It’s time to take a look at the Blue Jays’ organizational depth chart as it sets up heading into the offseason. We’ll go position by position and hope to chart out the Blue Jays’ minor leaguers to see who stands where. I’ve ordered the following list by projected 2020 starting level.
Here with go with starting pitchers. Starting pitchers are harder to project the lower in the minors we go and, as such, I’m not going to wade through the name of every pitcher the Blue Jays signed in the international free agent market and speculate whether he’ll be a starter or a reliever. Not gonna do it. But here is a chart for tracking starters in as complete a form as I’m willing to give you right now. One asterisk (*) means the pitcher is a lefty. Two asterisks (**) means that I think he could end up a reliever, particularly in 2020.
I’ve kept this list a little shorter than it might be, mainly because I think the Blue Jays aren’t done adding starting pitchers this offseason. Hence, Waguespack and Kay could be pushed down to Buffalo, which is going to be one crowded place for starting pitchers if everyone is healthy.
Eight pitchers for five starting spots in Buffalo? And, let’s not forget that the Blue Jays will almost certainly sign a starter or two to a minor league deal this offseason for some more depth. I think Reid-Foley, Merryweather and Perez could wind up in relief roles while Diaz could be back in Double-A. But otherwise, in a best-case scenario, a rotation of Zeuch, Pearson, Reid-Foley, Merryweather and Hatch or Sopko would be pretty good for the Bisons.
Patrick Murphy is the biggest “border” name here. He’s probably the first guy to move up to Buffalo if space in the rotation allows but he needs to show that he’s figured out his issues with his mechanics heading into 2020. He could do that in spring training and start in Buffalo but I think he spends a couple of months back in New Hampshire. I think with a very strong full season in Dunedin last year, Maximo Castillo will start opening eyes and move up to New Hampshire. Nick Allgeyer started very well last year and had a solid first full season as a pro but I think he may be dropped down to start again in Dunedin.
|Simeon Woods Richardson||DUN|
There are a couple of more pitchers who could start in New Hampshire but will likely get pushed back down to Dunedin to start the year. Of those names, Josh Winckowski is certainly the one who will be most familiar. Graham Spraker went to the Arizona Fall League last year while newly acquired Woods Richardson and Johnston will probably begin the year in Dunedin though Johnston is now 23 and should get to New Hampshire soon. I think we’re going to have a strong rotation in Dunedin with Winckowski, Woods Richardson and Alek Manoah generating a lot of buzz for the D-Jays to start the year while the “Troys” – Watson and Miller – could join them at some point.
|Juan De Paula||LAN|
I think there’s going to be a lot of competition for starting spots in Lansing and Dunedin in spring training. Fitz Stadler, Sean Wymer and Cobi Johnson all spent the season in Lansing with Wymer leading the club in innings and starts. But did they do enough to crack what’s going to be a very strong Dunedin rotation? Maybe one of them will. But we’re also going to see Eric Pardinho probably return to Lansing (unless he’s in Dunedin with better weather and under closer watch of the Jays’ training staff), Adam Kloffenstein move up as well as newly acquired Edisson Gonzalez (coming over as one of the Players to be Named Later in the Eric Sogard deal) and Juan De Paula who pitched in Lansing last year, struggling with control and injuries. Nick Fraze was also very strong in Vancouver last year and should move up, as should lefty Juan Diaz. The other pitchers on my list (Ponce and Townsend) may be in no-man’s land or the bullpen to start the year.
The list starts to get shorter (but not much) as we speculate who will move up from Bluefield or stick around in Vancouver. There will, of course, be 2020 draftees in the mix as well. I liked what I saw of Sam Ryan in Bluefield last year and he could, as a college guy with a well-developed offspeed pitch, move up to Lansing but I think he’ll be in Vancouver, as will Canadian Alex Nolan. Felipe Castaneda got hammered in limited action in Vancouver but was okay in Bluefield while Jol Concepcion looked good in Bluefield despite some injuries. I like Nathanael Perez a lot to move up and I think Lazaro Estrada will also move up to Vancouver.
A lot of these guys are on the bubble to either pitch in Bluefield or Vancouver. 2019 High school draftees Michael Dominguez and Kendall Williams could go the same route as Kloffenstein and skip over Bluefield altogether and Winder Garcia actually made a start in Vancouver after spending most of the year in the DSL and GCL. Jimmy Robbins pitched in Bluefield and if he came back, I wouldn’t entirely be surprised, but I think he might move to Vancouver. I think Roither Hernandez will also return to Bluefield.
All of these guys had decent (or better) seasons in the DSL and are primed to move up.
There’s going to be a lot of guys we haven’t heard much about so I’m not going to speculate.
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
The 2019 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is available now! Visit the Handbook page for more information!
Now is a great time to subscribe to the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2019) and may not be used without permission.