And now for our last roster of the Blue Jays’ full season affiliates. While I’m driving west towards Lansing, I’ll give you my look at the 2015 Opening Day roster for the Dunedin Blue Jays and this is where we start to get some of the Blue Jays’ prospects.
So who’s a surprise here? Aquino for not being in Double-A. He’s already had a full year the High-A level or higher although the results weren’t spectacular (then again, he was in the California League which is the best league for hitters in the affiliated minor leagues).
I’m surprised to see Dermody starting and Labourt skipping Lansing this year. I saw Labourt look very good in one appearance in spring training but he must have impressed someone in March.
Brad Allen and Jeremy Gabryszwski are going to log tons of innings for the D-Jays. I’m interested to see if Gabryszwski’s smoke and mirrors act will work as well in Dunedin and Allen was pretty much the most consistent pitcher for the Lugnuts last year. Both are reunited with Vince Horsman, their pitching coach from 2014 in Lansing, who is reputed to be one of the best coaches in the organization.
I’ve seen a reference to Luis Santos, a 24-year-old righty who has pitched in a couple of organization (most recently Kansas City) and has been released but I haven’t been able to confirm anything with the Dunedin Blue Jays.
UPDATE: Santos IS on the roster and Jairo Labourt is starting the opener on Thursday.
First, I’m a little surprised to see Tiago Da Silva here. I thought he’d be in Double-A but since it’s his first exposure to affiliated baseball, it may be wise to gradually work him in. The Jays have put some veterans in Dunedin after acquiring them like Austin Bibens-Dirkx so this isn’t unprecedented.
I’m very interested to see what Dragmire does. Seeing him in spring training, he was very good (after seeing him over the past two years). His velocity is up and he could be a big sleeper this year after a dominant year in Lansing last year. Cordero and Silverstein also move up with Dragmire. Silverstein actually led the Lugnuts in wins last year (despite being a reliever) and the lefty has a herky-jerky motion that lets his stuff play up. Cordero has the big velo (reportedly clocked at 102 mph last year, but I can only personally confirm 100 mph) but needs to find his command and learn how to get his slider over for strikes.
I’m a bit surprised by Tirado but he looked really good (better than I’ve ever seen him) in spring training and I think he’ll be fine in relief if his command and slider are half as good as when I saw him in March.
With Girodo and Browning back, the D-Jays are getting two experienced side-arming relievers although I think that both of them need to be tested more in Double-A.
Griffin Murphy starts on the DL. This doesn’t surprise me because I had a moment in the past few days wondering why I hadn’t seen him around in spring training.
This set up is actually exactly what I expected. There are two catchers starting on the DL in Seth Conner and Chris Schaeffer. As to what we should expect from this duo, I think they’re both going to have good years. Both catchers are better known for their defense but Reeves was really hitting the ball well when I saw him in batting practice (not that that can tell you everything) and Saez has had some pop in the past couple of years with the bat.
UPDATE: Injured catcher Max Pentecost was also added to the D-Jays’ roster on the DL.
Surprises: None. I was thinking that Dickie Joe Thon might move up to give the D-Jays the exact same infield that played in Lansing last year but it’s primarily Dean, Lugo and Nay who will get most of the starts in the field. Leblebijian comes up from Lansing as a super-utility player who will be able to contribute offensively as well.
Dantzler was probably going to stay in Dunedin thanks to a mediocre season that was hampered by injuries and Christian Lopes will have to duplicate his success in the Australian Baseball League this winter in Florida in order to earn a promotion. That leaves us with Emilio Guerrero who has been a shortstop over his career but defensive concerns had him starting to get reps at third base and in center field last season. The issue with this lineup in Dunedin is what happens with Guerrero, who has a lot of potential with the bat but hasn’t quite figured things out yet.
UPDATE: Andy Fermin, who I had been wondering about, was assigned to Dunedin while Jason Leblebijian opens the season on the DL.
As spring training went on, a lot of people were getting the feeling that Roemon Fields, the speedster whose signing went way under the radar, was getting a little helium fueled. Indeed, Fields comes out of the gate with the Dunedin Blue Jays and is very likely going to play every day in center field.
I pretty much figured that David Harris and Derrick Loveless were going to get the promotion to Dunedin and Ian Parmley played a bit in Dunedin last year and is likely going to be the fourth outfielder for the D-Jays.
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