Now it’s time to get the latest minor league analysis up where I look at how the pitchers are doing so far.
The Bisons are doing very well this season and a big part of that is their starting corps. Andrew Albers, Scott Copeland, Chad Jenkins and Randy Wolf have each made three starts and the highest ERA among those fellows is Jenkins’s 3.55 with a 1.34 WHIP. Scott Copeland is showing people that he’s definitely ready for a major league role with a blistering start, throwing 20 innings and allowing only 13 base runners (0.65 WHIP) and having a 0.90 ERA. Andrew Albers has been solid with a 1.12 WHIP and 2.65 ERA in 17 innings while Randy Wolf’s 2.25 ERA is excellent but his 1.62 WHIP could probably come down. Austin Bibens-Dirks has made a couple of starts with less success (9.0 IP, 5.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP).
The bullpen has also been strong with outstanding performances out of Preston Guilmet (8.1 IP, 1.08 ERA, 0.84 WHIP), Steve Delabar (5.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP) and Ryan Tepera (8.1 IP, 1.08 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) while Greg Infante (3.38 ERA, 1 BB, 5.1 IP) and Bobby Korecky (3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 5.0 IP) haev been solid.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Matt Boyd came back from the offseason with added velocity thanks to a weighted ball program that has his fastball in the 93-94 mph range. He’s showed an ability to dominate so far in the Eastern League, allowing just four hits (but seven walks) in 14 1/3 innings for the Fisher Cats, leading the way with 24 strikeouts and just one unearned run allowed. His rotation-mate Taylor Cole hasn’t matched his success, putting up a 7.42 ERA and 1.80 ERA over 13 1/3 innings. On the bright side, he’s only allowed three walks and has struck out 15 but on the down side, he’s been hit very hard to the tune of two home runs among 21 hits. Mike Lee (3.57 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 17.2 innings, 10 K) and Casey Lawrence (3.57 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 11 K) have been their solid selves while John Anderson has returned to starting with 13 1/3 innings in three starts with a 4.72 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, striking out nine.
Cory Burns has the only really bloated number in the pen for the Fisher Cats with a 5.59 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in 9 2/3 innings with only five strikeouts. Greg Burke has a 3.00 ERA with 10 strikeouts and two walks in only nine innings (but 13 hits against) while Dustin Antolin (1.69 ERA, 1.12 WHIP), Danny Barnes (1.12 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 13 K), Matt West (0.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 10 K) and Blake McFarland (1.59 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, 8 K, 1 BB) have been excellent. Arik Sikula has just one appearance off the DL and Luis Perez has struggled with his control (five walks in seven innings).
Verdict: Cole won’t be that bad and Boyd (probably) won’t be that good for the rest of the year. What you see is what you get from guys like Lee, Lawrence and Anderson and all three will probably be good members of the rotation. The bullpen has the potential to be outstanding this year.
Dunedin Blue Jays
It’s been more of a mixed bag in the starting rotation for the Dunedin Blue Jays. Brad Allen has been very solid with a 3.94 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 16 innings with 11 strikeouts while Jayson Aquino has been good, posting a 2.30 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in his three starts despite a low strikeout rate. Jairo Labourt is showing his youth and inconsistency with up and down starts and has a 5.27 ERa and 1.76 WHIP over 13 2/3 innings while newly signed Luis Santos has been pretty bad, allowing 12 runs over 12 2/3 innings (8.53 ERA) with a 1.97 WHIP. Murphy Smith has been good over his two starts so far but he’s still getting stretched out so probably won’t see five inning games for another few weeks.
The bullpen is very experienced and we’re seeing some very low ERAs from this group. Wil Browning has a 1.23 ERA with an 11:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio while Jimmy Cordero has only allowed one run through 8 2/3 innings with just two walks and 10 strikeouts. Tiago da Silva has logged 12 innings with a 14:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio and Chad Girodo has nine strikeouts and two walks with one earned run in 7 2/3 innings. Of the new pitchers to the level, only Alberto Tirado is doing well after his transition to the bullpen with a 2.25 ERA through eight innings with three walks and nine strikeouts. Scott Silverstein has a 5.00 ERA through nine innings, walking four batters and striking out just six while Brady Dragmire has allowed eight runs (six earned) through 8 2/3 innings with just one walk and six strikeouts.
Verdict: It’s an interesting group without any real big names aside from Labourt and Tirado. Cordero’s ability to find control so far is encouraging and I’m a little surprised to see Dragmire’s struggles. I don’t think there’s a lot of regression to the mean to come for this bunch and we shouldn’t be surprised to see some mixed results.
The Lugnuts are going with a piggyback situation with three groups of pitchers although only one of them is actually flip-flopping. Chase De Jong was the opening day starter and has been excellent, posting a 1.84 ERA and 1.09 WHIP through 14 2/3 innings, striking out 18 and walking six. The other “full-game” starter is Chase Mallard who was hit hard in one of his starts, leading to a 5.65 ERA in 14 1/3 innings with a 1.60 WHIP but a 10:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Shane Dawson has really been the best pitcher on the club, posting a 1.80 ERA and 0.60 WHIP through 15 innings with 19 strikeouts and just four walks. His “piggymate” Starlyn Suriel has a 1.35 ERA and 0.82 WHIP over 13 1/3 innings with 12 strikeouts and three walks. Also getting starts are Conner Greene (13.2 IP, 4.61 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 3 BB, 15 K) and Sean Reid-Foley (7.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, 9 BB, 13 K).
Locked into games with Greene and Reid-Foley are Alonzo Gonzalez (11.2 IP, 3.09 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 4 BB, 17 K) and Justin Shafer (15.2 IP, 1.15 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 2 BB, 11 K) and both have been really good in relief. The rest of the bullpen hasn’t been all that great with Jose Fernandez showing the most in eight scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. Mark Biggs (9.1 IP, 4.82 ERA), Andrew Case (7.2 IP, 4.70 ERA) and Chase Wellbrock (4.1 IP, 6.23 ERA) have all gotten roughed up. Phil Kish has been very good without giving up a run in five innings so far.
Verdict: With strong performances from their full-game starters and the follow-on relievers (Gonzalez and Shafer) the bullpen hasn’t been overworked. Reid-Foley and Greene have both seen some hiccups which were coming eventually as young pitchers with work to do and De Jong, Dawson and Suriel are certainly making their case for a promotion.
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