The Jays have a bunch of non-roster spring training invitations. I thought we could take a look at them and see if we think any might get some playing time with the Jays. A lot of the pitchers are types that can add to our depth, as we saw last year, you can never have too much pitching. Also the team wants the Buffalo Bisons to have a good season in the International League.
Chad Beck: Chad's had an interesting off-season. The Jays tried to drop him off the 40-man roster, and the Pirates picked him up off waivers, held him for a few moments, then tried to sneak him through waivers, we grabbed him again and this time no one claimed him off waivers, and he was outrighted. (I just set a new record for longest sentence on the site). Last year Chad filled the closer role in Vegas, putting up a 1.31 ERA in 48 innings, 39 hits, 13 walks, 24 k, with 18 saves. You might notice that his strikeout rate was pretty low. How you can put up a 1.31 ERA, while getting just a k every other inning? In Vegas yet?
He did get called up, but wasn't very successful, putting up a 6.32 ERA in 14 games. You all remember the story, Pete Rose sat with Alex Anthopoulos at a Vegas game, and told him how good Beck was. Marty Brown also told me that "Chad Beck is a good one. Good arm. Power arm. 96 mph with a good slider." But that was a couple of years ago. He's 28 now.
Dave Bush: Bush was a 2nd round pick for us, back in 2002. He made it to Toronto in 2004 and over 2 seasons he made 40 starts, going 10-15 with a 4.15 ERA. After the 2005 season, he was part of a trade with the Brewers that brought us Lyle Overbay. He spent 5 seasons in Milwaukee, going 46-69 with a 4.80 ERA in 152 games, 144 starts. Last year he pitched in Triple-A in the Phillies system. 4-3 in 11 starts.
He's starting depth, he'd be ok in Buffalo's starting rotation. He'd be well down the Jays depth chart, but if he went to Buffalo and pitched well, you never know. He's 33 now.
Justin Germano: Justin was mentioned by Alex, when listing depth starters, right after J.A. Happ and Brad Lincoln. He has had major league experience, 93 games,48 starts, spread over 7 seasons. 10-30 record, 5.27 ERA. 104 walks, 205 k in 322 innings. Last year he had a good season in Pawtucket, the Red Sox Triple-A team, 2.40 ERA in 16 starts. The Cubs traded for him, and he went 2-10, with a 6.75 ERA in 12 starts.
He doesn't throw hard, won't hit 90 with his fastball, throws a slow curve and a change. I hope our starters are healthy enough to keep Germano down in Buffalo.
Alex Hinshaw: Hinshaw is the first lefty on our list. We signed him as a free agent back in November. He's 30, he's pitched in parts of 3 MLB seasons, for the Giants, Padres and Cubs. He's made 90 relief appearances, has a 5.11 ERA, 57 walks, 85 strikeouts in 74 innings. A lefty that strikes out 10.3/9 innings has to be interesting. but then he's also walked 6.9/9.
He has a low 90's fastball, slider, curve and change. Since he's a lefty that gets that many strikeouts, he'll get lots of chances to see if he an find the strike zone.
Tommy Hottovy: Another lefty. The Jays picked him up off waivers from the Rangers, then managed to get him through waivers. He's 31. He's made 19 career major league relief appearances. His minor league career has been pretty nondescript. Soft throwing lefty sidearmer. There is a video of him throwing a pitch and making a great catch here.
Sean Nolin: Nolin is one of our best pitching prospects. He's getting the invite to let him experience he major league camp. He spent most of last year in Dunedin, making 15 starts there, before getting a late call to New Hampshire for 3 more starts. A big lefty, 6'5", we'll write a little more about him when we get to him in our top 40 prospects list.
Ramon Ortiz: Ramon's had a pretty decent career. He's played 11 seasons, has a 86-84 record with a 4.93 ERA in 296 games, 214 starts. The last 3 seasons he's been mostly in the bullpen. He's 39 now. A lot of bad things would have to happen for him to make it to the Jays
Juan Perez: Perez is a 34-year-old lefty, he's pitched a bit in 4 MLB seasons. The most he pitched was 12.1 innings, back in 2007. In total he has a 4.88 ERA in 27 relief innings, 22 walks, 31 strikeouts. He's the owner of a 3.63 ERA over 771 minor league innings, 340 walks and 800 strikeouts. More than a strikeout an inning, but a lot of walks too. He's never quite done well enough to stick in the majors. He does have a mid-90's fastball.
John Stilson: Another one of our better prospects, he was number 16 on our list. Woodman wrote about him here. Our third round draft pick in 2011. Likely to end up in the bullpen at some point. He made it to Double-A last year.
Rich Thompson: Rich is a 28-year-old right-hander from Australia. He's pitched in the majors, at least some, each of the last 6 seasons. His best was 2011, he made 44 relief appearances, putting up a 3.00 ERA, with 20 walks, and 56 strikeouts in 54 innings. He has a fastball that can hit 94, and a hard curve that gets him his strikeouts.
Last year he spent most of the season in Sacramento, the A's Triple-A, PCL team. He has a 3.34 ERA in 62 innings, allowing 46 hits, 23 walks and 58 strikeouts. At very least he would make a good addition to the Bison's bullpen, but, if there were to be injuries, calling up Thompson wouldn't be the worst thing we could do.
Claudio Vargas: Vargas is 34, he started his career with the Expos, pitching in 68 games for them over 2003 and 2004. He has a 48-40 record 8 seasons, 4.83 ERA, 217 games, 114 starts. 294 walks and 544 strikeouts in 764 innings all in the National League. He hasn't made a start in the majors since 2008 and hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010.
Neil Wagner: Wagner is 29, he pitched a total of 5 innings in the majors, in 2011 with the A's. Last year he split time between two PCL teams, Sacramento and Tucson. He had a 5.46 ERA in 62 innings, 23 walks and 56 k. He can throw hard, his fastball can hit 97. He also throws a slider and change.
So what do you think, will we see any of these guys in Toronto this year?