Opening Weekend has come and gone. You know what that means? It’s time to get fired up about MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. The Blue Jays have released preliminary rosters for their affiliates in Buffalo, New Hampshire, Dunedin, and Lansing. Each team will have at least one prospect worth paying attention to…
- The team’s 2018 first-round pick Jordan Groshans highlights the list of players playing for the Low-A Lugnuts and our good pal Jesse Goldberg-Strassler wrote about what to expect from the rest of the roster. Eric Pardinho, the teen who dominated rookie ball last year, will join the team later on as he’s sticking around in extended spring training due to elbow issues.
- In Single-A Dunedin, Nate Pearson will be the guy to watch as he looks to rebound after having his entire 2018 season derailed due to injury. Ryan Noda and Cal Stevenson are two under-the-radar prospects worth keeping an eye on in Dunedin.
- Given how deep the Buffalo Bisons are, the Double-A Fisher Cats will have a load of players returning from their championship-winning 2018 season. Players of interest making the jump to Double-A this year are Kevin Smith, one of the biggest breakout players in the system last year, and Patrick Murphy, who was one of the best pitchers in the Florida State League last year.
- The Triple-A Bisons are a little in flux right now given the injuries to pitchers at the Major League levels. When the Jays have all their ideals pitchers back, Sean Reid-Foley, Thomas Pannone, and Trent Thornton will join fellow prospects Jacob Waguespack, Jordan Romano, and David Paulino in Buffalo. Vlad Jr. will obviously be the big draw for the few weeks, but after he gets called up this will be Bo Bichette’s team.
- If you don’t want to read about all of the individual minor league teams, you can instead read MiLB’s Prospect Primer on the Blue Jays system.
The story from the first weekend of the season was certainly the excellence of Toronto’s starting pitching. Marcus Stroman, Matt Shoemaker, Aaron Sanchez, and rookie Trent Thornton combined to go 24 innings without allowing a run. Stroman and Sanchez are really the keys to the season for the Blue Jays. If they can return to how good they were in 2017 and 2016 respectively, this team could be much better than expected. Rob Longley had an interesting piece in The Sun about Stroman and Sanchez setting aside their differences for the good of the team. Apparently the two of them wouldn’t even make eye contact over the past two seasons.
But if they do pitch well, it would also likely increase the likelihood that they’re traded to contenders for a big haul of prospects. Ken Rosenthal wrote in The Athletic about the unsigned Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel and the San Diego Padres’ desire to add another starter. Of interest, Rosenthal mentioned Stroman and Sanchez, saying…
Stroman, another pitcher the Padres have discussed, is almost certain to be traded this season, along with his teammate, righty Aaron Sanchez. Like Bauer, Stroman is under control through 2020. And also like Bauer, he excelled over seven innings in his first start of the season.
Speaking of trades, it seems the Jays almost pulled the trigger on a deal involving Kevin Pillar prior to the start of the season. The Giants are the team we already knew about kicking tires on Pillar, but apparently a few other teams have been in the mix for the veteran centre fielder’s services.
I’m sure you’ve seen this by now, but Russell Martin made his Major League pitching debut in the ninth inning of an 18-5 laugher for the Dodgers. Man, I would love to see Russ win the World Series with L.A. this fall.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 31, 2019
I’ll finish off with something good and something bad.
The good: Facebook will only air six MLB games this season. Last year, the Orwellian surveillance juggernaut aired 25 exclusive games. None of this year’s games will be exclusive. Thank fuck!
The bad: Cathal Kelly wrote one of the more confusing and random pieces you’ll read about the Blue Jays. Amidst the excitement and eternal hope of Opening Day, Kelly penned an article about, uh, things like the Jays being loaded with faceless nobodies and fans being good enough to try out for the team. Uhhhh.