The Blue Jays got younger, more athletic, and considerably more Canadian when they acquired OF Demi Orimoloye from the Brewers last night for veteran Curtis Granderson.
Oluwademilade Oluwadamilola Orimoloye was born in Nigeria, but moved to Canada as a toddler. He attended St Matthew Catholic College in Ottawa, and joined the Canadian National Junior team at 15.
Baseball America‘s pre-draft report on Orimoloye:
Orimoloye has shown explosive tools for several years, having been exposed to high levels of competition as a member of the Canadian Junior National Team and the Ontario Blue Jays. While scouts already knew who he was entering the summer showcase circuit, Orimoloye really took off at East Coast Pro and the Area Code Games, where he showed advanced feel for the barrel and power in game situations. With a chiseled, 6-foot-4 frame, Orimoloye has long levers and room to add even more strength, allowing scouts to dream on his upside. He’s a plus runner with a plus arm and plus raw power, with some questions about how much he will hit. Orimoloye’s swing has taken significant steps in the right direction, and he’s shown the ability to recognize pitches and drive the ball from gap to gap. Defensively, Orimoloye’s routes and reads will be an early focus for him at the next level. He has the speed for center field right now, but could be moved to right field as he fills out. If his bat comes along as many scouts expect it to, Orimoloye could develop into a legitimate five-tool player.
Other than a high K/BB ratio, Orimoloye fared well in the AZL after the Brewers took him in the 4th round in the 2015 draft. Brought along slowly, he didn’t reach full season ball in the Midwest League until last year, and struggled to make consistent contact, fanning 139 times in 500 PAs, but showed glimpses of his potential with 38 stolen bases. Pitch recognition and learning to harness his speed effectively on both sides of the ball were still works in progress at that point, and he dropped from being ranked Milwaukee’s 13th prospect by BA after his pro debut to falling outside of the Top 30 only two years later.
Sent back to the MWL to start 2018, Orimoloye showed enough to be named to the league’s mid-season All Star game, and earned a promotion to High A Carolina. As one might expect, he’s been challenged more at that level, and sported a line of .237/.304/.372 over 65 games.
As they are with most Canadian players, the Blue Jays are quite familiar with Orimoloye. Canadian Jay Lapp, who joined the Blue Jays scouting department last fall, signed Orimoloye while working for the Brewers.
In Orimoloye, the Blue Jays are getting a premium athlete who can play all three OF positions. They’re also getting a player who’s incredibly raw, and may have trouble reaching his projections. At 21, there is still time and a learning curve ahead of him. He would slot in below established top OF Prospects like Anthony Alford, and mid-range prospects like Chavez Young. Perhaps a new organization and a modified approach will help Orimoloye tap into his power.