Today, we’ll bring you an update on the Toronto Blue Jays who are playing in Winter Leagues around the world, starting with the four farmhands who are in Australia and then with some of Latin American leagues.
First, we have some news about some minor league signings. IF Jonathan Diaz (see below), RHP Michael Broadway and RHP Marcus Walden to minor league contracts and all three will get an invitation to major league Spring Training.
Catcher Jack Murphy is up near the team leaders in batting average with a .333/.400/.444 mark through 27 at bats. He’s got three doubles, four RBI, three walks and five strikeouts so far this season.
Second baseman Jon Berti had a better week and is hitting .292/.414/.458 in 24 at bats with a double, a home run, four walks, three strikeouts and has stolen seven bases without being caught. Shortstop Shane Opitz had a good week and is now hitting .269/.269/.308. The concern with Opitz is that he hasn’t taken a walk over 26 at bats and has struck out five times. Center fielder Mike Crouse is also not hitting for much power, hitting .269/.300/.269 with 26 at bats. Crouse had driven in seven runs and scored two and has walked twice but struck out eight times.
Over in the Dominican Republic, lefty reliever Juan Perez has pitched a third of an inning while rehabbing his torn elbow ligament. The 35 year old has signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays and remains in the club’s system.
Jonathan Diaz, the 28-year-old Floridian is tearing up the Dominican League with Gigantes del Cibao, hitting .352/.527/.481 in 54 at bats. He has four doubles, a home run and 15 walks to go with 11 strikeouts. The Blue Jays just announced today that Diaz signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays (and got an invite to Spring Training).
Also playing for Gigantes del Cibao, Moises Sierra had a huge week and is now hitting .333/.420/.567 in 60 at bats with two doubles, four home runs, 11 RBI, seven walks and 17 strikeouts.
Playing for Leones del Escogido, prospect Sean Nolin had a great start this week on November 8, throwing six shutout innings, giving up just two hits and two walks and striking out five. Overall, he has a 3.06 ERA with 15 hits against and six walks while striking out 19 in 17 2/3 innings.
Teammate Mickey Storey continues to dominate, throwing three and a third shutout innings this week. Overall, Storey has a 1.04 ERA over 8 2/3 innings and has giving up just four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.
Newly arrived in the Dominican for Winter League action is A-ball player Carlos Ramirez. A Santo Domingo native, the 22 year old has started one game and is one for four overall with two strikeouts. Ramirez is one of the toolsier players in the Blue Jays organization with good speed, excellent power and a cannon of an arm in right field. He has yet to put it all together and after the season in Lansing, Ramirez was hitting .228/.297/.375 with 7 HRs but 27 doubles.
In the Puerto Rican League (Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente), Arik Sikula, last seen pitching for the Lansing Lugnuts, has thrown four innings for Cangrejeros de Santurce. He’s got a 2.25 ERA with two saves and has given up three hits and one walk while striking out three. He’s teammates with shortstop Dickie Thon, who played for the Vancouver Canadians until an ankle injury ended his season. Thon has only had three at bats and has no hits to show for it and two strikeouts. Playing for Criollos de Caguas, Efrain Nieves (also last seen in Lansing) has thrown four and a third innings with a 4.15 ERA, four hits and five walks with six strikeouts.
In Venezuela, 18 year old Jonathan Torres hasn’t pitched in over a week, still having a 4.50 ERA over four innings with four hits, three walks and two strikeouts. Playing for Tiburones de La Guaira, outfielder Brad Glenn is having a rough time, hitting .176/.222/.176 in 17 at bats so far. He’s driven in two runs, taken a walk and struck out four times.