The Toronto Blue Jays just announced the five players who would join their 40-man roster as the deadline arrived to set the roster before the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings next month. All five players are right-handed pitchers: Trent Thornton, Yennsy Diaz, Hector Perez, Patrick Murphy and Jacob Waguespack.
Thornton, just acquired from the Houston Astros for infielder Aledmys Diaz, was a no-brainer to be added. The 25-year-old righty is a potential back-end starter for Toronto this year after he had very solid numbers (4.42 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) for the Pacific Coast League Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. Fangraphs recently had an article about the trade, noting that Thornton had elite-level spin rates on his curveball and his fastball is tricky to pick up due to his unusual delivery.
Yennsy Diaz is the youngest of the group and one of only two home-grown prospects. The 22-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic had an eye-opening season split between Lansing and Dunedin, posting a 3.05 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with a fastball that is hitting in the mid-90s. I was a little surprised to see a pitcher who only made it to Advanced-A ball get added to the roster but he must be highly regarded by management with his live arm and strong season.
Hector Perez ,a 22-year-old Dominican righty, gets added to the roster after pitching most of the year in Double-A and coming over in the trade to Houston along with Ken Giles and David Paulino. Perez posted very solid numbers with a 3.76 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, striking out 133 in just 115 innings but he needs to work on his command as he also walked 64. He’s also seen as a potential starter with good stuff but his lack of command could land him in a high-leverage bullpen role.
Patrick Murphy, 23, is the other home-grown Blue Jay who has worked hard to get through three full seasons since missing his first couple due to injury. He only had a stellar 2.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 146 2/3 innings with Dunedin, proving himself to have a strong, durable arm while being able to get batters out in a limited engagement in New Hampshire (one start). Murphy has hit as high as 98 mph on the radar gun and has four pitches that he can throw for strikes. He needs to work on consistency but is another mid-to-back-end of the rotation starter in the Jays’ stable.
Jacob Waguespack, 25, was the most surprising name on the Jays’ list, coming over to Toronto for Aaron Loup at the trade deadline. The righty had limited success in Double-A but had an ERA over 5.00 in 14 starts in Triple-A with the Phillies’ organization and with Buffalo.
The Blue Jays decided not to add several players who became eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year, showing how deep their farm system has become. Jordan Romano, the Canadian righty who had a solid season in New Hampshire, Max Pentecost, the former first round pick who finally got on track after several injury-marred seasons, Jackson McClelland, the fireballing righty from California who hit 101 on the radar gun this season, Jon Harris, another former first-round pick who pitched well in Double-A and Triple-A and Travis Bergen, a left-handed reliever who had a stellar season between Dunedin and New Hampshire, were all left off the roster. While the Jays haven’t had a player picked from their system in a Rule 5 Draft in recent years, that could change in 2018.
What’s your opinion? Which of these moves did you like or didn’t you like? Let us know in the comments!
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