We’re going to start our more in-depth look at the DSL Blue Jays by looking at starting 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 starter. That said, the DSL Blue Jays had a fairly stable starting corps throughout the season.
We begin with the pitchers who made the most starts 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 18-year-old righty Santos Moreno who led the DSL Blue Jays with 70 2/3 innings while posting a club best 2.04 ERA and a solid 1.06 WHIP. Moreno, who stands 5-foot-9 and hails from Hermosillo, Mexico had excellent peripherals, getting a 23.6% strikeout rate and a 5.5% walk rate while getting 49.7% of his batted balls on the ground and only gave up two home runs on the year. I would expect to see Moreno in the GCL or even Bluefield next year and he’ll certainly get a chance to play in Florida this fall in the Fall Instructional League.
Lazaro Estrada, a 19-year-old, 5-foot-10 Cuban righty dominated in DSL action. Estrada, our Pitcher of the Year, had a 2.06 ERA but a 0.86 WHIP, striking out 31.2% of batters and walking 4.3%. He didn’t have a spectacular ground ball rate (43.4%) but did get a ton of infield fly balls (23.5% of fly balls) and he gave up four home runs in his 70 innings. Estrada was also invited to Fall Instructional League and, given his advanced age, he could very well move up to Bluefield in 2019.
Ronald Govea, in his Age-17 season, made 14 appearances and started 13 games, logging 58 2/3 innings with a solid 2.30 ERA and 1.17 WHIP but, when it came to his strikeout rate of 16.9%, things weren’t as rosy despite a very strong 5.2% walk rate. Govea had a solid ground ball rate of 42.6% and he had a good FIP of 3.19 and a little worse xFIP at 3.72. Generally, with pitchers this young, it’s good to see a lower walk rate and I’m sure his strikeout rate will rise next year, in the GCL.
Alexis Carmona, a 6-foot-4 righty from Venezuela had a strong season in his professional debut. The 17 year old had a 3.36 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, stemming mostly from allowing a number of hits. He gave up two home runs while striking out 18.9% of batters and walking 6.0% in 59 innings over 13 appearances (12 starts).
20-year-old righty Junior Guzman had less success in his first professional season, posting a 5.50 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, striking out 16.4% of batters and walking 7.1%. He allowed three home runs in his 52 1/3 innings and batters seemed to pull the ball (37.2%) less than they hit it the other way (39.5%).
Mexican lefty Adrian Hernandez is a little on the small side (5-foot-9) but put up some solid numbers in his professional debut as an 18 year old. He had a 2.60 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, striking out an excellent 27.6% and walking just 9.1% over his 13 outings that included eight starts and 55 1/3 innings.. He tended to get quite a few fly balls (42.2%, with just 28.1% ground balls) and hitters seemed to not have trouble getting around on him, pulling the ball 38.6% of the the time. We’ll see how he does in the coming years.
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