Minor League Report: Coming Up Big-gio

This week’s report is heavier on high profile prospects than might ordinarily be the case. Other than the youngsters making noise in the Lansing rotation, few of these names are going to catch you by surprise. That said, top prospects doing what you expect them to do is much better than the alternative.

Hottest Pitcher: Ryan Borucki

Since my last column, Borucki has made three starts and racked up 20 IP while allowing only two earned runs on eight hits and five walks. On May 1 he got rocked for six runs in five IP but seems to have found his rhythm. If this keeps up, cycling through the low expectations of Joe Biagini and Deck McGuire may soon take a back seat to a legitimate prospect taking the Toronto mound.

Hottest Hitter: Cavan Biggio

(non-Guerrero division)
Biggio was a very ordinary guy for Dunedin last year. You certainly won’t find his name ranked on any of the major pre-season top prospect lists. But the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio found a way to put the ball over the fence in a big, big way this year; his 12 homers through 36 games are more than he hit in 127 last year. Over the last two weeks Biggio’s OBP is .408 — which is great — but his slugging percentage is .833, which is insane. One of the more interesting stories going forward will be whether this progress is real (which reports of his swing change suggest is the case) or some sort of as yet unexplained aberration.

5 Other Stat Lines

  • Kevin Smith (SS/3B) – .368/.425/.658/1.083 – Smith has hit .429 in his last 10 games and has been deeply involved in almost all the Lansing offense (while also playing highly praised defense).
  • Jordan Romano (RHP) – 1.94 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 8.6 K/9 – Like Borucki, the Markham native had given up only two earned runs in his last three starts (16.2 IP, 5 H, 7 BB, 16 K), though he left his last one early with some cramping. He has given up as many as three runs in an outing only once so far and, at 25, seems to be building a case for a promotion to Buffalo sooner rather than later as long as he can stay healthy.
  • Sean Reid-Foley (RHP) – 2.03 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 10.6 K/9 – SRF had his first wild game of the year last weekend but outside of that one blip, he’s been everything the Jays wanted to see this year. He is still yet to allow more than two earned runs in any appearance. Like Romano, a promotion is only a matter of time if this continues.
  • Vlad Guerrero, Jr (3B) – .421/.471/.697/1.169 – Look, this is going to get redundant if I just point to the obvious reality that Vladito will probably be the hottest hitter every week. So I’m spreading the love, but you can’t write an update without taking note either. Since our last report, he’s hitting a mere .462 so…yeah.
  • Danny Jansen (C) – .306/.415/.459/.874 – Since the last report Jansen has hit .333 in 11 games, with a .440 OBP and .476 slugging. In 48 AAA games over two seasons his OPS is over .900 and with more walks than strikeouts.

Around the Farm

Buffalo Bisons

The Bisons continue to be plagued by bad weather, losing another two dates to the rain and went 5-6 in the games they did play. For the last week they have been patching together a rotation, with three of their regular SP in Toronto so postponing some games provided some inadvertent relief. Offensively, the rock remains Jansen who has hit consistently while others come and go.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Since the last report the F-Cats are 9-6, carried primarily by two hitters (VGJ and Biggio) and two very good starting pitchers. They are looking ahead to Bo Bichette finding his grove (he’s sitting on a .720 OPS as of this writing) and Max Pentacost to get untracked. Meanwhile, Jon Harris continues to disappoint and Francisco Rios has been a disaster.

Dunedin Blue Jays

Even though they finished the fortnight 7-6 the D-Jays remain under .500 and a look at the stats provides all the explanation we need for that circumstance. The offensive leader, singles hitting outfielder Eduard Pinto, carries a .734 OPS and that coming off a stretch of hitting .412 in his last 10 games. Swift CF Joshua Palacios is slumping after a hot start and 2017 high round draftees Logan Warmoth and Riley Adams have yet to get going.

Lansing Lugnuts

The red-hot first place ‘Nuts saw their nine-game win streak end Friday night — one short of tying the team record —but the team is doing almost everything right at this point. SS/3B Kevin Smith (last year’s 4th rounder) was my runner up for the hottest hitter honor and outfielders Chavez Young (chosen in the 39th round in 2016!) and Brock Lundquist (6th round 2017) are in on the fun as well. Meanwhile the rotation is chock full of success. You know about Yennsy Diaz, but there are three others, all drafted last year, who are putting up impressive results: Graham Sparker (31st), Zach Logue (9th) and Turner Larkins (21st). Keep an eye on these guys as they were college picks that may advance quickly.

Lead Photo © Bruce Dill-USA TODAY Sports

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