Its been a long time since the Blue Jays had an up-and-coming group of prospects as talented as they have now. This healthy number of solid prospects combined with how many aging veterans are set to be leaving means that come 2019, the Blue Jays will have not one, but perhaps two or even three position players who are rookies make the roster to begin the season.
Even with so many players departing via free agency this off-season, Toronto will still have to make some additional changes to create the necessary room for their MLB ready prospects.
The most obvious prospect to be playing for the Blue Jays at the start of 2019 is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He’ll also be quite easy to accommodate in the line-up seeing as there should be an opening at 3rd base with the likely departure of Josh Donaldson. Fans of this ball club will need something to attract them to the ball park next year, and the only serious means the Blue Jays have of doing that is with Guerrero in the starting line-up.
The second prospect the Blue Jays will need to make room for is Danny Jansen. In fairness to Jansen, he probably should be starting for the Blue Jays right now at catcher. With his continued success in the minors for the second year in a row, he’s proving to be the most complete catcher in the entire organization. Come the final month of the season, Jansen will be (barring injury) part of Toronto’s group of September call-ups. It’s next season however where Toronto faces its biggest decision regarding their catching situation. With one year and $20-million left on his contract, some might assume that Russell Martin might slot-in as the back-up and mentor to Jansen. But lets be real here, Martin isn’t the player he once was and hasn’t been for sometime. Despite the $20-million he’s owed in 2019, the Blue Jays would be best served to release him and have the far more capable Luke Maile assume the back-up duties.
Lastly, there’s the question of what to do with the vastly improved Cavan Biggio. Before this season, it looked as if Biggio would be a long-shot to ever make the Blue Jays. Biggio is however in the midst of a breakout year, posting a slash of .287/.406/.579 with 14 HR in Double A New Hampshire. With his improved play at the plate combined with his strong base-running and defensive play, Biggio has become one of Toronto’s most well-rounded prospects. With Biggio playing as well as he is, it’s forcing current Blue Jays 2nd baseman, Devon Travis, to step-up his game or risk losing his starting job. How Toronto handles Biggio’s progress through the minors will likely be similar to what they did with Rowdy Tellez after he had his monster year in Double A back in 2016. And that is, promote him to Triple-A Buffalo, and see how he fares before making a call on whether or not he’s ready to be playing every day in the big leagues.
Some of you might be wondering why I neglected to include Bo Bichette with the names above. Well, unlike Guerrero or Jansen, Bichette can still benefit quite a bit by spending another year (2019) down in the minors.