I recently received the stats for the Blue Jay players in extended spring training. These numbers are not published on milb.com because extended spring is unofficial baseball, the games are scheduled by each team, they play locally against other similar extended teams and the results are not reported. Rehabbing players also play in these games. In this story I will let you know how some of these players are doing in these invisible games.
But first a question......name the starting pitcher/prospect in extended spring training who has the lowest ERA, the lowest WHIP, the highest K rate (16/9IP); and the best strikeout to walk ratio. Here is a clue....it's not who you think.
These stats are as of May 24 and the team, or teams, have played 50 games. Most players have played between 20 and 29 games. The most is 29 games played by Art Charles; Chris Hawkins; Shane Opitz; and Pierce Rankin. The Blue Jays have so many players in extended that at times they field two teams so it would not be possible for a player to play in all their games.
Let's start with the hitters. Five hitters have an OPS over 1000. Two of those are very familiar, Scot Podsednik and Jayson Nix. The other three are Steve McQuail, Alexsys Rodriguez and Roan Salas. Marc Hulet helped me with Salas' background:
Salas is a utility player who turns 21 in June. He spent four years in DSL/VSL with the Rays organization before getting taken by the Jays in the minor league Rule 5. He can play all four infield positions but is more of a middle infielder.
McQuail was drafted by the Jays last season and played for Auburn in 2010. McQuail is a college player, born in 1989, and is too old for extended but Marisnick, Crouse and Knecht are blocking him. McQuail and Salas lead the team with four home runs each, both will likely play in Vancouver next month.
Alexsys Rodriguez is a catcher, born in 1988, so also somewhat old for extended.
You may have noticed that none of the higher ranked prospects are slugging over 1000, more about that in a moment.
But first two other players with good numbers are Bryan Kervin and Daniel Arcila. Kervin was drafted by the Jays in 2008 and was a backup infielder in New Hampshire in 2009. But he missed all of 2010 and now he is 26 years old so his future is uncertain. Kervin has a 370 OBP and a 500 SLG.
Arcila leads the team with ten steals and his OPS is 868. Arcila has 18 hits with nine of them for extra bases, five doubles, three triples and one home run. Arcila is a Venezuelan infielder who played in the GCL last season. He is 20 years old and is hitting much better this season than he did last year.
What about the prospects you ask? Dickie Thon is still dealing with his medical issue and is not in camp. Brandon Mims is listed on the roster (Thon is not) but he doesn't have an at-bat. I know Mims missed spring training also. Dalton Pompey, from Canada, has only five at-bats so he must be dealing with an injury too.
That leaves Chris Hawkins, Kellen Sweeney, Santiago Nessy and Shane Opitz. Hawkins and Sweeney were born in 1991, Nessy and Opitz in 1992.
Here is how they are doing:
YOB AB BA OBP SLG OPS BB K Hawkins 91 101 271 347 353 700 12 28 Nessy 92 49 245 269 429 698 2 12 Opitz 92 86 218 267 244 511 6 16 Sweeney 91 84 257 345 378 723 8 20
Hawkins and Sweeney are doing better than Nessy and Opitz but they are older. Most of the players are holding their own but they are not putting pressure on the Lansing roster.
On the pitching side there are eight pitchers with 18 innings or more. On of them is Jon Anderson who is now part of the Lansing rotation. The other seven are Aaron Sanchez; Noah Syndergaard; Griffin Murphy; Justin Nicolino; Mitchell Taylor; Zak Adams; and Myles Jaye. These are the guys who you want to see get the innings. Also Adonys Cardona has pitched 13.1 innings. Cardona was born in 1994 and so is pitching in extended at 17 years old.
Here are their stats:
Mitchell Taylor has the best numbers in camp. Taylor was described as a polished pitcher coming out of high school in Texas. Griffin Murphy is also racking up the strikeouts. On the other hand Aaron Sanchez and Adonys Cardona are walking too many hitters.
Taylor, Justin Nicolino and Myles Jaye have the best WHIP numbers. Noah Syndergaard has a good WHIP but doesn't have big strikeout numbers. Syndergaard throws hard but needs his off-speed stuff and good command to rack up the strikeouts.
There are a couple of other pitchers worth mentioning:
I saw Milciades Santana in spring training and I was impressed with his good fastball. Santana is a converted hitter and was born in 1989. Santana has 21 strikeouts in 13.1 innings but he has also allowed 14 hits and nine walks. So he can throw hard but doesn't have much command yet.
Dustin Antolin is on his way back from Tommy John surgery and he has appeared in two games.
Zack Breault, a Canadian pitcher who might be in Vancouver this season, has a 2.03 ERA and a 0.53 WHIP in 13.1 innings.
Another Canadian pitcher, Nick Purdy, has a 2.70 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 13.1 innings.
Finally two pitchers with a zero ERA are Deivy Estrada (14 IP) and Brandon Berl (14.2 IP). Estrada started in the GCL last season and does have a 0.86 WHIP this year but reportedly he has fringy suff. But he was born in 1992 so he does have time. Berl was drafted last season and pitched as a reliever in Auburn. Berl has a 0.55 WHIP.