The Bluefield Blue Jays got their season off to a stuttering start as their first game of the season was suspended due to rain after three innings. While they try to get their season under way, now is a good time to look at their roster!
This is an interesting group with newly drafted Eller and Weatherly joining a group with more pro experience. Some of these pitchers won’t end up in the starting rotation, however. Denis Diaz was a great arm for the GCL Blue Jays and Jose Espada was a largely unknown early round draftee out of Puerto Rico last year who impressed in his pro debut in the GCL. Hansel Rodriguez has a lot of potential (you can find my brief scouting report on him here) and started the first game for the Blue Jays. Nova and Gutierrez were both starters in the GCL last year although Nova only made it into five games.
Kelyn Jose has the biggest arm of this group. He can throw 100 mph but generally has no idea where it’s going. Newly drafted Alicea, Deramo, and Hall were all relievers in college and Barnett, Cox and Estevez were all throwing at, or around, this level last year. Yennsy Diaz is another arm from the Dominican Republic, having split the season in 2015 between the DSL and GCL, showing strong K/BB ratios. Gillingham may have to ply the same road as Chris Rowley after graduating from the US Naval Academy. Gillingham was one of the top NCAA Division I starters over the past two years but his service commitment (which will likely begin in August) discouraged professional teams from drafting him. Gillingham could very well start until he has to leave to join the Navy.
Garrett Custons (Military Leave)
Of these three active catchers, I would think that Matt Morgan gets about 60% of the starts, but if he struggles to hit (as he has in his professional career so far), Ridge Smith could overtake him. Cam O’Brien is almost certainly a backup unless he goes on a tear.
It’s nice to see Andrew Florides getting out of the Gulf Coast League. He wasn’t swinging the bat badly the one time I saw him in spring training. Jones is new to the Jays’ organization after the draft and Knight, Mendoza and Scott are all 2015 draftees out of college, stepping up from the GCL where none of them had a lot of success in 2015. Severino was an international signee who had some decent numbers in the GCL last year after coming over from the DSL as an 18 year old.
Of course, Vladimir Guerrero is going to be playing third base (at least for now) so judging from the Opening Day lineup, Reggie Pruitt, Edward Olivares and Earl Burl are going to be playing the outfield regularly with Sinay serving as a backup. For Burl, the Bluefield assignment is a step back after playing in Vancouver last year while for Pruitt and Olivares, it’s a step up from the GCL.
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