Marcus Stroman has been lighting it up for Triple-A Buffalo. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays Minor League Report: Best Hitters, Pitchers and Prospects

The Toronto Blue Jays minor league affiliates were off yesterday for Easter Sunday. With no games to cover, let’s recap some of the most impressive performers from each of the Jays’ minor league teams so far in 2014.

Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A)

Best Hitter: Juan Francisco (.341/.420/.568, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs)
Best Pitcher: Liam Hendriks (16.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 15 K, 0 BB)
Best Prospects: Marcus Stroman (16.2 IP, 1.17 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 21 K, 7 BB)

Francisco, who was recently called up to the Toronto Blue Jays, has easily been the Bisons best hitter this season and finished a home run short of the cycle on April 11. I gave Hendriks the nod over Stroman as the Bisons for two reasons 1) his 0.56 WHIP and 2) so I could list three players instead of two. Stroman was incredible his last time out and has started more games than Hendriks but hasn’t been quite as consistent as the 25-year-old Aussie.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A)

Best Hitter: Ryan Schimpf (.342/.479/.789, 5 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs)
Best Pitcher: Casey Lawrence (15.2 IP, 1.72 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 10 K, 3 BB)
Best Prospect: Aaron Sanchez (19.2 IP, 2.29 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 18 K, 10 BB)

Schimpf has been raking but at 26 can’t really be considered a “prospect”. Regardless his .789 slugging percentage is not a typo. This is another situation where I could have named Sanchez as best pitcher and best prospect but I’m giving the nod to Casey Lawrence who has only started once but has given the ‘Cats quality innings. Sanchez has been electric and when he’s on it is something to watch but did have one poor start where he hit three batters and walked four others.

Dunedin Blue Jays (High-A)

Best Hitter: Dwight Smith Jr. (.339/.379/.484, 3 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBIs)
Best Pitcher: Matt Boyd (23.0 IP, 0.39 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 25 K, 5 BB)
Best Prospect: Daniel Norris (15.0 IP, 0.60 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 17 K, 3 BB)
Honourable Mention: Dalton Pompey (.328/.391/.397, 2 2B, 3B, 6 RBIs, 8 SB)

Dunedin has easily been the most exciting of the Blue Jays’ affiliates to watch this season and several players have been putting up some impressive performances. Dwight Smith Jr. and his 30 total bases can’t be ignored. When he stays within himself and doesn’t try to overswing his contact skills are outstanding. Boyd and Norris have matched each other start for start and both have ERAs and WHIPs under one, which is ridiculously good. Pompey earns an honourable mention thanks to his high average, stellar defense and eight stolen bases.

Lansing Lugnuts (Low-A)

Best Hitter: Matthew Dean (.305/.317/.441, 5 2B, HR, 9 RBIs)
Best Pitcher: Kendall Graveman (20.1 IP, 0.44 ERA, 0.59 WHIP, 18 K, 4 BB)
Best Prospect: Mitch Nay (.316/.361/.386, 4 2B, 8 RBIs)
Honourable Mention: D.J. Davis (.275/.316/.412, 4 2B, HR, 7 RBIs, 3 SB)

I debated between Dean and Nay as better hitter but gave it to Matt based on his extra base hits and Nay fit better in the top prospect category. However Dean strikes out a lot and only has one walk to go along with his 19 Ks. Nay on the other hand has only struck out eight times and has walked four times as often as Dean. Graveman has been simply outstanding and nearly threw a no-hitter in his last appearance. Davis gets a HM but needs to improve his K:BB rate (16:3) and stolen base success rate (3/5).

All stats courtesy of MiLB.com.

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