We continue our more in-depth look at the DSL Blue Jays by looking at relief pitchers. At the Rookie ball level, the distinctions between starting pitchers and relief pitchers are frequently fluid so we’re going to include anyone who made more than 50% of his appearances as a reliever (or didn’t have as many innings as someone who was a starter).
We begin with the pitchers who made the most appearances and work our way downwards from there. With the DSL club, there isn’t much to go on scouting-wise, so we’ll basically be looking at the players’ stats to help get an idea of what might be going on. If a player played for more than one team over the course of the season, he’ll be grouped according to the club he played the most with.
We begin with righty Andres Garcia, one of the youngest pitchers on the staff, who just turned 17 on July 30. The Dominican stands 5-foot-10 and is listed at 165 pounds, getting into 19 games with a 5.68 ERA and 1.89 WHIP over 31 2/3 innings, striking out just 10.0% of batters and walking 13.1% while getting 59.5% balls on the ground. Because of his age and his strikeout and walk rates, I’d say that Garcia returns to the DSL next year for some more work.
From the youngest pitcher on the DSL Jays’ staff to one of the oldest, 20-year-old Juan Martinez is a 6-foot-3, 178 pound righty from the Dominican Republic who had a rough pro debut. While his 4.35 ERA wasn’t bad and neither was his 1.48 WHIP, he walked a whopping 17.5% of batters and struck out just 11.7% while hitters had no trouble pulling the ball, hitting it to the pull side 66.0% of the time. Look for him to return to the DSL.
Joneivy Polonia, another young righty, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs in at 160 pounds, comes from the Dominican Republic and turned 17 on March 30. He also struggled in his pro debut, throwing 20 innings and posting a 6.30 ERA and 2.15 WHIP, striking out just 9.2% of batters and walking 21.1%. He did get a 56.5% ground ball rate. He’s also likely to return to the DSL.
6-foot-1 Venezuelan righty Jose Quintana was another among the group of very young pitchers for the DSL Jays, clocking in at 17 years old, having reached that age on March 19. Another youngster who walked more than he struck out, Quintana tossed 33 1/3 innings with a 3.78 ERA and 1.65 WHIP, striking out 15.8% and walking 20.4% with a 56.7% ground ball rate. Like some of his teammates, a repeat in the DSL could be in the cards if he doesn’t show more development over the winter and in DSL extended spring.
Jorman Gonzalez, a 6-foot-3 righty from Venezuela, will turn 18 on October 10 and had a rough season in his pro debut. With a 10.55 ERA and 2.20 WHIP over 21 1/3 innings, he struck out 13.9% of batters while walking 17.4%. He’ll also likely return to the DSL.
Dominican righty Francis Mercedes was a relatively late signing, joining the Jays’ organization on his 19th birthday on March 5 and was one of the older pitchers on the staff. The 5-foot-11 pitcher also had his struggles, tossing 29 innings with a 7.14 ERA and 2.07 WHIP, but he racked up strikeouts, whiffing 21.0% and walking 19.6% while getting 64.2% of balls in play on the ground. While he did struggle with control, his age and the fact that he seems to have more developed stuff than some of the younger pitchers could have him in the GCL next year.
Spanish lefty Marc Civit‘s dad played pro baseball and the 6-foot, 150 pounder was one of the better young pitchers on the DSL Jays, turning 17 on June 23. Civit tossed 31 2/3 innings with a 3.13 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, striking out 16.8% and walking just 10.5%. While he gave up more fly balls than ground balls (42.3% FB rate and 41.2% GB rate), I can see that he might be among the more advanced youngsters and could be in the GCL next year, joining a couple of Dutch pitchers who made the jump this year.
Right Raudy Sanchez is a 19-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic who stands 5-foot-11 and weighed in at 196 pounds. In his pro debut, he had a lot of control issues, walking 36.1% of the batters he faced while striking out 9.6% over 13 innings, posting an 11.77 ERA and 3.23 WHIP. Those are some pretty scary numbers and I’m almost sure that Sanchez will be given a chance to develop his stuff in the DSL some more. Usually with guys with that high of a walk rate, I’m thinking he throws pretty hard.
Venezuelan lefty Alcindo Pontes turned 17 on May 16 and went to work with the DSL Jays, throwing 11 2/3 innings with a 14.66 ERA and 2.40 WHIP, striking out just 11.1% of batters while walking 30.2%. Like Sanchez, Raudy could be a hard thrower, despite being 6-foot-1 and 162 pounds. But I think he stays in the DSL to harness some control.
Gerardo Santana, who turns 20 tomorrow, was an outfielder in the Braves system who the Blue Jays signed in March. In his first year as a pitcher, he tossed just nine innings over 12 games and had a 15.00 ERA and 3.33 WHIP, striking out just 4.7% of batters while walking 35.9%. He’s probably got a good arm and needs to figure some things out.
Junior Guzman, a 20-year-old lefty from Venezuela had a relatively strong season for the DSL Jays, tossing 25 1/3 innings with a 5.33 ERA and 1.62 WHIP,. He was hit relatively hard but still struck out 24.8% of batters and had a 6.8% walk rate. I think his .423 BABIP will regress and we’ll see better numbers from him in the future, probably in the GCL next year.
17-year-old Venezuelan righty Edgar Castro made 10 appearances and tossed 31 innings for the DSL Blue Jays, with a 4.65 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, striking out a whopping 26.2% of batters with just a 5.7% walk rate. He’s another guy who underperformed his 3.09 FIP and 2.78 xFIP and should be in line for a promotion in 2020.
Winder Garcia, another 17-year-old Venezuelan, churned through three levels of the Blue Jays season in his professional debut. He started just one game in the DSL, tossing 28 1/3 innings with a 2.54 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, striking out 27.5% and walking 8.3% before he was promoted to the GCL where he got into five games, starting three, tossing 20 innings with a 3.15 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, striking out 22.8% and walking 6.3% before starting the final game of the year in Vancouver, allowing just one run in five innings, allowing four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. While he made it to Vancouver, I’d be surprised to see him start 2020 there, rather expecting him to start the year in Bluefield.
Ronald Govea started his season in the GCL, allowing three runs over just two innings in three games, giving up five hits without walking anyone and striking out two, but two of those five hits were home runs. Govea, a 6-foot-3 righty from Venezuela who will turn 19 in October, didn’t pitch from June 26 until July 26, indicating either an injury or a mechanic revamp. He was then sent back to the DSL where he allowed two hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings of July 30 and allowed two hits and struck out one in one inning on August 2 before he was shut down for the year. If he’s healthy, I can see him back in the GCL to get another chance there.
18-year-old Dominican Argeny Ortiz made just one appearance for the DSL Blue Jays, tossing a scoreless innings on August 24, and walking two. The 6-foot-3 lefty was signed in September on 2018 and was likely not assigned due to injury or mechanical issues. I can see him back in the DSL in 2020 but much will depend on health and development.
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