MLB News

What to expect from Gabriel Moreno with the Toronto Blue Jays

What to expect from Gabriel Moreno with the Toronto Blue Jays

When Adley Rutschman headed to the Majors on May 21, the title of top catching prospect in Minor League Baseball was passed to Gabriel Moreno. He held that claim for less than three weeks … for the best of reasons.

The 22-year-old, right-handed-hitting backstop heads to the Majors with one of the best hit tools in all of prospectdom. His .324 average through 36 games with Buffalo ranked ninth-best among Triple-A qualifiers and is a touch above his career average of .310 through five Minor League seasons. Since Moreno’s breakout 2021 season, there have been 162 catchers to receive at least 300 Minor League plate appearances. The Venezuela native leads them all with a .345 average and places third with a 151 wRC+, one spot above current Royals top prospect MJ Melendez (147) and two above Rutschman (146).

Moreno utilizes a quick and compact swing and solid hand-eye coordination to make a healthy amount of contact. He’s never struck out in more than 17.3 percent of his plate appearances in a given season. That said, his power has taken a step back to this point in 2022. Moreno has managed only one homer in 150 plate appearances, and his last extra-base hit of any kind came on May 21. His .404 slugging percentage represents a major drop from his .651 mark last season in a similar sample size at Double-A New Hampshire.

The 5-foot-11 slugger still makes solid enough contact to project for at least average power in the Majors, but it’s worth monitoring how quickly he can right that portion of the ship in his first taste of the bigs.

Beyond the hit tool, Moreno should be able to contribute immediately on the defensive side. He was an infielder when he first signed with the Jays for $25,000 in August 2016, and while Toronto officials quickly moved him from the dirt to behind the plate, he still possesses the athleticism to be a quality receiver and blocker at the dish. His arm is just as effective, if not more so. Moreno leads all Triple-A catchers in both…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at MLB News…