Asher Wojciechowski is one of the Jays fans and evaluator favorites from the 2010 draft and displayed why in his first start of the 2011 season for the Dunedin Blue Jays. Possible spurred on by Deck McGuire’s excellent outing in a previous start, he was lights out on Sunday as he threw 5 innings of shutout ball, allowing a meager 2 hits, no walks, and strikout out 2. Even more encouraging was the fact that he enduced 8 groundouts and only 2 flyouts, indicating that he did a great job keeping the ball down.
Unfortunately for Asher, he didn’t get the win – even though he pitched well enough to earn it – because Frank Francisco continued to struggle in relief. Don’t expect him back in Toronto any time soon, as he only managed 2/3 of an inning while allowing 4 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks. He didn’t strike out any and now has a ridiculously high 32.40 ERA for the season in HiA due to 6 ER in only 1.2 IP. And he was supposed to be the favorite to close in Toronto? Could it be that something is still physically wrong with him for him? It’s the only reason I can think of to explain his poor performance in HiA, so I’m just waiting for word on that well before expecting to hear about a return to Toronto. Thankfully for Jays fans, the pen has been excellent thus far in 2011 and his services won’t be missed too dearly.
Corey Patterson, who was just called up to take over CF from Rajai Davis, went 2 for 4 with a walk in support of Asher and stole his 3rd base of the season for Dunedin. Hopefully he continues to get on base and to use his speed on his return to MLB.
If Ahser keeps performing as he did in his first start, he could join McGuire up the affiliates ladder very quickly. For the Jays to have 2 pitchers just drafted the previous season doing so well in HiA in such short time is incredible and speaks to how great the draft was for the Jays. Is 2012 too early to expect their presence be felt in Toronto? I don’t think so if their first 2011 outings are an indication of things to come. I do believe that it will depend on how quickly they make it to AA and whether they are able to dominate at that level immediately. If they do have success in AA in 2011, there’s no doubt in my mind that they could both get at least a look in 2012.
As we talk about Jesse Litsch and Jo-Jo Reyes battling to keep the 5th spot in the rotation once Brandon Morrow returns, our eye must also keep a gaze a the up-and-coming Dunedin Duo. Both of them have ceilings that are much higher than Litsch or Reyes, and both could provide the Jays with a tremendous boost in the A.L. East rankings in 2012.
Keep it up Asher, and I’m sure you’ll be closer to Toronto - in New Hampshire – before the season’s done.