Baseball America dropped an updated Top 100 prospects list today and it has the Gabriel Moreno Hype Train rolling again.
Despite the fact the young catcher has been out of action due to injury since late June, BA has him ranked as the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball…
BA updated their Top 100 Prospect list today, Jays on the list: 8 Moreno, 57 Pearson, 62 Orevlis, 74 Groshans
— Clint (@_ClintB_) September 13, 2021
This is one hell of a rise for Moreno, who wasn’t ranked in the Top 100 in BA’s first list of 2021 back in January.
In 2019, Moreno played at Low-A Lansing and slashed a very good .280/.337/.485 line over the course of 82 games. As with everyone else, he didn’t play in the minors in 2020 due to COVID-19, but he did have a strong showing in winter ball in Venezuela, producing a 1.111 OPS over 18 games.
This year was really when Moreno broke out as a prospect. In 32 games with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Moreno slashed an absurd .373/.441/.651 line with eight homers and 10 doubles. As I said, his season has been cut short due to injury, but in two games in complex ball in a rehab assignment, Moreno has gone 3-for-4 with a double, which is a nice sign.
BA also isn’t the only one high on Moreno. Back in July, Keith Law had him ranked No. 5 on his top prospects list and referred to him as a “future star.”
Moreno broke his thumb in mid-June, which might be the only thing stopping his ascent to the majors right now, as he hit .373/.441/.651 in 32 games in Double A as a 21-year-old before the injury, while showing plus defensive skills across the board for the Fisher Cats. Moreno has quick hands and excellent bat control, with a short swing that should produce average power but a ton of hard contact, while he’s made substantial progress as a receiver. His hand strength may not be all the way back until next year due to the injury but it’s not a factor for the long term. He’s a future star.
The Blue Jays have fewer players on BA’s Top 100 list than the mid-season rankings because Alek Manoah has graduated and two other top prospects, Simeon Woods Richardson and Austin Martin, were dealt to the Twins in the Jose Berrios deal. Still, having four prospects (Moreno, Nate Pearson, Orelvis Martinez, and Jordan Groshans) ranked as high as they do is impressive given how good this team already is at the big league level.
Toronto’s catcher situation is quite interesting.
They have Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk currently on their active roster and Moreno could legitimately push for a gig next season. Jansen’s bat has come around since coming off the Injured List and McGuire has proven he can be a quality backup catcher since he passed through waivers before the start of this season. And, of course, Kirk is the best of the three of them.
Something’s likely gonna give this off-season. I would assume that one of Jansen or McGuire gets moved in order to free up more time for Kirk behind the plate, but, who knows!