With the All-Star Break coming, it’s time to take stock of the Blue Jays’ minor league system and see how the teams and some of the players have been doing and we’ll start at the top with the Buffalo Bisons.
At the time of this writing, the Buffalo Bisons are 44-42, in second place in the International League North Division. It’s actually surprising a bit because the Bisons have never been that great since the Jays took over the franchise, and it’s been constantly depleted with injuries at the major league level, without the type of quality minor leaguers ready to step up from lower levels.
On the Rise
Bo Bichette – Bichette had his season get off to a rough start when he broke a bone in his hand early in the year. Still, he’s posted a .309/.374/.511 slash line with 11 doubles, a triple and five home runs, stealing 12 bases in 14 attempts in 36 games. That’s pretty darn good.
Tayler Saucedo – The lefty has been at the best of his minor league career so far with the Bisons. The 26 year old has a 1.15 ERA over two levels with slightly more than half of his 54 2/3 innings in Buffalo. While he’s not striking out a lot of batters (just 15 in 28 innings with The Herd, he’s only walked six and has a 1.04 WHIP.
Thomas Pannone – Just sent back to Buffalo after giving up four runs in 4 1/3 innings with Toronto, he was actually the International League Pitcher of the Week recently and has a 2.04 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Bisons. That said, he hasn’t had a lot of success in 39 1/3 innings in the majors.
Zach Jackson – Jackson’s always put up big strikeout numbers in the minors but he’s also walked a ton of batters. This year, however, there are signs that he’s starting to reverse those trends with a 2.98 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 42 1/3 innings with Buffalo, striking out 37 and walking 20. But he’s only walked four in the last 15 1/3 innings, in which he hasn’t given up an earned run and he’s got 18 strikeouts over that span.
Jordan Romano – You’ve got to look beyond the 5.82 ERA for his 34 innings in Buffalo. The 6-foot-4 Canadian righty’s got 47 strikeouts in 34 innings with the Bisons and a solid 1.32 ERA. He’s also been victimized by home runs (seven in 34 innings in AAA); he’s only allowed two hits in the major leagues and both have been home runs. But he’s also got an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ration in the major leagues. Romano’s star is rising.
Ty Tice – Tice has come along and has done everything asked since his promotion from Double-A. He’s got a 1.64 ERA but his WHIP is high at 1.55 with seven walks in 11 innings. Still, the fact that he’s being used frequently is a good sign for the righty.
The Blue Jays have a few veterans in the minor leagues who are giving the Bisons some help. Jordan Patterson has a .787 OPS with 12 home runs while Patrick Kivelhan has a 1.017 OPS with 11 home runs for the Bisons (after hitting a few with Indianapolis and New Hampshire). Socrates Brito and Andy Burns are showing how solid veterans can contribute as well. Buddy Boshers is another guys who signed after the season started and who’s contributed some solid pitching. The lefty has a .282 ERA and 1.39 WHIP with 11 walks and 25 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.
Not Meeting Expectations
Anthony Alford – while he’s on the IL right now, Alford was showing signs of coming alive but his season slash line of .256/.340/.405 is fine but not what you want to see from a guy who needs to be pushing his way into a big league roster spot.
Richard Urena – Urena’s OPS of .659 is on the low side for a guy who has more than a cup of coffee’s worth of big league time.
Reese McGuire – Here was a guy who had a phenomenal August last year and made us wonder if there was more to McGuire than just his premium defense. But he’s got a .680 OPS and just three home runs on the year in 60 games.
Up and Down
Justin Shafer is having a strong showing in the minors but struggling a bit in the majors. Shafer has a 1.88 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with 33 strikeouts and just seven walks in Buffalo. He’s got decent numbers in the majors but eight walks in 9 1/3 innings at the big league level is not nearly enough.
Jacob Waguespack has been up and down throughout the year and has had an injury to be the icing on the cake but he’s looking to bounce back after a strong outing in the majors in his last appearance before getting sent back to the minors.
Sean Reid-Foley has a 5.87 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in the minors with a whopping 51 walks in 69 innings. He’s also had struggles in the big leagues but has also shown some upside.
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