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Toronto Blue Jays 2015 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

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The prospect staff at Fake Teams finishes up their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Toronto Blue Jays.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Just like last year, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2015. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below. if we have already reviewed the team, a link to the post, along with the team's top prospect is noted.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore
(Bundy)

Chicago
(Rodon)

Houston
(Correa)

Atlanta
(Sims)

Chicago
(Bryant)

Arizona
(Bradley)

Boston
(Moncada)

Cleveland
(Lindor)

Los Angeles
(Heaney)

Miami
(Kolek)

Cincinnati
(Stephenson)

Colorado
(Gray)

New York
(Judge)

Detroit
(Hill)

Oakland
(Olson)

New York
(Syndergaard)

Milwaukee
(Taylor)

Los Angeles
(Pederson)

Tampa Bay
(Robertson)

Kansas City
(Manaea)

Seattle
(Jackson)

Philadelphia
(Crawford)

Pittsburgh
(Glasnow)

San Diego
(Renfroe)

Toronto
(Today)

Minnesota
(Buxton)

Texas
(Gallo)

Washington
(Giolito)

St. Louis
(Piscotty)

San Francisco
(Crick)

Organizational Overview
by Jason Hunt

The Blue Jays continue to position themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the AL East, although that has yet to translate into a playoff appearance under GM Alex Anthopoulos. They've used their farm system in the past to acquire marquee players like R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes, and have watched as players like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have gone from afterthoughts to key members on the offense. Yet while they had a very strong base to build from after the season, they knew that they would need to address free agent losses like Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus and closer Casey Janssen.

While the moves this offseason may have seemed surprising at first glance, they continue to fit well with the Blue Jays' efforts to find the best players through any means available. They made one key addition via free agency, signing catcher Russell Martin to a five year, $82 million contract to be the everyday catcher, and did this in spite of already having received a solid season from Dioner Navarro. They were busiest on the trade market though, acquiring MVP candidate Josh Donaldson from the Athletics in a five-player deal, as well as outfielder Michael Saunders and second base prospect Devon Travis.

The farm system remains one of the stronger in the league, and should see immediate dividends in 2015. Three of our top four fantasy prospects are expected to spend a majority of the year in the majors, and all three can be potential impact talents for fantasy owners. Both Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez are expected to make the rotation at some point during the year, with Sanchez more likely to start the year there. The Jays are also likely to rely on Dalton Pompey to be the everyday center fielder after a breakout campaign in 2014. Add in a number of potentially interesting pitching prospects like Jeff Hoffman, Roberto Osuna, and Jairo Labourt with their other first round pick from 2014, catcher Max Pentecost, and they will have the pieces available at midseason should they need to make a trade to get more help.

The injury during Spring Training to second year starting pitcher Marcus Stroman was a tough blow to the rotation, but with Norris and Sanchez available, they can potentially weather that injury without a major drop off. They're expected to be near the top of the division this year, and with one of the more formidable lineups in the American League, 2015 could finally be the year that ends the 21 year playoff drought.

2014 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time.

Kevin Pillar (AB), Steve Tolleson (ST), Ryan Goins (AB), Marcus Stroman (IP)

Major League Opportunities in 2015
by Jason Hunt

There are actually three key spots that the team has left as opportunities for prospects to take control and contribute in 2015. In center field, the team let free agent Colby Rasmus leave based in part on the emergence of prospect Dalton Pompey's extremely strong 2014 campaign. Pompey is expected to be the everyday center fielder, and can potentially be a top 40 outfielder this year. The Blue Jays made a minor acquisition near the start of the offseason to potentially address second base, grabbing prospect Devon Travis from the Tigers for Anthony Gose. Travis is sounding more and more like he might win the job, and could be a top 20 2B option if he does.

The other key question all offseason was the usage of top pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris. Sanchez pitched out of the bullpen at the end of last year, was lights out while doing so, and it was suggested that he might end up as the closer for this year. With the team announcing that Brett Cecil will close on Sunday, Sanchez looks more likely to end up as the 5th starter, with Norris headed to AAA for a little more seasoning.


Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors.

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1. Daniel Norris (LHP)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
12 0 2.694 1.14 167
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
130.3 0.55 1.00 9.02% 31.39%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 L L A+,AA,AAA,MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

Norris was one of the seven players drafted by the Blue Jays in the first two rounds of the 2011 draft, and at this point has the highest potential of any prospect they took that year. He signed for an over slot bonus of $2 million, and struggled with his performance in his first two professional seasons. After spending the 2013 season primarily at Low-A, he was moved up to High-A to start 2014 and exploded back onto the prospect radar. He made 13 starts there before being promoted to AA. Another eight starts there and four more at AAA before he was called up to the majors for the last month of the season. He finished the year as the leader in strikeouts/9 innings in the minors with 163 total over just 124 innings.

For Norris, the reports previously always pointed to a pitcher who could turn into a #2/mid-rotation type starting pitcher if it all came together. In 2014, it all came together. He features a four-pitch repertoire, all of which can be at least average offerings and at least two can potentially be above-average. His best pitch is his fastball, which sits in the low-90s, gets a ton of movement, and generates a lot of ground balls. He also features a slider which is another strikeout offering, as well as a curveball and changeup which both profile as average. His previous issues had stemmed from issues with command, which appear to have improved dramatically.

The potential with Norris remains for a mid-rotation starting pitcher to potentially more some years. He should be an excellent provider of strikeouts along with good ratios, and can be a top 40 starting pitcher if he makes the rotation this year.

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2. Aaron Sanchez (RHP)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
5 3 3.246 1.26 111
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
133.1 0.47 3.13 11.87% 19.96%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R AA,AAA,MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

The second of four first round draft picks by the Jays in the 2010 season, Sanchez spent the first two full seasons pitching alongside fellow top pick Noah Syndergaard, complete with the back and forth of "Which one is the better prospect?". After Syndergaard was traded following the 2012 season, Sanchez moved up to High-A in 2013 and then AA to start the 2014 season. After 14 starts there, he moved up to AAA for another 34 innings and then a call up with another 33 innings out of the Blue Jays bullpen.

Sanchez has the potential to be a mid-rotation type starter, capable of providing high strikeout totals albeit with a little bit of ratio risk potentially as well. He features a three-pitch repertoire with an elite fastball, an above-average curveball, and an average to potentially above-average changeup, paired with an easy delivery and a propensity to get a ton of groundballs. There have been some questions about whether he would be best used out of the bullpen or the rotation long-term, as he could be a potentially elite closer if given that opportunity. With that in mind though, he's got a potential this year to be in the starting rotation out of Spring Training, and could be a top 40 starting pitcher if he spends the whole year there.

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3. Dalton Pompey (OF)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.310 89 10 55 44
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
543 0.383 0.467 10.31% 17.68%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 S L A+,AA,AAA,MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

I wrote up Pompey as a part of outfield rankings week, and here's an excerpt of my thoughts on him from that post:

The fantasy potential for Pompey is very interesting, as he has a number of tools that can provide above-average fantasy production. His carrying tool is his speed, which should be able to provide 30+ stolen bases on a regular basis, with the potential for more some years. He's not expected to provide a ton of home run power, but he's not a slap hitter by any stretch, and should be able to provide 8-10 home runs a year. The questions about his long-term value come from how well he can translate his athleticism at the plate into high batting averages, but the potential is there for a consistent batting average above .280 with an excellent on-base percentage to go with it.

4. Jeff Hoffman (RHP)

I wrote up Hoffman at the end of last season, and here's an excerpt of my thoughts on him from that post:

If everything clicks for Hoffman, you'll have at least a mid-rotation starting pitcher who is capable of providing a couple seasons where he is a top 15-20 fantasy starting pitcher and even more where he falls in the top 30-35. There are concerns about his control, and honestly we won't really know how large those concerns should be until he starts throwing again.

Hoffman is now throwing again, and it sounds like he might be in games again by sometime in May. I think that if it goes well once he is in games, we could see Hoffman by the 2017 season as he will mostly need to build up innings and endurance.

5. Max Pentecost (C)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.324 17 0 12 2
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
109 0.330 0.419 1.83% 19.27%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R A--Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019

The second of two first round picks in last year's draft for the Blue Jays, Pentecost hit .422/.482/.627 as a junior at Kennesaw State last year. He signed for a bonus of nearly $3 million, and hit .323 across two short-season levels in 25 games.

Pentecost is expected to be able to stay behind the plate defensively, and has the potential to be a consistent top 10 option at the position for fantasy. He doesn't have a standout tool from a scouting perspective, but rather has the potential to be at least average across the board. He is expected to provide a good batting average with the potential for a high OBP, along with double-digit home runs on a regular basis. It isn't necessarily a profile that will make him a top 5 option every year, but he should be worth owning in nearly all formats when he reaches the majors.

Pentecost needed offseason shoulder surgery, and will miss the first three months of the season.That said, the injury is not viewed as a long term issue, but throwing shoulder injuries to catchers don't exactly make anyone warm and fuzzy. He'll likely head to either Low-A or High-A at some point during the season, and could potentially be the catcher in Toronto sometime after 2017.

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6. Devon Travis (2B)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.298 68 10 52 16
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
441 0.358 0.460 8.39% 13.61%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R R AA
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2015

Acquired from the Tigers at the start of the offseason, Travis vaulted onto prospect radars after an excellent 2013 campaign between both Single-A levels. He hit .351 with 16 home runs and 22 stolen bases over 132 games, but there remained questions about whether the performance was real or not. He went back out in 2014, this time at the key test of AA, and performed almost as well.

Travis has generally been viewed with skepticism in the past because he was a bit old for his level during the 2013 season, and also because of his smaller (5'9, 195 lbs) frame. He is limited defensively to second base, but is considered a solid defender. That will likely work to his advantage with the Blue Jays having a black hole at the position right now. His key carrying tool is an excellent hit tool, which should provide high averages on a regular basis. He's not going to provide a lot of power, but can potentially provide 10+ home runs a year. Add in a little bit of speed as well, and there's the potential for Travis to be a top 10 2B some years. He's sounding more and more like he could be the Opening Day starter this year, and would be a top 20 option for me this year if he does.

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7. Roberto Osuna (RHP)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
0 0 6.260 1.61 32
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
23 1.20 1.13 8.65% 30.77%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A+-Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

Signed out of Mexico back in 2011, Osuna did not debut until the following year, when he pitched at two different short-season levels for the Jays. He moved up to full-season ball in 2013, but was shut down after making 10 starts and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. He returned to the field last year, moving up to High-A and making seven starts there before the end of the season.

Osuna features a strong three-pitch repertoire consisting of an above-average fastball (there are reports that it might be a cutter), an average changeup and an average slider, both of which have shown the potential to be above-average at times as well. He has consistently posted high strikeout rates in the minors, and should be a solid source of them in the majors as well. He's not really considered projectable in terms of his size/frame at this point, so it's possible that he could move quickly through the rest of the minors. The potential is for a mid-rotation starter who provides a good number of strikeouts, although there are enough concerns about him being a reliever that it keeps him further down this list. He has done well with his spring training invite, and there has been talk that the team might keep him in the bullpen at the major league level this year. It seems more likely that they keep grooming him as a starter, and send him either back to High-A or to AA to start the year.

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8. Dwight Smith (2B/OF)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.284 83 12 60 15
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
533 0.363 0.453 10.88% 12.95%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 L R A+
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

The son of the former major leaguer with the same name, Smith had an excellent year in the Florida State League last year, hitting .284 with 12 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and a .284/.363/.453 slash line. The team sent him to the Arizona Fall League, with the primary goal of learning a new position. Smith had spent his professional career as an outfielder, but concerns about his arm likely limited him to left field, and the Jays are now trying him at second base.

Smith has the potential to be a more interesting prospect for fantasy owners than the Blue Jays. His best tool is his hit tool, which is considered above-average and has the potential to provide good batting averages on a regular basis. He also can potentially help in OBP leagues, as he has shown the ability to draw a walk and also limit his strikeouts. He's not considered a speedster, but should still provide more than a token few stolen bases each year as well. The power was a nice development last year as well, and it appears possible that he could provide double-digit home runs in the majors now. He's an interesting name to watch this year, as he'll likely head to AA and another strong performance could jump him into the top 5 this time next year.

9. Sean Reid-Foley (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
1 0 4.76 1.37 25
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
22.2 0.000 1.730 10.20% 25.51%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
18 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2018 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019

The Blue Jays drafted Reid-Foley in the 2nd round last year out of a Florida high school, and were able to sign him for just over $1.1 million. He was able to throw 22 innings for the Jays' GCL affiliate before the end of the year, striking out 25 and walking 10.

Reid-Foley is another pitcher for Toronto that can potentially be a mid-rotation starting pitcher. His four-pitch repertoire is considered more polished than you would normally see from a high school draftee, and could help him to move through the low minors fairly quickly. His best pitch is his fastball, which has the potential to be a plus offering, and mixes in a slider, changeup and curveball that can all be average offerings or better. Reports on his delivery point to some work needed to help achieve better consistency, but it doesn't sound like anything that can't be worked on.

It's possible that the Blue Jays send Reid-Foley back to a short-season league, but it seems more likely to me that he ends up at full season Low-A to start the year, and work on improving his secondary offerings. We probably don't see him in the majors until at least 2018, but could be a top 50 starting pitcher if he develops as hoped.

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10. Miguel Castro (RHP)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
8 0 2.690 0.996 78
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
80.1 0.70 1.25 9.52% 24.76%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A--A-A+
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

The Blue Jays signed Castro out of the Dominican Republic back in 2012, and has been getting a ton of helium both during the offseason and throughout the spring. He made his full-season debut last year at Low-A after 10 starts in the Northwest League, and finished with a pair of appearances at High-A. So far this spring, there have been good reports on his work in major league spring training, striking out 8 and walking none while allowing just 3 hits in 9 innings pitched.

Castro's repertoire seems like it has the potential to limit him to a relief role if it does not develop. His fastball is a plus offering right now, sitting in the mid-90s with reports of touching 99 as well. His changeup is his best secondary offering, a potentially above-average pitch, and also throws a slider which can potentially be an above-average pitch as well. The potential is there for a mid-rotation starting pitcher if his slider can continue to develop and if he can be more consistent with his delivery. That said, it's sounding more and more like the Jays may use him in the bullpen this year in the majors, which could eventually lead to a chance at saves with high strikeout totals.

Other Interesting Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Jairo LaBourt - LaBourt was my last cut from this list, and would likely have slotted into a number of top 10 lists. He is another pitcher with a mid-rotation ceiling that remains a long way from the majors, and could be a good source of strikeouts down the line.

Richard Urena - Urena is more of a play in AL-only and deeper formats right now, as he is expected to stay at shortstop long term but will likely only contribute in two categories (batting average and stolen bases). Add in that he has not played at a full-season level yet either, and it's a very long play owning Urena.

Mitch Nay - Nay is expected to be a power hitting third base prospect, but not unexpectedly the power has not shown itself in his home run totals yet (3 HR last year, but 34 doubles). He'll likely head to another pitchers' league in the Florida State League, but he's another name worth keeping an eye on in deeper formats.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects
Follow him on Twitter 

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter