Jays From the Couch takes a look at some key players from the 2018 Dunedin Blue Jays season
The Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays finished one game above .500. They won 31 and lost 37 in the first half but with an influx of talent from Lansing and several current players making the adjustment, Dunedin put together a promising 2nd half 38-31 record.
The D-Jays had their share of ups and downs in 2018, such as Nate Pearson. The Blue Jays prized arm of the 2017 draft was expected to anchor the Blue Jays rotation, at least for the first month or two; unfortunately, an achy back kept him out for the first month of the season. Finally, on May 7th Pearson made his debut and after just a 1.2IP he saw his season, almost his career, derailed. Nate Pearson took comebacker, with an exit velocity of 100.0 mph, off his right elbow suffering a broken ulna.
Logan Warmoth and Riley Adams were given tough assignments, asked to make the jump from Vancouver to Dunedin. Both highly thought of prospects struggled and Warmoth eventually missed some time on the DL. Adams batted .247 in May, sandwiched between April and June which he batted just .194. Fortunately, Adams made the necessary adjustments and batted .254 and .319 over the final two months of the season.
There were a lot of exciting games and plays for the D-Jays from pitching performances from Patrick Murphy to inside-the-park HR from Joshua Palacios. Despite not making the playoffs, the Dunedin Blue Jays had a successful season in 2018.
All-Stars and Awards
Ivan Castillo and Rodrigo Orozco finished tied for the Florida State League batting title with a .304 batting average. Castillo batted .241 (April), .286 (May), .306 (June), .337 (July), and .304 (August). Orozco quietly and steadily improved through the season, batting .276 (April), .226 (May), .321 (June), .338 (July), and.323 (August).
Patrick Murphy earned pitcher of the year honors with a 10-5 record, 2.64 ERA. He made 26 starts and pitched 146.2 innings for the D-Jays while striking out 135 and walking 50 batters. Murphy got stronger as the season went on and so did his FB which consistently exceeds 95 mph.
RP Travis Bergen, C Riley Adams, and SP Angel Perdomo were named to the FSL Mid-Season All-Star squad. OF Joshua Palacios, SP Patrick Murphy, and INF Ivan Castillo were named to the end of season All-Star squad.
The D-Jays had a nice blend of good hitting and solid pitching….just not good enough to get them into the playoffs.
The club finished 2nd in the FSL with a .268 batting average, .340 OBP, 1744 TB, 235 doubles, 1221 hits, and 617 runs scored. They also finished 3rd with .382 SLG%, 455 BB, and 557 RBI.
On the bump, the D-Jays walked just 379 batters (3rd best) and allowed 574 (4th best). The pitching staff combined to throw 11 shutouts and strike out 1054 batters, both good for 5th in the FSL. Unfortunately, the allowed a lot hits surrendering 1153 hits which were 5th most.
Ivan Castillo, Rodrigo Orozco, and Joshua Palacios finished in the Top-10 of FSL in many offensive categories. Palacios (.292) finished 3rd behind Orozco and Castillo (.304) in batting average. The trio finished 3rd (Castillo, .794), 8th (Palacios, .775), and 9th (Orozco, .764) in OPS.
Palacios finished 1st with 78 RBI and 148 hits, and 2nd with 30 doubles and 212 total bases. The D-Jays OF slugged .775 (9th) and struck out 125 times (8th most). He offset the strikeouts with the 7th best OBP (.357). Palacios scored 62 runs (8th), and hit 5 triples (t-5th) to round out his season.
Ivan Castillo finished with the 5th best SLG% (.448) and 5th most doubles (25). He collected 174 bases (7th) and 118 hits (4th). The D-Jays INF led the FSL with 8 triples (1st) to cap off an impressive season.
Orozco finished 3rd with a .375 OBP, 4th with 70 runs scored, and 7th with 115 hits and 23 doubles.
Despite not getting much attention thanks to a bit of a slow start, Riley Adams showed an advanced approach at the plate with a .352 OBP (9th) and 55 base-on-ball (9th). Adams also displayed extra base power with 26 doubles (t-4th).
Lastly, Kevin Smith hit 18 home runs for the D-Jays which were the 3rd most in the FSL.
Patrick Murphy led the league with 146.2 IP while striking out 135 batters (2nd). His 10 wins were good enough to 4th. Angel Perdomo tied of 10th with an even 100 K while Zach Logue tie for 5th with 9 wins.
Using a 20 inning minimum, Travis Bergen held the best ERA, 1.71, followed by Jonathan Cheshire (2.47 ERA), and Patrick Murphy (2.64 ERA). Jake Fishman finished with the best WHIP (1.00) on the club with Bergen (1.05) and Cheshire (1.06) close behind. Fishman and Jackson McClelland each converted 8 saves to lead the club in that category.
While Rodrigo Orozco and Ivan Castillo finished with the FSL batting title, Eduardo Pinto (63 GP) and Brock Lundquist (49 GP) posted strong batting averages of their own. Pinto was batting .308 with 15 doubles, a triple, a pair of HR, 30 RBI, 15/15 BB/K and 8 SB at the time of his promotion. Had he remained in the FSL, it’s likely he would have challenged for the batting title his fellow teammates now share. I’m not sure Lundquist would have sustained his .337 BA but his 11 doubles, 5 HR, and 26 RBI were very impressive when compared to his .249 BA, 11 doubles, 1 triple, 13 HR, and 48 RBI he recorded in 70 games with Lansing.
Kevin Smith was exceptional in 2018. Had it not been the presence of one Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Smith would have been the talk of the system. Smith became the first 20/20 prospect to come through the Blue Jays farm system in nearly 20 yrs.
Two pitchers which took giant developmental steps in 2018 were SP Yennsy Diaz (overall, 10-5, 3.05 ERA with 125 K in 147.1 IP) and SP Zach Logue (12-4, 3.15 ERA with 129 K in 154.1 IP).
Thank you for your hard work and service: J.C. Cardenas (released June 8th), D.J. Davis (released June 15th), Bradley Jones (retired June 19th), John La Prise (retired July 2nd), and David Jacob (retired August 6th).
Feature photo credit: Ryan Mueller
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