Jays From the Couch looks at 3 young pitchers who may just be forming the newer version of the Toronto Blue Jays’ Lansing 3.
It was just a few years ago when we’d heard of the “Lansing 3”. Justin Nicolino, Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez made up a trio of young studs upon who we hung our hopes for the future. At that point, we had gone through 20 years tire spinning. We wanted a reason to get excited. The Lansing Lugnuts housed 3 good reasons.
Fastforward to 2016 and Aaron Sanchez is the only remaining member of that group. Nicolino went to the Marlins and Syndergaard is doing fairly well in New York with the Mets…I think…haven’t heard much on that front.
This is not to lament the loss of stud pitching that could have been. We experienced winning baseball in Toronto in 2015. In the interest of continuing that winning, one might look ahead to the July 31st Trade Deadline and wonder if the pieces are in the Blue Jays’ system to make an impact move like they did last year. In order to do that, you need to have some young studs that other teams would be interested in. Prospects are currency, just as much as they are hopeful talent for your club. So, perhaps another Lansing 3 could prove very valuable.
Enter Sean Reid-Foley, Jon Harris and Angel Perdomo. These 3 youngsters are performing rather well thus far in 2016 for the Lansing Lugnuts and could prove to be the subject of several calls (from other teams or for a promotion) as the summer progresses.
Reid-Foley is a name that many of us have heard for a while. In fact, we’ve heard his name for so long that it is hard to believe he is still just 20. He turns 21 in August. Currently on the 7 day DL (they wanted to skip a start to give him a bit of rest), he’s off to a good start to the 2016 season. In 4 starts, he’s 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .177 against him. He’s only given up one earned run in each of his last 2 starts. The concern with him is that he still seems to be struggling with his command. So far, he has issued 10 walks to go with his impressive 20 strike outs. In fairness, he started the season with 4 walks in each of his first two starts, and then cut them down to 2 in the next one and none in his fourth. He lasted just 3 innings in his last start, though. He will take the mound today. It will be his command that dictates just how valuable he appears. According to CBSSports, Reid-Foley could end up as a reliever.
Jon Harris is enjoying some early success at Lansing as well. After pitching in Vancouver last season, He has moved into the Lugnuts rotation and has a 1-0 record in 4 starts. In 13.2 IP, he has a 1.98 ERA. He’s only given up 3 earned runs in those 4 starts. After recording just 2 outs in his first start (3 ER), he has settled down nicely and hasn’t allowed a run since. He’s still not gone above 5 innings in a start, but is heading in the right direction. So too is the command. After walking 4 in his first start (remember, just 2 outs), he has issued just one free pass in each of his last two. Harris is trending upward and could see his stock rise as he lives up to the hype that saw him drafted in the first round last year.
Perdomo is the only lefty of the three. He’s 22 and was ranked a lot lower in the system than the other two. MLB had him ranked 23rd on their list. After going 6-1, 2.60 in Vancouver and Bluefield last season, Perdomo is off to another good start. In 5 starts, he’s 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA. He’s only allowed 6 earned runs in the early goings. And, in his 23.1 innings of work, he’s fanned 32 batters. He’s walked 12. Up until his last outing (o.2IP), he was rolling along for the Lugnuts. Even with his bad outing last time, he still owns a 1.03 WHIP. In fact, in his 23 innings, he’s only given up 12 hits.
These 3 youngsters are guys we should be keeping an eye on as the summer rolls on. Now, that is not to say that they will end up being a Syndergaard or a Sanchez, or that they they will be used as trade bait this summer. Instead, all of this is just to point out the young talent that we can look forward to having an impact on the Blue Jays in one way or another, much like the original Lansing 3 did.
I would be remiss if I did not include what our resident MiLB guru, Ryan Mueller, had to say about this idea. He quite likes the recently turned 21 yr old Francisco Rios who in 6 starts owns a 2-0 record with a 1.20 ERA. Rios has only given up 4 earned runs in 3o IP. He’s walked 8 and struck out 43. Opponents are hitting just .193 and his WHIP sits at 0.97. Rios did not rank on MLB list and as such might not get the attention of the above 3. But, as Ryan asked me to point out, a Lansing 4 sounds pretty good too.
If the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves in a position to make a run like they did in 2015, they will need to pull off a trade of some sort. Having young pitching prospects that are touted as the Lansing 3 were a few years ago will be necessary to facilitating moves. If they find themselves out of contention, then perhaps the excitement of young arms in the system will be once again what fans have to cling to. Though the window of competition of this Blue Jays squad is larger than one year, the necessity of having future talent is still real. Perhaps, in 2016, we are looking at the development of such talent; a new Lansing 3.
*Featured Image Credit: Paul Martinez UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.