Blue Jays prospect Clinton Hollon is storming back


Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Clinton Hollon quickly became a forgotten name in the organization after being selected out of High School (Kansas) in the second round of the 2013 draft. The Blue Jays’ first selection in that draft, Phil Bickford, did not sign with the club, leaving Hollon as Toronto’s top takeaway. Elbow concerns arose in his post-draft medical process, however, which resulted in him undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing over one year of baseball.

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This again highlights the foolish lack of an MLB scouting combine or medical transparency leading up to the amateur draft, but that’s a rant for another day. From the Blue Jays’ standpoint, they’re perfectly happy to have Hollon down on the farm, and since returning from surgery earlier this year, the results have been extremely encouraging.

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Still very young at 20 years old, and a new father, the 6’1″ Hollon began the year pitching for the Vancouver Canadians where he started nine games, throwing 45.1 innings. The right-hander limited opposing hitters to a .223 average, posting a 3.18 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He’s been able to work his fastball back to the level we saw coming out of High School, too, which flirts with the mid-90s and features a sinking motion that could develop into a dominant primary offering.

Hollon recently made the jump to the Lansing Lugnuts, which has been a hotbed for prospect talent throughout 2015. In two starts, he’s made some serious noise. His combined 11.2 innings of shutout ball has grabbed the attention of the organization, especially his debut start at the level where he pitched 7.0 innings of one-hit ball.

The foundation of Hollon’s pitching arsenal is there, and while I’d like to see his curveball and changeup develop into swing-and-miss pitches at higher levels in the minors, his health is all the Jays should be worried about at this point. If Hollon is able to finish out the season strong, the current number 13 prospect in Toronto’s system could crack the back end of the top-10 in next season’s rankings.

Mechanics and control will be the name of the game over the next two years for Hollon, especially with a delivery that includes a heavy dose of moving parts. The action on his fastball should allow him to pound the zone and avoid the free passes, which has the potential to set up Hollon for a fast rise. The Blue Jays cupboard isn’t bare yet, folks. Far from it.

Next: Is a Gold Glove in Kevin Pillar's future?

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