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Baby Jays Week in Review & What’s Next

Baby Jays of the Week - Alek Manoah & Zach Britton

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays-Media Day USA TODAY NETWORK

As we head into week 2 of the minor league season, this is a quick check in on where the 4 affiliates are at, what is going on this week and any oddities that come up.

Buffalo - 4-2, 3rd in AAA East, 1 GB

Buffalo welcomes the Rochester Red Wings to Trenton for their second “home”stand of the year. Rochester had a rough go of things in week 1 as they went 1-5 against Lehigh Valley. Rochester is an affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

The Thunder Bisons of Trentalo showed some solid pitching during their opening series, allowing 2.83 runs per game. The pitching staff allowed 6.7 H/9 and less than 1 HR per 9 during the first series. They also were able to strike out 13.2 batter/9 and strike out 4.16 per walk. Most of those numbers will lead to some wins, which is why Buffalo was the top affiliate last week.

On offense, Buffalo averaged 5.50 runs per game, showing some pop with 8 HR’s. There were some red flags as the lineup only took 20 walks versus 71 strikeouts. It will be interesting to see if Buffalo’s bats can continue to do damage against Rochester’s pitchers who struggled missing bats in week 1.

Buffalo’s lineup all put up some solid numbers last week, but the top performer was Christian Colon with a 272 wRC+ and a .500/.615/1.000 batting line. All told, Buffalo currently has 9 regulars with a wRC+ over 100 (Rowdy also makes that list as well) but we are talking 10-27 PA’s.

On the mound, the biggest story last week was Alek Manoah’s debut (6 IP, 12K’s). Conner Overton & Taylor Saucedo also had good weeks, allowing no earned runs over 6 & 5.1 IP’s respectively. Jacob Waguespack had the worst line of the week, allowing 5 earned runs in 4 innings, but he also struck out 9 batters, which leads the numbers to believe he under performed.

YTD Leaders
Hits - Cullen Large (10)
HR - Logan Warmoth & Riley Adams (2)
wOBA - Christian Colon (.614)
wRC+ - Colon (272)
IP - Alek Manoah, Connor Overton, Nick Allgeyer (6)
K - Manoah (12)
FIP - Jacob Waguspack (-0.25)

New Hampshire - 1-5 - 4th in AA Northeast, 4 GB

New Hampshire was expected to be the affiliate to watch for the Blue Jays in 2021, but the first week did not go well. This week New Hampshire is home (the only club in the organization who is actually playing their games in their home stadium right now) to take on the Somerset Patriots, the Yankees AA affiliate.

New Hampshire struggled on the mound and at the plate in week 1, which has led to a 5 game losing streak after an opening night win. New Hampshire allowed 6.83 runs per game last week, allowing 48 hits and 28 walks in the 6 games, while striking out 56 batters. Offensively, the Fisher Cats scored 5.17 runs each game on a line of .240/.351/.348.

At the plate, the best start to the year goes to Gabriel Moreno, as the 21 year-old catcher hit .412/.500/.588 for a wRC+ of 197. Moreno had 7 hits, including 3 doubles, and 3 walks versus 4 strikeouts last week. Strikeouts were an issue for a lot of the lineup, as 6 batters have K% of over 30% through one week, small sample size invoked. Austin Martin acquitted himself well in his first week in pro ball, with a .235/.435/.471 line, good for a wRC+ of 152. Otto Lopez & Jordan Groshans didn’t have as good of a start to 2021, as both sit with wRC+ below average. Lopez hit a pretty empty .269/.321/.308, rocking a 35.7% K-rate. Groshans has been taking walks, but is sitting at .182/.333/.227 through the first week, though it was his first game action in 2 years.

On the mound, there weren’t a lot of positives for the week, though there are a lot of pitchers with a K/9 of over 10 through their handfuls of innings. Simeon Woods Richardson struck out 8 over his first start of 4 innings. Zach Logue made two starts and struck out 13 batters, but also gave up 2 HR’s.

YTD Leaders
Hits - Otto Lopez, Demi Orimoloye, Kevin Vicuna & Gabriel Moreno (7)
HR - Brock Lundquist (1)
wOBA - Moreno (.497)
wRC+ - Moreno (197)
IP - Zach Logue (9.2)
K - Logue (13)
FIP - Mike Ellenbest (-0.39)

Vancouver - 3-3 - 3rd in High-A West 1.5 GB

Vancouver’s foray into full season ball began last week with a series against the Tri-City Dust Devils. The Canadians took the final 2 games to finish the series at .500. This week the C’s host Spokane, an affiliate of Cleveland sharing the same team name, in their home-away-from-home in Hillsboro

Vancouver was able to put up 4.67 runs per game, while allowing 5.17 in week 1. The pitchers were able to limit hits relatively well, but walked quite a few batters. On offense, Vancouver showed a lot of patience, working 44 walks versus 66 strike outs (both of which were best in the organization last week).

The top hitter for the C’s was Ryan Gold, who put up a .353/.500/.588 slash line, good for a 196 wRC+. Gold took a lot of walks, but still struck out regularly in week 1. Spencer Horwitz also had a decent week, as he was able to work 8 walks in just 23 PA’s. Of Horwitz’ 4 hits, 2 were doubles. The Jays top ranked position player with Vancouver, Will Robertson, had a rough week ending it with a wRC+ of 0. Robertson struggled with K’s (11) and didn’t do much else in week 1.

On the pitching side, Adam Kloffenstein had a decent start to 2021 as he made 2 starts. Kloff was held to 6.2 innings, but he allowed 0 runs on 4 hits and 6 walks, while striking out 8. In both starts pitch counts were around 65, but Kloff got there quickly. CJ Van Eyk also had his pro debut this past week, and it did not go well. Van Eyk allowed 4 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in 0.2 innings. Van Eyk also had 2 wild pitches. Hagen Danner made his pitching debut for Vancouver and went 2 innings to pick up a save. Danner faced 7 batters, hitting 1 and striking out 4.

YTD Leaders
Hits - Ryan Gold & Tanner Kirwer (6)
HR - Tanner Kirwer (1)
wOBA - Gold (.491)
wRC+ - Gold (196)
IP - Adam Kloffenstein (6.2)
K - Kloffenstein (8)
FIP - Hagen Danner (1.32)

Dunedin - 1-5 - 6th in Low-A Southeast, 4 GB

Dunedin’s week did not have a good start, as the pitching staff struggled mightily against Tampa, opening the year with a 5 game losing streak, before winning the final game of the series. Dunedin’s pitchers allowed 13 runs per game, allowing 66 earned runs over 49 innings. The pitchers allowed a lot of loud contact and a lot of walks, though they did strike out a fair number of hitters.

The positive of week 1 was that the Dunedin bats were decent, putting up 7.83 runs per game, showing some pop and taking walks. Seeing how the D-Jays bounce back in week 2 will be interesting as they “welcome” the Bradenton Marauders, low-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, to Clearwater for Dunedin’s first home stand of 2021.

The offense last week was led by Zach Britton & Eric Rivera, though both would be considered old for the level. Britton had a strong organization debut, hitting .412/.600/.765 and putting up 3 doubles, 1 HR and 7 walks. Rivera played less, but was able to get 6 hits and 4 walks in 15 plate appearances, which led to a .545/.667/.545 line. Prospect side, Miguel Hiraldo had an average week with a wRC+ of 100. Orelvis Martinez struggled getting hits, but showed good patience as he picked up 6 walks on a .150/.346/.300 slash line. It’s positive to see the eye for a 19 year old.

As noted above, it was a rough week for the pitchers, as most had a hard time finding the strike zone. The worst luck belonged to Yosver Zulueta, the Cuban who signed with the Jays, who knew he required Tommy John. After some showings in spring training where he hit upper 90’s, Zulueta was 3 pitches into his start when he blew his leg out covering first base, and was lost for the season. Rafael Ohashi made his debut, throwing 3 no-hit innings, while striking out 4 of the 9 batters he faced. Ohashi is an 18 year-old Brazilian. Roither Hernandez also had a strong week, striking out half of the 14 batters he faced in 2 relief appearances. Hernandez gave up 2 hits on the week.

YTD Leaders
Hits - Miguel Hiraldo (8)
HR - PK Morris & Addison Barger (2)
wOBA - Zach Britton (.603)
wRC+ - Britton (232)
IP - William Gaston (6)
K - Gabriel Ponce (9)
FIP - Rafael Monsion (-0.04)

Baby Jays of the week

Pitcher - Alek Manoah - 1 start, 6 IP, 12 K’s. Manoah struck out more than half of the 22 batters he faced.

Hitter - Zach Britton - 25 PA, .412/.600/.765 slash line. 3 2B & 1 HR. 7 walks and 1 HBP

Today’s Probables

Buffalo - 7:00 pm start time - Justin Allgeyer takes the ball

New Hampshire - 6:35 pm start - Simeon Woods Richardson gets his second start of the year

Vancouver - 10:05 pm start - Starter is a TBD

Dunedin - 6:30 pm game time - Starter is TBD