Timing is an interesting thing. I was in Buffalo last week and actually didn’t get a chance to interview Ryan Goins although I was trying to get a chance. And here he goes, not even a week later, getting promoted to the Toronto Blue Jays due to the Maicer Izturis injury. Call it an opportunity missed.
The Blue Jays also re-signed Ryan Langerhans to a minor league deal to help out the Buffalo Bisons in their playoff push which is (due to the fact that half the position players) dying a painful death.
Anyways, back to Goins. He’s been having a fairly solid season in Buffalo, his first exposure to Triple-A baseball. He’s hitting .257/.311/.369 with 22 doubles, a triple and 6 home runs in 418 plate appearances. He’s also been providing very good defense for the Bisons (mostly at shortstop with a few games here and there at second base) but has been slumping at the plate, putting up OPSs of .653 and .523 in the months of July and August (respectively). It’s obvious that this promotion is happening out of necessity and not because he’s deserving. I don’t expect to see him getting much playing time with Munenori Kawasaki‘s ability to play second base. Goins is up simply as a backup and because he was already on the 40-man roster.
This brings us to the question of what’s been happening to the Bisons. With injuries to Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Maicer Izturis and the trading away of Emilio Bonifacio, the Blue Jays have promoted the entire Bisons outfield (Kevin Pillar, Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra) along with Goins and Kawasaki.
Last night in Buffalo, they had an outfield of Ricardo Nanita in left, Ryan Langerhans in center and Brad Glenn in right. Glenn had been recently called up to Buffalo from New Hampshire but I’m sure you’re asking if the Jays have some position players stashed in New Hampshire that could help out for Buffalo’s playoff push.
The answer is that they absolutely do. Remember Lance Zawadzki? Yeah. The guy who started spring training off on an absolute tear. Well, he’s actually down in New Hampshire after being on the disabled list for quite a while. He hasn’t hit much (.228/.290/.246) but has had only 63 plate appearances.
There’s also team home run leader Ryan Schimpf (who I’ve written about before) who has 22 home runs but is only hitting .207/.340/.432. While the batting average is horrendous, Schimpf is the epitome of a Three-True-Outcome player as can be seen by the high home run totals plus 74 walks and 125 strikeouts in 486 plate appearances. Schimpf can play second and third (although I’m not so sure how well).
Andy Burns started off in Double-A slowly but has really come on strong lately and is currently riding a 13-game hitting streak. He has a tantalizing combination of power and speed (7 HRs and 10 SB in 54 games with New Hampshire) and over the last 28 days, he’s hitting .296/.343/.531.
Finally, on the infield, there’s Kevin Nolan who was an Eastern League All-Star this year and has put up a respectable .261/.322/.386 line with 9 home runs. He’s been unspectacular at the plate (although he’s had some outstanding individual games) but he’s been very steady all season.
Don’t forget Adam Loewen who has been in Double-A all season and has really come on strongly since a poor April. He’s hit 15 home runs and has stolen ten bases to go with his .267/.363/.446 line. Why isn’t Adam Loewen in Buffalo, especially considering that he played there last year as a member of the Mets’ organization?
So why haven’t any of these players been giving the call to go up to Buffalo? I think the first and foremost reason is that the Fisher Cats are making a run for an Eastern League playoff spot. They’re 2 1/2 games behind the Trenton Thunder for second place in the Eastern Division. If they can catch Trenton they’ll make the playoffs.
The fact that the Jays signed Ryan Langerhans to play in Buffalo really says this strongly to me that the Jays want to keep as many New Hampshire guys in place until the end of the playoff run. They’ve already promoted A.J. Jimenez, Brad Glenn and Sean Nolin and I don’t see too many more on the horizon.
I think Nolan will stay put at least until the end of the season (and perhaps repeat the year there, depending on the strength of Buffalo’s middle infield in 2014) and Burns is probably not a candidate to move up another level this year, despite his recent success in Double-A. Schimpf will stay where he is as well. There are a lot of veteran pitchers in Triple-A that would be able to exploit his tendency to strike out and, while I wouldn’t rule out a call up in 2014, I think he remains in Manchester for now.
That leaves us with Adam Loewen and Lance Zawadzki. I can see Zawadzki getting the call (if anyone moves up). He was slotted for Buffalo at the beginning of the season anyway and can play several infield positions.
As far as Adam Loewen goes, the only reason that I could think of that he would stay in New Hampshire is to help with the playoff push. He doesn’t have anything left to prove at that level and, all things being equal, should already have been promoted.
What do you think? Who deserves a shot at the next level?