Four Underrated Blue Jays Prospects to Keep an Eye on in 2024

Here are four Toronto Blue Jays prospects that could have an impact at the big league level for the club within the next few years.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 17: Club representative Shawn Green announces a selection by the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft at L.A. Live on Sunday, July 17, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

FanGraphs and their model show that the Toronto Blue Jays enter the 2024 season with the 23rd-ranked farm system across the Major Leagues.

Over the past few years, the Jays’ front office has traded away numerous top prospects such as Simeon Woods-Richardson, Austin Martin, and Gunnar Hoglund but have seen some of their higher-drafted players struggle to adjust in the pro rankings.

These aspects have impacted the Jays prospect rankings as the club has used some depth to add to the big league roster for postseason aspirations, which have come up short so far.

Heading into a new season, the Blue Jays have a smorgasbord of infield depth waiting for an opportunity but lack starting pitching depth outside of a few solid candidates. The club does have some interesting arms further down in the Minor Leagues but they still have years of development to go before coming close to knocking on the big league door.

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With this in mind, the Blue Jays do have some intriguing players that might not be dominating the headlines such as Ricky Tiedemann or Orelvis Martinez but could factor in for the Blue Jays in a big way shortly.

Here are four of those players.

Mason Fluharty – LHP

A fifth-round draft pick out of Liberty University in 2022, left-hander Mason Fluharty has been on a roll since turning pro.

Fluharty had a cup of coffee in High-A to finish out the 2022 season and split last year between Vancouver and Double-A with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

The southpaw started the year with the Canadians, allowing just seven hits and one earned run through 15 1/3 innings before earning the promotion to Double-A in New Hampshire, Fluharty posted a 4.25 ERA through 42 1/3 innings, striking out batters at an 11.5 K/9 clip.

For 2024, Fluharty received a non-roster invite to big league spring training and appeared in the Jays’ first game of the spring on Saturday, throwing a clean seventh inning that included a three-pitch strikeout of Phillies prospect Bryce Ball. So far this spring, the southpaw has pitched a clean three innings with three strikeouts and zero walks.

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Ranked at #27 on the Blue Jays’ top prospect list, the left-hander features a four-seam fastball that sits in the low 90s but a wicked slider that is deceiving to left-handers given his stance on the mound (towards first base) and delivery to home which hides the ball well.

Fluharty should begin the year in Double-A and another solid start to the year should see the 22-year-old move to Triple-A before the end of the year.

Rafael Lantigua – UTIL

Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Rafael Lantigua has worked his way up through the Blue Jays farm system since 2017 when he made his debut in the Dominican Summer League.

A Minor League free agent this past offseason, Lantigua rejoined the Blue Jays and like Fluharty, received an invite to big league spring training although he has struggled mightily this go around, going 0-for-10 at the plate so far.

Lantigua has spent the last two seasons at the higher levels of the Minor Leagues and spent all of 2023 in Buffalo, suiting up in 129 games. He led the Bisons in at-bats (465) and RBIs (85) while ranking in the top five in average (.305) and OBP (.425). He finished the year with 12 home runs, just behind Davis Schneider and added 28 stolen bases on the year.

Defensively, Lantigua has pretty much played everywhere for the Bisons, including second, third, shortstop, left field, center field, and right field. A pure utility player who has a plus bat with some pop.

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A versatile athlete entering the 2024 season just shy of his 26th birthday, Lantigua should be one player on the radar for a big league call-up if he can replicate his 2023 success at the plate and shake off the rust holding him out of the hit column this spring.

Alan Roden – OF

It has been quite some time since the Blue Jays had an outfield prospect breakthrough at the big league level and Alan Roden might just be the next player to break that trend.

A third-round pick of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Creighton University, the Wisconsin product started his professional career in Dunedin following the draft and put forward a .685 OPS in the small sample size. Fast forward to the end of the 2023 season and Roden has already put himself on the map within the Blue Jays organization.

In his first full season, the left-handed batter started the year in High-A before a promotion in mid-July to Double-A saw Roden make the trek across the country to New Hampshire.

Collectively, Roden showed that his bat is ready to contend, sporting a .317/.431/.459 slash line with 10 home runs and 68 RBIs. The outfielder also walked more than he struck out (68 and 64 respectively) and finished the year with an impressive .890 OPS and 92 runs scored.

Roden also saw some game action during the first weekend against the Yankees as a late-game substitution and immediately made an impact, producing a bases-clearing double that netted the outfielder three RBIs. He has two hits so far this spring, both of which have been for extra bases including a two-run home run.

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In the outfield, Roden splits his time in the corner spots at almost an even split and had six assists from the grass last year. His arm should be able to handle either spot moving forward.

Looking ahead, Roden could could start in New Hampshire to get some more at-bats under his belt but if his bat continues to hold well, mixed with his plus eye at the plate, a move to Triple-A in quick succession will be in his future.

This trend could see Roden in Toronto by the end of the campaign if the Jays need an outfielder with the ability to put the ball in play but his bat will be the calling card at the end of the day.

Adam Macko – LHP

Acquired by the Blue Jays last winter as part of the Teoscar Hernández trade with the Mariners, left-hander Adam Macko has quickly established himself as a starter to keep an eye on in the Blue Jays system. So much so that he was the only player the Jays decided to add to the 40-man roster this past winter to prevent him from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

Macko is the one prospect of these four we have mentioned today that was featured in Aram Leighton’s top 15 Blue Jays prospects list that came out for Just Baseball last week, checking in at No. 5 in the system.

The southpaw ran into some injury troubles during his time with the Mariners but bucked that trend in his first campaign with the Jays, making a team-high 20 starts through a career-high 86 innings with the Vancouver Canadians.

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Macko amassed an 11.1 K/9 with the Canadians and posted a 1.349 WHIP and a 4.2 BB/9 during his first season with the organization, boasting a mid-90s fastball and a mix of a plus curveball and a slider that continues to get better.

The Vauxhall Jets alum also got the ball for the Canadians’ first game in the Northwest League Championship series against Everett (his old team) and allowed just one hit through five innings of work with five strikeouts, earning the win for the club as they eventually went on to win the championship.

The left-hander has a high ceiling with an arsenal that should play at the big league level as he continues to develop in the Minor Leagues. The left-hander should start the year in New Hampshire but could see a promotion to Triple-A this season if things go well, especially since his big league clock in regards to Minor League options is in play this year given his status on the 40-man roster.