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Top prospect Gabriel Moreno giving Blue Jays something to think about with fast start in 2022

Jason Burgos
toronto blue jays, gabriel moreno
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays’ top prospect Gabriel Moreno is off to an impressive start on both sides of the ball in 2022, and could force the team to bring him up to the big leagues sooner than expected.

Catcher Gabriel Moreno is viewed as the very best prospect in the Blue Jays current farm system and one of the elite rising talents in the entire sport. Yet his journey to being a current force at the Triple-A level of the MLB minor league system had an unusual start.

When he was signed by the team as a teenager in 2016, the Blue Jays had a very different future in mind for the long-time shortstop. However, an opportunity to possibly play in the big leagues is something a kid from Venezuela can’t pass up. Even if you’re forced to change your preferred position.

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Toronto Blue Jays’ Gabriel Moreno a difference maker offensively and defensively

toronto blue jays, gabriel moreno
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“[His coach at the time] said, ‘The Blue Jays want to sign you but as a catcher,'” Moreno recalled in a Friday interview with Sportsnet.ca. “I said, ‘Oh, dang.’ It was tough. But it is every kid’s dream to sign with a professional team. I did the deal and now we’re here.”

After eight games and 29 at-bats in 2022 for the Buffalo Bisons of the International League, Gabriel Moreno has nine hits, six runs batted-in, and five runs scored. His slash line thus far is even more outstanding. Follwing the Bison’s 5-3 loss to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders on Friday, he has a .310 average, .355 on-base percentage, and .803 slugging percentage.

  • Gabriel Moreno stats (Triple-A 2022): 29 AB, 9 H, 6 RBI, 5 R, .310 AVG, .355 OBP, .803 OPS

However, what makes him a special talent for the Toronto Blue Jays is he may be even better on defense than offense. Which is extremely valuable at the catcher position, since it’s arguably the most important spot on the field.

“His flexibility is outstanding. He receives pitches well. He makes accurate throws. He’s quick behind the plate. He’s quick with his release,” Blue Jays bullpen catcher Luis Hurtado, who worked with Moreno previously in the minor-leagues. “He’s something special that you don’t see often in a guy behind the plate.”

Moreno is only 22-years-old, and since he plays a primary position, the Blue Jays plan to take things very slowly with their top prospect. And the team has a solid starter already at the big league level in power-hitting backstop Danny Jansen. However, if Moreno were to rapidly improve in his understanding of the finer nuances of calling a game, like he has elsewhere, he may force the Blue Jays hand and he could be suiting up in Rogers Centre soon enough.