seventh best prospect pool.
It wasn’t a plethora of newly acquired talent that jumped the system’s rank by 13 spots, but progressive development from the players who’ve been part of the organization for a couple of years.
All of Toronto’s top ten prospects were members of the farm system last year, with most showing a spike in performance and promotion to a higher level of minor league ball.
Here’s a closer look at the future of the Toronto Blue Jays:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 3B
The son of 2004 AL MVP, Vladimir Guerrero, the slugger was signed by the Blue Jays in July of 2015. Guerrero Jr. finished 2017 hitting .323 with 76 RBI in 119 games split between the Lansing Lugnuts and Dunedin Blue Jays. What separates Jr. from his father, is plate discipline. Guerrero Jr. recorded 14 more walks than strikeouts in 2017 and posted a .425 on-base percentage. Vlad’s effortless power and approach at the plate has him ranked as the third best prospect in all of the major leagues by Baseball America.
Bo Bichette – SS/2B
The son of four-time All-Star Dante Bichette, Bo was drafted 66th overall by the Blue Jays in the 2016 draft. With the ability to hit for power to both sides of the diamond, Bichette is projected to be a plus-or-better hitter. He finished 2017 with a .362/.423/.565 stat line, winning Midwest League MVP honours. His range and instinct make him a great middle infield option. Baseball America ranks Bichette the eighth best prospect in the league.
Anthony Alford – OF
Alford was taken 112th overall by the Blue Jays in 2012 despite his commitment to play football for Southern Mississippi. The multi-sporter oozes athleticism and can generate good power from the right side of the plate. He has above-average range in the outfield, but a knee injury diminished his speed and his arm strength needs more work. Injuries held Alford back from making a real jump in development, but he displays the physicality to be an impact player when healthy. Alford could’ve been called up to the big leagues last September, but the club wanted him to get more guaranteed at-bats in the minors.
Nate Pearson – RHP
Nate Pearson resembles the modern day pro hurler. The Jays’ 28th overall pick in 2017 stands at 6’6’’, weighing in at 245lbs. Pearson’s fastball consistently hits 97-98 mph but has been recorded above 100mph on occasion. His high velocity is mixed with a slider that hits the upper 80s, along with a decent changeup and below-average curveball. Pearson pitched just 20 pro innings in 2017, but posted an impressive 0.90 ERA with 26 strikeouts.
Logan Warmoth – SS
Drafted 22nd overall in 2017, Logan Warmoth slashed .306/.356/.419 in Class-A Short Season Vancouver where he won a Northwest League title. Warmoth shows good control of the strike zone with above-average hitting capability. Great athleticism, speed, range, agility and footwork make him an ideal shortstop or second baseman.