Triple-A: Buffalo Bisons
The Bisons went 15-14 in July and currently sit four games back of first place with a 59-55, which is good for 4th place in a tight division.
The Bisons said goodbye to RHP Deck McGuire, RHP Liam Hendriks, and C Erik Kratz and hello to C/3B Sean Ochinko, LHP Sean Nolin, LHP Brad Mills, RP Sergio Santos, INF Kevin Nolan, and 1B Brett Wallace. The Blue Jays continue to utilize Bison players to fill injures and to plug holes. July saw Aaron Sanchez and Ryan Goins get called up to play an important part in the Blue Jays post All-Star break success.
Longest Win Streak: The Bisons won 7 straight between July 24th and July 30th. In the midst of the streak they had a 4 game sweep of Lehigh Valley where they outscored them 27-15.
Longest Losing Streak: The Bisons lost 7 games in row between July 10th and July 20th. They got swept by Durham and Pawtucket.
The Bisons rotation is littered with Four-A pitchers, but have seen a couple promising prospects enter the fold in the later part of July.
Kendall Graveman: After starting the year as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts Graveman has shot all the way up to Triple-A. He didn’t make a start for the Bisons in July, but I thought he was worth noting. Good luck in August.
Rahames Liz: Liz has bounced between Double-A and Triple-A this summer. Liz has made two July starts for the Bisons and went 1-0 with a 7.71 ERA over 9.1IP. Liz is a filler, nothing more.
Brad Mills: Mills was picked up from the Oakland A’s system in a move that had this fan scratching his head. This move ultimately resulted in Deck McGuire leaving the organization. If this was a trade….the Jays got screwed. In 2 starts, Mills is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 11.2IP. We all know that Mills can pitch to Triple-A batters and will get lit up in Toronto.
Sean Nolin: This guy has run into some bad luck in 2014. He would have been called up to Toronto at some point had he not been injured, but he is healthy now. Nolin made one July start and it was a good one. He pitched 6.0 innings of shutout ball, while striking out 3 and walking one. With Nolin pitching around 70 innings, don’t be surprised to see him get called up to Toronto….sooner than later.
Raul Valdes: Valdes is another filler game that started as a RP and has recently been moved to the rotation. Valdes made five starts in July and went 1-2 with a 3.51ERA. Not too bad. Valdes showed good command with only 7 walks in 26 innings, but he is a fly ball pitcher and was victimised by the long ball. Valdes owned a 0.68 GO/AO ratio and served up 3 long balls in July.
P.J. Walters: P.J. is another retread that we have eating up innings in Buffalo while we wait for Daniel Norris to get the call to Buffalo. Walters got lit up in July with a 1-2 record and 6.32ERA. He allowed 22 runs over 31.1IP. Opponent hit .308 and 4 home runs off Walters last month. Come on Graveman steal this job.
Steve Delabar: Delabar made 10 appearances which was good for a 1-2 record with a 4.38 ERA. He allowed 4 HR in 12.1IP, but was able to limit the walks and opponents only managed a .227 average. Not ready to get the call just yet.
Kyle Drabek: Kyle lost his starter status in June and made 8 appearances in July as a RP. He pitched 10.1IP while holding opponents to a solid .238 average. His control has been markedly better as a RP with only 2 walks and 11K’s in July. His GO.AO ratio is a solid 1.63 and he didn’t allow a single home run in July. Drabek may have found his calling.
Bobby Korecky: The Bisons closer converted 7 saves in July and was 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA. It is really too bad that he got lit up in Toronto.
Rob Rasmussen: Rob must be able to do the trip from Buffalo to Toronto in his sleep. Rob made 7 appearances for the Bisons in July and went 1-0 with a 2.25ERA. Rob held opponents to a .179 average and showed excellent control by walking one and striking out 12 in 8 innings of work. Don’t get comfy in Buffalo Robby because i think I hear the phoning ringing.
Sergio Santos: Santos was DFA’ed and was sent to Buffalo. I think that AA wanted another team to claim Santos, but that didn’t happen. Santos made 2 appearances and only allowed a hit in 2.0IP. He will have to do a lot more if he hopes to be re-added to the 40-man roster again.
Ryan Tepera– Ryan made 9 appearance and worked 11.2IP, which was good for a 2-0, 2.31ERA record. Ryan continues to show good command with 2 walks and 12K in July. He now has 20 walks and 58K in 51.2IP.
Mike Zagurski: Mike is a vet that the Bisons love to use. He made 12 appearances and went 1-1, 1.72ERA over 15.2IP. Mike walked 4 and struck out 21 while shuting down opponents to a tune of .211.
Adron Chambers: Chambers made 5 appearances for the Bisons in July. He his .333/.429/.444 with a 3BB and 4K. Not bad for a Quad-A player.
Brad Glenn– Glenn has come back to earth after having an out of body experience in May and June. Glenn hit .232/.280/.377 with 2HR and 13 RBI, while walking 5 and striking out 16 times. Glenn made his Major League debute for the Jays in July and…well…he looked over matched. Glenn will have to have a better August if he hopes to get another shot at the Big Leagues in 2014.
Darin Mastroianni: Darin spent most of July with Toronto but is back with the Bisons. He hit .214/.343/.321 in 8 games. If I were a betting man, I would say Darin has seen his last at bat with Toronto.
Kevin Pillar: Well the trade Deadline came and went and Pillar is still a Bison. I thought that Pillar was going to be packaged in any deal that Toronto made. With that said, Pillar continues to wear out Triple-A pitching. Pillar hit .313/.352/.522 with 5HR and 19RBI while playing everyday (29G). Pillar was more aggressive on the bases with 10SB and only one CS. He hit 9 extra base hit and walked 7 while striking out 15 times. Hey Gibby get over yourself and bring Pillar back.
SS Jonathan Diaz: Diaz had a good July. He hit .273/.333/.333 in 24 games. Over his past 10 games Diaz has been on fire with a .355/.417/.387 slash, so let’s hope that continues as the Bisons continue to push for the wildcard.
3B Jared Goedert: Jared struggled mightily in July. In 21 games, he his .200/.291/.329 with 17 strikeouts.
1B/DH Andy LaRoche: After a solid June I thought LaRoche would continue to push his way towards a bench spot with Toronto. The exact opposite happened. Andy struggle in his 17 games and hit .207/.246/.379 while hitting 2HR and driving in 7. You don’t need a crystal ball to know that a promotion is not likely in Andy’s immediate future.
SS/2B Kevin Nolan: Nolan was called up from New Hampshire near the end of July and got into 7 games. He hit .259/.286/.259. Nolan needs to show better discipline at the plate as he only walked once and struck out 4 times. Nolan should stay in Buffalo for the rest of 2014 and should start taking playing time away from Diaz.
2B/3B Ryan Schimpf– Schimpf has been getting more time at second with Ryan Goins being call-up to Toronto. Schimpf has shown that he has some power in that bat with 5 HR in July. He hit 4 doubles and a triple, but strikes out too much (20) and doesn’t walk enough (9). He hit a sad .195/.298/.451 in 25 games. I keep waiting for Ryan to string together a few long hit streaks to show that he belongs in Triple-A, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening.
Brett Wallace: Brett was picked up off the scrap heap and struggled in his first couple of games. He appeared in 10 games for the Bisons in July and hit .265/.342/.353 with a HR and 4RBI.
A.J. Jimenez: With Erik Kratz being moved prior to the trade deadline, A.J. is no doubt the next opinion if one of Toronto’s catchers go down. Jimenez doesn’t hit for power but he did run into one in July which as it turns out was his first in over 60 Triple-A games and 230 at-bats. A.J. hit .243/.309/.346 in 23 games, but appeared more patient at the plate with 9 walks and 14 strike outs.
Pitcher to watch: I would keep an eye on Sean Nolin. He has struggled with injures which has limited the number of innings he’s pitched. This might actually end up being a blessing in disguise for Nolin, what with Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez all seemingly nearing their innings limit. If Nolan can put another pair of quality starts together I expect to see him get called-up before September.
Hitter to watch: None other than Kevin Pillar. Pillar deserves to be with the Blue Jays and he continues to demonstrate it by wearing out Triple-A pitchers. I would also keep an eye on Ryan Schimpf. He hit 5 home runs in July and 3 of those came in his past 10 games. Could this be the streak that I have been waiting for….I hope so.