Each off-season the Toronto Blue Jays load up on veteran minor league players with hopes that this season they reach their potential
It appears that left-handed pitchers own more lives than cats, and they have 9 of them. On January 13th, 2015, Daniel Schlereth used up another one of his lives when he was signed to a minor league deal by the Toronto Blue Jays. Daniel Schlereth is a hard throwing left-handed reliever who was destined for closer stardom when selected 26th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round of the 2008 draft.
The Toronto Blue Jays will take a flier on Schlereth with the hopes that the 29-yr-old from Anchorage, Alaska can find his release point enough to provide a power arm at the back of their bullpen. Until that happens, Daniel will join a cast of veteran relievers in Buffalo.
The Diamondbacks signed the local kid for $1.33M. Daniel made his major league debut in 2009, after just 32 minor league appearances. He made 21 appearances out of the Diamondbacks bullpen, with a record of 1 and 4 and an ERA of 5.89. He struck out 22 and walked 15 while allowing 12 earned runs in 18.1IP.
On December 8th, 2009 Schlereth was included in a three-team deal which included right-handed pitchers Max Scherzer, Edwin Jackson, and Ian Kennedy, center-fielders Austin Jackson and Curtis Granderson, and left-handed reliever Phil Coke. Daniel became a member of the Detroit Tigers organization and the Tigers thought they had acquired a future closer.
Despite a 2-0 record and 2.89ERA in and 1-3 record and 2.37 ERA in Toledo, the power pitching lefty split his first season with the Tigers between Detroit and Triple-A. He struggled with his command with 4.82 BB/9 in Detroit and 6.20 BB/9 in Toledo.
Over the next two seasons, the 6’0″, 210lb reliever used his mid-90’s running fastball and low-80’s plus curveball to strike out 8.3 batters per 9 innings. However, he continued to struggle to find a consistent release point due to his max effort delivery.
After struggling in 2012, Daniel was demoted to the minor leagues and hasn’t pitched much since. His 2013 stats looked pretty good at a glance with two wins, no losses and a 0.82 ERA in 12 games, but when you look a little closer you quickly see that he walked 8 and struck out 7.
In 2014, the once highly regarded reliever appeared in 38 games with 2 wins and 3 losses, while still showing a lack of command walking over 8 batters per 9 innings.
Schlereth had a busy year in 2015, well transaction wise. He re-signed with the Detroit Tigers in January of 2015, but received his walking papers on April 4th. He then caught on with the Chicago Cubs at the end of April, but only managed to make three appearances for their Triple-A affiliation before being released on June 7th.
The Blue Jays management appear to have placed a premium on left-handed pitchers, or at the very least minor league veteran left-handed pitchers. Since Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins took over for Alex Anthopoulos, the Buffalo Bisons have seen LHP Scott Diamond, LHP Wade LeBlanc, LHP Pat McCoy, and now LHP Daniel Schlereth added to the roster. Diamond and LeBlanc appear destined for the rotation, whereas McCoy and Schlereth will join LHP Chad Girodo in the bullpen.
Remember, every minor league signing is a good signing.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Tom Hagerty UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0