Join Jays From the Couch as we predict rotation candidates for the Blue Jays top 4 minor league teams.
Well, fans of the Blue Jays minor league system it’s about that time to take a stab at predicting how our affiliates roster will look like come Opening Day. With the added depth of the system, predicting the launching pad of many prospects were more challenging this season than in years past.
To kick things off, I am going to look at the system’s potential starting rotation with a swingman thrown in there for good measure. My predictions are based on the Major League roster is fully healthy, so get better Marcus Stroman.
RHP Joe Biagini (27)
After being asked to come out of the bullpen, with varying amounts of success and failure, Biagini should fare better in 2018 and could be the first SP called up when the injury bug strikes.
LHP Ryan Borucki (23)
One of Toronto’s bright starting pitching prospects, Borucki conquered three levels in 2017. Ryan still needs some seasoning but should spend some time with the Blue Jays, maybe as September call-up.
RHP Taylor Guerrieri (25)
A waiver claim from the Tampa Bay Rays, the former 1st rounder is hoping for a fresh start. He only pitched 9.1IP above Double-A, spending 2017 on the DL.
LHP Thomas Pannone (23)
Struggled with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats after being traded from the Cleveland Indians organization for RP Joe Smith.
RHP Luis Santos (27)
After a solid season with the Bisons in 2017, Santos made his major league debut with 16.2IP over 10 appearances. Santos could join McGuire and Tepesch in the swingman department.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
RHP Chris Rowley (27)
Rowley was one of 2017 great stories. The 27-yr-old deserves to be in Triple-A but is a victim of the numbers game.
RHP Sean Reid-Foley (22)
A lot was expected from SRF in 2017 but was too hittable (.278 opp BA) and 22 home runs allowed. The hope is that he has made the necessary adjustments to regain his status as a potential middle of the rotation starter.
RHP Jon Harris (24)
Just like SRF, the former 1st rounder was too hittable (.292 opp BA) and allowed too many balls to leave the yard (20 HRA).
RHP T.J. Zeuch (22)
Injuries derailed the 2017 season for Zeuch. The former 1st rounder looked good as a member of the Arizona Fall League champion Javelinas. Zeuch does a great job of keeping the ball on the ground.
RHP Jordan Romano (24)
Despite being drafted as an RP/CL, the Markham native continues to find success as a starter. As a flyball pitcher, Romano will be tested in the Eastern League.
Rios has looked good as a member of the rotation during his time in Double-A and Advanced-A but has finished the past two seasons in the bullpen. Is this the year that Rios is transitioned to bullpen full-time?
Fisk was very under-rated as a member of the D-Jays rotation. He isn’t a highly-rated prospect so he is likely to be bounced to the bullpen or returned to the Florida State League to stabilize the rotation.
Dunedin Blue Jays
LHP Angel Perdomo (23)
The 6-foot-6 lefty didn’t throw a pitch after July 6th. He will return to Dunedin and will have to do a better job in the BB department.
RHP Justin Maese (21)
Maese had some shoulder issues in 2017 but did enough to graduate to the FSL. Health will be key to his success in 2018.
RHP Nate Pearson (21)
Despite being on an innings/pitch limit, the 2017 1st rounder dominated the Northwest League and opened a lot of eyes. Pearson will bypass Lansing and is a candidate to experience multiple levels in 2018.
RHP Patrick Murphy (22)
Murphy got a taste of the FSL (9.0IP) to close out the 2017 season. He spent some time on the DL in ’17 but looked good in August when he returned to Lansing.
RHP Yennsy Diaz (21)
Diaz might be a push to start the year with the D-Jays. Armed with an excellent FB, Diaz will be challenged in the FSL.
Ellenbest had a hard time in the Midwest League but will likely be pushed up to the FSL with so many quality arms heading to Lansing.
Weatherly has a chance to claim a spot in the rotation but after finishing 2017 on the DL, a healthy start will be huge.
It is possible the Lugnuts will institute piggyback starts in 2018. I expect many of the names below to move between Lansing and Extended Spring Training.
LHP Zach Logue (21)
Logue pounded the strike zone in ’17 as a member of the C’s. He is not overpowering but has good control of his fastball/slider combo, posting a 1.76 BB/9 and 9.68 K/9 in his professional debut.
RHP Colton Laws (22)
The 6-foot-7 Laws is a guy I think will excel in 2018. Laws does a good job of keeping the ball down and possesses a low 90’s fastball with movement.
RHP Jose Espada (21)
Espada’s performance has been better than his numbers indicate. He shows a good command of the strike zone with 9.37 K/9 and 2.76 BB/9.
RHP Dalton Rodriguez (21)
The native of Baja, California had some success in his 2nd season with the C’s, finishing the season with 3 not so good starts with the Lugnuts.
RHP Denis Diaz (23)
The native of Honduras joined the Blue Jays organization in 2013, taking 5 seasons to reach full season. Diaz started 2017 in the rotation but was removed from the rotation to start July. It didn’t help…..much. As a reliever, Diaz posted a record of 0-0 with a 6.08 ERA while posting a record of 0-5 with an 8.93 ERA as a starter. Can he regain his starter status in 2018?
RHP Donnie Sellers (22)
Armed with a mid-90’s FB, Sellers struck out 26 batters in 30IP while allowing just 13 walks. Sellers has a chance to be a power arm out of the bullpen.
RHP Maverik Buffo (22)
Drafted in the 34th round of the 2017 Draft, Buffo dominated the Gulf Coast League. As a 22-yr-old Buffo was competing against much younger batters. He should be challenged with an assignment in Lansing.
LHP Wilfri Aleton (22)
Aleton has a good fastball and has shown solid control (2.95 BB/9). The native of Dominican Republic found more success as a reliever (3-2, 3.72 ERA) than as a starter (0-4, 6.58 ERA). A transition to the bullpen in 2018 may be best for Wilfri Aleton.
RHP Justin Dillon (24)
In 13 games, Dillon made 5 starts while pitching multiple innings when he came out of the bullpen as a piggyback starter. Dillon struck out 28 batters in 23.0IP as a member of the C’s.
LHP Brody Rodning (22)
In 10 games, Rodning made 4 starts and 6 multi-inning relief appearances. Rodning fared better as an SP (0-1, 3.09 ERA) than as a reliever (4-0, 5.48 ERA).
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