Each offseason, MiLB.com goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2022 Organization All-Stars series are the Toronto Blue Jays.
2022 Organization Summary
Triple-A Buffalo: 76-72
Double-A New Hampshire: 59-79
High-A Vancouver: 67-62 (Northwest League Division winner)
Single-A Dunedin: 66-63 (Florida State League West Division champion)
FCL Blue Jays: 28-27
DSL Blue Jays: 18-38
Overall: 314-341 (.479 winning percentage, 23rd among MLB organizations)
Blue Jays Organization All-Stars
Catcher: Gabriel Moreno
After a somewhat lost season in 2021 because of injuries that limited Moreno to 37 games, the former top Blue Jays prospect came back with a clean bill of health this season and more than made up for lost time. After hitting at every stop along the way in Toronto’s system since being signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2016, the backstop was back at it at the Minors’ highest level -- posting a .315/.386/.420 slash line in 62 games -- and made his debut in The Show on June 11 when he also notched his first career big-league knock and batted .319 over 25 contests. But it wasn’t just at the plate where the 22-year-old made his impact felt this year. Moreno posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 51 games (441 total chances) behind the dish for the Bisons, as well as a .986 mark in the Majors where he also threw out an attempted basestealer in his debut. Constantly lauded for his athleticism, Moreno also lined up at second base, third base and left field for the Blue Jays.
“Gaby is someone we’ve been high on for a long time,” Blue Jays director of player development Joe Sclafani said. “He got better all the way around this year, really worked his tail off. On the offensive side, he’s a stud, always had incredible bat to ball skills, barrels it up no matter what. But this year he really worked on improving his receiving, leading a group of pitchers, help them be at their best, and grasped how important that was and really had success with them. So, we’re really encouraged about his overall progress and the strides he made on the catching side of things."
First base: Rainer Nunez
The 2018 international signee out of the Dominican Republic made his full-season debut and opened a lot of eyes after hitting just about everything that was thrown at him across the two lower levels of the Blue Jays’ system. The 22-year-old posted a .304/.340/.484 slash line in 120 games between Single-A and High A, and also flashed some power. After connecting on a combined 11 homers over his first three pro seasons (145 games), Nunez clubbed 19 dingers in 120 games this year. He also collected a triple, 25 doubles, 82 RBIs and 65 runs scored. He also won the Florida State League batting title despite spending the final six weeks of the season in Vancouver. The one blemish on the stat sheet for the 6-foot-3, 180-pound righty swinger were his 109 strikeouts.
“We’re really excited about the year he just put together,” Sclafani said. “He was always a bigger kid and a bit of a free swinger, but he was able to find barrels consistently, hit just about everything hard and show off some ridiculous power. I think he’s leading the Dominican Winter League in homers as we speak. Now it’s just going to be about refining his approach and seeing how he adjusts to being pitched differently at a new level going forward."
Second base: Davis Schneider
The 2017 28th-round Draft selection proved to be a jack of all trades this season and it led to him ascending three levels of Toronto’s system for the first time in a single year in his career. Schneider showed the ability to handle second base, third base, and the corner outfield spots while also posting a clean inning on the bump for High-A Vancouver early in the year. He also posted a combined .253/.366/.457 slash line with 16 home runs, four triples, 22 doubles, 66 runs scored, 56 RBIs and 17 stolen bases over 113 games.
“His approach is really something that stands out, he’s an awesome kid,” Sclafani said. “He works his tail off every day and is a staff favorite. He’s worked really hard to continue getting stronger and his power has started to show. Defensively he continues to put the work in and show the ability to handle multiple spots. We’re excited about what he’s able to do as he continues to earn more and more opportunities."
Third base: Damiano Palmegiani
It was an eye-opening campaign for the 2021 14th-round selection in his first pro full season. After being limited to 17 games in his rookie season, the 22-year-old got off to a slow start this year before flexing in a big way to earn a promotion to Vancouver in late June. It may have been the familiarity of home for the Venezuelan native who was raised in British Columbia and signed out of the College of Southern Nevada. Palmegiani batted .239 but the 27th-ranked Blue Jays prospect mashed 24 home runs and drove in 83 over 118 total games.
“We are really pumped for him because he bought into what we’ve been preaching, he’s a very coachable kid, and you can see how he picked up steam as the season went on,” Sclafani said. “He knows what makes him successful and targets that every time he goes up there, and we really saw what he’s capable of this year on the offensive side. He’s also been killing it in the offseason so far, so we’re excited to see how he brings all of this into next season.”
Shortstop: Addison Barger
The Blue Jays Minor League Player of the Year climbed three levels of Minors and did damage at every stop along the way. In fact, his numbers improved after each promotion, posting a .355/.444/.677 slash line with three homers, a double, nine RBIs and eight runs scored over eight games with Buffalo to end the year. Entering mid-August Barger had an OPS above .900 at High-A and Double-A. He led the entire organization in hits with 144 knocks and set career bests across the board. It was the breakout season the Blue Jays have been waiting for since they selected the 23-year-old in the sixth round of the 2018 Draft. The club’s No. 14 prospect credited his offseason work with his dad and an iPitch machine for his breakout effort. He finished the year with a .308 average, .933 OPS, 26 dingers and 91 RBIs and earned a spot on the Jays’ 40-man roster in July.
“I just can’t say enough about Addie, but really the numbers speak for themselves,” Sclafani said. “He’s so determined and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s a true baseball rat, wants to be around the game all the time and he wants to be great, and he always had the tools you drool over but just never put it together until now. He went out and got his own pitch machine and nailed down on the pitches that he always struggled with and that showed up in a big way this year. He has unbelievable hands, unbelievable bat speed and can just hit the ball a mile. He showed a lot of maturation in the box this year, his numbers got better every time we moved him up and he’s got the ability to play the left side of the infield at an elite level. We know he wanted to make some noise this year and his performance was loud.”
Honorable mention: Orelvis Martinez (TOR 2, MLB 70) set the Fisher Cats home run record with 30 taters at Double-A this season. He was also added to Toronto’s 40-man roster in July.
Martinez began his first full season at age 19 and proved to be up to the task. Even though he missed the entire month of June with an injury, the ninth-ranked Jays prospect still hit the cover off the ball, hitting .288/.348/.483 with 11 home runs, 14 doubles and 46 RBIs and runs scored apiece. Just two weeks after turning 20, Martinez was promoted to Vancouver where he posted even better numbers, batting .324/.381/.490 in 28 games for the Canadians.
“The pandemic years were challenging all the way around but especially for the young guys,” Sclafani said. “We checked in with him consistently and he was steady about getting his work in and that really showed this season. He met every challenge we put in front of him and we think he really got a feel for his barrel this year. The natural ability was always there and now he’s making the most of his opportunities.”
After being drafted by the Indians in 2015 and then traded to the Rays in 2016, Lukes was released by Tampa Bay after posting a career year for the Triple-A champion Bulls after the 2021 season and signed by Toronto as a free agent. The 28-year-old proved that his previous year was no fluke as he was named the Bisons team MVP after hitting .285/.364/.425 with 37 extra-base hits, 62 runs scored, 61 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He also proved capable in all three outfield spots, posting a combined .995 fielding percentage over 111 games with Buffalo.
“Our pro scouting department was high on him and he dove right in and was a solid baseball player all around,” Sclafani said. “First time he got everyday reps and always answered the bell. He puts together good at-bats, doesn’t give anything away and has great instincts defensively. He earned everything he did this year and we were excited to add him to the 40-man."
An 80-grade scouting tool is hard to come by, 80-grade speed might even be the rarest among those, but that’s exactly what the 29th-ranked Blue Jays prospect has and he put it on display this season. Already incredibly athletic at 6-foot and 185 pounds, Brown showed that beyond being a defensive stalwart in the outfield, he can provide a spark from the top of any lineup with the ability to get on base. And despite battling through some injuries, the 21-year-old appeared in 84 games and finished the season with a promotion to High-A. He saved his best for last, hitting .298/.392/.411 in 40 games with the Canadians, stole 24 bases and committed just two errors in 147 total chances in center field.
“Another great development story from this season -- we always knew the ability was there for Dasan and loved him out of the Draft -- and we saw what he was capable of this year,” Sclafani said. “He’s an outstanding kid, wants to work, he can really go get it in the outfield and he took to some adjustments we wanted to make with him. He can be an impact guy on the bat side too, he’s a strong kid with the ability to drive the ball, and his performance this year showed his desire to be great.”
Right-handed starting pitcher: Casey Lawrence
The 35-year-old journeyman enjoyed a bit of a renaissance, posting his best season since 2016. After missing two years because of injury and the pandemic, Lawrence returned to the Jays organization in 2021 for the first time since 2017. The right-hander posted a 2.79 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with 106 punchouts to 17 walks in 23 starts (126 innings) with Triple-A Buffalo. He also made six relief appearances for the Blue Jays and logged 18 big league innings. He is currently a free agent.
“Casey was a stabilizing presence in Triple-A and we enjoyed having him,” Sclafani said. “He’s a very positive influence on the guys around him, great character and presence in the clubhouse, always gave us a chance and someone we felt good about if an opportunity arose in the big leagues."
Left-handed starting pitcher: Ricky Tiedemann
It was a season to remember for the Blue Jays Minor League Pitcher of the Year. After being selected in the third round out of Golden West Junior College in the 2021 Draft, Tiedemann spent the remainder of last year at the Blue Jays player development complex in Florida. So, in his first pro season, the goal was just to set a solid foundation for the southpaw to build off of going forward: mission accomplished. Equipped with three plus-pitches: a mid-to-high 90s fastball, a sweeping slider and a changeup, the top Blue Jays prospect (MLB No. 33) didn’t just climb three levels of Toronto’s system, he absolutely dominated them. The 20-year-old made 18 starts between Single-A, High-A and Double-A and compiled a 2.17 ERA with 29 walks and 117 strikeouts over 78 2/3 innings. His 17 percent whiff rate led all starters in the organization by a mile and he finished the year with a combined .149 average against. To add another wrinkle to his dominance this season, Tiedemann made his first future’s game appearance and needed just nine pitches to toss a perfect frame, including retiring Reds top prospect Elly De La Cruz.
“The makeup is just off the charts and we were all really excited about him coming to the Draft,” Sclafani said. “He bought into everything we were doing right away, went right to instructs last year and didn’t pitch in a game, saw good returns immediately and I think he was encouraged in the uptick he saw in his stuff. He showed up this year in shape, showed a slow heartbeat, he’s a super competitor on the mound, goes right at guys, and he rose to the occasion every time we elevated him. I just can’t say enough good things about the kid, he’s got an outstanding foundation, he answered every bell last season, and we’ll get him in early next year and try to work off a breakout year and hopefully he can be part of the big league team in the near future.”
Reliever: Jeremy Beasley
In his second season with the Blue Jays organization, Beasley provided a reliable arm in the back of the Bisons’ bullpen. The 27-year-old right posted a 1.89 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with 43 strikeouts over 38 frames with Buffalo. He also made nine appearances out of the Blue Jays bullpen and fanned 19 over 15 Major League innings. He was traded to the Pirates on Aug. 2 to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.