The 2017-18 international market has only been open for a little over two months, but Baseball America’s Ben Badler already has a preview (available to BA subscribers) of 10 notable prospects who will be available in the 2018-19 int’l class, which opens next July 2. Dominican shortstop Orelvis Martinez projects to have the largest bonus of this group, as the 15-year-old is expected to receive over $3MM from a team, with the Blue Jays reportedly favorites. The Jays have been active on the international front in recent years, most notably landing star prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Badler’s piece outlines which teams are connected to the other nine prospects, as well as details on the Rangers and Yankees potentially still lined up to sign well-regarded prospects in the current international class (or eyeing Shohei Otani this winter).
Here’s the latest from Toronto…
- Roberto Osuna has struggled in recent weeks, though as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi notes, perhaps the only surprise is that Osuna went almost three full seasons into his career before hitting an extended slump. Osuna is still 22 and he has outstanding peripherals (11.6 K/9, 8.44 K/BB rate), plus his problems could stem from incorporating a sinker and cutter into his repertoire, as opposed to his old fastball/slider mix. The counter-argument is provided by Jonah Keri, writing for the Athletic (subscription required), who suggests that the Jays may want to consider trading Osuna while he still has value. Osuna’s velocity drop and 10 blown saves are both concerns, and Keri raises the point that hitters may simply be starting to figure Osuna out, as it’s rare for relievers to remain consistently dominant.
- Brett Anderson has a 3.06 ERA over his first three starts in a Jays uniform and he has yet to walk a batter over his 17 2/3 innings. As Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling notes, Anderson is rebuilding his value for free agency this winter and even putting himself into the Blue Jays’ rotation plans. “I think everybody’s looking at him to see what’s available for next year,” manager John Gibbons said. “Hey, maybe if he’s really good they want to re-sign him. He’s experienced this place, maybe he likes it here, too.” Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ and (health permitting) Aaron Sanchez are the only locks for the 2018 rotation, as Marco Estrada is headed for free agency and Joe Biagini’s future may be in the bullpen.
- Richard Urena is off to a nice start in his Major League career, though the young shortstop seems likely to begin the 2018 season at Triple-A rather than on the Jays’ roster, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi writes. Urena was something of a surprise call-up, going directly from Double-A to the bigs without a stop at Triple-A Buffalo since the Jays were in need of middle infield help. As such, his September playing time “is more a growth experience than audition for next year,” Davidi notes. Urena is still just 21 years old and, at Triple-A next year, he’ll give the Blue Jays some available depth at shortstop or second base, which is necessary given the checkered injury histories of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis.