When opportunities present themselves, you take them. That is what Blue Jays prospect Shane Opitz has done with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons
As I am writing this Blue Jays Dwight Smith Jr. just drove in his first RBI as a major leaguer.
Why is this significant?
When Toronto placed Ezequiel Carrera on the 10 Day DL, it was Dwight Smith Jr. who they summoned from the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons to fill in for Zeke. With Smith Jr. in Toronto for the next week-ish, the Buffalo Bisons have asked Shane Opitz to play some outfield playing Smith’s right field the past few games.
Drafted in the 11th round by the Blue Jays in 2010, Opitz has spent most of his time playing shortstop with some time at 2nd and 3rd. This season he has played 4 games in the OF, three times this month and twice in the past two days.
An inability to stay on the field and labeled as a middle infield bench player, Opitz has found it difficult to get regular at-bats throughout his career. Thanks to injuries in Toronto and Buffalo, Opitz’ performance appears to have benefited from consistent, regular playing time.
After playing just 10 games in April, Opitz has seen his playing time rise to 21 games in May and 13 games so far in June. The Bisons’ shortstop (Jack of all trades) has seen his numbers improve month after month.
In April, the 25-yr-old batted just .185 with a double and 2 RBI. May saw him improve his batting average to .226 with another double and 4 RBI.
Nothing special right!
In 13 June games, Opitz has batted .316 with 5 double and 3 RBI. He’s also had 4 multi-hit games and bumped his batting average over .250 twice.
Not bad for a bottom of the order guy.
I’m not sure that he will set career high marks in any offensive categories, it’s still too early. With more than 2 months left in the 2017 season, Opitz is well on his way to matching or surpassing many of his 2016 numbers with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
As a member of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Shane Opitz batted .217 with 11 doubles, a triple and 2 HR while batting in 16 RBI in 81 games. This season in 45 games, Opitz has .248 BA with 7 doubles while batting in 10 RBI.
He makes good contact and puts the ball in play (.279 BABIP). This has allowed him to keep his strikeout and walk rates down. With the Bisons, Opitz has posted a career-low 4.9% while striking out around his career norm of 13.4%.
A low BB/K (0.37) has Opitz posting an uneventful .293 OBP. Combined with poor power numbers (.055 ISO and .299 SLG), Shane is the proud owner of an uninspiring .592 OPS. If he continues to get regular playing time and stays .300 BA hot, these numbers should trend in the right direction.
Opitz has performed horribly on the road with a .169 batting average while batting an impressive .323 at home. His LHP vs RHP splits are pretty close, posting a .243 BA off RHP and .250 BA off LHP as a LHB.
An Eye on the Future
At 25 years old, I won’t rule Opitz out from becoming a major league bench player. His ability to make consistent contact and play multiple positions may appeal to many National League teams.
Unless he can generate more extra base power, nothing about Opitz screams major league regular. I think he can continue to bat between .250 and .300 and will carve out a very good Triple-A career with a chance at becoming a Four-A minor league player.
- Lansing Lugnuts leads all Blue Jays prospects with 6 home runs last month. He has also collected 34 hits in 123 plate appearances while driving in 20 RBI.
- Buffalo Bisons had three players steal 7 bases last month. Ian Parmley, Christian Lopes, and Roemon Fields.
- Ryan Borucki (40), Jordan Romano (34) and Luis Santos (33) led the Blue Jays minor league system in strikeouts over the past 30 days.
- Jon Harris (7), Jarrett Grube (6) and Geno Encina (6) are having a tough time keeping the ball in the park over the past 30 days. Despite giving up 6 home runs, Encina was still able to post a decent 4.80 ERA and 1.067 WHIP.
*Featured Image Mandatory Credit: C.Stem JFtC
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