The GCL Blue Jays are now underway and they’re the last Blue Jays minor league team to start playing. The roster is a mix of players who come from the US and Latin America with several DSL standouts mixing in with recently drafted players to form the nucleus to start the year.
Without any high school pitchers selected in the top rounds of the draft, the Blue Jays are probably going to rely on Latin American pitchers to carry the DSL Blue Jays. Wilfri Aleton has already dominated in his first start for the GCL Blue Jays and Lupe Chavez was excellent in the GCL last year while Juan Meza has struggled. Maximo Castillo is just 17 and got three outings in the DSL this year before moving up and Orlando Pascual, Herdenez and Espinal were all very good pitchers last year in the DSL.
The relief corps has more 2016 draftees that the starting rotation (unless some of the guys get some starts in a piggy-backing role). Bouchey, Carkuff, McKown and Fishman were all later round picks while Ouellette was a non-drafted free agent. Jimenez and Rosario come up from the DSL last year (and even with a few innings this year) while Nunez pitched in the GCL last year and Burgos has spent two seasons in Bluefield already, making his assignment to the GCL curious. Bergen pitched just two innings in Vancouver last year before an injury sidelined him and he was throwing hard in spring training but without much command.
So far, with two games under the club’s belts, Owen Spiwak has been getting the starts behind the plate. The Mississauga native is 21 and will be given a bigger role this year than last. Ryan Gold, 19, was just drafted and may be a backup while Herazo makes the jump from the Dominican Summer League and Brett Wellman has been an organizational catcher in the lower levels of the organization for the past couple of years.
Look for Vicuna, an international signee out of Venezuela, to be the everyday second baseman while second-round draft pick Bo Bichette starts his career at shortstop. Sterling Guzman and Miguel Almonte are graduates of the Blue Jays’ complex in the Dominican Republic while Monzon was a Cuban defector who moved to Spain before he was signed. David Jacob is another new draftee out of college while Alfredo Bohorquez is a 25-year-old Venezuelan whom the Blue Jays have just recently signed. I’d expect to see the most of Bichette, Vicuna, Guzman and Jacob this season.
The Blue Jays have a lot of outfielders in the GCL. Kalik May, a 23-year-old has been playing center field and has had a great start to the season (and may not stay back in the GCL for a second year). Norberto Obeso moves up from the DSL, as does Fuentes and Francisco Rodriguez. Freddy Rodriguez, on the other hand, was in Bluefield last year and has moved back to the GCL (but he’s still just 19). D.J. Daniels was the Blue Jays’ sixth round pick this year and Palacios was the Jays’ fourth rounder out of Auburn.
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