How Blue Jays' best prospects performed in MLB debuts, careers

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·6-min read
The Blue Jays have had several highly touted prospects throughout the franchise's history. (Photos via Getty)
The Blue Jays have had several highly touted prospects throughout the franchise's history. (Photos via Getty)

With Gabriel Moreno set to make his MLB debut, the young backstop joins an exclusive group of Toronto Blue Jays players.

Moreno was ranked as Baseball America's seventh-best prospect entering the 2022 season, making him the 12th Blue Jay in franchise history to crack the Top 10 of the annual preseason list since it became a tradition in 1990. Here's a look at where the other 11 players were ranked, how they fared in their major-league debuts, and what their careers went on to look like.

John Olerud: #3 in 1990

Stats from MLB debut: 1-for-1 with a run scored

Blue Jays stats: 8 years | 920 games | .293 BA | 109 HR | 471 RBIs | .866 OPS

Career stats: 17 years | 2,234 games | .295 BA | 255 HR | 1,230 RBIs | .863 OPS

Olerud was a fixture in the Blue Jays lineups of the early- and mid-1990s and won two World Series titles with the club in 1992 and '93. He was one of the best hitters in the league and won a batting title in 1993 with a .363 average. He enjoyed a very consistent career with the bat and later won three Gold Gloves at first base with the Seattle Mariners.

Carlos Delgado: #4 in 1993 and #5 in 1994

Stats from MLB debut: 0-for-0 with a walk

Blue Jays stats: 12 years | 1,423 games | .282 BA | 336 HR | 1,058 RBIs | .949 OPS

Career stats: 17 years | 2,035 games | .280 BA | 473 HR | 1,512 RBIs | .929 OPS

Delgado was a two-time All-Star with the Blue Jays and won three Silver Slugger awards at first base. He led the majors with 145 RBIs in 2003 but never got a taste of the playoffs during his time in Toronto. He finished his career with stints with the Florida Marlins (one year) and New York Mets (four years).

Alex Gonzalez: #4 in 1994 and #8 in 1995

Stats from MLB debut: 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a sacrifice bunt

Blue Jays stats: 8 years | 890 games | .245 BA | 83 HR | 350 RBIs | .691 OPS

Career stats: 13 years | 1,396 games | .243 BA | 137 HR | 536 RBIs | .694 OPS

Gonzalez played shortstop for eight years in Toronto but was a below-average hitter during his entire tenure with the team. He did offer some speed with 15 or more steals in four of his seasons north of the border. He turned in a lengthy career and bounced around to five other teams after leaving the Blue Jays.

Jose Silva: #10 in 1994

Stats from MLB debut: 1 inning pitched, two runs allowed on two hits

Blue Jays stats: 1 year | 2 games | 2.0 IP |13.50 ERA | 2.50 WHIP

Career stats: 7 years | 154 games | 427.1 IP | 5.41 ERA | 1.55 WHIP

Silva had plenty of prospect shine in 1994, but didn't make his MLB debut until 1996. The right-hander moved on to Pittsburgh in 1997 then finished his career with one year in Cincinnati at the age of 28.

Shawn Green: #6 in 1995

Stats from MLB debut: 0-for-4 with a strikeout

Blue Jays stats: 7 years | 716 games | .286 BA | 119 HR | 376 RBIs | .849 OPS

Career stats: 15 years | 1,951 games | .283 BA | 328 HR | 1,070 RBIs | .850 OPS

Green was a key cog in the Blue Jays' outfield from 1995-99 and earned an All-Star nod in his final season with the club. He also won a Silver Slugger award and a Gold Glove for that 1999 campaign. Toronto then traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he signed a six-year, $84-million deal.

Vernon Wells: #4 in 2000

Stats from MLB debut: 0-for-3 with two strikeouts

Blue Jays stats: 12 years | 1,393 games | .280 BA | 223 HR | 813 RBIs | .804 OPS

Career stats: 15 years | 1,731 games | .270 BA | 270 HR | 958 RBIs | .778 OPS

Wells was one of the best defensive outfielders in the game during his time with the Blue Jays, winning three Gold Gloves. He wasn't too shabby with the bat, either, leading the league in hits and doubles in 2003. He was an All-Star three times and a Silver Slugger winner once as a member of the Blue Jays. He signed an infamous seven-year, $126-million contract that the Blue Jays eventually dumped on the Los Angeles Angels.

Alex Rios: #6 in 2004

Stats from MLB debut: 1-for-4 with a run scored

Blue Jays stats: 6 years | 809 games | .285 BA | 81 HR | 395 RBIs | .786 OPS

Career stats: 12 years | 1,691 games | .277 BA | 169 HR | 794 RBIs | .755 OPS

Rios was a first-round draft pick in 1999 and enticed scouts with his blend of size and speed. His Blue Jays career featured two All-Star appearances but the outfielder ultimately failed to live up to his lofty potential. He turned in a productive career but not a spectacular one.

Travis Snider: #6 in 2009

Stats from MLB debut: 1-for-3 with a run scored

Blue Jays stats: 5 years | 242 games | .248 BA | 31 HR | 112 RBIs | .735 OPS

Career stats: 8 years | 630 games | .244 BA | 54 HR | 212 RBIs | .709 OPS

Snider was drafted in the first round as an 18-year-old out of high school and made his MLB debut at the ripe age of 20. He could have used more seasoning in the minors, as his Blue Jays career never managed to take off. He spent four years with the Pirates and one year with the Orioles before playing out the rest of his days in the minors. He retired from pro baseball in 2022.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: #3 in 2018 and #1 in 2019

Stats from MLB debut: 1-for-4

Blue Jays stats: 4 years | 399 games | .282 BA | 85 HR | 244 RBIs | .872 OPS

Career stats: Same as above

Guerrero Jr. was solid but unspectacular in his first two major-league seasons but exploded with an MVP-calibre campaign in 2021, ultimately finishing as the runner-up to two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani. The young slugger has all the talent necessary to consistently etch his name in the Blue Jays' record books.

Bo Bichette: #8 in 2018 and 2019

Stats from MLB debut: 1-for-4 with one strikeout

Blue Jays stats: 4 years | 290 games | .294 BA | 54 HR | 176 RBIs | .831 OPS

Career stats: Same as above

Bichette rose through the minors in Guerrero Jr.'s shadow, but he has been an elite hitter since his debut in 2019. He already has one All-Star appearance to his name and led the league in hits in 2021.

Nate Pearson: #7 in 2020

Stats from MLB debut: 5 innings pitched, zero runs, two hits allowed, five strikeouts, two walks

Blue Jays stats: 2 years | 17 games | 33 IP | 5.18 ERA | 1.61 WHIP

Career stats: Same as above

Pearson has the arsenal required to dominate at the MLB level but he's battled through numerous injuries and has been inconsistent when called upon in the majors. He rose through the ranks as a starter, but he may ultimately find himself pitching out of the bullpen, where he could still be a serious weapon.

Gabriel Moreno: #7 in 2022

Stats from MLB debut: N/A

Blue Jays stats: N/A

Career stats: N/A

Moreno's story has yet to be written but he certainly has the tools to succeed at the highest level.

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