Greetings from Delhi, India, where I’m spending one last day abroad before beginning the long journey back to Toronto. We’re going to sum up the last week or so in Blue Jays’ news beginning with a couple of minor league signings and look into some of the Blue Jays names that have been on some lists that MLB Pipeline has put out.
First we have to get on with the “Dull” stuff as the Blue Jays re-signed free agent Ryan Dull to a minor league deal with an invite to major league camp. Dull, 30, first made the major leagues at 25 with the Oakland A’s, getting into 13 games in 2015 before having a strong season in 2016 with the A’s, throwing 74 1/3 innings with a 2.42 ERA and 0.87 WHIP, striking out 73 and walking only 15.
Dull lost a lot of 2017 and 2018 due to injuries to his knee and shoulder, pitching a combined 67 1/3 innings in the majors for the A’s and wasn’t as effective, with a 4.81 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, striking out 66 and walking 23. Dull found himself on the waivers merry-go-round in 2019, Going from the A’s (with whom he had a 12.00 ERA in seven outings, to the Giants (with whom he only played in the minors), to the Yankees (19.29 ERA in 2 1/3 innings) to the Blue Jays with whom he finished the year and threw 1 1/3 innings. He became a free agent and re-signed with the Blue Jays on a minor league deal with an invite to big league spring training.
Don’t Pani(c)k: The Blue Jays made another signing, picking up a guy who could be 2020’s Eric Sogard. Joe Panik, a 29-year-old infielder who was a former first-round pick in 2011 by the Giants, was signed by the Blue Jays to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
Panik broke into the major leagues in 2014 with the Giants, getting into 73 games and hitting .305/.343/.368 and was an All-Star in 2015, hitting .312/.378/.455 with 27 doubles, two triples and eight home runs. He fell off in 2016 (.239/.315/.379) but had another solid season in 2017, hitting .288/.347/.421 as an everyday player for the Giants. In 2018, he hit .254/.307/.332 and split 2019 between SF (/.235/.310/.317) and the New York Mets (.277/.333/.404).
While never a power hitter, Panik offers the Blue Jays a veteran presence on the infield where he has played primarily second base where the defensive metrics seem to think he does okay. That said, his diminishing offensive output doesn’t make him a lock for a big league job in 2020, particularly since Cavan Biggio has made himself a competent second baseman who has way more offensive upside. While Panik has been exclusively a second baseman in the majors (with one game at first base for San Francisco in 2018), he has played shortstop in his minor league career, although not since 2014. With the loss of Richard Urena on waivers to Baltimore, Panik will likely compete with Brandon Drury and Breyvic Valera for a major league roster spot.
Moving over to prospect talk, MLB.com is releasing their lists of Top 10 prospects in the major leagues at each position. Nate Pearson comes in at #2 for righthanded pitchers. We know Big Nate has the potential to be a dominant ace for the Blue Jays moving forward and, if he meets that potential, he’ll bump newly-acquired Hyun-Jin Ryu into the number two spot by the end of his four-year deal. They give Nate Pearson an 80-grade for his fastball and he shares the “best fastball” tag with Michael Kopech. Pearson was second only to Detroit Tigers’ phenom Casey Mize who was named as having the “highest floor” with his combination of stuff and command.
In another article, MLB Pipeline listed each team’s best defensive prospect with that title going to Dasan Brown for the Blue Jays. MLB writes that Brown has “close to, if not elite speed that enables him to run down anything and everything in center field” but thye note that his “bat, as well as his all-around game, will require time for development.”
Despite the Blue Jays’ depth at catching prospects with Riley Adams, Alejandro Kirk, Gabriel Moreno and Philip Clarke, none made the top 10 list at catcher and none made the list at first base or lefthanded pitchers.
Also, the Blue Jays announced their “new blue” jerseys for 2020. They’re meh if you ask me. But whatever.
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