Look, we probably shouldn’t be getting too excited about roster moves involving a reliever prospects, but hey, wouldja look at that! Tim Mayza is here!
The Jays made a series of moves this afternoon, promoting Mayza — the hard-throwing lefty who turned a lot of heads down in Dunedin this past spring — while optioning Leonel Campos back to the Bisons, outrighting Chris Smith back to Buffalo (after he cleared waivers following his D’ing FA on Saturday), and giving Taylor Cole his unconditional release.
The Cole thing is actually somewhat interesting, as it’s unusual to see a guy on the DL get released. (So much for that whole “they care about their minor league free agents and let them take free rides on the big league DL” thing, eh?) But the 40-man churn has been strong lately: Mike Bolsinger was DFA’d to give Cole a spot last week back on August 5th; Nick Tepesch was added last week as Troy Tulowitzki was moved to the 60-day DL; Smith and Chris Coghlan were D’d FA for Chris Rowley and Mike Ohlman this weekend; and now we have this Cole jettisoned for Mayza.
A-Mayza-ing! (Oh, did I already use that one? Shit.)
OK, OK, yes, it’s just a reliever. Mayza isn’t riding in to save the season by way of the bullpen (like Aaron Sanchez might?), but he’s generally regarded as one of the better arms in the Jays system (albeit with an enormous caveat in the fact that he’s not a starter).
Tim Mayza joins #BlueJays' bullpen. In 11 games at triple-A LHP pitched 19.1 innings with 16 strikeouts, 7 walks
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 14, 2017
Mayza was great in spring, struggled early in AA but has since looked great in AAA with a 0.93 ERA over 19.1 IP. #BlueJays
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 14, 2017
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) August 14, 2017
Arden Zwelling wrote about Mayza back in the spring for Sportsnet, telling us that “Mayza’s fastball is hard to ignore, especially when it’s coming out of his hand from 94-98 m.p.h. But his 84-88 m.p.h. slider has been just as enticing, and helps shape the profile the Blue Jays are clearly grooming Mayza for: a high-leverage, late-game, get-us-out-of-this-mess reliever.”
And, also back in the spring, Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun quoted John Gibbons on a Mayza outing thusly: “You saw him, that was pretty impressive. We always knew he had a good arm, just needs to harness it a little bit, throw more strikes. Everybody thinks he’s got a chance to be really, really good. That appearance, that will get your attention. Every team in baseball is looking for good left-handed relievers. Of course Cecil’s gone now, you’re always looking for those guys.”
The fact that Mayza has been succeeding while throwing multiple innings for Buffalo — as he did in Lansing in 2015, and Dunedin last year (though less so at Double-A, in either this year or last) — bodes well, if not for the fact that he could potentially have a multi-inning future in the big leagues, at least for the fact that it shows he’s been effective against right-handers as well as left-handed hitters. In fact, this season in the minors he’s been better against the former, allowing opposing right-handers a tasty slash line of just .230/.291/.352.
Walks will almost certainly be an issue for him, as he issued 15 in 33.1 innings at New Hampshire this season, before the nine over 15 innings for Buffalo, but the obvious hope is that strikeouts (he issued 42 this year in Double-A) will make up for that.
Works for me. Let’s see what he can do. Chad Girodo, we hardly knew ye!