With The Focus On This Team More About The Future Rather Than The Present, The Buffalo Bisons Could Be A Glimpse Of What The Blue Jays Will Look Like In The Near Future
Over the last few seasons, the Blue Jays have been building their team for the future. Which is why their triple-A team has gained so much more attention recently. It won’t be just about watching Vladimir Guerrero Jr. playing for the Bisons until he’s called-up to the Blue Jays.
It will also be about seeing which pitchers will be a part of the major-league team in the near future. The starting rotation that the Bisons put together could be one that we see at the major-league level as well. Now for the sake of this article, I’m going to predict that Ryan Borucki is sent down to triple-A. There’s no question that he’s capable of being with the Blue Jays out of spring training. But, the Blue Jays aren’t expected to be competitive this season, so there’s no need to rush his development.
That would mean that Borucki would be appointed as the “ace” pitcher in the Bisons’ lineup. This would then give the soon to be 25-year-old a chance to improve off of his 3.27 ERA that he recorded in 13 games with the Bisons last season. The Blue Jays would also like to see Borucki work on improving his strikeout rate at the higher levels as well.
Sean Reid-Foley, Thomas Pannone, Trent Thornton and Hector Perez are all expected to be in the running to fill-out the remaining spots in the rotation for the Bisons. Reid-Foley and Pannone are pretty much locked for the spots behind Borucki in the rotation. Which means unless Thornton and Perez struggle this spring, they will likely fill-out the remaining spots.
Both Thornton and Perez have already pitched in multiple games this spring for the Blue Jays. Perez has given up one run on four hits, while striking out two batters in 2.1 innings. Thornton has surrendered three runs on five hits, along with four strikeouts and two walks in four innings pitched. While they haven’t looked spectacular, nothing appears to seem alarming as of yet for either pitcher.
Thornton appeared in 24 games last season with Houston’s triple-A affiliate. Where he recorded a 4.42 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, 8.5 H9 and a 8.8 SO9 in 124.1 innings pitched. What’s similar about Thornton and Perez is that they’re both high-strikeout pitchers. While Perez hasn’t played above double-A, he did record a 10.4 SO9 in a combined 115 innings at high-A and double-A last season.
The Bisons will also have another option in their rotation once Julian Merryweather recovers from his Tommy John surgery. Merryweather is currently rehabbing with the Blue Jays from his surgery, and will likely be sent to the Bisons when he fully recovers. The 27-year-old was traded to the Blue Jays in exchange for former-MVP Josh Donaldson.
On Julian Merryweather, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. #BlueJays acquired the RHP in the Josh Donaldson trade.
Buschmann said the RHP has a "great personality" and seems poised to help Toronto. pic.twitter.com/ENqUZn3KBY
— Mark Suleymanov (@TheMARKOut1) February 27, 2019
Merryweather hasn’t pitched since 2017, but is also a high-strikeout pitcher like Perez and Thornton. He split the 2017 season between double-A and triple-A. In 25 games, he recorded a 5.32 ERA, 1.376 WHIP, 9.9 H9 and a 9 SO9 in 128.2 innings.
While those numbers don’t look overly impressive, he does fit the mold of what the Blue Jays are looking for in their young pitchers. Once healthy, he’ll be given starts to give him the opportunity to lower the amount of hits he surrenders per inning, while also continuing his rate of strikeouts per inning.
Fans will want to keep an eye on this group this season, because they will likely be the group that eventually comes up and replaces the current starting pitchers on the Blue Jays roster within the next couple of years.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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My name is Thomas Hall. I’m a former graduate of Sheridan College. I’ve been writing for just over 2 years. My most recent writing stint came at The Sporster. I’m also a massive sports fan, obviously baseball and the Blue Jays are No. 1 for me. But, football, basketball and hockey aren’t far behind.