Jumping to Conclusions – April Edition
By Craig Borden
Reinforcements are on the way
The Blue Jays had there share of injuries prior to spring training and have yet to see some of them return. An offseason shoulder procedure on Devon Travis has left openings for other players to slide into their roles. Ryan Goins has taken over the majority of starting reps for Travis since last season but the upside of Travis is higher because of his offensive output.
Last season through 62 games and often playing with a bad shoulder, Travis hit .302 with eight homers and 35 RBI. Ryan Goins has played 25 games in the first month of the season and hitting a .160 with a home run and 4 RBI.
Defensively, Goins is a wizard and has been a great combo for Tulo on double plays. The issue is that Travis can play solid defence as well and still be productive with the bat. Having Travis’ production in the lineup will extend the threats for offence in an already potent lineup. Travis is currently in extended spring training and working toward his return from shoulder surgery.
We all are aware of the bullpen issues but we have been working with some quadruple-A players in the ranks. These pitchers provide great depth for the organization, but many would not have guessed they would have made the big league club out of spring training. Franklin Morales was signed by the Jays late and will hopefully be a key contributor once he returns from arm fatigue. Last season for the Royals Morales provided left handed stability out of the pen and pitched 62.1 innings with a 3.18 ERA. He also only walked 14 hitters and struck out 41. These are some numbers that the Jays desperately could use in the back end of games.
The Blue Jays also have Aaron Loup gearing up for his return. If Loup could regain some of the magic that he had in 2014 where he threw 68.2 innings with a 3.15 ERA the Jays will have a solid pen for the bulk of the season. It would be even better if Loup can continue to improve his K to walk rate. In 2014 he allowed 30 walks over 68.2 innings and in 2015 he allowed 7 over 42.1 innings.
There are also some hot hitters in Buffalo at the moment that might have made some Major League teams that are not as deep as the Blue Jays. Jesus Montero, and Matt Dominguez prior to his promotion, have been lighting up the pitchers in the International League.
Montero just had a 13-game hitting streak snapped and currently has a .322 batting average with 2 homers and 13 RBIs. Dominguez was raking as well and it earned him a call up to the Blue Jays to be a reserve player. Prior to the promotion he was batting .311 with two home runs and 14 RBIs. The Bisons also have former MLB standouts in Domonic Brown and Casey Kotchman along with young talent in Dalton Pompey. On the pitching side the Bisons have had strong showings from Drew Hutchison, Scott Diamond, and Wade LeBlanc.
The depth of talent in triple-A is rather impressive and the Jays have some key parts coming back in the near future.
Next: Starters have been sitting down opposition