Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League System: Lansing Lugnuts

Alejandro Kirk

It’s time to look at the Lansing Lugnuts. The hitting has been outstanding for the Lugnuts but maybe some of the pitchers could be better as the weather warms up heading towards May.


Who’s Hot


Alejandro Kirk – Who’s leading the Lugnuts in OPS? The portly catcher from Mexico who surprises with his athleticism, plate discipline and power, that’s who. Kirk has a 1.067 OPS as he’s hitting .350/.467/.600 over the course of 75 plate appearances and has walked 14 times and struck out just four. He’s also got six doubles (tied for the team lead) and three home runs (second on the team). There are absolutely no red flags in these stats.

Jordan Groshans – Groshans, who was promoted to Lansing at the age of 19, is showing that it’s no fluke that he dominated in Rookie Ball last year. He’s hitting .358/.434/.537 with six doubles and two home runs. While his strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t as staggering as Kirk’s, there certainly nothing to worry about as he has nine walks and 16 strikeouts in 76 plate appearances.

Reggie Pruitt – I’m a big fan of Reggie’s and I’m including him to show how far he’s come since last year. In a full season with Lansing, Pruitt hit .211/.300/.304 (346 plate appearances). This year, he’s hitting .354/.413/.463 with four doubles, a triple and a home run and seven stolen bases. That said, he has struck out 26 times in 92 plate appearances and while that’s down from last year, it’s not down nearly enough to think that there’s a lot of BABIP smoke and mirrors affecting his stats (he’s got a .500 BABIP right now).

Jackson Rees – Rees has been almost unhittable and has just five hits and one walk in nine innings of work with 16 strikeouts and one unearned run. That’s some fine pitching.

Josh Winckowski – Winckowski is the club’s “ace” after winning the Pitcher of the Year award in the Northwest League last year. He’s got a 1.42 ERA, giving up just three runs in 19 innings with 18 strikeouts and nine walks. The walks are a little high but it’s good to see that Winckowski has been able to continue his excellent work at a new level.

Will McAffer hasn’t give up a run all season in 9 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts. That said, he’s walked eight batters and will need to bring that number down as he progresses in order to keep runners off the bases.

Joey Murray – Murray is the club leader in strikeouts with a whopping 29 in just 20 2/3 innings to go with eight walks. But Murray has been victimized to the tune of 10 earned runs to give him a 4.35 ERA so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s able to miss bats AND keep runs from scoring.



Who’s Not

Mc Gregory Contreras


Mc Gregory Contreras has jumped up from Vancouver and is struggling with 24 strikeouts in 53 plate appearances while hitting .224/.283/.286.

Nick Podkul is also struggling although his strikeout-to-walk rate is far better. Podul is hitting .196/.362/.217 but the huge difference between his batting average and OBP indicates that he’s walking a healthy amount with 10 walks in 58 plate appearances and just 11 strikeouts.

Mike Pascoe is coming off a solid outing in his last appearances but he’s still got a 6.75 ERA and 2.125 WHIP with six walks in eight innings. He does have 13 strikeouts, though.

Juan De Paula had a solid start in his last outing but he’s got a 7.71 ERA and a 2.07 WHIP in 14 innings with nine walks and 11 strikeouts so far with the Lugnuts.

Joey Pulido has also struggled with a 9.00 ERA in eight innings, posting a 1.875 WHIP with five walks and nine strikeouts.


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