MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox

Minor League Update: May 21st Edition

In reading first edition of MLU last week, one might have been forgiven if you looked it over and had a few moments when you said “Who?” But in one short week the names on this list have normalized to what you might expect quite nicely, thanks to some nice news regarding players who’ve been dealing with injuries or poor performance. Before we check them out, one bit of housekeeping:

For this week, since last week covered the entire season, I’m still using a rolling 10 game sample of statistics just to give you a sense of where the players are at this point in the year. Going forward, the stats will include weekly numbers.

Pitchers of the Week

1. Jon Harris – RHP – Lansing (Low A)

6 G – 25.2 IP – 1.05 ERA – 1.21 WHIP – 8.1 K/9 – 3.9 BB/9

2015 first round pick Jon Harris was widely regarded as excellent value for his draft spot and supposed to be a fast mover through the system. He struggled with consistency and control late last year pitching for Vancouver (widely attributed to fatigue), but expectations among skilled observers were not greatly diminished. His first outing for Lansing this year provided a few more concerns for stat-line scouts as he gave up three runs in 2/3 of an inning. while walking four. But there was, it turns out, no need for concerns at all.  Since that first outing, he has taken the mound five times, accumulated 25 IP, has seven walks, 21 strikeouts and oh by the way, zero earned runs. His last time out, he went a season-best seven innings, allowing just four hits and one walk, while nearly tripling his season best in strikeouts with 11.

It’s looking like he’ll soon be the second Lansing starter headed south to bolster the Dunedin team.

2. Francisco Rios  – RHP – Dunedin (High A)

8 G – 42.1 IP – 1.70 ERA – 0.99 WHIP – 11.7 K/9 – 2.1 BB/9

Speaking of heading to Dunedin, last week’s number one pitcher was actually done with Lansing as that post went live. His first outing for the High-A D-Jays, probably more than a bit nerve-wracking, produced less than customary results as he gave up four runs in 5.1 innings. However, he went out again Tuesday night and announced his presence with authority. He threw seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball, striking out six and walking no-one. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler recently raved about him on Artificial Turf Wars, and if this guy isn’t on your top prospect list, it probably needs to be revised.

3. Drew Hutchinson – SP – Buffalo (AAA)

7 G – 38.1 IP – 3.05 ERA – 0.94 WHIP – 10.3 K/9 – 3.3 BB/9

It’s difficult for some to think of Hutchison in terms of a “prospect” – he clearly has too much major league experience for the term to apply, and yet he’s still only 25, an age when some prospects are just getting serious consideration for a promotion to the major leagues. It would be a mistake, I think, to consider Drew a washout – this is not Josh Towers we’re talking about. His secondary statistics, splits, and scouting reports all reflect a guy who is not a AAA quality pitcher.

Drew had two starts this week. Combined, he went 13 innings and allowed just one earned run (a homer), while striking out 14 and walking just three. If he can keep putting up performances like that, he Toronto will feel more and more comfortable with their top injury reinforcement.


Hitters of the Week

1. Rowdy Tellez – 1B – New Hampshire (AA)

40 PA – .361/.425/.694 – 3 HR – 0 SB – 4 BB – 8 K

Over the first 27 games he played in AA, Tellez had only one multi-hit game and took the 0-for 13 times. His slash lines had settled all the way to .143/.299/.275 and it was reasonable to wonder if maybe the team had been too optimistic in their placement, but Rowdy has begun to make his counter-argument to that notion. In the last nine games he’s played, he has 5 multi-hit outings. He also has 6 XBH, as many as he’d had in the previous 27 games. It’s still a small sample, but this is what the team expected of the slugging first baseman, and it is good news.

2. Max Pentecost – C/DH – Lansing

21 PA – .450/.476/.600 – 1 HR – 0 SB – 1 BB – 2 K

Speaking of good news: We have a Max Pentecost sighting! Between Harris and the return of the long injured catcher, all the buzz this week was in Lansing. As of the cutoff for this post, he had burst back onto the scene with hits in his first five games, including a home run in his first game back. The Jays still have the kid gloves on the 23 year old regarding the shoulder injury that required three surgeries, so Pentecost is DHing for now. But there’s little sign of any rust despite missing all of 2015. Of all the prospects in the system, Pentecost is the one with the most intrigue. If he can regain some of the form that made him an 11th overall draft pick, the Blue Jays’ minor league hitting depth will take a big step forward.

3. Dalton Pompey – SP – Buffalo (AAA)

41 PA – .325/.341/.475 – 1 HR – 1 SB – 1 BB – 7 K

As noted last week, Pompey was hampered by injury and was in need of extended playing time. As anticipated, the numbers at the plate took a sharp uptick. He busted out of a 1/28 run on May 8 with a 2 hit game and since then he’s hit .361. Like Hutchison above, Pompey is clearly too good for the minor leagues. Unfortunately, also like Hutch, he’s also stuck behind some reasonably established players. For now, Pompey just needs to stay on the field and keep producing. Injuries happen, and Kevin Pillar isn’t hitting. At some point the Blue Jays brass may turn their eyes to Buffalo for some help.


Other Minor Notes

Devon Travis – 2B – Buffalo (rehab)

Given the way Twitter blew up after his first AAA game, it’s porbably unnecessary to I mention his name here, but I’m going to do it anyway. Travis’ return from injury is the single best piece of news for the Blue Jays right now. He has hit the ground running, too. In Dunedin, Travis had five hits and a walk in 15 plate appearances, then has put up three more in nine Buffalo at-bats since his promotion. He also has three doubles among those eight hits, so it’s clear he is back to hitting the ball with some authority. Barring a significant setback, my guess is he joins the team in Yankee Stadium next week.

Aaron Loup – RP – Dunedin (rehab)

After his first rehab trip to the mound was a flaming disaster on May 14th, Loup’s next appearance produced two walks and two outs but no runs. A definite improvement, but still shaky. Then Thursday night saw Loup put up a one inning outing with one hit and a strikeout, and the Jays must like what they see. With Brett Cecil on the DL for a month, good news from Loup is crucial. If all continues to go well he might be back in the majors by the first week of June. (Update: Loup was advanced to AAA Buffalo today)

Bo Schultz – RP – Buffalo (rehab)

Schultz is nearing the end of his rehab period, but won’t necessarily be back in the majors right away. He seems to be still seeking consistency with his results and the right-handed arms in the major league bullpen either can’t be sent down, or seem to be sorting themselves out.

Clinton Hollon – SP – Lansing (suspended)

Word came down last week that the 2013 supplemental round pick had received a second 50 game suspension, this one for a “drug of abuse.” This will push his 2016 debut back to early July. Hollon has a ton of potential, but for a multitude of reasons just can’t seem to get on the field. He needs to start getting some innings or he could hurt his development.

Other Season Stat Lines of Interest

Hitter Age Pos. Lvl G PA AVG OBP SLG HR SB BB K TB
Dwight Smith Jr. 23 LF AA 30 125 .219 .283 .298 0 1 11 24  34
Roemon Fields 25 CF AA 36 162 .253 .307 .293 0 13 12 34  44
Richard Urena 20 SS A 35 148 .264 .318 .400 3 3 8 25  56
D.J. Davis 21 OF A 32 126 .191 .273 .287 1 9 11 39 33
Anthony Alford 26 CF A 17 72 .154 .243 .169 0 3 7 31 11


Pitcher Age Pos. Lvl G IP ERA K/9 BB/9 WHIP
Shane Dawson 22 SP AA 6 31 2.61 7.8 4.7 1.45
Angel Perdomo 22 SP A 7 27.1 1.98 12.8 4.3 0.91
Conner Greene 21 SP A+ 8 43 3.14 4.4 3.9  1.40
Sean Reid-Foley 22 SP A 6 25.1 3.20 9.6 5.3 1.46
Ryan Borucki 22 SP A 7 25 11.88 5.4 4.7 2.24

Lead Photo: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

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