Apparently, the Toronto Blue Jays haven’t been completely idle this week as James Dykstra himself has tweeted that he has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.
With the amount of data that is available from Trackman and other things, it’s getting easier and easier for players, especially pitchers, to market themselves directly to professional teams. As can be seen in the tweet above, Dykstra thanked the Pitching Ninja, Rob Friedman, whose GIFs of the nastiest pitches go viral, for his help in putting together his highlight reel.
It helps that Dykstra is not a random “guy” off the street. Now 29, he was a former sixth-round draftee in 2013 by the Chicago White Sox who pitched in 2013 to 2016 with the White Sox system, reaching Double-A. As a swingman, he threw 102 1/3 innings in 2016 for Chicago’s Double-A affiliate, with a 4.93 ERA and 39 walks and 66 strikeouts. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League that year and was traded to Texas in December 2017 and, while he was excellent for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate in 24 2/3 innings (1.46 ERA and 19 strikeouts with four walks), he was hit hard in Triple-A, posting a 7.33 ERA and 51 strikeouts with 29 walks in 73 2/3 innings. He made five appearances with Double-A Frisco in 2018, getting hammered (11 runs on 16 hits in 6 2/3 innings) and was released.
He caught on in independent ball, pitching for Sioux City of the American Association and had solid numbers, with a 3.49 ERA and 84 strikeouts with 26 walks in 108 1/3 innings over 19 starts. He pitched for both Sugar Land and Southern Maryland in 2019, both in the Atlantic League, coming out of the bullpen and tossing 58 2/3 innings overall, striking out 56 and walking 21. He has also been pitching in the Mexican Winter League for Culiacan this winter.
According to his video, Dykstra has a high-90s fastball, a mid-80s splitter, a high-70s curve and a mid-to-high-80s slider. Likely signed on a minor league deal without an invite to spring training (although that info is still unavailable considering that the Blue Jays haven’t announced the signing yet), Dykstra provides the Blue Jays another potential bullpen arm who could come up to the majors at some point in 2020. While he’s never pitched above Triple-A, he may start in Double-A and could reach Triple-A and, if he does well, has potential for a callup at some point.
Dykstra provides more contingency arms for the Jays, particularly if the starting rotation pitches the way they did in 2019. He could be used as an opener for Charlie Montoyo and could also be called up should the bullpen get very fatigued having to pick up a lot of innings if the starters can’t get far beyond five innings on a regular basis.
Welcome to James Dykstra and let’s hope the Jays can help him maximize the talent he clearly has to help him finally reach the major leagues!
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