Join Jays From the Couch as we review the Blue Jays Gulf Coast League affiliate’s opening month, highlighting the team’s top performers and statistical leaders
Gulf Coast League
The Toronto’s GCL Blue Jays are short season Rookie-Ball affiliate, playing out of Bobby Mattick Training Center, which happens to be the home of the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. The GCL Blue Jays is managed by Cesar Martin who guided his team to a 1st round win in 2015. The GCL Blue Jays would eventually be defeated in the 2nd round, 2 games to none, by the GCL Red Sox. This is the best season for the GCL Blue Jays since finishing 3 games over .500 in 2010.
This season the GCL Blue Jays are made up of future top prospects Bo Bichette, Kevin Vicuna, Lupe Chavez, and Norberto Obeso. For many members of the GCL Blue Jays, this represents their first taste of the American culture since many of these young men are coming to this team via the Dominican Summer League.
The GCL is made up of 4 divisions: East, South, Northest and Northwest. The Blue Jays are located in the Northwest division, accompanied by Phillies, Tigers West and Yankees West.
The Blue Jays are having an amazing season, leading the GCL with 23 wins and 5 losses, but only have a 2 game lead over the Phillies who own a 21-7 record. The GCL Blue Jays powered their way to the top fo the league by leading in runs scored, doubles, home runs, RBI’s, Total Bases, OBP, Slugging, OSP, and Shut Outs. Their hitting has overshadowed some solid pitching which is near the total of the league.
INF Bo Bichette
Selected in the 2nd round of this year’s draft, the 19-yr-old Bichette has crushed GCL pitching throughout his first 20 games. He leads the league with a .421 batting average and RBI’s with 35. Bo Bichette ranks 2nd in the league in OPS (1.164), slugging percentage (.724), and total bases (55). Complete dominance.
Not surprisingly, manager Cesar Martin is using the Florida native as the clubs number 3 hitter, taking advantage of Bichette’s triple slash of .421/.440/.724. Bichette has shown solid power with 7 doubles, 2 triples and 4 home runs, while complimenting his game with some speed (3SB).
The 6’0″ Bichette has split time between shortstop (14GP) and the keystone (6GP), committing one error in 84 chances.
On the Rise: David Jacob, is another 2016 draft pick enjoying his first taste of professional baseball. In 25 games, the 6’4″ 1st baseman has hit 4 home runs and 7 doubles, while driving in 23 runs. He has shown a good approach at the plate with 12 walks and 11 strike outs, generating an impressive .417 OBP. The 21-yr-old has proved Bichette with protection out the clean-up spot.
RHP Joel Espinal
The 2nd year pitcher owns a 3-0 record, pitching the second most innings (29IP) for the GCL Blue Jays in 6 games, 5 starts. Espinal leads the league with a 0.62 ERA and an identical WHIP.
Espinal has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s but can touch 93 mhp and has dominated in GCL hitters in the first month of the season. Espinal’s best outing came on July 1st, shutting out the GCL Pirates over 6 inning. He allowed 3 hits, struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter.
In his most recent start Joel Espinal managed to make it through 7 innings for the first time in his short professional career. The Moncion, Dominican Republic native turns 20 yrs-old on August 15th, yet has shown excellent control of the strike zone with a 1.24 BB/9 and 9.31 K/9 while holding opponents to a minuscule .194 BABIP.
On the Rise: Wilfri Aleton opened the season with a bang, striking out 10 Tigers and walking one in 5 innings. The 6’3″ left-hander out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic has struck out 9.35 batters per 9IP and owns a 1.38 BB/9, which are career highs for the 20-yr-old in his 4th professional season. It is said that LHP take longer to develop, here’s hoping that Aleton continues to use low to mid 90’s fastball, high 70 slider, and mid-80’s change to drive his stock up and move upto Bluefield in the near future.
BB/K- Norberto Obeso (3.00) and Alfredo Bohorquez (1.50)
wOBA- Bo Bichette (.527) and Norberto Obeso (.508)
ISO- Bo Bichette (.303) and Javier Monzon (.220)
wRC+- Bo Bichette (362) and Norberto Obeso (215)
OPS- Bo Bichette (1.164) and Norberto Obeso (1.061)
K%- Joel Espinal (29.1)/ Jared Curkuff (37.0)
K-BB%- Joel Espinal (25.2)/ Jared Curkuff (32.6)
WHIP- Joel Espinal(0.62)/ Yonardo Herdenez (0.58)
BABIP- Dany Jimenez (.192)/Yonardo Herdenez (.182)
FIP- Wilfri Aleton (1.83)/ Jared Carkuff (1.30)