Join Jays From the Couch as we review the Blue Jays Bluefield affiliate’s opening two weeks, highlighting the team’s top performers and statistical leaders
Bluefield Blue Jays
The Toronto’s Bluefield Blue Jays are short season Rookie-Ball affiliate, located in West Virginia playing out of the Appalachian League. This Appy team has been in existence since 1931 and affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays since 2011, which happens to be the last time they won a division title.
Managed by Dennis Holmberg, Bluefield teams are primarily made up of 2nd and 3rd year International Free-Agent signings and recent draft picks in their first professional season.
This season the Bluefield Blue Jays are graced with a promising trio of starting pitchers (Yannsy Diaz, Hansel Rodriguez, and Jose Espada), hard throwing relief pitcher (Keyln Jose) and the Golden Boy (Vladimir Guerrero Jr.).
The Appalachian League is made up of 2 divisions: East and West. The Blue Jays located in the East division, accompanied by Burlington Royals, Pulaski Yankees, Princeton Rays, Danville Braves. The winner of the East Division will play the 2nd place East Division team in a best-of-3 before facing off against the winner of the West Division in another best-of-3.
The Blue Jays opened their season with a 9-4 win on June 23rd at home over the Bristol Pirates. Bluefield would eventually lose the series 1-2, being out scored 5-18 in the next two games. The Blue Jays are currently in 2nd place going 9-4 since their opening series lost.
OF Nick Sinay
Nick Sinay is 1.4 years older than the average age in the Appy League and has produced as such, leading Bluefield with 11 singles, 10 runs, 4 HBP, 6 SH, and 8 stolen bases. His .304 batting average is second to Nash Knight‘s .384 batting average, despite playing in 5 more games and failing to get on-base in just 2 of his 14 games. Nick is currently hitting .294 over his past 10 games with 4 RBI, 8 runs scored, and 7 stolen bases.
Dennis Holmberg has primarily used the native of Marcellus, New York as Bluefield’s leadoff man with a pair of games in the 8th spot and one as the 9th hitter. Sinay has slashed .270/.386/324 as the leadoff hitter, stealing 7 of his 8 bases at the top of the order.
The 5’10” Sinay has split his time in the outfield between LF (5) and RF (9) providing the Blue Jays with a combined 1.64 range factor with one outfield assist. His best game came on June 30th in a 6-2 loss to Kingsport Mets, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double, no strike outs and 2 stolen bases.
On the Rise: 3B Bradley Jones is a 2016 18th round pick who leads the Blue Jays with 3 home runs, but also leads the team with 16 strike outs. Jones is hitting .306 over his past 10 games raising his average from .192 to .271 during that time.
RHP Hansel Rodriguez
The 3rd year pitcher has pitched the most innings for Bluefield with 20.2 in 4 games, all starts. Rodriguez has a fastball the touches 98 mph and a quick arm with a history of poor mechanics. After repeating 2015 with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, 2016 is Hansel’s first with Bluefield. The results have been impressive.
Rodriguez is showing better command with only 1.74 BB/9 compared to 2.13 BB/9 in 2015 his 1.06 WHIP is an improvement over his 1.37 from a year ago.
In his first start, Hansel pitched 3 shutout innings, but has seen his starts lasting longer with each start. He pitched 4.2 innings in his 2nd, 6IP in his 3rd and in his final start on July 9th Hansel Rodriguez pitched possibly the best game of his career with 7 shutout innings, striking out 6 and walking 2 while allowing just 4 hits.
On the Rise: Connor Eller owns a 0.73ERA in 3 games, allowing one earned run over 12.1IP. Eller is a 22-yr-old right-handed pitcher in his first year with the Blue Jays organization after being selected in the 22nd round of this year draft. Despite a small sample size, Connor has shown good command with a 9.49 K/9 and 1.46 BB/9 while stranding baserunners at a 87.5% rate.
wOBA- Nash Knight (.457) and Nick Sinay (.390)
ISO- Ridge Smith (.240) and Nash Knight (.226)
wRC+- Nash Knight (181) and Nick Sinay (140)
OPS- Nash Knight (.1.037) and Ridge Smith (.853)
K%- Connor Eller (30.2)/ Mike Estevez (42.1)
K-BB%- Connor Eller (25.6)/ Christopher Hall (33.3)
WHIP- Connor Eller (0.65)/ Hunter Barnett (0.38)
BABIP- Connor Eller (.214)/Christian Cox (.111)
FIP- Connor Eller (2.04)/ Mike Estevez (2.16)
No player movement in July as of July 10th.
Featured Image Credit: Rob Lockhart UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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