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The 2019 Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects: 17-20

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Covering the entire diamond with a first baseman, an outfielder, an infielder and a pitcher

Top 40 Prospects

We have a bit of everything in this group of four. A first baseman who we saw in Toronto last year, who lands on the same spot as last year. A RHP who has moved up a few spots. A second round pick from 2018. And someone born in 2000.....I feel very very old.

2019: Full List and Index | 17-20 | 21-24 | 25-28 | 29-32 | 33-36 | 37-40

2018: Full List and Index | 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-12 | 13-16 | 17-20 | 21-25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | Just missed: Matt, Tom | Older

20. Miguel Hiraldo, IF, 18 (DOB: 9/5/2000), last year: my just missed list

The Blue Jays signed Hiraldo as an international free agent back in July of 2017, paying him $750,000.

In 2018 he started his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, where he hit .313/.381/.453 with 2 home runs, 23 walks, 30 strikeouts, 15 steals (caught 6 times). Near the end of the season he was moved up to Bluefield. He didn’t have the same success, .231/.250/.333, but that was in just 39 at bats.

Miguel played mostly short, had a lot of errors (21), not really all that unusual for 17 year old learning the game.

Miguel got the free agent money because of his bat. He was considered the best hitter in his class of international players.

MLB Pipeline, who has Hiraldo the Jays number 14 prospect, says:

Hiraldo is a bat-first prospect who has the makings of becoming a special offensive talent. Scouts like Hiraldo’s approach and his swing. He’s a mature player with quick hands, a plan at the plate and he can hit the ball hard to all fields. He’s also been praised for his makeup and how he plays the game.

Baseball America says:

Hiraldo has a knack for hitting and driving the ball with impact from a direct, compact swing. He doesn’t generate much separation with his hands to load his swing, but he has explosive hand speed that generates plus bat speed. He’s an aggressive hitter who mashes fastballs, with strong forearms and legs that he incorporates to generate average power.

Most seem to think he’s going to grow too big to play short, that he’ll have to move over to third base, but that his bat should be good enough to play anywhere. He has the arm to play on the left side of the infield. The Jays are going to try to keep him at short until he proves he’s not a shortstop.

I’d imagine he’ll start 2019 at Bluefield.

19. Griffin Conine, OF, age 21 (DOB: 7/11/1997), last year: junior at Duke

The son of former MLB star Jeff Conine, Griffin was our 2nd round pick in last year’s draft (three years after the Marlins drafted the son of Mr. Marlin in the 31st round but didn’t sign him). He had been a potential first round pick but he had a poor start to his last college season.

Griffin played a couple of GCL games to get his feet wet, before quickly moving up to Vancouver. There he hit .238/.309/.427 with 7 home runs, 19 walks and 63 strikeouts in 55 games. He missed some time after banging hard into the wall tracking down a fly ball in Hillsboro, which may explain why he hit so poorly the last month (.600 OPS).

And you’ll likely remember that he’s been suspended for testing positive for Ritalinic Acid, used for attention deficit. Missing 50 games isn’t a great thing when you are in the roster for a short season team. Conine will be spending a fair amount of 2019 in Dunedin working out with the instructional league guys. It might do him some good, but it will make it harder for us to get a handle on where he fits as a prospect. It would be good to see a full season’s worth of stats.

He’s still more potential than ability. He’s expected to become more of a power hitter as he moves up the ladder. Defensively, as a corner outfielder he’s not going be much better than average, but should have a good arm. The arm should keep him in right field.

18. Yennsy Diaz, RHP, age 22 (DOB: 11/15/1996), last year: 23rd.

Yennsy had a very good 2018 season. He started the season in Lansing. He made 9 starts there, had a 2.08 ERA. In 47.2 innings, he allowed just 22 hits, 25 walks, with 42 strikeouts.

He was moved up to Dunedin, where he played in 18 games, 16 starts with a 3.52 ERA. In 99.2 innings he allowed 91 hits, 28 walks with 83 strikeouts.

All that earned him a spot on the 40-man roster. Since he hadn’t pitched above A ball, we were a little surprised that he was added.

Diaz throws mid-90s, hitting 97 at times. He’s still working on change-up and a breaking ball, but then isn’t everyone in A ball. He walks more batters than you would like (8.8% last year) and more strikeouts would be nice (20.8% last year).

He’s on the 40-man, but it’s unlikely we’ll see him this year, thougb we should get a look at him this spring (or we would if Sportsnet would show us more of the games). He’ll likely start the season at Double A and we’ll see from there. But he could be an interesting arm in the bullpen (like many it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise if he ended up in the bullpen in the majors). He’s not a big guy, so working out of the pen might be the job for him, but the Jays will give him every chance to be a starter.

17. Rowdy Tellez, 1B, age 24 in 2019 (DOB: 3/16/1995), last year: also 17th

Tellez has had a rough couple of years.

Two years ago he was fifth on our list and number 95 on Baseball America’s top 100 list. Then, playing in Triple A for the first time, in 2017, he hit just .222/.295/.333. But, then his mother was diagnosed with cancer, so he can be forgiven for not having his mind on the game.

This past year, his mother lost her fight with cancer and passed away in August. Rowdy had a better year at the plate, but didn’t have the power numbers we expected. His line in Buffalo was .270/.340/.425 with 13 home runs in 112 games. Again, I’m sure his mind wasn’t always on the game. He did have a much better second half, hitting .306/.360/.497.

Called up to Toronto on September 4th, Rowdy was very good in 23 games, hitting .314/.329/.614 with 4 home runs in 73 PA. And he quickly became a fan favorite. I really thought the Blue Jays would work to open a spot for him in the lineup for this season, maybe trade off Smoak or trade or release Morales.

But they haven’t, maybe there wasn’t a deal out there for Smoak. Or maybe they would like to see how he does this year before deciding on betting on Tellez.

We had a poll back in September:

Tellez was a 30th round pick in the 2013 draft, but the Jays were able to pay well over slot to get him to sign.

Poll

Who will have the best MLB career?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Miguel Hiraldo
    (174 votes)
  • 10%
    Griffin Conine
    (60 votes)
  • 24%
    Yennsy Diaz
    (140 votes)
  • 34%
    Rowdy Tellez
    (194 votes)
568 votes total Vote Now