The Toronto Blue Jays need rotation reinforcements, Buffalo Bison’s T.J. House is ready to step into the mix
The loss of starting pitchers Aaron Sanchez (Blister) and J.A. Happ (Inflammation) forced the Toronto Blue Jays to tap into the system’s starting pitching depth. An area considered by many as the organization’s Achilles heel.
Casey Lawrence, career minor leaguer and Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats career leader in wins, was the first to make the trek from Buffalo to Toronto. After a strong spring training, there was hope that he would provide value as Toronto’s 6th starter. Unfortunately, Lawrence provided the opposition with batting practice.
In 4 appearances, including 2 starts, Lawrence is 0-3 with an 8.78 ERA. He walked 11 and struck out 8 in 13.1 innings. Other than the high number of base on ball issues, the results of Lawrence’s brief audition shouldn’t surprise many. Lawrence pitches to contact, relying on the guys in the field to help him out. Over 8 minor league season, the 29-yr-old right-hander averaged 1.7 BB/9IP, 5.9 K/9IP, and 9.9 H/9IP.
Next up was Mat Latos.
To Latos’ credit, he did provide the Blue Jays with one out of three not so terrible starts. He allowed 4 runs over 5IP on 6 hits in his start, followed by 6 shutout innings. In his last start Mat allowed 7 runs on 10 hits over 4IP. In total Latos went 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA in 3 starts.
Note: Blue Jays designated Mat Latos
Lawrence is back with the Buffalo Bisons and Latos is home, most likely considering his options. So which starting pitcher will the Blue Jays turn to next as the piece together a starting rotation?
Last year’s Rule 5 pick up, Joe Biagini, is being asked to move from the bullpen to the rotation to start on Sunday.
Rather than weakening an overtaxed bullpen, the Blue Jays should head back to Buffalo for another starting option.
A former Top 15 Prospect in the Cleveland Indians farm system, House had a successful 18 start season with the Indians in 2014. House went 5-3 with a 3.35 ERA, owning a 1.32 WHIP.
House is not an overpowering pitcher, relying on location and a change that can be a plus pitch when he is on his game. His low 90’s sinker/fastball, mid-80’s slider, and low 80’s change allow him to induce ground balls in bunches; however, he’s shown a tendency to lose command of his change, leaving it up and in the zone.
A month into the MiLB season T.J. House has a 3-1 record and a 1.64 ERA for the Buffalo Bisons. Easily the Bisons best pitcher, House has 28 strikeouts and 11 walks in 22 innings but is averaging just 5 innings/start.
The challenge for T.J. House is that he is not currently on the 40-man roster; however, this shouldn’t present too much of a problem when considering the numbers of Casey Lawrence. Yes, I am suggesting that Lawrence should be DFA’d to make room for T.J. House.
The 27-yr-old House should provide the Blue Jays with a serviceable 4th or 5th starter and should get the call soon…..before it’s too late.
Note: House’s showing on May 6th- 7 IP, 7 H, 2 K, and no runs.
*Featured Image Credit: slgckgc. UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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