Blue Jays Pitching Prospect Update: Jon Harris keeps scoreless streak alive
This weekly series will feature Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospects and provide weekly updates on whose stock is rising, and whose is falling at all minor-league levels
Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A
Jon Harris (1-0, 1.98 ERA)
Oh, how things can change. He was written off by many frustrated Blue Jays fans who enjoy lashing out on social media after getting shelled in his first start of the season. How has he responded? With 18 straight innings without allowing an earned run (just one unearned run) over four starts. Not bad for the 2015 1st round draft pick. In his latest masterpiece, Harris pitched five innings against the South Bend Cubs and allowed two hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts. Harris is not racking up the K’s, but is generating weak contact with his sinking fastball and is consistently pounding the strike zone. Perhaps the St. Louis Blues fan is riding the wave of success his favourite hockey team has had these last few weeks.
Angel Perdomo (2-1, 2.31 ERA)
After five phenomenal starts for Perdomo, he finally has an ugly outing sitting in his game logs. The 22-year-old could not get out of the first inning on his birthday against the Quad Cities River Bandits. Perdomo recorded two outs and gave up four runs (two earned) and three walks, while picking up a strikeout. He threw just 13 of 34 pitches for strikes and the Lugnuts were unable to come back, leaving him with his first loss of the season.
In a surprising move, Perdomo came out of the bullpen in relief of Harris, five days after he was roughed up. The change of scenery paid off. Perdomo was electric and untouchable, going four hitless innings with just one walk against him and seven strikeouts. It’s safe to say Perdomo should not be too far behind his former teammate Francisco Rios in a bid for a promotion to Dunedin.
Sean Reid-Foley (2-1, 1.66 ERA)
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The former second round pick returned from a brief stint on the disabled list and pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Reid-Foley allowed two hits and four walks — an area of his game that may be a bit of a concern. While Bowling Green was unable to capitalize on his lack of control, the 20-year-old only threw 31 of his 70 pitches for strikes. If Reid-Foley can iron out his command issues, he would be tough to beat on any night, as opponents are only hitting .178 against him this season.
Conor Fisk (2-2, 4.91 ERA)
Fisk was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 24th round of the 2014 MLB draft out of Southern Mississippi University. He split his first full season in the minor leagues last year between the Vancouver Canadians, Dunedin Blue Jays, and the Lugnuts, posting a 4.34 ERA across the board. This season, Fisk has primarily pitched out of the bullpen.
After giving up at least two runs in each of his first three long relief appearances to start the year, Fisk turned in 7.2 innings of shutout baseball out of the pen in a two-game span at the end of April. He held opponents to four hits and a walk while striking out nine batters. These performances earned him a spot-start against the Cedar Rapids Kernals last week, where he pitched five scoreless innings with five strikeouts and allowed just two hits and a base on balls.
The Lugnuts may have paid for messing with a good thing, because Fisk blew up when he was sent back to the pen this week. He pitched three innings in relief against the Bowling Green Hot Rods and surrendered six runs (five earned) on seven hits and an uncharacteristic three walks. Despite the rough outing and an inflated ERA, Fisk has performed well this season and the 24-year-old is showing he has a powerful, controlled arm with 26 strikeouts and eight walks in 22 innings. It will be interesting to see how soon he gets another chance to get back on the mound as a starter for Lansing.
Dusty Isaacs (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Isaacs was tired of being ignored by the Jays Journal Weekly Pitching Prospect Updates. So, he turned in his 11th consecutive scoreless outing (just one unearned run allowed) for the Lugnuts bullpen to force his way into the conversation. At 24-years-old, Isaacs has never made a start in 96.2 innings in the minor leagues — projecting as a mid-innings reliever if he can make it to the majors. He’s walked just three batters in his 15 innings this year, while striking out 14 and giving up seven hits. He attacks hitters in the zone and is making a name for himself as a reliable late-inning reliever, at least at the class-A level.
Dunedin Blue Jays, Advanced-A
Francisco Rios (2-1, 2.04 ERA)
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Six stellar starts from Rios earned him an early promotion to the Blue Jays and he made his first start for his new team on Thursday. Rios may need some time to adjust to the tougher competition, as he had his worst start of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies affiliate Clearwater Threshers on Thursday. He allowed more than two runs for the first time this year, with a line of: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 HB, 2 BB, 6 SO. It is not out of the ordinary for a young pitcher to get hit hard with added pressure and against bigger bats after a promotion. What is promising, is he continued to miss bats and build on the outstanding strikeout total he put together in Lansing. Expect him to settle down and continue to dominate in his next start.
Kyle Westwood (0-4, 7.48 ERA)
Westwood was signed as a free agent prior to this season, two and a half weeks after being released by the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks. Westwood was originally drafted by the Astros in the 13th round in 2013 and had a sparkling 0.82 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched in his rookie season in short season A ball. In the two years after, his numbers took a hit in single-A and double-A, putting up identical 4.23 ERA’s in 132 innings each season. That was enough for the Astros to let him go and he found a home in the Blue Jays organization, where a scout clearly saw something they liked in Westwood.
Unfortunately, he has had a rough go with the Jr. Blue Jays so far. This week marked his fourth straight start where he allowed at least four runs (7,6,6,4) and lost his fourth consecutive decision. The 25-year-old out of Tarpon Springs, Fla., is throwing strikes 60% of the time and has a 14-8 strikeout to walk ratio. He is coming off a season high six K’s (previous high was three) and will look to build on that in his next start for Dunedin.
Justin Shafer (0-1, 6.48 ERA)
Shafer makes his debut on the Weekly Prospect Update after returning from the disabled list and performing well against the Clearwater Threshers. Shafer was roughed up for five runs in four innings against the Threshers on Apr. 10, and that start was immediately followed by his stint on the DL. In his return this week, he allowed one run in four and a third hitless innings, walking four batters and striking out two.
The right-hander from Lake Wales, Fla. was drafted in the eighth round in 2014 and posted a 2.96 ERA in 73 innings in Lansing last year.
Conner Greene (2-2, 3.13 ERA)
One of the Blue Jays most promising young arms has had an up-and-down season so far, and his start this week was no different. Greene walked six batters in five and two thirds, but only allowed one run in a no-decision. He also gave up six hits in the outing and had three strikeouts.
He now has 19 strikeouts and 17 walks on the season as he struggles to find anything close to the 115-39 strikeout to walk ratio (35-8 in Dunedin) he put up in 2015.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A
A good start for Santos was followed by a shaky bullpen outing, which is probably why he returned to the starting rotation this week. He responded with his strongest and longest start of the season, throwing 59 strikes on 90 pitches over seven innings. Santos allowed one run on four hit sand a pair of walks while striking out six Portland Sea Dogs batters. His success at the Double-A level is a good sign for the 25-year-old, as he is now in his sixth season in the minor leagues and needs to start separating himself from the pack if he wants it to translate to the big league level some day.
Next: Full preview and matchups: Blue Jays vs. Rangers
Shane Dawson (1-1, 2.52 ERA)
Dawson missed a start while on the 7-day-DL, but did not miss a beat as he pitched five innings and lowered his ERA in New Hampshire’s 2-1 win over Portland. While he only allowed one run, he continues to give up too many walks, and now has at least three free passes allowed in his last four starts. Dawson also gave up seven hits, but continues to find ways to get out of tough innings for the Fisher Cats, despite a 1.44 WHIP and .246 opponents batting average against this season.
Jeremy Gabryszwski (1-1, 3.12)
With 448.2 innings pitched in the minors, it’s hard to believe the right-hander from Texas is just 23-years-old, but he is. He continues to find a way onto this list with solid starts on a weekly basis. This week, Gabryszwski gave up a run on five hits and struck out five batters in six innings. He has been a model of consistency for the Fisher Cats rotation and continues to prove the Blue Jays made the right decision by sticking him with the Fisher Cats this season.