Via the always helpful Baseball America Minor League Transactions post, we found out that the Blue Jays had another round of minor league releases just before the minor leagues opened and there were several notable players in this batch.
As you may know by now, Minor League Baseball has undergone a radical shift in how it looks. With only four teams in full-season ball plus two complex leagues (one in Florida and one in the Dominican Republic), there are fewer affiliated jobs available for minor league players in 2021 and, while the rosters for Double-A and Triple-A have expanded from 25 players to 28 players and at Single-A they’ve expanded to 30 players (meaning 16 more players have jobs in the top four levels of the minors), the Blue Jays have had to cull two full rosters from their organization.
This, it was expected that a number of players would be released as the full-season minor leagues got started on May 4 and we have a list of players the Jays let go.
In his first couple of years, Maverik Buffo was an intriguing pitcher who dazzled in his professional debut in 2017 despite being a 21-year-old pitcher in the Gulf Coast League. He spent 2018 with worse results split between Lansing and Dunedin and had some injury time in 2019 that limited him to 25 innings, mostly with Dunedin and with deteriorating results.
Mitch McKown was selected in the 21st round in 2016 and had a phenomenally bad draft year in the GCL, walking 18 batters in 7 2/3 innings. He settled down for some solid results in his second year, posting a strong year in Bluefield but spent 2018 and 2019 injured, throwing just four innings over those two seasons.
Anderson Nunez only pitched 2016 through 2018 with the Blue Jays and reached the Dunedin Blue Jays for two games in 2018. He had solid results in the rookie levels in the DSL and GCL but it looks like he missed 2019 with an injury and was let go on April 26.
Andy Ravel was a 7th round draft pick in 2016 and never really pitched the way he would have liked. He had an ERA over 5.00 and a WHIP over 1.50 in Vancouver in his draft year and struggled mightily in Lansing in 2017 despite pitching 114 1/3 innings. He moved to the bullpen in 2018 and had better success with Lansing but struggled more in Dunedin. He missed all of 2019 with an injury.
LHP Kyle Huckaby is the son of former Blue Jays catcher and minor league coach Ken Huckaby. A non-drafted free agent in 2019, Huckaby spent most of his draft year in Bluefield where he didn’t have a bad year but, as a non-drafted free agent (who was likely signed because his dad was in the organization), he probably had very little leverage heading into the 2021 season and was in tough to grab a roster spot.
1B Nick Neal was a 2019 draftee who didn’t play in his draft year because of injury. With the lost 2020 season, I would assume that the club decided to go another direction with the former 11th-round pick.
3B Angel Camacho was also drafted in 2019, in the eighth round but was a senior sign, getting just a $2500 bonus. He hit .252/.318/.374 in 115 at bats in Bluefield in 2019 and the club didn’t have room for him on a roster in 2021.
Dom Abaddessa is a gregarious young man who had a stellar 2017 season (after some poor results in 2016 in a very small sample size). After that strong 2017 in the GCL, he went to Bluefield in 2018 and had another great year, hitting over .300 with a .366 OBP. In 2019, he played 70 games between Vancouver and Lansing and had some very poor results, hitting in the .180s.
Mc Gregory Contreras is an outfielder who, at one time was a top prospect in the organization, at least according to Baseball America (#24 in the org in 2018). He’s an international free agent who had strong numbers in the DSL in 2016 and had a very solid year in Bluefield in 2017 and kept his results going in Vancouver in 2018. But in 2019, he looked lost at the plate and in the field, struggling to a .211/.260/.319 slash line in Vancouver and a .211/.268/.325 slash line in Lansing over 95 games in total.
Adrian Ramos was drafted as college player in the 19th round of the 2018 draft and he had a strong year in the GCL as a 20 year old. When he had a chance to play in Vancouver in 2019, however, he really struggled, posting a .104/.290/.157 slash line.
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