Trent Thornton- Credit: DaveMe Images

Dolis Down, Leaves Door Open to the Bullpen

One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. The Blue Jays have a wide-open competition in their bullpen

The Toronto Blue Jays signed Rafael Dolis in February for $1M with a club option. The right-handed pitcher spent the last four seasons in Japan. As a member of the Hanshin Tigers, Dolis converted 96 saves, striking out 227 over 206 innings, walking 61 with a 2.49ERA.

 

The Blue Jays were hoping the 32-yr-old would help fill out Toronto’s bullpen. A bullpen with few certainties. The 6-foot-4 native of the Dominican Republic was slated to join Ken Giles, Wilmer Font, and Sam Gaviglio as the only returning relievers.

 

Dolis last pitched in the majors as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2013. He pitched 5 scoreless innings over 5 games. This spring, he’s made two appearances and hasn’t allowed a run. In his first appearance of the spring, Dolis came in to pitch the 4th inning. He allowed one hit, no walks or strikeouts for the hold.  His 2nd spring appearance came on March 2nd. The reliever finished that game, striking out two batters for a clean 9th.

 

Then the news came down the tube of Dolis having his appendix removed.

 

and

 

With no time frame set for how long Rafael Dolis will need to resume baseball activities, let alone when he can return to the mound, this may open up a spot in the Blue Jays Opening Day roster. Before I move forward, I’d like to wish Rafael Dolis all the best and a speedy recovery.

 

As I stated above Giles, Font, and Gaviglio are good. Anthony Bass is a safe bet to be added; therefore, four of the seven or eight spots are spoken for.

 

If Rafael Dolis starts the season on the IL, playing it cautious, this would open the door for a non-roster invitee to step in. Guys like A.J. Cole, Justin Miller, Travis Bergen, Kirby Snead, Ryan Dull, Jake Petricka, and many many more.

 

It appears the club is taking a long hard look at the veteran relievers when you examine the distribution of appearances and innings.

 

A.J. Cole

I fully anticipate the 28-yr-old will be with the club when they head north. The 6-foot-5 righty has already appeared in four spring games, picking up a win and a save. He’s not allowed a run, walking one, striking out 2, and allowing two hits for a 0.75WHIP.

 

Justin Miller

This front office really likes veterans in the bullpen. Especially when you can get them on Minor League contracts. The 32-yr-old Miller has put up similar numbers to Cole, walking one and striking out 2 without allowing a run over 3.2IP. He’s allowed one hit in 4 appearances for a 0.55WHIP and opponents own a .091BA.

 

Ryan Dull

The 30-yr-old Dull has 3 appearances under his belt. He’s allowed one run on 3 hits while striking out 3 and not issuing a walk.

 

Brian Moran

The lefty allowed one run on one hit over 3 innings and 3 appearances for a 3.00ERA. Moran has walked one and struck out 4 for a 0.67WHIP.

 

Jake Petricka

In 3 appearances, the 31-yrs-old righty owns a 15.00ERA. He’s allowed 5 runs, 2HR, 3BB, and 4 hits in 3.0IP. Petricka has two strikeouts and two saves while posting a 2.33WHIP.

 

Marc Rzepczynski

The former Blue Jays lefty has only gotten into one game after being a late signing. In his lone appearance, Scrabble pitched a clean frame with one strikeout.

 

However, I’d like to see the Blue Jays run through some of the arms on the 40-man roster.

 

Thomas Pannone

A lefty reliever with the ability to pitch multiple innings. He’s thrown 2.2IP over 3 appearances with 6 hits but no walks for a 2.25WHIP. Opponents are batting .429.

 

Julian Merryweather

The man. The mystery. Merryweather looked good in his first outing but allowed two runs on a walk and two walks against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 1st. The results are secondary at this point. He’s on the mound and not on the IL.

 

Thomas Hatch

Likely penciled in to start the year in the rotation in Triple-A or Double-A, Hatch has received many positive reviews this spring. In 3 appearances, Hatch has allowed 2 runs, walked 3, and struck out 4 across his 3.1IP. Opponents are batting just .091 off him and he owns a tidy 1.20WHIP.

 

Yennsy Diaz

Diaz has looked much calmer on the mound this spring versus his MLB debut. Yennsy will be heading down to the minors to fill in the rotation at Buffalo or New Hampshire; however, scouts feel he will eventually work out of the bullpen. In two appearances, Diaz has thrown 3 scoreless innings with no hits, no walks, and 4K’s.

 

Hector Perez

Perez pitched 2.0 innings in 2 appearances this spring. He has two walks and three strikeouts while allowing a run and a hit. Perez is a guy who struggles with control and whose stuff would make him an outstanding reliever. He should get another year to start but he seems destined for the bullpen.

 

Patrick Murphy

I would love to see Murphy make the club as a bullpen arm. I know he has more value as a starter but filling out the bullpen with a plus fastball and a curve with plus potential would be pretty flipping good. In two outings, Murphy owns an 11.57ERA, allowing 4 hits, 3 runs, and a walk across 2.1 innings for a 2.14WHIP. On the plus side, the 24-yr-old has 5K.

 

Jacob Waguespack

I think Wages will make the team in long relief. Or he is going log a tonne of mileage between Toronto and Buffalo over the summer. Waguespack has struggled with walks this spring, issuing 6 free passes while allowing 3 hits in 4.1 innings for a 1.85WHIP. He still owns a perfect ERA allowed.

 

Shun Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi is off to a slow start this spring. This could affect his chances of winning a spot in the rotation. Fortunately, Yamaguchi was brought in to pitch at the major league level and will slide into the bullpen if he doesn’t win a rotation spot. Yamaguchi has surrendered 4HR, 8 runs, 10 hits, and 4 walks over 6 innings for a 12.0ERA and 2.33WHIP.

 

Jordan Romano

Another guy with 4 appearances, Romano has looked good thus far. In 4 innings, the Markham native has struck out 6, with no walks and just two base hits. He picked up a win on the 29th of February with a scoreless 8th inning.

 

Sean Reid-Foley

The good for SRF is that he has walked anyone in 3 innings over 3 outings. The bad news is that he’s only struck out one batter. SRF has not allowed a runs yet while allowing two hits for a 0.67WHIP. A lot of chatter this offseason about moving SRF to the bullpen. Fans are getting frustrated and impatient with his development.

 

Closing Thoughts

The Blue Jays should be looking to cycle through some of their starting pitching prospects with power who are already on the 40-man roster. Let’s see how the Murphy’s and SRF’s of the system look in short outings.

 

My Opening Day bullpen would have Giles, Gaviglio, Bass, Yamaguchi, Font, Cole, Pannone, and Romano. Then when Dolis was ready he would push Romano to Triple-A. This group would only need one arm, Cole, to be added to the 40-man roster; therefore, less assets would be lost to waivers/DFA.

 

 

 

 

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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.