TORONTO — It’s not a secret anymore.

Call it a rebuild, call it a reboot, call it whatever you want: The Toronto Blue Jays are looking to the future, and some of the pieces have already started to arrive.

On a warm Monday night in the midwest, Sean Reid-Foley took to a major-league mound for the first time against the Kansas City Royals with Danny Jansen, who debuted with a pair of base hits, as his catcher.

Like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Ryan Borucki earlier this year, both players will be given a chance to run with the opportunity over the next six or seven weeks as the Jays play out the string.

Triple-A manager Bobby Meacham hopes they never wear a Buffalo Bisons uniform again, which would mean they’ve capitalized on this August opportunity.

“He said, ‘Kid, you’re going to the big leagues, I don’t want to see you again,’ ” Jansen relayed with a smile when asked how he found out he was being called up.

“It’s like something I’ve never felt before. It was an amazing feeling. It really sunk in when I called my parents and got to talk to them. Some tears came out, everyone’s happy, everyone’s excited about it, and my brother actually lives in Kansas City, so it’s a pretty awesome moment.”

Both of them have earned it with terrific seasons.

Jansen has proven to be a well-rounded prospect, improving his receiving and showing an ability to control a running game defensively.

It’s his prowess as a hitter, however, that has people excited.

Jansen’s pitch recognition and hit tool give him the potential to be an above-average bat, a rarity behind the dish.

Reid-Foley, meanwhile, has a power fastball that can scatter at times, but it’s an impressive four-pitch arsenal that he showed off in his debut on Monday night, using a four-seam fastball (57), slider (20), curveball (13) and changeup (7) to last five innings and 97 pitches in a 2015 ALCS rematch that now features a pair of rebuilding efforts.

Command has been, and will continue to be, a focus.

“Something that we harped on every day and worked on was fastball command, down and away to each hitter and getting over the baseball,” Reid-Foley said of what led to his breakout this season. “Once I started to get better at that and kept doing it and repeating it, [it] definitely showed and helped with the results that I was getting.”

There are more names on the way when rosters expand in September.

Since our last Future Watch update and the shuffle of adding June draftees and new additions to the system via trades, two players have graduated off this list and eight names have changed, overall.

Gurriel Jr., 24, is now a big leaguer, as is 24-year-old southpaw Borucki, who’s now just two innings away from losing his prospect status at the 50-inning threshold.

Richard Urena, at 91 career at-bats, is also close enough to losing his prospect status — the threshold is 130 big-league at-bats — to move off, while Triple-A first baseman Rowdy Tellez, Triple-A catcher Reese McGuire, Double-A catcher Max Pentecost, High-A catcher Riley Adams, and recently-recalled lefty Thomas Pannone were bumped off thanks to the influx of talent.

Four players acquired in deadline trades — OF Billy McKinney (J.A. Happ), OF Forrest Wall and 1B Chad Spanberger (Seunghwan Oh), and SS Santiago Espinal (Steve Pearce) — didn’t crack the top 20, but could all be in the mix if we went 30 deep.

Here’s a rebooted list of the top 20 Blue Jays prospects and a system that is now considered one of the top five pipelines in baseball:

 

1. 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Embedded ImageCurrent affiliate: Triple-A Buffalo

Age: 19 (3/16/1999)

Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 200

Mid-season top 100 rankings: MLB Pipeline (1), Baseball Prospectus (1), Baseball America (1), FanGraphs (2)

Projected MLB ETA: 2019

Stat that matters: .400 batting average

Heading into Tuesday, through 77 games at four different levels thanks to his disabled list stint and the road back, Guerrero Jr. is hitting at even .400 in 285 at-bats this season. That’s significant because no minor-leaguer has hit .400 in a season since Erubiel Durazo in 1999.

 

2. SS/2B Bo Bichette

Current affiliate: Double-A New Hampshire

Age: 20 (03/05/1998)

Height: 6-foot-0 | Weight: 200

Mid-season top 100 rankings: MLB Pipeline (9), Baseball Prospectus (10), Baseball America (5), FanGraphs (8)

Projected MLB ETA: 2019

Stat that matters: .908 OPS over last 28 days

Bichette’s season slash line of .278/.335/.450 doesn’t exactly jump off the page until you contextualize age and the fact he’s already in Double-A. It’s harder for that to look impressive when you’re being stacked up to a generational talent like Vladdy Jr., but Bichette’s season is without a doubt impressive. He’s been raking lately, too, with a .319/.370/.538 slash line and 15 extra-base hits over his last 100 plate appearances.

 

3. C Danny Jansen

Current affiliate: MLB Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 23 (04/15/1995)

Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 225

Mid-season top 100 rankings: MLB Pipeline (73), Baseball America (70), FanGraphs (60)

Projected MLB ETA: Made MLB debut Aug. 13, 2018

Stat that matters: 44:49 K:BB ratio

The hit tool and plate approach have been on display this season in Buffalo, the main reasons Jansen’s promotion finally came on Sunday. He’s an on-base machine (.390) with a well-rounded skillset that should lead to many productive seasons behind the dish.

 

4. RHP Nate Pearson

Embedded ImageCurrent affiliate: High-A Dunedin

Age: 21 (08/20/1996)

Height: 6-foot-6 | Weight: 245

Mid-season top 100 rankings: MLB Pipeline (89), Baseball America (67), FanGraphs (83)

Projected MLB ETA: 2020

Stat that matters: 1.2 innings

Thanks to an oblique strain and a fractured right forearm, 1.2 innings is all that the Jays’ top pitching prospect has to show for the 2018 season. While Pearson is on the mend and expected to make a full recovery, it’s been a lost season for the big right-hander and he could be a candidate for an Arizona Fall League challenge in order to build up some innings. As you can see by the above rankings, the injury has done little to diminish his prospect status; it just has him playing catch up.

 

5. SS/3B Kevin Smith

Current affiliate: High-A Dunedin

Age: 22 (07/04/1996)

Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 188

Mid-season top 100 rankings: Baseball America (83)

Projected MLB ETA: 2020

Stat that matters: 22 home runs

Stolen in the fourth round out of the University of Maryland last year, Smith’s rise has been meteoric this summer. After crushing Low-A with a .355 average and 34 extra-base hits, Smith has carried that over to High-A, where he’s launched 15 homers. The glove is pretty good, too, and Smith has seen significant time at short, second and third this season.

 

6. OF Anthony Alford

Embedded ImageCurrent affiliate: Triple-A Buffalo

Age: 24 (07/20/1994)

Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 215

Pre-season top 100 rankings: MLB Pipeline (91), FanGraphs (46)

Projected MLB ETA: Made MLB debut May 19, 2017

Stat that matters: .297 on-base percentage

Following a breakout 2017, it’s been a tough season for this athletic outfielder. A hamstring strain in the spring slowed him, and he’s had a tough go of it in Buffalo, struggling to get on base with any sort of consistency. Last year, Alford got on base at a .390 clip in 77 games. Defensively, Alford has been rotating through all three outfield spots in Buffalo, and his below-average arm have some believing he’s a left fielder, rather than a centre fielder, in the end.

 

7. 3B/SS Jordan Groshans

Current affiliate: Rookie-level GCL Blue Jays

Age: 18 (11/10/1999)

Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 178

Projected MLB ETA: 2020

Stat that matters: 9 errors

It didn’t take long for the 12th overall pick to show he can rake, and he’s produced a .331/.390/.508 slash line in his first 33 pro games. But after being drafted and announced as a shortstop, Groshans made seven errors in 13 games at the position, and the transition to the hot corner, which was expected by draft analysts, has already started. In 13 starts at third base, he’s made just two errors.

 

8. RHP Eric Pardinho

Current affiliate: Rookie-level Bluefield

Age: 17 (01/05/2001)

Height: 5-foot-10 | Weight: 155

Projected MLB ETA: 2023

Stat that matters: 11.8 K/9

He won’t turn 18 until January, but the Brazilian bonus baby is already looking impressive and advanced. Even though it’s expected to be a slow-burn process with Pardinho, there’s a chance he’s that rare, young arm that rips up typical developmental plans.

 

9. RHP Adam Kloffenstein

Current affiliate: Rookie-level GCL Blue Jays

Age: 17 (08/25/2000)

Height: 6-foot-5 | Weight: 243

Projected MLB ETA: 2023

Stat that matters: $2.5 million

He won’t turn 18 until later this month, but Kloffenstein already stands 6-foot-5 and doesn’t look like a teenager. The body projection is the reason the Jays went way above slot to lure him away from a college commitment and he’s neck-and-neck with Pearson for the title of highest-ceiling pitching prospect in the system. Check back in three or four years.

 

10. 2B/3B Cavan Biggio

Current affiliate: Double-A New Hampshire

Age: 23 (04/11/1995)

Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 203

Projected MLB ETA: 2019

Stat that matters: .400 on-base percentage

He’s slugged 24 homers, stolen 15 bases, posted an 18.9 per cent walk rate, all leading to a 153 wRC+. Safe to say, Biggio has put himself on the map this season, forcing people to pay attention to more than just his last name. Playing second, third and first, he’s got the super-utility tag and he’ll need to continue to hit because the glove might never have a permanent home.

 

11. RHP Sean Reid-Foley

Embedded ImageCurrent affiliate: MLB Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 22 (08/30/1995)

Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 220

Projected MLB ETA: Made MLB debut Aug. 13, 2018

Stat that matters: 2.9 BB/9

After walking 3.6 hitters per nine last season and giving up 22 home runs in 132.2 innings, Reid-Foley has fixed both of those problems this year and it’s the reason he’s in the majors. The four-pitch mix looks even better when he’s able to locate it and he’ll need to keep it out of the wheelhouse in order to avoid home-run issues.

 

12. RHP Hector Perez

Current affiliate: Double-A New Hampshire

Age: 22 (06/06/1996)

Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 190

Projected MLB ETA: 2019

Stat that matters: 372 strikeouts

Armed with a 70-grade fastball, Perez has struck out 10.4 batters per nine over the course of his four minor-league seasons. The issue is he doesn’t always know where it’s going, which has led to 5.4 walks per nine and questions about whether he’ll need to move to the bullpen. He’s the most interesting long-term piece acquired in the Roberto Osuna trade, but there are many ways Perez’s development can go. He could be ready for a cup of coffee as soon as 2019.

 

13. 3B/SS Miguel Hiraldo

Current affiliate: Rookie-level GCL Blue Jays

Age: 17 (09/05/2000)

Height: 5-foot-11 | Weight: 170

Projected MLB ETA: 2023

Stat that matters: 23 extra-base hits

Moved Stateside this week after tearing up the Dominican Summer League to the tune of a .313/.381/.453 slash line, Hiraldo is a name to watch over the next couple of years. Considered one of the best bats in last year’s July 2 international class, Hiraldo has done nothing to change that view. Defensively, he’s in the process of transitioning from shortstop to third base, but second base and outfield are also seen as possibilities down the road. And make no mistake, that road is going to be a long one.

 

14. SS Orelvis Martinez

Current affiliate: Not assigned

Age: 16 (11/19/2001)

Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 188

Projected MLB ETA: 2024

Stat that matters: $3.5 million

That bonus you see above? That’s what elite talents get, and Martinez is seen as just that. Ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect in this summer’s July 2 international free-agent class, Martinez represents the organization’s biggest expenditure since Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was handed $3.9 million. The Jays are hoping to strike gold again.

 

15. RHP T.J. Zeuch

Embedded ImageCurrent affiliate: Double-A New Hampshire

Age: 23 (08/01/1995)

Height: 6-foot-7 | Weight: 225

Projected MLB ETA: 2019

Stat that matters: 56.3% ground-ball rate

After many of the organization’s top pitching prospects suffered through down 2017 seasons, it’s been the exact opposite in 2018. Following Reid-Foley’s lead, Zeuch has a 3.21 ERA across two levels this season and has placed himself in the 2019 rotation conversation. With a strong start at Triple-A next spring, Zeuch will be pushing for a back end rotation spot by summer, and his extreme worm-burning ways will help him succeed.

 

16. OF Griffin Conine

Current affiliate: Short-season Vancouver

Age: 21 (07/11/1997)

Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 200

Projected MLB ETA: 2021

Stat that matters: 25.6% strikeout rate

The latest big-name bloodline player to enter the system, Jeff Conine’s kid has some serious power, but he also has an element of swing-and-miss to his game that needs to be cleaned up. If he can rein in the strikeouts, Conine will have a chance to provide value with the bat. He’s struck out 41 times in his first 38 games out on the coast in Vancouver.

 

17. RHP David Paulino

Current affiliate: Triple-A Buffalo

Age: 24 (02/06/1994)

Height: 6-foot-7 | Weight: 222

Projected MLB ETA: Made MLB debut Sept. 8, 2016

Stat that matters: 6.25 ERA

Once a top 50 prospect in baseball, Paulino’s stock has taken a big hit thanks to an 80-game PED suspension, injuries, and lack of success. That’s not a great combination. Even though he’s currently a starter, his future probably lies as a potential high-leverage reliever, where his mid-90s gas would play up. He’s a lottery ticket, for sure, but an interesting one.

 

18. SS Logan Warmoth

Embedded ImageCurrent affiliate: High-A Dunedin

Age: 22 (09/06/1995)

Height: 6-foot-0 | Weight: 190

Projected MLB ETA: 2020

Stat that matters: 71 wRC+

Seen as a potential utility option when drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft, Warmoth hasn’t done much to change that projection this season. His .218/.303/.271 slash line in High-A isn’t anything to write home about and the fact the system is packed with middle infielders that can hit isn’t helping him.

 

19. OF/1B Ryan Noda

Current affiliate: Low-A Lansing

Age: 22 (03/30/1996)

Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 217

Projected MLB ETA: 2020

Stat that matters: 157 wRC+

Noda is one of those players that doesn’t wow with his tools, but the production is eye-popping. He’s run up a career .454 on-base percentage in two minor-league seasons, adding a power element recently with all 16 of his home runs coming over the last 72 games. The 2019 season is going to be an important one for the University of Cincinnati product.

 

20. 2B Samad Taylor

Current affiliate: Low-A Lansing

Age: 20 (07/11/1998)

Height: 5-foot-10 | Weight: 160

Projected MLB ETA: 2021

Stat that matters: 40 stolen bases

Young and unrefined, Taylor is a bundle of energy and upside, an old school burner who relies on his legs to provide value. Success with the bat has been sporadic this season, as his .232 average suggests, but the speed and 10.4 per cent walk rate provide a good base to work with.​