The Toronto Blue Jays finalized their September call-ups late in the day on Monday, as the list of nine new Blue Jays was reported by Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. While top prospects such as Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey will inspire great excitement among Blue Jays fans, there is much to be said about the names which were excluded from this list.
The Blue Jays notably left pitchers Steve Delabar, Kyle Drabek, Rob Rasmussen, and Sergio Santos out of their September plans, signalling a youth movement in Toronto, even if only in the short-term. More importantly, this shows an effort to explore other avenues to success by the Toronto Blue Jays, as many of their older pieces have not served them well through multiple auditions. Perhaps we’ll call this the Juan Francisco Insanity Phenomenon: repeating the exact same things in baseball games and hoping for different results.
Sergio Santos’ exclusion should not cause too many sleepless nights in Toronto, as the righty reliever was outrighted to AA New Hampshire yesterday in a move that gently ends his season full of struggles.
Steve Delabar, on the other hand, may come as one of the bigger surprises. An All-Star for the Blue Jays just a year ago, Delabar was expected to only make a brief stop in Buffalo to iron out some problems when he was demoted on June 7th. Clearly, his stay lasted longer than planned. In Buffalo, Delabar showed that he had not lost his overpowering stuff, striking out 38 batters in just 28 innings. However, his control issues persisted as he allowed 18BB while posting a 1.393WHIP.
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Kyle Drabek was another name expected to be called on September 1st, after he looked sharp in a brief appearance with the Blue Jays in August. In what was becoming a feel-good story in a frustrating 2014 season, the former top prospect seemed to be back to full health and finally finding success as a reliever in AAA Buffalo.
Left-hander Rob Rasmussen had also been putting up good relief numbers in Buffalo, while posting a 3.18ERA. Through his stops in Toronto, Rasmussen showed potential to be a contributing lefty arm out of the bullpen in the future. However, in Rasmussen’s case, like in the cases of these other exclusions, perhaps the Blue Jays already feel they know what they have, and want learn about their younger, unknown arms instead.
Now within 5.5 games of the AL Wild Card, the Blue Jays can still repeat their month of May to make a serious run. These roster moves should in no way be seen as Anthopoulos and company throwing in the towel, but it does give them the option for great development and exposure opportunities should the Blue Jays slide any further. Perhaps the usage of these additions will also help expose which current Blue Jays players are not held in high regard entering the offseason, such as Colby Rasmus.
Toronto Blue Jays fans may see playoff chances fading fast, but these September call-ups leave no shortage of reasons to be excited. The Blue Jays will test-drive several high-potential young arms, who could see success down the stretch against a league of many hitters who have yet to face them. In the end, the Blue Jays may end up in the exact place they would have landed with more veteran call-ups, but encouragement lies in their decision to try a different path.