To say that the Toronto Blue Jays disappointed this season would be an understatement. It was believed that the Jays would take a step forward and narrow the gap with the division’s heavyweights, and possibly have the kind of season that the Baltimore Orioles are enjoying.
However, not all was lost as the Jays were able to see what rookies Drew Hutchison, Aaron Loup, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Chad Jenkins, among others, were capable of at the major league level.
Each player has had a stretch where he's been effective and for the most part no one has looked like they didn't belong with the big club.
The good news is that the organization remains deep with young talent.
Here's a look at five prospects that Jays fans should be excited about.
Travis d’Arnaud was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round (37th) in 2007 and was acquired by the Blue Jays along with Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor in 2009 for Roy Halladay.
He was having a strong season in Triple-A Las Vegas before a torn ligament in his left knee prematurely ended his season. The 23-year-old had been hitting .333 with 16 homers, 52 RBI and posted an excellent .380 on-base percentage.
He’s agile behind the plate and his strong arm can limit the running game.
Aaron Sanchez was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round (34th) in 2010.
Already 6’4" and 190 pounds, the 20-year-old can touch 96 mph with his fastball. His repertoire also includes a curve and changeup. Perhaps the only knock on him at this point is his control.
In 18 starts at Class-A Lansing, the right-hander went 8-5 with a 2.49 ERA and registered 97 strikeouts over 90.1 innings. The opposition managed just 64 hits, but were issued 51 free passes.
Noah Syndergaard was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round (38th) in 2010.
He’s another big-bodied pitcher (6’6" and 200 pounds) that can light up the radar gun. His fastball can reach the mid- to high 90s. He also throws a breaking ball and changeup that are both considered above average.
In 27 appearances (19 starts) at Class-A Lansing, “The Big Swede” went 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA and struck out 122 over 103.2 innings.
The Blue Jays drafted Justin Nicolino out of high school in the second round (80th) in 2010.
Among the pitchers, Nicolino could reach the majors the fastest given his strong command of the strike zone and the fact that he’s a southpaw. He throws a fastball in the low 90s, while his arsenal also features a curve, changeup and slider.
In 28 appearances (22 starts) at Class-A Lansing, he went 10-4 with a 2.46 ERA. He struck out 119 in 124.1 innings and walked just 21 batters.
Roberto Osuna will take a while to reach the majors but he could be the best of the bunch. He was only 15 when he reached the Mexican League, which is filled with many former major league players.
He was signed a year ago by the Jays.
Now 17, his fastball sits in the low to mid- 90s and can touch as high as 97.
In 12 appearances (nine starts) at Class-A Bluefield and Vancouver, he went 2-0 with a 2.27 ERA and struck out 49 batters in 43.2 innings.