We make it to the top of the list. I know you are all wondering who will be in this group. I was just going to list the players and skip the little profiles.
2017: Top 40 Index
4. Nate Pearson, age 21 (DOB August 20, 1996), RHP, Last year: Central Florida Community College.
Our first round pick in last year’s draft. Nate is a big guy, 6’6”, listed at 245 pounds. In the post about his pick Matt said:
The selling point on Pearson is simple: he’s got the best fastball velocity in the draft. In a bullpen session a couple weeks ago, he touched 101 or 102 miles per hour. At 6’6”, 245 pounds, he’s got the frame to be a starter and if/when he makes it to Toronto Tabler will have a field day with the “big and strong” descriptions.
He’s working on a curve, a slider and a changeup.
Nate made 8 late season starts for us after the draft, 1 in the GCL and 7 for Vancouver. In all, 20 innings, allowed 7 hits, 2 earned, 5 walks with 26 strikeouts.
Everything written about Pearson mentions the screw put into his elbow in high school. He hasn’t had any problems since, but there is some thought he might be better off in the bullpen. I think the Jays will give him every chance to be a starter.
3. Anthony Alford, age 23 (DOB: July 20, 1994), CF, Last year: 1-tie.
You know his story.
He got his first look at the majors last year. He played four games before breaking a bone in his wrist. In the minors, he hit .299/.390/.406, with 19 steals. We are expecting some power to show up, but, until then, I’m happy with his ability to get on base and his speed.
Anthony is 23, but he’s only had 301 games in the Minors. It would be good if he could be injury free for a year.
He, Teoscar Hernandez, Dalton Pompey and Dwight Smith Jr will all be competing to be the one called up if one of our major league outfielders get hurt.
2. Bo Bichette, age 19 (DOB March 5, 1998), IF, Last year: 9.
Bo’s second pro season went as well as his first. He hit .362/.423/.564 splitting time between Lansing and Dunedin with 14 home runs.
Bo is on everyone’s list of Top 100 MLB prospects, 8th on Baseball America’s, 14th on MLB’s and 19th on Baseball Prospectus.
About the only question is can he stay at short. Some think he’ll have to move to second, but if he continues to hit as well as he has, we’ll be ok with a little less than terrific range. He has been working at his defense. It might come down to which position is open when it is time to call him up.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., age 18 (DOB March 16, 1999), 3B (?), Last year: 1-Tie.
I’m not going to tell you anything new about Vlad.
He hit .323/.425/.485 with 13 home runs, splitting time between Lansing and Dunedin last year.
He’s 3rd on Baseball America’s and MLB’s top 100 prospects list and 4th on Baseball Prospectus. They all grade him at an 80 for hit tools.
There are only a couple of questions about Vlad:
Will he play third in the majors? It might depend on whether Josh Donaldson is still with the team. Vlad might end up in the outfield. He could end up playing any corner spot. I’d bet he’d be a better DH than Kendrys Morales this year, but that won’t happen.
When will we see him in Toronto?
I’d be very surprised if we don’t see him before the end of the 2019 season. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him in September this year.
Will he be better than his dad?
Well, his dad is in the Hall of Fame. Betting an 18 year old to have a better career than a Hall of Famer is a silly thing to do. But, Vlad Jr looks to have a better eye at the plate than dad had. And he seems to have his father’s power. But, his dad played 16 years and had 449 home runs, so if you made me bet, I’d take dad.