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Following on from my shortstop and catcher review last week some posters were asking about pitchers. Today we will look at how the top ranked pitchers in the organization have performed so far in 2017. Has it been a down year as some have suggested? On the field Jon Harris, one of those pitchers, threw seven shutout innings. Vlad Guerrero hit a home run. The Bluefield bats were humming and Logan Warmoth played a game. More details on Wednesdays games are at the bottom of this article.

We will start our pitcher review with the pitchers in the Batters Box top 30 prospects. Also, recall the usual metric, one third of prospects will improve, one third will take a step back and one third will stall. If the Jays prospects do better than that then it would be a good year, worse and its a down year. I will try and render an opinion as to how I see all of these prospects and I will also mention some pitchers who are pushing their way into consideration for the 2017 top 30 list.

#2 Sean Reid-Foley. What you want to see with prospects is a sign of progress. SRF did get off to a slow start but he has improved his ERA and WHIP as the season has progressed. Now you do expect a #2 prospect to pitch well and I think Blue Jay fans should be encouraged with SRF's pitching over the last month or so. Because he is the #2 prospect I will say no change in his prospect status. You could argue that he is better but I don't see a step back argument.

#6 TJ Zeuch. TJ pitched 53 innings before hitting the DL. In those 53 innings he was OK, a 3.23 ERA, less than a K per inning and a somewhat high 1.32 WHIP. On the plus side he is 21 and has very little pro experience so he still has a lot to learn. Because of the injury I would say Zeuch would drop down a new top 30.

#7 Conner Greene. Greene has had an up and down season. Even though he was the seventh ranked prospect there were some doubts over his control. Greene came into spring training trying to throw as hard as he could. That didn't work and it seemed to have continued in April where his strikeouts were good but his innings pitched were low. Greene seems to be trying to change to pitch to more contact. His K's are down and he has been able to go deeper into games but the results are inconsistent. He is still just 22 and he shows signs of putting it together so its another no change for me.

#10 Jon Harris. Harris has been very hittable and he definitely has taken a step back. And then he goes and throws seven shutout innings. Could it be a change for the better?

#11 Justin Maese. Maese is on the DL in Lansing. Pitching in the Midwest League at age 20 is good progress. Maese got off to a slow start but pitched better in May before going on the DL. His strikeouts are up and his WHIP in May was 1.12. You could argue that Maese has taken a step up but I think its another no change for me.

#14 Angel Perdomo. Perdomo is pitching to a 3.07 ERA in high A. Perdomo was always viewed as a project that would take time as he is very tall. This has been a Perdomo type year, too many walks, too many pitches but plenty of strikeouts and in general good pitching. Because of the walks I will say its a stand pat year for Perdomo.

#18 Francisco Rios. Rios has been inconsistent in AA plus he has had a spell on the DL. At this stage he has taken a step back but not a huge one. Many see him as a future reliever in any event so the step back might not be a big one.

#20 Patrick Murphy. Murphy hasn't pitched a whole lot because of various injuries and now he is on the DL again. Murphy is another who had an excellent May, his ERA was 2.23 and his WHIP was 1.02. However he had just 12 strikeouts, and 11 walks, in 32 innings. For the season his K rate is 4.8. That's a red flag and a step back for me.

#22 Ryan Borucki. He got off to a slow start, had a great May and a mixed June. But he has 90 K's in 78 innings and 23 walks for a very good ratio of almost 4:1. Borucki is giving up less than a hit an inning so I think he has been somewhat unlucky today. I say this is an up year for Borucki.

#25 Danny Barnes. Pitching well in the major leagues, up for sure.

#26 Jose Espada. We don't have much of a track record as he was in short season ball. Because of that stand pat for me.

#28 Zach Jackson. Jackson has been promoted from Lansing to Dunedin, has given up less than a hit per inning with a good K rate. He is a reliever and I am between stand pat and improve. Do you expect your #28 prospect to pitch well in Lansing? His walk rate is a little high so I will be conservative and say its a flat year so far for Jackson.

#30 Shane Dawson. Dawson has been disappointing in AA, a step back for sure.

There were 13 pitchers in the top 30 last fall. This year my count has two step forwards, six stand pats and five declines. That looks like a down year for the pitchers but many of the declines are borderline. Harris just pitched a three hitter, Zeuch has been OK for a first year pro, and Rios might just be a reliever in waiting. Overall its probably an average year for pitching, consider it a consolidation year, after last years gains.

Among the non top 30 pitchers the closest to the majors is Chris Rowley who has moved up to AAA and whose first start went well. He would be in a new top 30. Jordan Romano has also had a good year, a 2.63 ERA, 96 K's in 85 innings. He would be in a new top 30. Yenssy Diaz has looked good in Lansing. Plus there are a lot of young pitchers off to a good start in short season ball.

In Wednesdays games, Jon Harris threw a three hitter over seven shutout innings with four K's. It was his best start of the season. Lourdes Gurriel went hitless and made his eighth error, again on a throw. Vlad Jr hit his sixth home run, his only hit. His partner in crime, Bo Bichette went 0-4. Both of them will be heading to the futures game either today or tomorrow. Lansing will have to do without them for a few days. Josh Palacios, who had ten hits over his last three games, sat this one out. Kyle Weatherly pitched seven innings for Vancouver and allowed just two runs. Riley Adams had half of Vancouver's hits with two. Bluefield had the big hitters on Wednesday. Kevin Smith went 3-5. McGregory Contreras hit a three run home run, Ryan Gold had two hits including a two run home run. Ryan Noda and Chavez Young also had a pair of hits each. Logan Warmoth made his pro debut and went 2-3.

3 Stars

3rd star: Kyle Weatherly

2nd star: Ryan Gold

1st star: Jon Harris


Pitchers Review | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#344967) #
Thanks, Gerry, for your reviews of the Jay's prospects. I wonder if Chris Rowley might get a chance at the Jay's rotation next year if he progresses well and there is an opening ?
jerjapan - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#344968) #
Romano's been great - more K's than IPs in his career, nary a HR allowed this year - he's top 20 for me at the is point.  any word on his stuff post Tommy John?  Jay Blue scouted him in 2014 before the surgery and had him sitting low 90s. 

An additional factor in the 'down year for pitching' storyline is many of the Buffalo shuttle candidates - Mayza, Dermody, Murphy Smith, Girodo and Stilson have all struggled, and Blake McFarland continues to battle injuries.  I wonder if Carlos Ramirez can work himself into the shuttle mix now that he's back from injury?

PeterG - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#344973) #
I see Rowley with the big team next year, but I think he will be a reliever, not a starter.
Gerry - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#345004) #
Vlad Jr and Bo are playing for Lansing tonight. Vlad has a home run. Tomorrow they will head to the futures game then on Monday they are headed to Dunedin.
uglyone - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#345007) #
great stuff gerry. thanks.

figures that the 2 pitchers i thought were doing best, maese and zeuch, have both been injured half the season
Gerry - Friday, July 07 2017 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#345025) #
Max Pentecost catching in the GCL today. He is on his way back. Warmoth is still there too.
Marc Hulet - Friday, July 07 2017 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#345026) #
Luis de los Santos, 19, has been promoted from the GCL all the way to Lansing... can play SS/3B and has developing pop. Will no doubt fill in for Bichette and Guerrero this weekend.
PeterG - Friday, July 07 2017 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#345027) #
Do you think he will stay there Marc? I think the move that makes the most sense is to assign Warmoth to Lansing after he has a few more AB's in the GCL.
Nigel - Friday, July 07 2017 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#345028) #
BA has their mid season top 100 out. Four Jays made the list: Vladdy/2; Alford/38; Bichette/44 and Gurriel/90. I'd have had SRF in Gurriel's place, I think he's the Jays 4th best prospect.
hypobole - Friday, July 07 2017 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#345029) #
Keith Law on Vlad and Bo at the Futures Game:

This could be the coming-out party for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., one of two Blue Jays prospects in the game, both of whom have big league bloodlines. Vlad's dad played one year in Low-A, at age 20, hitting .333/.383/.544 with just 27 unintentional walks in a full season (462 plate appearances). He made his major league debut the next year. Vlad Jr. is in Low-A at age 18, hitting .317/.411/.472, with 38 unintentional walks already in just 70 games (314 PA), a walk rate that beats anything his dad ever did at any level in his career. So yeah, I'm pretty excited to see him. But Iím also excited to see teammate Bo Bichette, a better athlete than his father (Dante Bichette) or brother (Dante Jr.) who has an unusual swing but exceptional hand-eye coordination and is now hitting .383/.444/.624 for Low-A Lansing after a couple of recent oh-fers pulled him under .400.
uglyone - Friday, July 07 2017 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#345030) #
i know they can't jump a guy from nowhere to top 10 in half a season at the risk of their self-respect...but Bo should be much higher than that.

not surprised to ser our backend top100 guys fall off the list after their pppr performances this year....and really they're probably being generous including gurriel there still.
Nigel - Friday, July 07 2017 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#345035) #
Can someone explain what is so unusual about Bichette's swing? I know all prospect evaluators have described it that way. I've watched video of his swing and I see that he starts his swing with the bat more curled behind his head than most. But other than the preliminary set up it looks pretty normal to me. He seems to have above average bat speed as well. Frankly, it looks pretty similar to Donaldson's swing with a few less moving parts. What am I missing?
Spifficus - Sunday, July 09 2017 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#345082) #
I thought (if I'm remembering right) it was something to do with how deep and his hands get during load, causing a near arm-bar with his lead arm. Also, there's there's his hand hitch, where he starts and stops them during the load very aggressively (whereas a lot of people let their hands drift to keep them moving).
Spifficus - Sunday, July 09 2017 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#345083) #

I forgot about this line from the Fangraphs scouting report:

...and there were scouts who didnít care that his hands were noisier than a Dinosaur Jr. concert and just thought he had great natural hitting ability.

From first hand experience, I can attest to this being very noisy, a wall of noise. Thankfully, it sounds (and looks) like they Jays have tried to quiet this down a bit, since it works less for swings than it does for guitar.

Nigel - Monday, July 10 2017 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#345106) #
Thanks Spifficus. That's helpful.
bpoz - Monday, July 10 2017 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#345108) #
Regarding the 10 ten in theory. Both pitchesr and position players.

Looks like Zeuch and Harris are in danger of dropping out of the top 10.
So to replace one of them, I think D Jansen has a shot. Everything seems to have improved, most likely because of the new glasses.
jerjapan - Monday, July 10 2017 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#345114) #
bpoz, Zeuch is still back-end top ten to me, but Harris is way out at this point.   I was defending him a while back, but he promptly got even worse once I stuck up for him.  Jansen is knocking on the door of the top ten, if he isn't already there.  Catching has to be the strength of our minor league system right now. 

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