After the pitching staff was heavily taxed last night with six pitchers totalling 175 pitches in giving up 16 runs, the Blue Jays have not surprisingly made a move to replenish the pitching corps. What's a little more surprising is the "who", with RHP Taylor Cole getting the promotion to The Show. To open up both a spot on the 40-man and active roster, the corresponding move is Mike Bolsinger being designated for assignment
Cole, 27 (28 in two weeks), has an extensive and interesting history in the Blue Jays organization. He was drafted in the 29th round of the 2011 draft out of Brigham Young (two rounds and 60 spots ahead of Kevin Pillar), after not having played baseball while on mission, at least some of which was spent in Toronto. He had an unremarkable debut with Vancouver that year, but returned in 2012 to dominate as a starter (0.81 ERA in 66.1 innings) as a linchpin of the repeat NWL championship squad.
He spent 2013 as a starter, with pedestrian results. But promoted to Dunedin in 2014, Cole had a breakout year, posting a 3.07 ERA in 132 innings, with a sterling 171 strikeouts against just 39 walks. But continuing the mediocre odd year/standout even year pattern, his 2015 campaign in AA was just okay, with a 4.06 ERA in 164 innings and and strikeout and walk numbers that backed up.
Unfortunately, injuries marred his 2016 season, as he didn't take the mound until June and missed the last three weeks in August. But in between he had some really effective starts in New Hampshire. But again his 2017 season was derailed by injury recovery, taking the mound in early July and ending up in Buffalo a couple weeks later.
For the first time in his career, he's been working out of the pen rather than the rotation, and that's very likely where his future lies at this point. He's been very good in six non-complex ball outings, 8.2 scoreless outings with one walk against 10 strikeouts. His fastball has been in the 92-94 range, so with effective offspeed pitches (he's got a good changeup), he has potential as a MLB reliever.
I almost included Cole on the list of players I'd like to see over the rest of the season earlier this week, but left him off due to uncertainty having missed so much of the season. But this is very much in the same vein, and I will be interested to see what he can do. Cole would have been a 6-year minor league free agent after this season, so this is an opportunity to show he merits holding a 40-man spot over the winter, and if not, as an audition for the 29 other teams.