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Thanks to the Minor League Transactions column at Baseball America, we have learned that the Blue Jays have released a number of minor leaguers throughout their minor league system.
While releases of players are generally expected towards the end of spring training as we get into a numbers crunch with the rosters getting set, the Blue Jays released several players on March 30. It is also interesting that these releases are not listed on the MiLB.com transaction page for any of the leagues. The Blue Jays released Roemon Fields, William Ouellette, Matt Shannon, Joey Pulido, Josh Hiatt, Andy McGuire, Grayson Huffman, Brett Wright, Alexis Carmona and Matt Jones.
The highest level player to be released was Triple-A outfielder Roemon Fields. Fields has been a solid minor league outfielder, flashing great speed and defense ever since he was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2013. He rocketed through the low minors, reaching Triple-A in his second season in 2015 and has been a mainstay of the Buffalo Bisons for the past three seasons. While he excelled in his first year at the Triple-A level in 2017, hitting .291 with a .355 OBP and 43 stolen bases in 2017, he has since seen a decline, stealing just 16 bases in 2019 with a .254/.324/.321 slash line.
William Ouellette was another non-drafted free agent to get released. He also reached Buffalo last year and was a solid reliever for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for most of the year with 43 2/3 innings there in 2019.
A little lower down in the system was righty Matt Shannon. Shannon missed a large part of 2019 with an injury but peaked in Advanced-A Dunedin, throwing 24 2/3 innings with a 4.74 ERA in 20 games.
Joey Pulido was a 32nd-round draft pick in 2018 and got to Triple-A last year in a season that saw him jump around an awful lot. He had one outing in Buffalo, three in New Hampshire, two in Vancouver and 23 in Lansing where he had a 6.08 ERA in 40 innings.
Josh Hiatt was a 16th-round pick in 2018 but only made his pro debut last year with the Lansing Lugnuts and had a 3.64 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over 76 2/3 innings, logging a heavy workload as a part-time starter. He only allowed four home runs but struck out 61.
Andy McGuire was another Lansing Lugnut last year, splitting time between Vancouver and Lansing, posting a 3.98 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over 20 1/3 innings with the Lugnuts, walking 11 and striking out only eight.
It’s hard to believe that Grayson Huffman has been in the Blue Jays system since 2014 after being a sixth-round pick that year. But injuries and performance issues meant that he never made it out of short-season ball, peaking with the Vancouver Canadians in 2019. He had the best numbers of his career and reports were that he was throwing in the high 90s and struck out 11.30 batters per nine innings but he also walked 20 batters in 32 2/3 innings.
Catcher Brett Wright was the Jays’ 26th-round selection in 2018 and played with the GCL and Vancouver in his two pro seasons. Last year, he hit .192/.333/.300 with eight doubles and a pair of home runs for the Canadians.
Alexis Carmona was signed on July 2, 2017 and only reached the GCL in 2019. He had a 5.81 ERA and 1.71 WHIP over 31 innings in the GCL, striking out just 15 batters and walking nine.
Catcher Matt Jones, who was signed as a minor-league free agent in the offseason, was also released.
We wish all of these players the best going forward, especially in these difficult times. While some may surface with other teams in the future, it is interesting that now, with them being released from their contracts, they might be able to find more permanent work than if they were still under contract and ineligible for things light employment insurance.
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