Minor League Notes: Nate Pearson and Thomas Hatch return, Logan Warmoth is now on the radar, and more!
By Cam Lewis1 year ago
What a heartbreaking pair of games we’ve just witnessed.
The Blue Jays squandered a ninth-inning lead to the Red Sox on Thursday with a bunch of Boston fans booing them at their own home park and then they lost on a grand slam in extra innings to the Rays on Friday night. Ugly, ugly stuff!
Rather than re-live those nightmares, let’s take a look at the farm for some positive news…
- There’s no doubt that the Blue Jays badly need pitching reinforcements. They really only have three starting pitchers right now and the bullpen, who did a miraculous job navigating injuries for the past month, is clearly starting to burn out. Thankfully, there seems to be help on the way. Thomas Hatch made his 2021 debut for the Thunder-Bisons on Thursday, allowing one earned run in three innings on three hits, zero walks, and four strikeouts. Hatch, of course, is currently on the 60-day Injured List and will be eligible to join the Blue Jays at the end of May. I’m not sure he’s a solution for the starting rotation but having him in that same multi-inning bullpen role again would be helpful.
- Nate Pearson is also back in the mix for the Thunder-Bisons, making his first start since his disastrous outing in Houston a couple of weeks ago. Pearson went three innings, scattering one earned run on a couple of hits. The positive here is that Pearson only walked one batter, though his ball-to-strike ratio of 23-to-35 is still a little worrying. I imagine we’ll see Pearson get an extended amount of work at the Triple-A level before he’s back up again.
- Another interesting name down in Triple-A is Logan Warmoth, the sort of forgotten former first-round pick. Warmoth was left off of the 40-man roster last year and passed through the Rule 5 draft unclaimed. Through 14 games, Warmoth is slashing a .294/.357/.887 line with three doubles and three homers and he’s playing all three outfield positions. This is far and away the best production we’ve seen from him since being drafted in 2017. It’s a small sample size and Triple-A numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt (just look at what Breyvic Valera and Christian Colon are doing) but it’s encouraging nonetheless.
- The challenge for a guy like Warmoth is that he isn’t on the 40-man and the Blue Jays are already staring down the barrel of a roster crunch when players return from injury. So even if he continues to hit well, it won’t be easy to find an opportunity for him at the big-league level. Down in New Hampshire, though, a couple of prospects on the 40-man roster are both killing it…
- Gabe Moreno, arguably the best catcher in Toronto’s catcher-heavy system, is slashing an insane .444/.519/.667 line for the Fisher Cats. With Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire on the big-league team and Riley Adams and veteran Brudsar Graterol at Triple-A, Moreno is kind of trapped at Double-A. He’s pretty clearly too good for the level but it’s difficult to say where the Blue Jays should put him. They obviously don’t want him sitting on Toronto or Buffalo’s bench.
- There’s also Otto Lopez, a 22-year-old infielder who was a bit of an out-of-the-blue addition to the 40-man last winter ahead of the Rule 5 draft. Lopez’s most recent season in the Blue Jays system before this one was spent in Low-A Lansing in 2019 but he also played Dominican winter ball in 2019 and 2020. Lopez has been hot offensively to start the season for the Fisher Cats. He’s slashing a .368/.419/.500 lines with nine doubles and seven stolen bases.
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