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McKinney, Shafer recalled to Toronto, Smoak heading to IL

One of the longest-tenured Blue Jays is heading to the Injured List, in return outfielder Billy McKinney and pitcher Justin Shafer have been recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

Joining Justin Smoak on the IL will be the infamous Edwin Jackson, who has been the target for the Jays’ recent streak of complete disaster. Jackson has a 1-5 record with a 12.43 ERA through 25.1 innings pitched — impressively horrible.

While Smoak on the other hand has been able to get base at a great rate, with a .364 OBP and hitting for a .787 OPS this season. Even though he has .225 batting average, Smoak has a career-high 16.5 BB% — his plate appearances will be surely missed on an offensively-destitute team like the Blue Jays are currently.

On the other end of the spectrum, McKinney made the lineup on the Opening Day roster but was later sent down to Buffalo with his dried-up bat and 68 wRC+ through 153 major-league plate appearances. Hitting for a .221 average and .636 OPS looks dreadful right now, but in context with the rest of the Blue Jays batters, it’s actually pretty average.

McKinney’s 5.9 BB% is the fourth-worst among Jays with at least 50 plate appearances and his 22.2 K% is actually the fourth-lowest among the same category — only Smoak, Guerrero Jr., and Sogard have a lower strikeout rate.

The final player of this four-headed transaction is pitcher Justin Shafer, a 26-year-old that was drafted by the Jays in 2014. His 3.86 ERA through only seven innings with the Jays might seem pretty solid, but small sample size and a 8.32 FIP leads opinions the other way. It’s an extremely small amount of outs so there really is no reason to judge a player on that performance.

Through 22.2 innings in Buffalo, Shafer has a 1.59 ERA, 3.57 FIP and a 9.53 K/9 demonstrates that he might be beyond that level — perhaps a true quad-A pitcher, which is definitely an improvement on what Jackson has shown so far this season.