Blue Jays Add Starting Pitching: A look at the system’s starting rotations

The Blue Jays have added three, maybe four, starting pitchers. How has this affected the minor league team’s rotations?

 

The offseason started off slowly for the Blue Jays Front Office. They were under fire for missing out on several Free Agents but that’s nothing new for this Front Office. Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro have not endeared themselves to this fanbase. According to many fans, Ross Atkins should not be trusted to make the big trade or to sign the big Free Agents. These same fans, feel Shapiro doesn’t care about building a winner, that his only goal is to make money for Rogers.

 

With the additions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, and Shun Yamaguchi the Blue Jays have completely reshaped their pitching staff. This group is not and likely will not be considered with the top rotations in baseball but they should give Toronto a chance to win on most days. This club might still be one or two years away from becoming serious contenders, these additions have elevated the club from a potential 90 loss team to a possible .500 club.

 

Maybe, more importantly, these additions will improve the depth of starting pitching in the system. Guys who were eyeing up a spot in the rotation in the Spring will have a steeper hill to climb. Competition is never a bad thing.

 

I’ve listed the potential rotations in Toronto, Buffalo, New Hampshire, Dunedin, and Lansing. I’ve listed 6 starters for each level. I’ve also included a list at the end which includes guys I feel are on the outside looking in at rotation spots. Lastly, I included a couple of names at the end who could surprise and grab a rotation spot, most likely in Lansing.

 

Toronto Blue Jays

Hyun-Jin Ryu (32)

Tanner Roark (33)

Chase Anderson (32)

Matt Shoemaker (33)

Ryan Borucki (25)

Shun Yamaguchi (31)

 

A much more experienced group of starter compared to last year. However, this rotation comes with risk. Ryu, Shoemaker, and Borucki have not been the most durable. That is what makes the additions of Anderson and Roark so important. Anderson and Roark should eat innings, give the bullpen a chance at not throwing pitches in the 3rd or 4th innings, and possibly reduce the need to use an Opener.

 

Shun Yamaguchi is my 6th starter. He will step in if any of the other 5 falter.

 

Buffalo Bisons AAA

Nate Pearson (23)

Anthony Kay (24)

Trent Thornton (26)

T.J. Zeuch (24)

Sean Reid-Foley (24)

Jacob Waguespack (26)

 

A lot of discussions can be had about the Blue Jays Triple-A rotation. I feel that Pearson, Kay, and Zeuch are locks to start 2020 with Buffalo. On the other hand, I feel as though Thornton and SRF could find themselves pitching out the bullpen……in Toronto. I would like to see Thornton and SRF continue to develop as SP but understand the need for BP arms. Thomas Pannone is another guy who may have lost his chance at starting for the Blue Jays.

 

Waguespack could play the all-important swingman role. He could be the Bisons 6th starter and the Blue Jays spot starter.

 

New Hampshire Fisher Cats AA

Yennsy Diaz (23)

Patrick Murphy (24)

Hector Perez (23)

Thomas Hatch (25)

Joey Murray (23)

Maximo Castillo (20)

 

Diaz, Hatch, and Perez were set to pitching in Triple-A in 2020. It now seems more likely that they will return to Double-A or head to the bullpen. Perez has the stuff to become an impact bullpen, now might be the time to begin that transition. Diaz’ projection is that of a 5th starter or bullpen, like Perez, now might be the time to make the switch. Murphy had to make some adjustments to his delivery which resulted in some arm soreness. If Murphy can show he is healthy and can be effective with a new delivery than he could push for a spot in Buffalo.

 

 

Dunedin Blue Jays A-Advanced

Elvis Luciano (19)

Simeon Woods Richardson (19)

Eric Pardinho (19)

Josh Winckowski (21)

Sean Wymer (22)

Alek Manoah (22)

 

The D-Jays are going to have a very interesting rotation. After spending time in the Blue Jays bullpen as a Rule 5 pick Luciano should return to starting. He will be joined by fellow 19-yr-olds SWR and Pardinho. I have Pardinho in Dunedin because of the training staff and he did look really good with Lansing when he was healthy. This level could see a couple of piggyback tandems to limit and build up inning limits. This will open the door for former 4th rounder Sean Wymer who wasn’t great with the Lugnuts in 2019. It will also allow last year’s 1st round pick Alek Manoah to bypass Lansing.

 

Lansing Lugnuts A-Ball

Adam Kloffenstein (19)

Kendall Williams (19)

Alex Nolan (23)

Nick Fraze (22)

William Gaston (23)

Grant Townsend (22)

Edisson Gonzalez (20)

 

The Lugs should have three 20-ish-year-old pitchers. Kloff, Williams, and Gonzo should see some piggyback starts. This will allow some of the older guys to remain stretched out and get some starts. Gaston is a 6-foot-5 righty out of La Habana, Cuba. He pitched well in Vancouver and should get a chance at the club’s 5th spot in the rotation.

 

Vying for Starts

Andrew Sopko (25) (Buffalo)

Julian Merryweather (28) (Toronto’s BP or Buffalo SP, If healthy)

Justin Dillon (26) (Buffalo/NH)

Jon Harris (26) (Buffalo, If healthy)

Graham Spraker (24) (NH)

Turner Larkins (24) (NH)

Zach Logue (23) (NH)

Nick Allgeyer (23) (NH)

Curtis Taylor (24) (NH)

Fitz Stadler (22) (D-Jays)

Troy Miller (22) (D-Jays)

Troy Watson (22) (D-Jays)

Juan De Paula (22) (????)

Juan Diaz (21) (Lansing)

Luis Quinones (22) (Lansing after Suspension)

Gabriel Ponce (20) (Lansing)

 

Possible Surprises

Jol Concepcion (21)

Roither Hernandez (21)

Naswell Paulino (19)

Sam Ryan (21)

Winder Garcia (18)

 

It seems as though more than half the teams in Baseball are not trying to win. They are either rebuilding or retooling. There is only a hand full of teams actually trying to win the World Series. This way of running a team or building a winner has broken baseball for many fanbases.

 

The Blue Jays will field a competitive MLB roster in 2020. Despite playing in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, they will field a youthful team with exciting talent. Just because you play in the AL East doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to compete. This defeatist mindset in baseball sucks. The league shouldn’t consist of 10 teams trying to win and 21 teams trying to lose as much as possible.

 

Ryu is a clear upgrade for a team that appeared thin on starting pitching. He’s risky, sure, but he’s a clear step in the right direction towards trying to win baseball games. He also buys time for the guys listed above to develop.

 

 

 

Featured image credit: R.Mueller

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Ryan Mueller

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.