As the title suggests, I’m currently enjoying one last vacation before the wife goes back to work and I’m tasked with looking after both the little ones on a full time basis. A prospect that scares the beejesus out of me. So forgive me if this week’s edition of Org Filler (In) seems a bit rushed. There’s more than a few beers in the fridge that have my name on them. This week, we’re taking into account all games from the 8th through the 14th of May.
Bucking the somewhat depressing trend of the big league pitchers and injuries, the minor league system has seen some key hurlers return over the last ten days. I know I mentioned Sean Nolin in last week’s edition, but two pieces of news merit attention. First, after only going three and a third innings in his first start back, the shackles were released for his second outing. On Sunday the 6’4″ left-hander was dominant over six innings against the Yankees double-A affiliate. Nolin only gave up six base-runners while striking out eight of the twenty-four hitters faced. I was going to say something flippant, like ‘if Sean has a couple of more starts like that, the Jays may have to seriously consider calling him up as the starters on the big club drop like flies’. As per Shi Davidi though, turns out a statement like that wouldn’t be flippant at all:
On one hand, I hope the situation in Toronto doesn’t necessitate a Nolin call-up, but on the other, I’d love to see how he would fare against big league hitting.
With more good news, as posted by Jay Blue in his daily wrap up, two more injured chuckers made their returns last night. John Stilson was impressive, to say the least, striking out four of the five hitters faced in his return to New Hampshire. As per Marc Hulet’s off-season write up, John was a potential first round pick that fell to the Jays in the third due to injury concerns. If you’re going to take a flyer, you have to expect a few blips. After throwing just over 104 innings last season, starting twenty-two of his thirty appearances, Stilson, and the Jays, may have to settle for a bullpen role going forward to protect his delicate right shoulder.
Sep 6, 2011; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays pitcherDustin McGowan
(29) delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox at the Rogers Centre. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 14-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Another former starter who would, after countless injuries, take any role on offer is Dustin McGowan. After his eight hundred and eleventh rehab stint, Dustin made his return with Dunedin last night. Like Stilson, he was lights out, striking out three of the four hitters he faced over a scoreless inning.
Like many Jays fans (especially since he signed that ridiculous guaranteed contract) I have had my heart broken by Dustin’s perpetual inability to stay healthy. Because of this, I’m not going to fall for this year’s incarnation of positivity being spun due to his taking up Steve Delabar‘s weighted ball throwing program. Although the Jays bullpen, Santos aside, has not been afflicted with injuries at the same rate as the starting rotation, it has been plagued with inconsistencies that McGowan could no doubt help. I just can’t bring myself to believe we’ll see him with the big club any time soon. I would love to be wrong on this one though.
In keeping with the injury theme, in the Shi Davidi (Shi must be getting sick of this, all he does is write injury updates these days) article I linked above, it mentions the Melk Man Melky Cabrera is going to have a MRI on his tight hamstring which may lead to a stint on the disable list. If this were to happen, an outfielder may need to be called up. As usual, this means Anthony Gose‘s name will be bandied about.
It shouldn’t be. In twenty-five at bats last week, Gose has struck out nine times for a 36% K rate. Although he’s walking more, upping his on base percentage to .338, I don’t think he is ready to face mlb pitching at the moment. If Cabrera’s injury is short term, as everyone hopes, Moises Sierra or even Kevin Pillar would be more suitable replacements.
Both are having very good seasons and maybe aren’t considered elite prospects like Gose. For this reason, taking them away from their every day at bats to a more limited short term role with Toronto would be considered more palatable. That being said, unless Anthony starts showing us something, he may not be considered elite for much longer.
One final note, and I can’t believe this is the first time I’m mentioning his name in this forum, but Josh Thole had another productive week in Buffalo, with six hits in five games. Maybe I’m missing something here, but a guy that is putting up a .347/.426/.537 slash line in triple A while the two catchers in the bigs struggle to get on base, shouldn’t really be in the minor leagues.
I ranted a bit last season about having Omar Vizquel waste space on the big league roster. Henry Blanco is this year’s Vizquel. I have zero idea what up-side Blanco provides to the team but it sure as hell isn’t offensive ability. In thirty plate appearances Henry has a .339 OPS. Thole has a higher on base percentage! I know he is in a different league, but surely Thole’s ability to take a walk, not strike out much, he has a 1 to 1 K/BB ratio, and lack of any glaring splits, makes him a worthwhile addition to a team currently sitting in last place in their division, six and a half games back of a playoff position with a mere seven teams to leap frog.
The Jays need all the help they can get. The return of the three pitchers mentioned above may provide value at some point this season but they really can’t be counted on for short term solutions. Promoting Josh Thole would see an immediate upgrade to the bench. I really can’t see why he’s not gone north already.