Last week, I wrote part 2 of the Toronto Blue Jays top 30 Prospect list. On it there were some exceptional talents with a lot of potential to become solid big-league contributors. Every week, as we get closer to the top of the list, these names will become both, more noticeable, and also more valuable. Some may even be on the brink of cracking a major league roster, or possibly becoming a trade chip to land a substantial piece in the future.
20. Zach Jackson
In Jackson, the Toronto Blue Jays drafted what I believe to be, the closer of the future. He has a power sinker/slider combo that is nearly unhittable to this point in his career. The last element for Jackson to master is command and control. He has major league stuff but because of that he needs to more effectively work within the strike zone. If he can, he will move very quickly through the remaining 2 levels of the minor leagues.
At 6’4, 230 lbs Jackson fits the “profile” of a MLB closer. He will begin the 2018 season, presumably, in New Hampshire (AA), with an effective first half it is very possible that we see Jackson in a Blue Jays uniform come mid-season.
19. Joshua Palacios
Joshua Palacios made massive strides in his development in the 2nd half of this season. His incredible “potential” was always clear, but over the course of the seasons final 3 months he realized much of it. In the first half the 22 year old Palacios, who was facing his first test in full season ball at Lansing (A), hit .195/.285/.256/.541 leaving a lot of people skeptical about his ability to hit more advanced pitching. However, in the 2nd hald Palacios exploded, looking smooth and powerful even at times, he ended up slashing .328/.403/.421/.824 over 233 AB’s.
That improvement was more than anyone could have hoped for, and it truly established Palacios as a liegitimate prospect in the Jays system. He is an excellent athlete, who has good speed, flashes of power, and the ability to play all 3 OF positions with ease. Palacios is someone to look out for in 2018, when he faces a significant challenge in Dunedin (A+).
18. Hagen Danner
When the Toronto Blue Jays selected Hagen Danner in this years draft, I was initially very excited. Despite his age he was already a fairly well developed pitcher with excellent projectable stuff. Unfortunately, the Jays decided to select him as a catcher with raw tools but the potential for plus-power.
It was a sizable risk, that some including myself, viewed as frivolous, due to the organizational strength in catching. Maybe Danner develops all necessary tools to stick behind the plate. My belief is that at some point he will be forced to transition back tot he mound, after a failed experiment with the bat. Either way with so many raw tools Danner has to be viewed as a potential impact prospect.
17. Max Pentecost
If Max Pentecost could ever stay healthy, he would most certainly be a top 10 prospect. The reality is Pentecost will be turning 25-years-old during spring training this upcoming season, and through 4 minor league seasons has managed to climb only to Dunedin, while only compiling 681 AB’s.
He has power, great contact skills, and a solid defensive game (when Healthy and able to catch). He has the potential to climb through the minors quickly if he is able to stay on the field, but I am having doubts whether that will ever be a reality. It is really unfortunate to see injuries take away from a high-level prospect with Pentecost’s makeup.
16. Riley Adams
Riley Adams impressed me as much as any prospect in the Blue Jays system this season after being drafted in the 3rd round in June. He is a big, physical 6’4 225 lb catcher with a strong arm, good instinct, and excellent, well rounded hitting skills. He is not someone who will blow you away with one dominant plus skill. He, much like Danny Jansen, just does everything well.
He is yet another Jays prospect who will be challenged in full-season ball this year. Despite the myriad of talented catching prospects, Adams will get every chance to seperate himself from the pack. If everything goes well, I would not be shocked to see Adams move 2 levels this season and potentially start the 2019 season in New Hampshire (AA). He is that polished already at 21-years-old.
About Marc Nolan:
Marc Nolan is a Blogger, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur originally from Campbell River, BC. Marc currently resides in Port Hope, ON with his Wife and two sons. He has always been involved in sports. A former College Baseball player, current coach and founder of the Northumberland Baseball Academy, Marc has invested his entire life to the game he loves. He has now been able to transition that passion into public speaking and journalism.
Despite the fact he has no formal training in the field, Marc has found ways to get exposure in the industry through hard work and dedication to what he loves. Currently, he operates a personal Blog (www.WestysWorld.com), writes for the LastWordOnBaseball. Hopefully, in the near future, will be starting his own personal Minor League Baseball Podcast. He is very active on Social Media. You can reach Marc with any questions, on Twitter, @MarcWestyNolan