Gabriel Moreno

From BR Bullpen

Gabriel Jose Moreno

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 160 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Gabriel Moreno entered the 2022 season as the top-ranked prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays, and #7 in baseball according to both Baseball America and

The Jays originally signed Moreno as an international amateur free agent on August 3, 2016. He made his professional debut one year later with the DSL Blue Jays, hitting .248/.274/.296 in 32 games. He took a giant leap forward in production after moving stateside in 2018, when he split the season between the GCL Blue Jays and the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League. In 40 games, he batted .360/.395/.575, with 24 runs and 36 RBIs. He followed that with another good season for the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League in 2019, batting .280/.337/.485 in 82 games, with 12 homers and 52 RBIs. He was then waylaid by circumstances entirely out of his control as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the minor leagues for the 2020 season. He did get to spend time at the Jays' alternate training site in Rochester, NY, along with other top prospects in the organizations, then played for the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan League the following winter, batting .373 in 18 games. In 2021, he continued his relentless hitting in spite of being limited to 37 minor league games because of injuries. In 32 games for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Double-A Northeast, he put up a .373 average and his batting line overall was .367/.434/.626, with 10 doubles, 8 homers and 45 RBIs. He was then sent to the Arizona Fall League where he continued to wreak havoc on opposite pitchers, batting .321 with 18 RBIs in 22 games and being named to play in the Rising Stars Game.

After another stint with Lara in the winter of 2021-2022, he arrived late for spring training due to visa problems, getting to play only one Grapefruit League game. He was assigned to the AAA Buffalo Bisons to open the season, although the question was not if, but when, he would be called up to the big club. He had no trouble hitting AAA pitching, as he was batting .323 after 35 games. Still, the Blue Jays would have preferred to give him more time at the level, but events forced their hand as C Danny Jansen was placed on the injured list on June 7th with a broken bone in his left hand, the result of a hit by pitch. At first the Jays called up veteran Zack Collins to Toronto, but he was seen more as a hitter than a defensive catcher, and when it became clear that Jansen could be out for a while, the Jays decided to bring up Moreno. He was risen to be the #4 prospect in baseball at the time. He made his debut on June 11th, catching and batting 8th against the Detroit Tigers. He went 1 for 4, hitting a single off closer Gregory Soto in the 9th off a fastball that was clocked at 98 mph, and coming around to score his team's only run in a 3-1 loss. In his second career start the next day, he was behind the dish for a two-hit shutout tossed by Ross Stripling and three relievers. Overall, he hit .319 in 25 games with 1 homer and 7 RBIs, his main problem being that when Cs Jansen and Alejandro Kirk were healthy, they were among the best-hitting backstops in baseball, limiting Gabriel's opportunities. Thus, he was on the Jays' postseason roster, but was not used when they were swept by the Seattle Mariners in two games in the Wild Card Series.

It was clear after the 2022 season that the Blue Jays would need to trade one of their three catchers in order to improve somewhere else - but it wasn't evident which of the three men would be the one sent away. In the end, the Jays decided to trade Moreno, along with OF Lourdes Gurriel, to the Arizona Diamondbacks in return for OF/C Daulton Varsho; the trade took place on December 23rd. It was a perfect situation for Moreno, as he would have a chance to share the catching job with Carson Kelly and also be used a designated hitter to get some additional at-bats. He immediately proved to be a key player for a much-improved Diamondbacks team over the first few weeks of the 2023 season. Not only was he batting .315 after 27 games, but his defense was outstanding, and especially his ability to cut down opposing baserunners, in spite of the rule changes that had made a lot easier for thieves to operate on the basepaths. Indeed, he was named the winner of the National League Gold Glove at catcher.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jesús Cano: "Moreno in control behind plate ... and at it: Catcher emerges as a defensive and offensive force after joining the D-backs",, May 9, 2023. [1]
  • Michael Hoad: "Reports: Blue Jays calling up top prospect Gabriel Moreno", Yahoo! Sports, June 8, 2022. [2]
  • Dawn Klemish: "Moreno notches 1st MLB hit in final AB of debut: Top prospect shows off defensive skills in first start with Blue Jays",, June 11, 2022. [3]
  • Keegan Matheson and Julia Kreuz: "From Venezuela to top prospect, Moreno's journey guided by family",, June 8, 2022. [4]

Related Sites[edit]