We’re going to start our more in-depth look at the Dunedin Blue Jays by looking at starting pitchers. We’re going to include anyone who made 50% of his appearances as a starter, or logged enough innings to gain consideration. 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 the pitchers who made the most starts and work our way downwards from there.
Leading the Dunedin Blue Jays in starts and innings was 2018 Florida State League Pitcher of the Year Patrick Murphy. The 23-year-old righty has posted three strong seasons now since returning from injuries that plagued the beginning of his professional career and he tossed 146 2/3 innings with the Dunedin Blue Jays, providing a 2.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, striking out 22.5% of batters while walking just 8.3% and getting a very strong 59.4% of balls hit on the ground. Murphy also got a spot start in New Hampshire, tossing six innings and giving up two runs on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Murphy is eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5 draft and the Blue Jays will have to make a tough decision as his ability to throw in the high 90s (touching 98 mph) with four pitches could make him attractive to other teams if he’s not protected on the 40-man roster.
Zach Logue, 22, started his season in Lansing and excelled there, posting a 2.67 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 54 innings with a 20.7% strikeout rate and 5.2% walk rate. He was promoted to Dunedin in late May, where he made another 18 appearances (16 starts), throwing 100 1/3 innings with a very solid 3.41 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, striking out 20.2% and walking 5.5%. While he had a couple of blow-ups along the way (giving up nine runs in two-plus innings on August 8, he also had four games in which he didn’t give up a run (including two back to back in mid-July) and only gave up one hit and one walk in six innings on August 3, striking out eight and he struck out 10 in a six-inning start on August 13, bookending that blow up on August 8 with two excellent outings. Look for Logue to start in Dunedin (the Blue Jays have way too much pitching talent in the higher levels) but he could be in New Hampshire at the All-Star Break.
Yennsy Diaz was one of the most dominant pitchers in the Midwest League when the 21-year-old started the season. He struck out 10 in his debut, tossing 5 2/3 one-hit innings and allowed just one earned run all month, earning himself the MWL Pitcher of the Month award. He had one bad outing (May 5, eight runs in three-plus innings) but had three more strong starts in May before he was promoted to Dunedin towards the end of the month. Overall, in nine appearances with Lansing, he had a 2.08 ERA and 0.99 WHIP, striking out 22.0% of batters but walking 13.1%. Promoted to Dunedin, he continued his strong work, throwing 99 2/3 innings with a 3.37 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, striking out 20.3% of batters but he reduced his walk rate to just 6.9%. Diaz is another candidate to move up to New Hampshire but may start up 2019 back in Dunedin in the warm weather before moving north.
Tayler Saucedo, the 6-foot-5 Hawaiian lefty, enjoyed a tremendous amount of success for the Dunedin Blue Jays, making 15 starts and posting some of his best numbers of his career. In 85 innings, Saucedo had a 3.49 ERA and 1.13 ERA, striking out 18.9% of batters and walking only 5.2%, cutting his 2017 rate with Dunedin by more than half. He also got 56.4% of balls hit on the ground and he moved up to New Hampshire in early July where he finished his season there. While inconsistency has been Saucedo’s modus operandi as a professional, he turned things around in 2018 and while he had a 5.17 ERA and 1.52 WHIP with the Fisher Cats, striking out 13.6% of batters and walking 6.5%, he had only three starts in which he gave up more than four runs (out of 11 starts and 62 2/3 innings), providing a solid arm to eat up some innings for the Fisher Cats. Saucedo can certainly return to New Hampshire and will look to follow up a strong 2018 with some more success at the Double-A level in 2019.
The Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, Nate Pearson, had a tough season. He started the year on the DL with an oblique injury (after I saw him just dominate in spring training), and then, in his first outing of the year on May 5, he had his elbow broken by a line drive that ended his season before it really got under way. He allowed three runs (two earned) in 1 2/3 innings on five hits and struck out one before he hit the DL but got into action in the Fall Instructional League and is currently with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League and he’s allowed seven earned runs on eight hits and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings (although, according to Tim McClelland, Jackson’s dad who’s in Arizona watching the games, Pearson was thoroughly squeezed by the home plate umpire in his second game).
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!
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