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Blue Jays looking to restock minor system

It’s time for the Toronto Blue Jays to restock their minor league system.

Amateur scouting director Shane Farrell spoke with media on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s Major League Baseball draft and said the Blue Jays’ minor league system, especially at the double and triple-A levels, needs to be refreshed with new prospects.

“I think that’s been a byproduct of some of the moves that we’ve made to make our major league team as competitive as possible and to make playoff runs,” said Farrell, using the trade that sent pitching prospects Adam Kloffenstein and Sem Robberse to the St. Louis Cardinals for Major League reliever Jordan Hicks as an example.

“There’s obviously a need and a desire to keep backfilling with internal prospects. I think this draft allows us to do so and we’re looking forward to that opportunity.”

Injuries and the decision to designate a couple of veterans for assignment has led to a handful of Toronto’s triple-A prospects to be called up to the Blue Jays’ major league roster, including infielders Ernie Clement, Spencer Horwitz and Leo Jimenez.

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Outfielder Steward Berroa also started the year in the minors and second baseman/left-fielder Davis Schneider was a surprise when he started the season in the bigs and not with the minor league Buffalo Bisons. Outfielder Addison Barger also spent 20 games with Toronto but was sent back to Buffalo when veteran designated hitter Justin Turner returned from the paternity list on Saturday.

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“We do need to make sure that once the players are getting close to the big leagues, that they’re able to stick in the big leagues,” said Farrell in a video conference call. “I think that’s the organization’s responsibility to make sure that those players are both ready physically, fundamentally and mentally to not only appear in the major leagues, but to stick and have a have a long career.”

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Left-handed pitcher Ricky Tiedemann, the top player on Toronto’s depth chart, started for the Bisons against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Wednesday. The 21-year-old has been recovering from ulnar nerve inflammation that forced him onto the injured list in mid-April after three starts with Buffalo.

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Although Tiedemann’s No. 1 in the Blue Jays’ system, he’s No. 45 overall according to MLB’s prospect rankings.

Second baseman Orelvis Martinez, No. 2 on the Blue Jays’ prospect depth chart, was suspended by MLB for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Shortstop Arjun Nimmala and left-handed pitcher Brandon Barriera, Nos. 3 and 4 in the minors, are both at the single-A level.

Jimenez and Barger are the fifth and sixth highest ranked prospects in the Blue Jays’ system according to MLB.

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“We’re constantly thinking about how to get better each day,” Farrell said. “We’re constantly following throughout organized professional baseball, whether they’re Blue Jays or on any other teams.

“We’re always reflecting on our individual process as scouts and then, broadening that, we’re continuously reflecting on the department.”

Toronto has the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft that starts Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas.

Oregon State second baseman Travis Bazzana, Georgia outfielder/third baseman Charlie Condon, and Florida first baseman/left-handed pitcher Jac Caglianone are the top three prospects available to be picked.

The Blue Jays’ approximate range of selections includes Oklahoma State outfielder Carson Benge, who is the No. 18-ranked prospect, high school right-handed pitcher Ryan Sloan (No.19), Louisiana State third baseman Tommy White (No. 20) and Iowa right-handed pitcher Brody Brecht (No. 21).

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“I think we’re seeing a lot of strength at the top of the draft, specifically with the college position players,” said Farrell. “I think we’re seeing a little less length relative to last year on maybe the high school position player group, and even some of the high school pitching potentially that could sneak into the first round.

“All in all, another strong class and in our eyes, and I think we’re excited about our, our potential options at pick 20.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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