With the flurry of the activity surrounding the draft now in the rear view mirror, let's segue back to the prospects already in the organization and look at what the pitching prospects have done over the last turn through the affiliate rotations.
But before that, a word about Dalton Pompey, who started the season mashing the ball before struggling the second half of April and into early May while banged up dealing with some injuries. Somewhat quietly, he's had a really hot couple of weeks and really even back a month, moving his season line to .309/.383/.376. The power's not quite there (maybe lingering/nagging injury effect), but the hits are there with good plate discipline. At this point, he's been a top prospect for a couple years and there's some prospect fatique, but it's looking more and more like he's ready if and when he's needed this year, and certainly for next year with two free agent outfielders.
Now let's get down to the actual outings. Drew Hutchison didn't pitch in this time period (he started both the day before and the day after), so there's nothing to report from Buffalo.
Jeremy Gabryszwski had a stellar outing Sunday, throwing 6 shutout innings with an excellent line. Interestingly, the more in depth metrics were pretty close to his usual, as he pounded the zone while missing and average number of bats (which is a little better than normal for him). What's most interesting to me is that according the broadcast I was listening to, his fastball was 90-91 on the stadium, and that's on top of hitting a couple 93s in Reading the start before. That's still below average velocity for a right-handed starter, but it's better than the high-80s where he's mostly been in the past to my knowledge/data and maybe enough to where he could stick as a backend starter with good enough command. He's certainly passing the AA test so far, better than I expected.
Conner Greene's outing was pretty much his season in a nutshell, okay but a step back from last year. His fastball was in the lower 90s early, but touched into the mid 90s (94-96) later in the outing. His curveball was quite effective, drawing at least four of the swings-and-misses. Taylor Cole followed him with an okay second start, he gave up a lot of hits but got nickel and dimed a little bit.
Francisco Rios wasn't quite as efficient as he has been, but still turned in a solid quality start. He didn't miss a lot of bats despite using a fair bit of offspeed pitches, with his fastball touching 93.
Justin Shafer had another brutal outing in which he got hit hard. That's his third straight horrible outing, 22 (earned) runs over 14 innings to drive his season ERA to 7.91, up from 3.77 after 6 shutout innings five starts ago. It's probably time to pull the plug on the starting experiment and see what he can do as a reliever, especially since he's consistently had a really nice GB profile.
In general, this past time through the rotation was basically more of the same. Tom Robson's rough season continued, as he was hit hard in a shot two inning start, including allowing two home runs (albeit in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the Midwest League). Some of the stats are okay, but the contact can't be overlooked. Hopefully he can figure things out, as he looked pretty promising a couple years ago before the Tommy John surgery.
Angel Perdomo had another very good start, at least the first five innings during which he struck out six and was a ground ball machine. He gave up three straight hits to start the 6th, the first of which was a comeback that hit he tried to barehand and went off his hand and which seemed to affect him. All three of those eventually scoring and being charged to Perdomo. Digging a little deeper, some of the indicators were less than dominant, as he didn't miss a ton of bats, work ahead much or really pound the zone.
Ryan Borucki had a tough outing, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits with poor K/BB numbers. The contact numbers were actually pretty solid, so there was some tough luck in there. He was in the low 90s with his fastball. Patrick Murphy followed him in his second of two extended relief outings, totalling 5 decent innings. He touched 94-95 on the stadium gun.
Last, but certainly not least, was Sean-Reid Foley, who turned in his third straight dominant start working 7 innings on 92 pitches. His fastball was 93-98 on the West Michigan gun, but even if it was a little hot, he definitely had top end velocity. Better yet, he was almost completely in control with it, pounding the zone and getting ahead, and inducing weak contact on the ground. He didn't miss any many bats as he has, but the tradeoff is worth it. There was one iffy inning when he allowed two hard hit balls and the walk, otherwise it was smooth sailing. Over his last three starts, he's pitched 21 innings allowing 9 hits and 2 walks against 19 strikeouts. Something tells me his days in Lansing are numbered....which bring me to the last topic I want to mention.
With the minor league midseason approaching, that usually means promotions are not far away. Lansing in particular has three pitchers who have generally dominated and can use new challenges in Perdomo, Harris (who went to the DL with a hip injury described as minor and is listed as a starter tonight) and Reid-Foley. Lansing has a couple double headers this week, but after that I wouldn't be surprised if promotions for all three followed in short order.
That means finding rotation spots in Dunedin, but that shouldn't be too big an issue. As discussed, Shafer is not working as a starter and can be moved to the bullpen. On top of that, yesterday the Jays released Kyle Westwood was in the rotation until Taylor Cole came off the DL. Cole should soon be good to good back to AA, which is a second slot.