Yesterday featured a number of notable and/or impressive performance across the full season affiliates. In fact, but for a couple of blown saves in the 9th inning, it was almost the first organizational sweep of 2016 with the Blue Jays beating the Yankees. Without further ado, let's dig in.
Drew Hutchison had a mixed outing for Buffalo. He got off to a good, efficient start over the first 2 innings as Buffalo stakes him to a big lead. He got touched up for home runs in the 3rd and 4th innings, the former a two shot due to a leadoff walk and the latter a bomb to straightaway centre sandwiched around 3 strikeouts when it looked like he had settled in. After two quick outs in the 5th, he walked two batters, got out of the jam he created, then walked another leading off the 5th. With this pitch count pushing 100, he got a double play to clear the bases but a 2 out double meant he couldn't get through 6 innings. He threw a season high 109 pitches, with his fastball at its usual 93-94 (89-91 for the two seamer).
Hutchison exited with a 11-3 lead, and Chad Jenkins came in for what should have been an easy mopup job. Instead, he was utterly shelled, allowing the inherited runner and 6 others to score as Buffalo hung on 13-10. At this point, one imagines he's just playing out the string of his time with the Blue Jays.
Chris Rowley continues to be a fascinating story. The West Point grad got off to a quick 2016 start in the bullpen before running into a tough stretch at the end of April. Not only has he righted the ship, but he's done it with a higher degree of difficulty as a member of the starting rotation. And yesterday was his best outing yet, working into the 8th on just 87 pitches. He rolled through a perfect first two innings on just 11 pitches, and gave up just one hit and one walk against 5 strikeouts over the first 5 innings with almost all weak contact. He was touched up for 2 runs in the 6th innings as a couple ground balls found holes before a couple hard singles. It will be fascinating to follow Rowley's progress considering his unusual path, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him in New Hampshire soon.
After a couple rough outings, Sean Reid-Foley got back on the right track, going a season high 7 innings and giving up just one run in that last inning. He touched as high as 98-99 on the Lasing gun that was a couple miles hot, but was actually more like 92-94, touching 96 per Lansing broadcast Jesse Goldberg-Strassler. The on drawback was he gave up a fair bit of solid contact, allowing 3 doubles and a couple other line drive hits. But otherwise, it was a geat start both in terms of process and outcomes: he pitched ahead, missed bats, finished batters off and didn't have a ton of deep counts. And he had just one 1st inning walk, which is often his Achilles Heel.
Finally, Luis Santos turned in another great outing for New Hampshire, striking out 8 across 6 shutout innings to lower his ERA to 3.14. Santos was signed at the beginning of April 2015 after being released by Kansas City, in what looked like a pure filler move. He made 16 starts before hitting the DL, and managed to strikeout almost a batter an inning despite poor results. Now he's doing the same thing in AA to better results. Given that he's 25, a short RHP, and was already released, he's probably just another org guy. But I thought the same of Scott Copeland, and he eventually got a shot and made a few starts. If Santos keeps it up, something similar is a possibility.