Join Jays From the Couch in reviewing the 2016 Toronto’s Dunedin Blue Jays, with a look the D-Jays pitching staff
The Blue Jays most successful team of 2016, Dunedin Blue Jays, finished the first half with a 33-36 record thanks to a starting rotation that was in shambles. Thanks to all the prospects that were moved in the 2015 Trade Deadline the starting rotation consisted of Ryan Borucki (1-4, 14.40ERA with Dunedin), Conner Greene, Tom Robson (1-2, 6.48ERA with Dunedin), Justin Shafer, and Luis Santos. Borucki and Robson were rushed, while Greene struggled with consistency.
A second half record of 43-23 was courtesy of a having the league top offense and an excellent bullpen. It didn’t hurt that Top Prospects Sean Reid-Foley and Jon Harris moved up from Lansing to solidify the rotation.
Over all the D-Jays pitching staff posted the 3rd worse ERA (3.94) in the league. They finished last, 2nd to last and 3rd to last with 100 HRA, 474 walks allowed and a 1.35 WHIP. Despite these ugly team stats, there was a lot to like about the D-Jays pitchers in 2016.
RHP Justin Shafer
Heading into 2016 the 24-yr-old started 14 of his 39 appearances. Shafer had a decent May, a subpar July, and an excellent August. A horrid June that saw Shafer go 1-2 with a 7.16ERA in 5 starts inflated his stats. The former 8th rounder doesn’t strike out (4.84 K/9) enough batters and walks (3.28 BB/9) too many. His 4.41 FIP indicates that he pitched better than his 5.23 ERA.
vs LHB- .341
vs RHB- .240
RHP Francisco Rios
A strong April saw Rios head to Lansing to bolster the D-Jays rotation. The native of Monclova, Mexico finished tie for 3rd in the Florida State League with 2 complete games. Rios struck out 6.45/9IP and walked 2.08/9IP. Rios’ walk numbers were lower than his ’13 and ’14 numbers which correlates with the success he experienced in 2016. Francisco Rios throw almost twice his previous high in innings with 130, which could explain why he was moved to the bullpen in August. He also landed on the temporarily inactive list from July 8th to July 15th. One of his two complete games came on August 6th when he threw a 3 hit, 3 run, and 8K gem.
vs LHB- .256
vs RHB- .257
RHP Conner Greene
Many questions surrounded Toronto’s decision to assign their top pitching prospect to Dunedin after he’d finished ’15 in Double-A New Hampshire. Despite solid results, Greene’s 1.44 and 1.62 WHIP in Arpil and May painted a different picture. The native of Californa threw too many pitches to get to the 5th and 6th innings, needing between 80 to 100 pitches. He only completed 7 innings once while with the D-Jays, but managed the feat 3 times with the Fisher Cats. Greene struggled with walks (4.40 BB/9) and was serving up more than a hit per inning, that was until June. In 4 June starts Conner Greene posted a 2-0 record and an ERA of 1.96, while walking 11 and allowing just 17 hits in 23.0IP. He was promoted to New Hampshire on June 30th.
vs LHB- .221
vs RHB- .227
RHP Sean Reid-Foley
The 21-yr-old had breakthrough season. He dominated the Midwest League before being promote to Dunedin on June 16th. SRF would go on to dominate the FSL as well. In 10 starts Reid-Foley K’d 71 over 57.1 IP, good for 11.15 K/9. The Florida native posted a solid 2.12 FIP while posting a 2.67ERA and a sparkling 0.89 WHIP. Unfortunately, an elbow injury ended his season on August 12th. Last I heard he’d resumed throwing and won’t require surgery.
vs LHB- .189
vs RHB- .163
RHP Luis Santos
The 25-yr-old Santos started the year with the D-Jays, if you can call two 2IP appearances a start, before heading to New Hampshire until July 23rd when he was returned to the D-Jays. Santos provided the D-Jays with a strong August, going 3-1 with a 3.73 ERA. Santos gave up about a hit per inning and controlled the strike zone. Santos walked about 3/9IP, while striking out just over 8/9IP.
vs LHB- .241
vs RHB- .237
RHP Jon Harris
The 2015 1st round pick had a solid year for the Lugnuts and D-Jays. Harris mowed through the Midwest, posting an 8-2 record and striking out 73 in 84.2IP. In his 8 FSL starts the Missouri State alum went 3-2 with a 3.60ERA. His K/9 dropped from 7.76 to 5.2, while his BB/9 remained consistent at 2.55 with Lansing and 2.80 with Dunedin. This shows that Harris will need to learn how to pitch, rather than just relying on his stuff. The 23-yr-old put to rest questions surrounding his durability, throwing 129.2 innings. However, he did spend a week on the DL in June.
vs LHB- .190
vs RHB- .243
RHP Chris Rowley
Thanks to the instability of the D-Jays rotation the 26-yr-old from Atlanta, GA led Dunedin in many pitching categories. His 10 wins tied Conor Fisk for the team lead and was 6th in the FSL. His 3.49 ERA and 1.28 WHIP were 8th in the league. Unfortunately, he served up 14 home runs, which ranked 5th most in the FSL. Rowley started April in the bullpen before moving to the rotation in May, where he remained until the influx of Lugnut prospects in August. As a starter he was 7-3 with a 3.83 ERA versus a 3-0 record and 2.89 ERA as a RP.
vs LHB- .311
vs RHB- .243
RHP Conor Fisk
Another RP turned SP, Fisk didn’t make his 1st start until May 3rd (as a Lugnut) and didn’t make his 2nd start until July 1st. Conor Fisk spent all of July as a starter before returning to the BP on August 1st for a week, then finished the year as a starter. As a member of the D-Jays, Conor Fisk finished with a 6-2 record and 3.36 ERA as a starter while posting a 4-1 record and 3.03 ERA as reliever.
vs LHB- .252
vs RHB- .213
Talk about a rollercoaster season. Allen started a 7 inning No-Hitter over Lakeland on April 23rd, a month that saw him go 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA. In his first May start he threw 5.2 on-hit innings, then the wheels fell off his season. Brad Allen allowed 9 runs in his next start, finishing 1-2, 8.84 ERA in May. His 1-1, 5.79 ERA June and 0-3, 7.79 ERA July weren’t much better. Fortunately for Allen he was able to close out the 2016 on a positive note posting a 1-0, 2.14 ERA over 3 starts and 3 relief appearances.
vs LHB- .243
vs RHB- .249
LHP Alonzo Gonzalez
After spending the last 3 seasons trolling in the lower minors, 2016 represented a huge step foward in his development by making upto Double-A. Despite still struggling with a high number walks, Gonzalez’ ‘stuff’ has improved. He finished with 66 K’s in 71.1 IP but walked 44, yet he managed to hold oppenants to less than a H/IP with 50. Gonzlaez posted a decent 79.7 LOB%, finishing with a tidy 1.31 WHIP and held opponents to a .205 BA.
vs LHB- .133
vs RHB- .248
LHP Tim Mayza
Anther slow developing LHP, Mayza played a huge role for the D-Jays in 2016. In 28 appearances Mayza was able to strike out 9.62/9IP, posting a 3.47 K/BB before heading to New Hampshire on June 20th. Mayza converted 4 of 7 save opportunities, most of those coming in the early part of the season. Mayza excelled as a multi-inning RP pitching more than inning per outing in all but 13 of his 42 appearances in 2016. A RP that can throw multiple innings with a mid-90’s FB, and he’s a lefty. Sounds like a guy we should keep an eye on.
vs LHB- .208
vs RHB- .198
LHP Jose Fernandez
Another LHP that throws heat but walks too many batters (7.01 BB/9). The 6’3″ lefty managed to throw 58% of his pitches for strikes and finished with 8.45 K/9. Fernandez had terrible home/road splits, posting a home ERA of 2.96 versus a road ERA of 5.59. Despite his home/road splits, high number of walks and HR allowed (1.03/9IP), Fernandez still put together a successful season, finishing tied for 1st with 10 holds. He posted a strong .216 BABIP and 70.7 LOB%.
vs LHB- .179
vs RHB- .188
RHP Carlos Ramirez
The former outfielder had a good 2nd year on the mound. Blessed with a power arm, Ramirez showed a greater control of the strike zone in 2016 by throwing about 65% of pitches for strikes. He walked 4.61/9, so still not grea, but he managed to strike out a batter an inning while finishing with a 85.7 LOB%. Ramirez converted 9 out of 10 saves opportunities for the D-Jays. Ramirez on the DL in early July, missing all ofAugust. The D-Jays welcomed him back for the playoff. Carlos Ramirez showed zero rust, threwing 3 perfect innings with 4K’s in the 2 games series lost.
vs LHB- .224
vs RHB- .219
RHP Adonys Cardona
Once a highly touted IFA, Cardona has struggled to remain healthy. This makes his 41 relief appearances (8th in the FSL) that much more gratifying. Unfortunately, the 22-yr-old out of La Sabana, Venezuela, with the strike zone only throwing about 55% of his pitches for strikes. This resulted in an ugly 7.41 BB/9 and only 6.21 K/9.
vs LHB- .205
vs RHB- .284
LHP Colton Turner
2 years removed from Tommy John, Turner finally showed his worth and it got him traded. Turner was sent to the Chicago White Sox for Dioner Navaro after dominating the Midwest and Florida State Leagues. He struggled a bit in New Hampshire but showed enough to convince the White Sox to deal the veteran catcher. Turner didn’t allow his first run until June 5th, that’s a span of 19 appearances. He would put together another scoreless streak of 12 appearances between June 24th and August 4th (his first day in Double-A). Good luck to you Colton Turner.
vs LHB- .265
vs RHB- .130
RHP Dusty Isaacs
The 25-yr-old from Georgia Tech had a solid year for the Lugnuts and D-Jays. Isaacs did a good job keeping the ball on the ground (1.50 GO/AO) and in the park (2 HRA). His walk numbers increased when promoted to Dunedin on July 1st. going from 1.72 BB/9 to 3.04 BB/9. Isaacs maintained a strong 10.65 K/9 when upon his promotion and finished with an amazing 99.1 LOB% in 23.2 IP with the D-Jays. Dusty Isaacs didn’t allow an earned run between July 4th and August 20th, a span of 16 appearances.
vs LHB- .161
vs RHB- 1.96
LHP Matt Dermody
Drafted and did not sign 3 times between 2009 and 2012 before the Blue Jays selected him in the the 2013 draft with their 28th round pick. 2016 saw the lefty start the year in Dunedin and finish the year with Buffalo with a 5 game stop in Toronto to make his Major League debut. With the D-Jays until May 24th, Dermody finished with a record of 1-1 and a 1.96 ERA in 18.1 innings. He converted a perfect 3-for-3 in saves and walked just one while striking out 20. What was odd about his time with Dunedin was the opponents batting average against him, .296. This can be attributed to some bad luck (.344 BABIP) as his 1.23 FIP and 81.8 LOB% showed a more dominate pitcher than one that allowed more than a hit per inning.
vs RHB- .304
Congratulations to all the Dunedin Blue Jays for a great season. Look forward to seeing you in New Hampshire or higher in 2017.
*FEATURED IMAGE Credit: Bart Hanlon UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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