Now that I’m sort of back from the vacation in Florida, I can get on the little bit of news that happened with the Blue Jays while I was away: the Blue Jays claimed two pitchers, lefty Scott Barnes from Texas and righty Preston Guilmet from Pittsburgh.
Guilmet, 27, has 15 2/3 of major league experience in 2013 and 2014 with the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles. Guilmet was purchased by Pittsburgh on October 3 and then put on waivers last week.
On the surface, his big league numbers are not impressive (6.89 ERA), his peripheral stats are quite good in a small sample size. Guilmet struck out 12 and walked only two in 10 1/3 innings in 2014 with Baltimore but allowed six runs thanks to two home runs. His FIP was 3.91 which indicates that he can be much more successful than his ERA might suggest. In Triple-a Norfolk, Guilmet had a 3.91 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 48 1/3 innings with just 10 walks (three intentional) and 54 strikeouts.
A ninth-round draft pick, Guilmet had a very strong minor league career once he was moved to the bullpen and picked up 100 saves over five minor league seasons. Guilmet isn’t a hard thrower, averaging 89.5 mph on his fastball in 2014 but he started throwing his split-finger fastball a lot more (41.1% of the time in 2014) over his 5 1/3-inning cup of coffee in 2013 when he favoured a slider as his primary secondary offering. In 2014, Guilmet’s ground ball percentage went up significantly (from 33.3% to 41.4%) at the major league level.
Scott Barnes, also 27, was an eighth-round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2008 and made his big-league debut in May of 2012, throwing 19 innings with the Indians that season and 8 2/3 in 2013. He had significantly more problems in 2013 but had an outstanding 2014 in relief with a 3.69 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 31 2/3 innings with 16 walks and 35 strikeouts. Barnes was hurt by home runs in 2013 but solved that problem in 2014 in the minors. He did, however, have problems with the walk (as he has most of his career), walking 11.9% of the batters he faced despite a high 25.9% strikeout rate. Barnes throws a little harder than Guilmet with a fastball that average 90.6 mph in 2013, using a hard slider as his principle offspeed pitch.
Since the two pickups, Blue Jays fans are waiting for major league moves, particularly to bolster the bullpen. There are rumours that Japanese second-baseman Takashi Toritani will make a decision soon as to which major league team he will sign with. Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports that the Blue Jays have made an offer to the 33-year-old shortstop and hope that he chooses Toronto to become the every day second baseman in 2015. Kennedy reports that the Padres are offering Toritani the chance to play shortstop, hes more natural position although some around the Blue Jays’ organization (like Buck Martinez who saw Toritani at the 2013 World Baseball Classic) feel that he doesn’t have the range to play shortstop at the major league level.
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