Blue Jays 2016 Vancouver Canadians Wrap Up: Pitchers

JFtC continues to wrap up the Blue Jays minor league affiliates with a look at the Vancouver Canadians pitching staff



It wasn’t too long ago that the Vancouver Canadians appeared destined to dominate the Northwest League year in and year out. After two uninspiring seasons, by one of Minor League Baseball’s more successful seasons, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction for this club. In 2016 the Vancouver Canadians, Toronto’s Short Season Lo-A Ball affiliate, finished second to last in the Northwest League with a 29 and 45 record.

The C’s were lead by amazing comeback story Patrick Murphy, and several 2016 draft picks in Joshua Palacios, J.B. Woodman and C’s MVP Cavan Biggio.

On the mound the Canadians finished in the bottom of the league in many, if not all, pitching related statistics. They finished tie for second with 6 shutouts. They finished second in hits allowed (710) and earned runs allowed (333). Finished 3rd with 382 runs allowed and 4th with 300 BB. They tied for 5th most HR allowed (28) and hits batters (40). The C’s tied for 6th with 16 saves. Vancouver finished second last (7th) with a 4.63ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. Lastly, Vancouver finished last in the league with 526 strike outs.

Starting Pitchers

Patrick Murphy

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft, this RHP missed all of 2015. Murphy start the year in Lansing’s bullpen, making 2 starts and saving 2 games. The 6’4″ native of Arizona was sent to Vancouver on June 17th. A turning point in the young man’s season, possibly his career. Murphy finished with a record of 4-5 and a league best 2.84 ERA. Most importantly, he started healthy. Healthy enough to finish 6th in the NWL with 69.2 IP. His 1.35 WHIP was 4th in the NWL, thanks to holding opponents to a .264 BA. Patrick Murphy finished with 23 walks and 48 strike outs over 13 games started.

Dalton Rodriguez

A 20-yr-old right-hander out of Baja California, Mexico, Dalton entered his 4th season in the Toronto organization. Daniel was hit pretty hard with a .372 BABIP which lead to a 6.18 ERA and 5.01 FIP. Rodriguez had his best month in June with a record of 1-2 and a 2.60ERA. Things unraveled from there, as he posted records of 1-2, 6.86ERA and 0-3, 9.58ERA in July and August. Overall, Danial Dalton Rodriguez finished with a record of 2-7, 6.18 ERA in 14 starts over 62.2 IP (9th). His 43 earned runs ranked 1st in the NWL, while his 84 hits allowed (3rd), and 50 runs allowed (T-2) were near the worse in the league.

Luis Sanchez

At 22-yrs-old, Sanchez was entering his 3rd professional season. He posted a 1-3 record witha 4.61 ERA. The 6’3″ righty finished with a ugly 1.67 WHIP thanks a total of hits allowed (56), and walks allowed (37). He finished with very poor 0.84 K/BB.

T.J. Zeuch

Toronto’s 2016 1st round selection wasted little time showing he was deserving of a 1st round label. In 6 starts the 6’7″ righty struck out 8.61/9, walking just 1.96/9. With better luck (.318 BABIP), Zeuch would have finished with better numbers than 0-1, 3.52 ERA record.

Denis Diaz

Despite dominating with Bluefield, Diaz didn’t find the same success with the C’s. In 7 starts the RHP pitched to record of 1-5 with a 7.71 ERA. He posted an beyond ugly 2.07 WHIP while walking 24 and striking out just 14 batters over 28IP. Somebody should be repeating a level.

Justin Maese

After dominating the Gulf Coast League in 2015, Maese made short work  of the NWL on his way to Lansing. Justin walked just one batter over 5 NWL starts while striking out 20 in 26.1IP. The 19-yr-old righty finished 2-2 with a 2.05 ERA as a member of the Vancouver Canadians. A ground ball pitcher to the core, Maese induced GB at a rate of 3.29 GO/AO, while holding opponents to a .204 BA.

Juliandry Higuera

A man without a home in 2016. As a member of the C’s the native of Venezuela pitched to a 1-3, 3.92 ERA record. Juliandry walked 12 and struck out 12 in 20.2IP over 5 starts.


Andy Ravel

This 2016 7th round pick out of Kent State split time between the rotation and the bullpen. In 5 starts Andy Ravel went 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA, getting hit hard (.339BA). The 21-yr-old righty finished with a 3-0, 5.09 ERA record as a reliever. In 11 innings, Andy was destroyed by LHB (.426BA), allowing 10 ER and a 8.18 ERA.

Mike Ellenbest

Drafted in the 24th round, Ellenbest finished with a 1-3 record and 4.45ERA. The 6’4″ 22-yr-old made 11 appearances, 5 as a starter (0-2, 4.73). This righty had reverse splits being hit hard by RHB (.352BA vs RHB) while faring better against LHB (.283 vs LHB).


Griffin Glaude

This  non-drafted 5’9″ reliever saved 5 games, finishing with a record of 1-2, 2.36ERA. He dominated RHB, holding them to a .154 BA in 22 innings; however, LHB hit .261 off him. Overall, Glaude provided the C’s with 34.1 valuable innings out of the bullpen. He walked 17 and struck out 41, finishing with 1.32 WHIP.

Nate Abel

The 23-yr-old Abel spent time with the Dunedin Blue Jays, Lansing Lugnuts and Vancouver C’s in 2016. In that order. The left-handed reliever was successful at ever stop. With the C’s Nate Abel walked 10 and struck out 34 on his way to a 1-2, 3.66 ERA record. He made 11 appearances, 2 starts, throwing 32 innings.

Evan Smith

I’ve been waiting for Evan Smith to figure out his mechanics for what feels like forever.  Relegated to the bullpen in 2016, the 6’5 lefty is struggled with his mechanics once again. Smith was the C’s bullpen version of Dalton Rodriguez, making 21 appearances and finishing with a record of 2-1, 7.03 ERA. Smith started June off with a 2.08ERA in 4 appearances, before falling off a cliff with a 1-0, 5.54 ERA July and 1-1, 9.22 ERA August. Opponents batted .328 with 4 HRA, walking 14 and striking out 33.

Jackson McClelland

Misused as the clubs closer for a time, the 22-yr-old only saved one out of five opportunities. Better suited for middle relief, Jackson finished second on the team with 4 holds and tied for 1st with 13 games finished. In 24 appearances, the 6’5″ righty out of Pepperdine struck out 25 while walking 10 batters over 30.1IP. He finished with a record of 2-4, 3.26ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.

Grayson Huffman

After spending 2014 as a starter for the GCL and Bluefield Blue Jays. Since Grayson’s been used primarily as reliever for Bluefield and Vancouver in 2015 and 2016. The results coming out of the pen haven’t been pretty. As a starter in 2014 he posted a record of 1-1 with a 0.95 ERA. As a Bluefield reliever in 2015 he posted an ugly 0-0 record with an even uglier 10.54 ERA in 13.2IP. His woes as a reliever followed him to Vancouver posting a better record of 2-2 with an ugly, but better, 6.35 ERA.  The 21-yr-old lefty did a good job of keeping the ball in the yard, not allowing a home run in 28.1 IP and generating a 1.55 GO/AO. He struck out 25 and walked 16. It was the hits that hurt him, allowing an opponent BA of .321 and a 1.84 WHIP.

Gabe Noyalis

This 24-yr-old can throw heat; unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to harness that heat. Noyalis allowed 26 hits and 21 walks in 26.2IP through 19 appearances. Good for a high 1.76 WHIP. He also struck out a batter inning with 26 K’s, servicing as 2 inning reliever more often than not.

Geno Encina

This righty spent time with the D-Jays (0-0, 3.00ERA), Lansing (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 3.1IP), and finally landed with the C’s pitching 26.2 inning through 10 appearances. The 22-yr-old out of San Antonio, Texas posted an impressive 2.03 ERA with no record, while striking out over a batter an inning with 28 K’s. He only walked 4 and allowed 23 hits for a solid 1.01 WHIP.

Nick Hartman

A 2016 pick, selected in the 9th round, Hartman was 4-for-4 in save opportunities. He struck out 17 over 24 inning, making 19 appearances. Hartman finished with a 2-2, 3.00ERA record.

Zach Jackson

A 6’4″ 3rd rounder out of Arkansas, Jackson made 13 appearances for the C’s. The righty went 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA, striking out 23 over 17.2 innings. He finished with a 1.42 WHIP, walking 12 and allowing opponents to collect 13 hits and bat .206 off him. He held LHB to a .172 batting while limiting RHB to a .235 BA.

Stuart Holmes

2nd year pro and former 35th round pick out of Nicholls State, Holmes split 2016 between Bluefield and Vancouver. While a member of the C’s bullpen the 6’1″ lefty posted an ugly 0-1, 9.60ERA. He couldn’t get anyone out (.400BA) and struggled to command the strike zone (9 walks and 3 HB in 15 IP). This lead to a demotion to Bluefield on August 4th, where he fared much better.

Matthew Smoral

Once considered one of the systems top arms, Smoral has struggled to stay healthy. When healthy, the tall 6’6″ lefty has struggled with his command. Matt Smoral walked 16 batters in 13 innings while striking out 18 during that time. He allowed 15 hits and hit 6 batters in 11 appearances. On the plus side Smoral continues to be a wormkiller with a 3.50 GO/AO. The native of Solon, Ohio should also be thankful that he didn’t find himself on the DL in 2016. He finished with a record of 0-0, 13.15 ERA.

A frustrating season for the Vancouver Canadians. Remember at this level numbers don’t always tell the entire story. Congratulations to all these young men, whose hard work and determination has gotten them one step closer to full season A-Ball. I’ll be back in a day or two with a look at the C’s position players.


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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.

Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn't cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I'm more right.