Week 1 of the Arizona Fall League is finished and six of the seven Blue Jays sent to participate have gotten into some game action. The AFL is traditionally a hitter’s league so it will be a real test for some of our young pitchers.
Center fielder Kenny Wilson is probably the biggest story, getting into three games and going 7 for 13 with six singles, a double, two stolen bases (although he’s been caught three times), three runs scored and three RBI. Wilson has been out to prove his doubters wrong all year and is looking like a man on fire in Arizona.
Third baseman Andy Burns is three for nine in two games with a walk, a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI. He’s definitely showing that the groove he was in to finish up the year was not a fluke.
Catcher Derrick Chung will probably only play once in a while, most likely catching his teammate from Dunedin, Aaron Sanchez. Chung has played one game and went oh for three with three strikeouts.
Speaking of Sanchez, I have a feeling that he’ll only be used as a starter; I’m sure the Blue Jays want to protect him by keeping him in a starter’s rhythm.
Sanchez’s command gets him into trouble but he gets a grounder to escape. No breaking ball yet. All FBs and CHs.
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) October 11, 2013
He was solid in his one outing but struggled with his control, walking two and giving up just one hit in three innings. It may be the fact that it was his first real game in about a month and a half, so we’ll hope that improves.
Marcus Stroman has been earning raves coming out of the bullpen in the AFL. For Stroman, the bullpen is a role he’s used to and the Blue Jays have no worries about keeping him locked into a starter’s routine. Stroman has appeared in two games, throwing one inning in each. In the first, he sailed through cleanly but gave up a run on two hits, leaving him with a 4.50 ERA.
John Stilson made one disastrous appearance, giving up five runs and getting only one out. I’m sure things will turn around for Stilson who, despite pitching in Buffalo this year, just turned 23 in July.
The final pitcher from the Blue Jays staff in Arizona is Drew Hutchison who hasn’t pitched yet. With six and seven pitchers getting into a game (sometimes more), my gut thought its that Hutchison will start a game early next week, perhaps on Monday.
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013) and may not be used without permission.