Blue Jays Farm System Analysis: Starting pitching is the biggest strength of the organization
Photo credit:Fisher Cats PR
5 months ago
If there’s one position that’s thriving in the Blue Jays organization, it’s starting pitching.
Let’s start with the definition. I went through the roster and then the team’s Baseball Reference page to see which players have started games this season. The Jays utilize bulk relievers, so a guy like Nick Fraze or Luis Quiñones have started a game or two, but will be in the reliever article.
Moreover, guys like Yosver Zulueta started the season as a starter, but were eventually moved to the bullpen to pitch in a bulk role.
We’ll also cover injured pitchers/rehabing pitchers, who may end up pitching out of the bullpen. However, I’ll use their most recent full season to determine whether or not they fit as a starter or a reliever in this article.
Let’s start with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, and work our way down to the Dominican Summer League.
Buffalo Bisons’ starting pitching depth:
By my count, the Buffalo Bisons have four starting pitchers in their rotation as this article is written. Right-handed pitcher Paxton Schultz is the only starter who can be called a prospect on the Bisons’ roster, and he has a 4.20 ERA and a 6.43 FIP in 15 innings pitched with the Bisons, along with a 15.9 K% and an 11.1 BB%. With the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, he had a 3.30 ERA and a 3.03 FIP in 46.1 innings, along with a 27.3 K% and a 9.6 BB%.
Zach Thompson, a right-handed pitcher, has the most MLB experience of the bunch, owning a 4.44 ERA and a 4.42 FIP in 196.2 innings pitched. This season in Buffalo, he has a 6.31 ERA and a 6.29 FIP, along with a 15.2 K% and an 8.9 BB% in 55.2 innings pitched. Right-handed pitcher Casey Lawrence also has MLB experience, and has a 6.80 ERA and a 5.31 FIP in 96.2 innings pitched. He has a 5.18 ERA and a 5.30 FIP in 74.2 innings pitched with Buffalo this season, as well as a 22.1 K% and a 7.6 BB%.
Right-handed pitcher Wes Parsons was out of Korea heading into the season, and has posted a 7.04 ERA , a 3.95 FIP, a 30.6 K% and an 11.1 BB% in 7.2 innings pitched with Buffalo this season. He has pitched 39.2 innings in the big leagues, with a 5.67 ERA and a 6.61 FIP, last pitching in 2019 with Colorado.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ starting pitching depth:
The Double-A Fisher Cats have eight pitchers on their roster, with four of them on the injured list or on a rehab assignment. We’ll start with the injured pitchers.
Right-handed pitcher Trent Palmer underwent Tommy John surgery last August, and has yet to pitch in 2023. He had a 3.69 ERA and a 4.36 FIP in 31.2 innings with the Fisher Cats last season, along with a 24.3 K% and an 11 BB%. Right-handed pitcher Joey Murray underwent Tommy John in May 2022 and has joined the FCL Jays on a rehab assignment. Last season with New Hampshire, the 26-year-old had a 7.84 ERA and a 6.03 FIP in 20.2 innings pitched.
Trenton Wallace, a lefty, pitched with the High-A Canadians to start the season, posting a 1.79 ERA and a 3.21 FIP with a 30.1 K% and a 7.1 BB% in 40.1 innings pitched. He made two starts with New Hampshire with a 6.48 ERA, a 2.68 FIP, a 17.5 K%, and a 7.5 BB%. He’s on the 7-day IL.
Lefty Ricky Tiedemann is the best Blue Jays prospect, and he has a 4.97 ERA and a 1.55 FIP in 12.2 innings pitched in New Hampshire this season. Although the ERA is high, he has a fantastic 42.6 K%, but an elevated 13 BB%. The 20-year-old hasn’t pitched since early May due to a bicep injury.
Righty Chad Dallas is having a breakout season, and has posted a 3.27 ERA and a 4.62 FIP in 33 innings pitched with New Hampshire. The 22-year-old also has a 22.5 K% and a 10.1%, but even better numbers in High-A Vancouver, including a 36.3 K%. Adam Kloffenstein is also having a great season in Double-A, posting a 3.02 ERA and a 3.81 FIP in 62.2 innings pitched. The 22-year-old right-handed pitcher has a 25.7 K% and a 9.7 BB%.
Right-handed pitcher Sem Robberse has hit a little bit of a wall in Double-A, posting a 4.69 ERa and a 4.99 FIP in 63.1 innings pitched. The 21-year-old Dutchman has a 23.6 K% and an 8.6 BB%. Jimmy Robbins was one of the quickest rising pitchers in the organization last season, but has also hit a wall in Double-A. The 25-year-old left-handed pitcher has a 5.68 ERA and a 4.99 FIP in 52.1 innings pitched, along with a 22.5 K% and a 14.9 BB%.
Vancouver Canadians’ starting pitching depth:
The Vancouver Canadians have six starters on the active roster, with one starter rehabbing in Dunedin. Right-handed pitcher C.J. Van Eyk had Tommy John at the end of the 2021 season, and has pitched with Dunedin in his rehab assignment. He has a 0.90 ERA and a 0.90 FIP in 10 innings pitched, along with a 31.4 K% and a 5.7 BB%.
Dahian Santos, a righty, is the highest-ranked prospect of the bunch, and he has a 4.35 ERA and a 5.58 FIP in 39.1 innings pitched this season. He has struggled with the walk rate (14.7%), while his K% of 26.5% is alright. Adam Macko is another top 30 prospect on the team. The left-handed pitcher has a 6.38 ERA and a 4.42 FIP in 36.2 innings pitched. Both of these guys have nasty breaking stuff.
Righty Michael Dominguez repeated the level to start the season. The 22-year-old has a 5.01 ERA and a 5.53 FIP in 41.1 innings pitched, along with a 27.4 K% and a 17.3 BB%. Rafael Sánchez is a right-handed pitcher that signed with the Jays last May, and has posted a 6.45 ERA and a 5.50 FIP, along with a 19.8 K% and a 6.3 BB% in 22.1 innings pitched with Vancouver. He also pitched 35.2 innings with Dunedin, where he had a 2.27 ERA and a 2.93 FIP.
Devereaux Harrison is a right-handed pitcher that was drafted in 2022. Originally a reliever in both college and his first season, he’s moved to the rotation where he’s posted a 1.83 ERA and a 4.44 FIP in 39.1 innings pitched. He also has a 24.8 K% and a 12.4 BB%. Ryan Jennings was also drafted in 2022, and posted a 4.36 ERA and a 3.49 FIP in 33 innings pitched with Dunedin prior to the call up (31.7 K%, 10.1 BB%). With Vancouver, the right-handed pitcher has a 3.38 ERA and a 4.43 FIP in eight innings pitched, along with a 28.1 K% and a 9.4 BB%.
Dunedin Blue Jays’ starting pitching depth:
The Dunedin Blue Jays have seven pitchers on the roster, with one on the injured list. We’ll start with left-handed pitcher Brandon Barriera, who is one of their top pitching prospects, but also on the IL. The 2022 draftee has a 5.40 ERA and a 3.37 FIP in 13.1 innings pitched, as well as a 33.3 K% and 11.1 BB%.
Sticking with 2022 draftees, we have Pat Gallagher, a right-handed pitcher selected in the 11th round. He has a 5.57 ERA and a 4.35 FIP in 21 innings pitched, along with a 27.4 K% and a 7.1 BB%. Irv Carter was selected in 2021, and the 20-year-old righty has a 5.71 ERA and a 7.69 FIP in 17.1 innings pitched. He has a higher BB% (16.9%) than K% (15.7%).
Left-handed pitcher Kendry Rojas is nasty, with a sinker/slider/changeup mix that generates a ton of swing and miss. The 20-year-old has a 2.84 ERA and a 3.53 FIP in 44.1 innings pitched, along with a 26.1 K% and a 7.8 BB%. Eliander Alcalde is a righty who’s been okay this season, posting a 5.40 ERA and a 5.24 FIP in 41.2 innings pitched. The 19-year-old has a 23.1 K%, but a 13.2 BB%.
Rafael Ohashi is one of three Brazilians in the Jays system, and he has a 4.56 ERA and a 6.41 FIP in 51.1 innings pitched He has a career low 18.3 K%, but that stood at 28.6% last season, as well as a 10.3 BB%. Davis Feldman was signed from Fargo-Moorhead in the independent leagues, and has a 6.48 ERA and a 5.50 FIP in 8.1 innings pitched with the DJays this season. The 25-year-old righty has a 23.3 K% and a 14 BB%.
FCL Jays’ starting pitching depth:
The FCL Jays have four starters for the five days a week they play (often getting rehab players to start on the other day.) Cesar Ayala is a 20-year-old righty who missed all of 2022, but has a 1.98 ERA and a 5.94 FIP in 13.2 innings pitched, along with a 13.2 K% and 17 BB% with the FCL Jays this season. Ferenando Perez is a 19-year-old righty who has a 1 ERA and a 3.37 FIP in nine innings pitched, along with a 24.3 K% and a 8.1 BB%.
Right-handed pitcher Nolan Perry was selected in the 12th round of the 2022 draft and has a 4.73 ERA and a 3.73 FIP in 13.1 innings pitched with the FCL Jays. He has a 32.2 K% and a 10.2 BB%.Gage Stanifer was selected in the 19th round, and the 19-year-old righty has a 5.63 ERA and a 5.03 FIP in eight innings pitched, along with a 28.6 K% and a 14.3 BB%. It’s worth noting that he pitched on Thursday afternoon, and his ERA is down to 5.51.
DSL Jays’ starting pitching depth:
The DSL Jays have five starters in the rotation. Eminen Flores has been the best of the bunch, as he’s rocking a 1.80 ERA and a 3.10 FIP in 10 innings pitched. The 20-year-old righty has a 25.6 K% and a 2.6 BB%. Samuel Colmenares has a 3.52 ERA and a 5.63 FIP in 7.2 innings pitched, along with a 13.3 K% and 6.7 BB% The 18-year-old righty signed in the 2023 international free agency period.
Carlos Meza is an 18-year-old righty who has a 2.84 ERA and a 5.93 FIP in 6.1 innings pitched. He has walked more batters (13.8%) than struck out (6.9%). Rodolfo Toledano is an 18-year-old righty who has a 7.15 ERA and a 6.40 FIP in 11.1 innings pitched. He has a 10.5 K% and an 8.8 BB%.
Raudy Gomez has struggled in 2023, posting a 9 ERA (it’s up to 15 ERA after his Thursday start) and a 6.36 FIP (not updated) in 6 innings pitched. He has an 18.8 BB% and a 12.5 K%.
The state of starting pitchers in the organization:
Out of any position in the minor leagues, starting pitching has to have the most depth.
They have two high-ceiling guys in Brandon Barriera and Ricky Tiedemann. Not just that, but they’ve had a few upper-minor prospects break out in 2023, such as Chad Dallas, Adam Kloffenstein, and Paxton Schultz.
The Jays also have a lot of intriguing arms in the lower minors, such as Adam Macko, Dahian Santos, Rafael Sánchez, Devereaux Harrison, and Kendry Rojas.
Pitching is so volatile that’s it’s hard to predict the future for these guys, but the Jays have done a great job developing pitchers in the minors since the Complex was built in 2021.
Previously in the series…
Blue Jays Farm System Analysis: Looking at the catchers in the organization and finding the breakout candidates
Blue Jays Farm System Analysis: The organization loves their versatile, hit-for-average, corner infielders
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. On Saturday, we’ll look at the relievers, which will be a gigantic article in reality.
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