Jays From the Couch review the Blue Jays’ minor league pitchers who are eligible for this year’s Rule 5 Draft
Baseball’s winter meetings will take place from December 9th to the 13th. The Rule 5 Draft will take place on the last day of the winter meetings. There are several Blue Jays minor league starters and reliever who will be eligible for the draft if not added to the 40-man roster by November 20th.
Today we are going to look at the starters and relievers that are eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 or V whichever you prefer.
I’m not going to discuss the 40-man roster in this post, rather, I’ve grouped the eligible prospects into three groups: Add, 50/50, and Not Likely.
Pretty start forward, don’t think I need to elaborate.
The Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats own much of their 2nd half success to LHP Travis Bergen. He posted a 0.50 ERA with a 0.98 WHIP in 27 games and 35.2 IP with the Fisher Cats. During his time in Double-A, Bergen walked 9 batters and struck out 43.
After three lost seasons, Murphy was working with a mid to low 90’s fastball as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts and Vancouver Canadians in 2016. He had an iffy 2017 health wise but put it all together in 2018. Murph is now throwing a high 90’s FB which has touched 100 mph. He was the FSL pitcher of the year, striking out 8.28/9IP and walking 3.07/9IP. He posted a 10-5 record and 2.64 ERA (3.19 FIP).
I think the FO tried to hide him in Dunedin but he ended up getting more attention thanks to an outstanding season. His outstanding curve, combined with his plus-plus fastball could make him an attractive Biagini-esque pick for a team looking for bullpen help this year with the hopes of rotation help in 2020.
SP Hector Perez
Perez came to Toronto from Houston for Roberto Osuna. Hector has enough upside in his arm that teams would be willing to gamble on his control issues to convert him into a high-leverage bullpen arm. His mid-90’s and plus slider combo make too tantalizing to leave unprotected.
After an outstanding 1st half with the Double-A Fisher Cats, the Markham native had an up and down 2nd half. Still, a successful 2018. This puts him on every team’s radar. Romano has the ability to be used as a hybrid starter. He throws hard enough and has an outstanding changeup which gives him the ability to come out of the bullpen for multiple innings or start games, going once through the order. I’m hoping his struggles in the 2nd half cause teams to shy away.
RP Yennsy Diaz
Signed as an International Free-Agent in 2014, Diaz has steadily developed in a solid A-Ball pitcher. After starting 2018 with the Lansing Lugnuts, Diaz cemented himself in Dunedin’s rotation. During his time in Advanced-A Yennsy Diaz struck out 7.49/9IP and walked just 2.53/9IP in 99.2IP. He would likely be stashed in the bullpen if selected.
Standing 6-foot-5, RHP McClelland throws a hard fastball with triple-digit potential everytime it leaves his hand. He made it to Double-A for 6 games and helped the club in the playoffs. He isn’t making it easy for the Blue Jays to hide him with a good Arizona Fall League. In Dunedin, McClelland finished with a 11.57 K/9 and a decent 3.89 BB/9 while posting a 3.67 FIP. Jackson has the makings of a power arm but needs a little more movement on his FB which too straight for me at this point.
Come from the Dodgers organization for John Axford. Copping throws in the low to mid 90’s with a very nice slider. He has the makings of a solid middle reliever. Corey Copping struck out 10.68-12.86/9IP at AA but walked 4.66-5.79/9IP. It would be surprising to me if he were selected.
RP Conor Fisk
The former 2014 selection has far outperformed my expectations; unfortunately, the 26-yr-old isn’t what other teams would be looking for at the Rule 5 Draft. Which is fine by me, Fisk posted a 3-4 record with a 2.81 ERA in Triple-A. He struck out 7.18/9IP and walked 2.81/9IP.
RP Danny Young
Lefties are valuable. Young has tremendous movement on his pitches and would be intriguing for a team looking for LH relievers.
SP/RP Josh DeGraaf
A very valuable depth arm for the Blue Jays system, DeGraaf is not viewed as major league ready.
SP Jon Harris
The former 1st rounder was much better in 2018 but still needs to figure things out. He did win 13 games this past season while pitching 136.1 innings over 25 starts. So he is durable; unfortunately, the longball (1.39 HR/9) and a low strikeout rate (6.54 K/9) won’t make him an attractive Rule 5 pick….or should I say, fortunately.
Despite having a mid-90’s fastball, a solid 6-foot-6 frame, and 21 games at Triple-A, I just don’t see another team using a pick on him. His stuff could play up in the bullpen but his 5.00 ERA in AAA might scare teams away.
SP/RP Tayler Saucedo
This left went from a man looking for a role to a solid back of the rotation piece for Dunedin and later New Hampshire in 2018. Like Fisk, Saucedo is viewed as organizational rather than Rule 5 material. Saucedo will be back in New Hampshire in 2019, no doubt in my mind.
SP/RP Angel Perdomo
The tall lefty continues to tease. He looked really good to start 2018 but landed on the DL. He now looks like a bullpen arm in the making. He posted 11.34 K/9 and 3.97 BB/9 with Dunedin in ’18. It would suck to lose him but it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to the depth of the system.
RP Dany Jimenez
I’m hoping other organizations haven’t heard or paid any attention to Lansing’s Dany Jimenez. It is unlikely that an A-Ball pitcher is selected. I am very high on Jimenez and think that he put together a Travis Bergen type season in 2019.
SP/RP Francisco Rios
Too many issues since reaching Double-A.
SP/RP Juliandry Higuera
His FSL numbers say it all…..2-3, 6.07 ERA with 7.33 K/9 and 5.02 BB/9.
I’m sure there are other arms in the lower levels of the minors eligible for the Rule 5 Draft but……
Feel free to voice your disagreements below.
Featured Pic credit: JFtC Ryan Mueller
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.