Last, but not least, we come to the outfield. At the upper levels of the organization, there’s enviable depth in terms of both potential impact players and viable major leaguers. However, the lower levels have thinned out somewhat compared to recent years and is a little down.
The preamble/background that follows is identical to previous entries, so those familiar can skip to the next section. For each grouping, players are displayed on a chart according to both major league upside and experience level (an approximate proxy for risk). This is not an exact science, so take the positioning with a grain of salt, but it looks something like this:
Keep in mind that “reasonable upside” is not the same as likely or base case projection, and most players at the lower levels won’t come anywhere close it. Basically, if the player’s development goes well, this is what he could become. And conversely, it’s not an absolute ceiling either and there is potential for upside surprise. Kevin Pillar would be a prime example.
For the purposes of this exercise, I’m including not only players with rookie eligibility, but also younger internally developed players contributing or established at the major league level with multiple control years remaining to give a better sense of the total organizational depth. As a general rule, I’ve kept players included last year for comparative purposes.
Starting at the top, one of the significant additions over last year is Teoscar Hernandez, who has shown massive power over 225 MLB PA since coming over. There’s still some red flags in the swing-and-miss and defensive issues that limit the ceiling, but it appears the power alone might be enough to make him a regular.
Dalton Pompey appears to be finally healthy, and if he can stay that way the tools are still there for him to be a very good player. The highest ceiling in the organization belongs to Anthony Alford, though he too needs to stay healthy and there is significant risk there. I’ve thought for a few years it would be a good outcome for the Blue Jays if out of those two the Jays get one quality MLB regular, and that remains the case.
There’s also a cluster of players close to the big leagues, without the ceiling of being a regular. Roemon Fields has the speed and defensive tools to be a future bench asset, and I’d bet on him making the majors in some capacity. Likewise, the Jays seem to really like Jonathan Davis and he could end up as a 4th outfielder. Dwight Smith Jr. and Harold Ramirez could carve out major league roles, but don’t profile as regulars as “tweeners” who are limited to outfield corners without significant offensive upside.
Moving to the lower levels, Chavez Young has paired very good tools with an ability to hit so far in his career that makes him for me the most promising younger outfield prospect in the system. Josh Palacios had a miserable first half last year, but had a strong second half that’s carried over to this year. He hasn’t shown much power and like Smith could be a tweener if he ends up in a corner, but remains interesting.
There’s the usual variety of interesting lower level names who are unproven but have something going for them, and time will be the great revealer. One addition from last year’s draft who bears mentioning in particular is Brock Lundquist, who is hitting ball in the air more often in 2018 and already has 7 home runs for Lansing, just 3 less than he had in 650+ PA in college.
Removed from last year: Darrell Ceciliani (outright/FA), J.B. Woodman and Lane Thomas (traded), Derrick Loveless (FA), Ian Parmley (buried on depth chart)