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Martinez leads off monthly Blue Jays prospect report

Orelvis Martinez Toronto Blue Jays Orelvis Martinez - Getty Images

TORONTO — The AL East gauntlet and big-league wins are what matter to most when it comes to the Toronto Blue Jays right now, but sustainable winning begins and ends with the minor-league pipeline.

With four affiliates running right now — the Florida Complex League and Dominican Summer League will ramp up shortly — the stock of prospects around baseball is already fluctuating.

Using our annual top 50 Blue Jays prospects list as a guide, we’ll take a look at what’s happening within the system every few weeks.

The monthly prospect update will land within the first couple days of each new month, running from May through September, with the annual organizational prospect all-star team wrapping things up in October once the minor-league season comes to a close.

Here’s a look at how some of the prominent names from January’s TSN top 50 list — one notable bat and one notable arm at each of the affiliates, plus a Canadian from the annual league-wide top 20 list —fared in the month of April.


Triple-A Buffalo Bisons

Bat to watch: No. 2 2B Orelvis Martinez

Ranked second in the entire system after reaching Triple-A as a 21-year-old last year, Martinez has taken another huge step forward in the plate discipline and swing decision department this season.

Now settling in as the second baseman of the future, Martinez is doing everything he can to push the Jays front office into a call up, slashing .295/.356/.600 with an organization-leading seven home runs and a 23.1 per cent strikeout rate.

Arm to watch: No. 40 LHP Mason Fluharty

With some of the other upper-level relievers that landed on this year’s top 50 either struggling or failing to make a real impression early on, this lefty’s sneaky delivery has been really tough for Triple-A hitters to get a read on, as evidenced by just seven hits allowed across 13.1 frames in April. 

The issue, however, is the 2022 fifth-round pick and No. 40 prospect coming into the season has also walked nine batters across his nine appearances. 

The fact Fluharty is being highlighted here is probably not a good thing, as Triple-A is devoid of starting pitching depth, while some of the other prominent relievers — Connor Cooke, Hagen Danner — have struggled a bit.


Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Bat to watch: No. 21 SS Josh Kasevich

No. 9 prospect Alan Roden continues to hum along with his hit tool-driven approach, but it’s Kasevich’s elite hit tool that’s really shown out early on.

There’s zero power in his lumber, but the glove is shortstop worthy and the 2022 60th overall pick is trying to prove he can add enough juice to make enough of an impact with the stick.

After posting a muted 103 wRC+ at High-A last season, Kasevich seems to be doing just that, as the organization’s No. 21 prospect is running up an early 138 wRC+ and a .391 on-base percentage through the first month of the season.

Roden has a matching 138 wRC+, but the pair of 2022 draft picks have combined for just three home runs across 171 plate appearances.

Power is going to be the separator for both of these guys when it comes to potential impact.

Arm to watch: No. 11 LHP Adam Macko

Hat tip to No. 41 prospect Michael Dominguez, as the right-hander is using his unique slider to carve out some nice moments in his first upper minors test, but the best news for the Jays is Macko beginning to put things together as a starting pitcher.

Acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the Teoscar Hernandez trade, the lefty has always been a live arm to dream on, but there have been legitimate command gains to start the year, leaving Macko with a 3.15 ERA through four starts.

Past the currently injured Ricky Tiedemann, Macko is one of the few upper-minors arms you can envision turning into a legitimate rotation piece, and it all starts with staying healthy and keeping the walks in check. So far, so good.


High-A Vancouver Canadians

Bat to watch: No. 17 OF Jace Bohrofen

Western Canadian baseball fans didn’t exactly get a juggernaut club filled with top prospects to start the year.

Quite the opposite, as the High-A Canadians are stocked with org players and prospects trying to find their footing with multiple cracks at the same level, one of those being Oakville Ont.’s Dasan Brown, who has put up a reasonable 113 wRC+ so far.

The most prominent prospect in the lineup on most nights is 2023 sixth-round pick Jace Bohrofen, and it’s been a weird year for the power-hitting outfielder.

In his debut last summer after being drafted out of Arkansas, Bohrofen did what was expected — he hit for power with seven homers across 24 games.

To start this season, however, the pop has dried up and the left-handed bat is still searching for his first home run through 64 trips to the plate.

On the flip side, he’s been able to make up for the lack of power by getting on base at a .460 clip.

His 14 walks are tied for second in the org behind Spencer Horwitz’s 25 free passes in April.

Arm to watch: No. 10 LHP Kendry Rojas

Geison Urbaez, who has never appeared on the top 50, deserves a mention here for authoring a 2.25 ERA across his first three starts, and he’s an arm that’s trending towards the back end of the list next January.

But the really interesting name here is Rojas, who was pegged as a potential breakout arm this season. 

It looked like that was happening, too, when radar gun readings this spring had his velocity continuing to climb and the lefty is now touching 97 mph at times.

Unfortunately, after throwing five shutout innings on April 10 in his second start of the season, Rojas experienced some shoulder soreness and is currently shut down.

It has been an absolutely brutal start in that regard, with Tiedemann, Rojas, Brandon Barriera and Landen Maroudis all hurt.


Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays

Bat to watch: No. 46 OF Victor Arias

Get excited, folks … maybe.

You never really know with prospects that are eons away from the big leagues in the lower levels, but Arias is as exciting as it gets in this system.

A compact hitter with some pop from the left side, swing-and-miss issues and injuries have held Arias back in his first three pro seasons, but things are starting to click.

It’s a minuscule sample size of 59 trips to the plate, but Arias has launched a bomb, stolen seven bags, and posted a gaudy .360/.458/.520 slash line as a 20-year-old.

After sneaking onto the list in the No. 46 spot this year, Arias is in line for a big jump in 2025, even if the final statistical numbers aren’t as eye-popping as they are right now.

Arm to watch: No. 13 RHP Fernando Perez

We could lead with the organizational sadness that is 2022 first-round pick Brandon Barriera (TJ/internal brace surgery) or potential huge breakout Landen Maroudis (forearm MRI) both landing on the IL, but instead we’ll go positive with one of the most interesting sleeper arms in the system continuing to get good results.

Maybe it’s hard to call the No. 13 prospect a sleeper, but Perez’s low-90s heater doesn’t exactly jump of the page just yet.

The results, however, do.

After posting a 2.72 ERA as a 19-year-old in the Florida Complex League last summer, Perez has continued to dot the edges with his command-based profile and has a 4.12 ERA through four April starts.

It gets even more impressive once you consider his 2.78 FIP and low 57.5 left-on-base percentage.

The real test for Perez will eventually come in the upper minors, but he might be the most complete starter package they have in the entire system behind Tiedemann.


Canuck of the month

The annual top 20 Canadian list saw its top prospect recalled on the final day of April and Tyler Black went off with his father, Rod, in attendance, smacking his first two MLB hits in his debut Tuesday night for the Milwaukee Brewers.

After slashing .303/.393/.525 with five homers and three steals across 23 games at Triple-A, there’s no doubt the 23-year-old deserved his shot and if he continues to rake like he has, Black won’t have to worry about repacking his bags for Triple-A Nashville anytime soon.