Obviously there is a small sample warning that comes with this assessment, but many of the young starting pitching prospects at Class A Lansing have struggled in the early going.
Besides #10 rated prospect Alberto Tirado, and the 23-year-old Kendall Graveman (who was nearly unhittable in his last start), the majority of the young starters have not responded well to their first tastes of full-season baseball.
Adonys Cardona, Chase De Jong, and Jairo Labourt all moved up directly from Bluefield in the Rookie League, and have also all been redeployed into the piggy-backing program that has been a trademark in Lansing for a few years. Cardona and DeJong have been paired up together for three starts and the tandem has yet to contribute towards a win. Cardona has posted a 5.63 ERA over 8 innings, while walking 5 batters in the process. DeJong, on the other hand, has only allowed one walk over 10.2 innings, but he has given up 14 hits and 3 homeruns, which has contributed to his humble 5.91 ERA. Labourt has been paired with Tirado, but unlike his counterpart Labourt has not been able to limit runners from crossing the plate. Neither has he been able to prevent walking batters, as he has thrown 15 walks over 9.2 innings – contributing towards his 9.31 ERA.
Jeremy Gabryszwski and Tom Robson both threw over 60 innings and spent time at Class Low A Vancouver last year, so they have been able to start independently of the piggybacking program in Lansing this year. However, the extra leash on the mound has not helped their results so far. Gabryszwski has posted a 5.17 ERA over 3 starts and, even though he did not allow a single homerun last year, he has already allowed 3 homeruns over only 15.2 innings in April. Robson’s ERA is double that of Gabryszwski’s at 11.05 over 3 starts. The troubles for him stem from that fact that he has not been to keep the ball on the ground, as the GB/FB ratio of 0.67 he has posted in April is a far cry from the 3.48 mark he posted last year.
There have been a few flashes of the struggling five turning it around (De Jong threw four scoreless innings during his last start on April 16th), and certainly no one should be pressing the panic button just yet. None of them are over 21-years-old and there are still plenty of months of baseball left to play. Still, considering a large percentage of the Blue Jays’ farm has been sold off in past trades, it would be nice to see some results, sooner rather than later, from the next crop of promising starters pitching in Lansing.