Jays From the Couch continues to sift through the Toronto Blue Jays farm system looking starting pitching depth outside the Top Prospect list, which bring us to Shane Dawson
I recently took at look at Casey Lawrence‘s potential value if one or more starting pitchers were to be lost from the Toronto Blue Jays strong rotation. While pitchers like Lawrence don’t have much value as prospects, the depth they provide is immensely valuable over a 162 game season.
Since being drafted in the 17th round of the 2012 Draft, Shane Dawson has yet to get the attention and love deserving of guy who owns a professional record of 32-20 and 3.44 ERA.
Unfortunately, Dawson lacks an overpowering fastball and an infraspinatus muscle. Actually, his fastball may be below average if we are being honest. He pitches well off his fastball low 90’s fastball really well, mixing in an average change and slider. It’s not surprising that scouts would peg Dawson as an organizational piece, rather than a potential prospect.
After an excellent 2015 season, coupled with a Trade Deadline that exhausted the system of its LHP prospects, and Dawson looked as though he might appear onto Toronto’s Top 30 Prospect lists.
It never happened.
During the 2016 off-season, Baseball America’s John Manual was asked about Shane Dawson in a Blue Jays Prospect Chat. Manual’s response wasn’t pretty,
Really? He’s not on our list … I do not see Shane Dawson as a prospect because of his well-below-average fastball. According to the scouts & player development folks I have talked to, despite his strong 2015 season, Dawson is more of an organizational player than a big leaguer. I hope he proves me wrong. But he wasn’t a serious threat for the Top 10, even in a trade-depleted system.
John Manual’s assessment of Dawson is bang on, but don’t write Dawson off just yet.
Scouts have been known to be wrong from time to time. Baseball is a game of adjustments. It is impossible to know if adjustment X can turn so-so control into pinpoint control or turn an average change into a plus change. Scouts can’t always predict how adjustments a pitcher make will effective, positively or negatively, a pitcher’s repertoire.
2016 represented the first time the 23-yr-old struggled during his professional career. Dawson started the year with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats going 1 and 1 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 3 starts. Despite decent numbers, he struggled with walks, walking 7 batters in 15 innings. This inability to limit base on balls would plague him throughout the year, ultimately leading to the highest walk totals and lowest K rate of his career.
In 2015 Dawson walked 32 batters in 127.2IP versus 72 in 134.1IP during the 2016 season, while his K rate fell to 6.36 K/9 with New Hampshire. Despite it all, the Canadian managed to lead the Fisher Cats with 10 wins and finish 2nd with 95 strikeouts and 134.1 IP.
The Buffalo Bisons starting rotation appears to be set. Bolsinger and Lawrence will be joined by free agents Jarett Grube, TJ House, and Brett Oberholtzer. Therefore, it would appear Shane Dawson will have a chance to improve on his New Hampshire numbers as he will likely see Double-A in 2017. If he is unable to command the strike zone in 2017, he will be pushed further down the depth chart as higher ceiling pitchers begin to fill the upper minors.
*Featured Image Mandatory Credit: Buck Davidson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0– cropped from original
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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.