In the third of our roster prediction series, we visit Dunedin, Florida, the home of the Florida State League Advanced-A Blue Jays and take a look at the pitchers who may grace the roster come Opening Day.
Last year, I only predicted confidently that four pitchers would be in the starting rotation for the Dunedin Blue Jays. Of the four, I was only right in two cases with Brad Allen and Jeremy Gabryszwski making up part of the rotation. Miguel Castro started the season in Toronto while Chase De Jong started in Lansing. I also had six names as potential starters and, of those, only Jeff Hoffman started the season with the Dunedin Blue Jays. Without further ado, here are my predictions for the starting rotation in Dunedin this year.
The biggest prospect name here is obviously Reid-Foley who is in the process of working out mechanical issues that will help him take advantage of his nasty stuff. Reid-Foley, still only 20, will be on the fast track if he can rein in his walk totals. Dawson was outstanding last year and will be moving up to Dunedin with little left to prove in Lansing. Robson could be a real sleeper this year. He’s been clocked as high as 96 mph with a heavy sinking fastball and, now that he’s a year removed from Tommy John surgery, should be moving through the system a little faster. Gabryszwski did nothing to warrant repeating a year in Dunedin but, as a solid, steady starting pitcher, he didn’t do anything to show that he needs to be moved up. With a lot of pitchers in the upper levels, it’s doubtful that Gaby starts the season in New Hampshire.
Justin Shafer and Starlyn Suriel are two wildcards. Both could head to the bullpen but I think the Blue Jays like Shafer’s stuff enough that he’ll start the season in the rotation.
Other Possible Starters
Of these three, the most intriguing is Harris who could wind up starting in Dunedin if the Blue Jays feel that he’s developed enough to be able to handle it. Otherwise, Allen could be a swing man who comes out of the bullpen and makes spot starts here and there while Wandling is, in my mind, on the bubble between Lansing and Dunedin. I also think that Santos is headed for a swing-man role.
There aren’t as many names here as one might think but someone like Starlyn Suriel could easily fit into a bullpen role in Dunedin, as can Luis Santos. Brandon Bixler and Bobby Doran are both new to the system and are unknowns for the most part while I think that Alonzo Gonzalez needs to find some consistency before he sees the higher minor league levels. DeGraaf was very good in Vancouver last year and could very well skip over Lansing. Another sleeper this year is lefty Tim Mayza who can throw in the mid-to-high 90s with a nice slider.
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