The Blue Jays drew from their prospect depth last year, trading two ranked youngsters to the Minnesota Twins for the now-extended starter José Berríos.
Losing Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson was a shot to Toronto's top-prospect depth, but the Blue Jays still have top talent in their minor leagues. In Baseball America's 2022 Top 100 Prospects list, the Jays have three prospects, including the No. 7 prospect and second-ranked catcher, Gabriel Moreno:
No. 7 C Gabriel Moreno
If not for No. 1 prospect and Baltimore backstop Adley Rutschman, Moreno would be the top catching prospect in all of baseball. Despite a thumb injury in 2021, Moreno flashed his 70-grade hit tool and carried his Double A success (1.092 OPS) into the Arizona Fall League (.904 OPS), and 18 games at the Venezuelan Winter League (.758 OPS).
Moreno has "premium hitting ability, growing power and plus defense behind the plate," according to BA's scouting report.
Toronto's top prospect is currently participating in offseason workouts at the Alex Salazar Academy in Venezuela alongside Ronald Acuña Jr. and other top MLB and minor league players.
No. 62 P Nate Pearson
In 2021, Pearson struggled with an undiagnosed sports hernia, pitched just 45.2 innings across Triple A and the MLB, and lasted 2.1 innings in his lone MLB start.
"He still has some work to do, but the sky’s the limit,” Manager Charlie Montoyo said after Pearson was optioned to Triple-A last year.
After identifying the hernia and working back to health, Pearson returned to the big leagues as a reliever for the September playoff pitch and succeeded in brief appearances. The righty grew stronger as his second 2021 big league stint lengthened, finishing the season with five-straight scoreless outings and nine strikeouts in his final six innings.
The Blue Jays plan on using Pearson in a multi-inning role for 2022, but it's not yet clear if he will begin in the bullpen, rotation, or Buffalo.
No. 75 INF Orelvis Martinez
Toronto's fastest rising infield prospect, Martinez posted an .895 OPS across two minor league levels in 2021. The 19-year-old earned a mid-season promotion after slapping 19 homers and posting a .942 OPS in Single A over his first 71 games.
In a recent interview with Future Blue Jays, Joe Sclafani, Toronto's assistant player development director, lauded Martinez's adjustment to the challenge of two new minor league levels.
"He got up [to High A] and initially struggled a little bit," Sclafani said. "But right as he was really starting to figure it out and got hot, he unfortunately ended the year with a little bit of an injury, but he’s good."
Martinez drops 13 spots from his September 2021 ranking, and infielder Jordan Groshans (No. 74 in September) has fallen out of the top 100.
H/T Baseball America, read the entire rankings with scouting reports and blurbs HERE