After wrapping up the DSL and GCL Blue Jays JFtC continues upward wrapping up the Bluefield Blue Jays pitchers
In case you missed it the previous Wrap-Up of the Blue Jays Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League affiliates, you can catch by clicking the links below.
DSL Blue Jays: Pitchers (link)
DSL Blue Jays: Position Players (link)
GCL Blue Jays: Pitchers (link)
GCL Blue Jays: Position Players (link)
Next stop, as we work our way up the Blue Jays minor league system, takes us to Bluefield, West Virgina. Bluefield is the home of the Blue Jays Appalachian League Rookie team. The Bluefield Blue Jays finished 3rd in the Appalachian League East division, 37-31. They failed to make the playoffs and failed to capture the Mercer Cup, again. Damn Princeton Rays.
The 2016 Bluefield Blue Jays were led by Bradley Jones, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Nick Sinay, Lance Jones and Nash Knight at the plate. On the mound, the Blue Jays got contributions from Osman Gutierrez, Yennsy Diaz, and Jose Espada.
As a team the Blue Jays finished close the bottom of the league in many pitching stats. The pitching staff compiled 3 shutouts, which was good enough for 3rd in the league. They finished 6th with a 4.23 ERA, 574 hits allowed, 329 runs allowed, and 223 walks allowed. Unfortunately, their 508 strike outs were only good for 8th in a 10 team league.
The 2011 International Free-Agent finished tied with 3 other Bluefield pitchers for the team led in wins with 4. The tall 6’4″ right-hander finished with a 3.88 ERA in 11 starts over a team leading 65 IP. He used his 90 plus fastball to amass 66 strike outs, also a team high. Osman improved his K/9 from 7.69 in 2015 to 9.14 in 2016. Gutierrez continues to post high BABIP with .330 BABIP, finishing with a 3.74 FIP.
One of the hardest throwers on the team, Diaz throws a 95+ fastball, but command continues to be an issue for the 19-yr-old. Diaz finished with a 4-6 record and a 5.79 ERA. His 48 strike outs and 27 walks were career highs, giving his a decent 7.71 K/9 and not so good 4.34 BB/9. Diaz threw his best game on August 2nd with 6 shutout inning and 8 strike outs, while allowing just one walk and two hits.
After dominating the GCL in 2015, Espada struggled at times in 2016. The 19-yr-old from Puerto Rico finished with a 3-4 record and a 4.92 ERA. The 6’0″ righty started 10 games with his best effort coming in his send last start of the season. He pitched 5.2 shutout innings, his second longest outing. Overall, Espada’s K/9 dropped from 8.13 to 5.43, while 2.04 BB/9 and .278 BABIP are in line with his 2015 results. Espada finished the year with 12 walks, 32 strike outs over career high 53.0IP.
The 22-yr-old Higuera finished the year with Bluefield (8 games) after starting his season with Dunedin (4 games), and Vancouver (5 games). The 6’1″ lefty threw one complete game, a 4 inning affair, but a complete game is a complete game. He followed his complete game by tying his career high of 6 innings pitched in his next outing. It was Higuera’s 5th time finishing 6 innings over his 4 year career. Juliandry finished with a 2-3 record and 3.23 ERA during his time with Bluefield.
Split 2016 between the GCL and the Appy. He dominated the GCL (3-0, 0.62ERA) and struggled hard in the Appy (2-2, 8.62ERA). Joel pitched 31.1 innings over 7 Bluefield starts, striking out 17 and walking 18 for an ugly 1.98 WHIP.
The bullpen was made up of 2016 draft picks (Kyle Weatherly, Connor Eller, Angel Alicea, Chris Hall, Andrew Deramo, Brayden Bouchey, and Gillingham), Non-Drafted Free-Agents (Christian Cox, Eric Veglahn, and Mike Estevez, and IFA (Jose Nova, Denis Diaz, and Kelyn Jose).
Weatherly split his time between the bullpen and the rotation. He made 5 RP appearances and 5 starts. Throwing in the low 90’s, Kyle finished with a perfect 4-0 record while posting a 4.06 ERA. He walked just 9 batters and struck out 33 over 37.2 innings. Good for a 1.22 WHIP.
The team leader with 7 saves, Eller made 15 RP appearances. The 22-yr-old right-hander finished with a 4-2 record and a 2.60 ERA. He mirrored Weatherly with 9 walks and 33 strike outs, doing in 34.2 innings.
Another 22-yr-old draft pick. Alicea finished with a2-1 record and a 2.76 ERA. Angel struck out 6 batters over 3 innings in his second professional appearance. He would hold opponents to a .223 batting while striking out 45 and walking 10 over 32.2IP.
Yet another 22-yr-old 2016 draft pick, Hall possesses swing and miss stuff. His fastball can touch 97 mph. The 6’2″ righty posted a 2.40 ERA while finishing with a 3-0 record. He walked 8 and struck out 21 over 30 innings. Clearly competing against a lesser opposition, Hall posted an impressive 1.00 WHIP and held opponents to a .198 batting average.
In 14 appearances, Cox walked 3 and struck out 17 over 24 innings. He posted a nice little 1.04 WHIP.
The tall 6’6″ righty had a couple rough outings that made his numbers not so pretty. He had one outing where he allowed 8 runs on 11 hits over 2 innings. He also had 2 outing where he allowed 3 runs. Deramo only had 6 appearances in which he didn’t allow a run, as the opposition batted .408 off him.
A lefty out of Dominican Republic, at 21-yrs-old, Nova just finished his 3rd professional season. Nova split his time between the GCL and the Appy making 5 RP appearances and 2 starts for Bluefield. Jose Nova struggled with his command, allowing 12 walks and 12 strike outs. He finished with a 0-1 record and a 5.16 ERA.
Denis opened the year with Bluefield. He was promoted to Vancouver after posting 2-1 record and 2.91 ERA over 3 starts and 2 RP appearances. Diaz pitched 21.2 innings for Bluefield, striking out 12.
A 20-yr-old 6’6″ righty out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Bouchey racked up the K’s. Brayden struck out 13.71 per 9 innings, finishing with 32 in 21 innings. He walked a bunch as well with a 6.43 BB/9. The tall 33rd round pick finished with a 1-0 record, a 2.57 ERA and a 2.90 FIP.
This fireball reliever continues to throw hard with zero idea where it’ll end up. He struck out 17 and walked 19 over 17.2 innings. Jose finished with a 4.08 ERA, holding opponents to a .185 BA. The 21-yr-old lefty is definitely a project.
In his second year, Holmes split his time between Vancouver (0-1, 9.60 ERA) and Bluefield (1-1, 1.93 ERA). Holmes led the Blue Jays in ERA and WHIP (0.79) over 14 innings.
Bluefield is a long ways from the Major League, with many of these players unlikely to even make it Full Season A-Ball Lansing. Despite the odds, these young men played hard. Congrats on a successful season.
Next up: 2016 Bluefield Blue Jays Wrap-Up: Position players
*Featured Image Credit: Kris Robinson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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