Blue Jays Pitching Prospect Update: Conner Greene looking for his 2015 form

Mar 5, 2016; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Conner Greene (70) signs autographs as he leaves the field during the eighth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2016; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Conner Greene (70) signs autographs as he leaves the field during the eighth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

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

Tayler Saucedo (2-5, 4.38 ERA)

Since Rios’ promotion to Advanced-A Dunedin, Saucedo has filled his spot in the rotation and seems to be getting more comfortable as the season progresses. Saucedo is going through a stretch of four starts with at least five innings pitched and no home runs allowed. His start this week was his best and longest of the season. He went seven scoreless innings with just four hits and a walk against him. Saucedo struck out four batters and lowered his WHIP from 1.31 to 1.23 in just one start.

Saucedo was drafted in round 21 last year and if he can continue to improve and pitch like he is in this stretch, even if it is at the Class A level, he could be a guy that makes Blue Jays scouts look very good.

Angel Perdomo (2-1, 1.45 ERA)

One hit in seven scoreless innings for Perdomo. He is having quite the time in Lansing right now, cruising through the season with a 1.45 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 1.42 opponents batting average, one home run against, and a 54-20 strikeout to walk ratio in 43.1 innings.

He has been part of a remarkable one-two punch atop the Lugnuts rotation and is giving Blue Jays fans something exciting to look forward to after so many young arms were moved at last years trade deadline.

Jon Harris (3-1, 2.43 ERA)

Time for the ol’ “he’s human” cliche. Harris’ streak of 32 innings without an earned run was snapped when he was charged for seven runs in five and a third in his first start of the week. He was hit hard by a strong South Bend Cubs offence and surrendered nine hits, a home run, and four walks before giving way to the bullpen.

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Continuing his human form, Harris was cruising through his second start of the week on Thursday before leaving after the fifth inning with an undisclosed injury. Harris left his team in position to win as he allowed just a run and struck out four before giving way to Starlyn Suriel and the rest of the Lugnuts bullpen. Last years first round pick made some changes to his mechanics, which has led to his success over the past several weeks. Hopefully his injury is nothing to be overly concerned with.

Dunedin Blue Jays, Advanced-A

Francisco Rios (3-2, 2.36 ERA)

The young Mexican-born prospect was dominant in his most impressive start since his call to Dunedin, and possibly in his professional career. Rios went the distance and gave up just one run in his complete game effort against the Daytona Tortugas. He allowed seven hits and a walk, while striking out three in the ball game and needed just 91 pitches to record 27 outs.

In his second start of the week, Rios pitched well enough to get his team the win against those same Tortugas. It was not the classic low-walk, high-strikeout performance we have become accustomed to seeing from the young right-hander, but Rios got the job done nonetheless. He pitched six innings and gave up just one run on five hits against a struggling Daytona team. Rios struck out three and walked four — the first time he walked more than he struck out all season. Being able to limit the opposing hitters even when the stuff isn’t there is a mature and encouraging sign from the 21-year-old.

Conner Greene (2-4, 3.29 ERA)

11 starts into the season, Greene has still not left a game without a run against him. He failed to get out of the fourth inning this week and the scary word “regression” is starting to be thrown around, depending how hard you look. Greene has not been awful this season by any stretch of the imagination, but he has been overwhelmingly average. He has not pitched more than six innings all season and has been unable to escape the third inning in his last two starts. He will need to begin where he left off last season when he was pitching against tougher competition in New Hampshire if he wants to put his name back into the September baseball conversation.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A

Shane Dawson (2-2, 3.72 ERA)

It was also a two-start week for lefty Shane Dawson and the Canadian nearly duplicated a pair of solid performances. Game number one saw Dawson go six innings against the Reading Fightin Phils. He allowed one run on four hits and a frightening five walks. His four strikeouts got him out of trouble.

In his second start against the Harrisburg Senators, he kept it fairly similar with another six innings, one run, four hits, three strikeouts, but he improved with just two walks on the night. Dawson threw 60 of 91 pitches for strikes (66%), as opposed to 44 of 88 (50%) in his previous outing.

His two game pattern this week is a small sample of what he has done all season — a model of consistency and (mostly) avoiding the big inning.

Next: 2016 Blue Jays MLB Draft Primer

Jeremy Gabryszwski (3-2, 3.80 ERA)

After an exciting start to the year for the overlooked 23-year-old right-hander, Gabryszwski has come back down to earth over his last three starts. This week was a slight improvement, but certainly not on par with what he was doing in his first month of the year.

Gabryszwki was hit for five runs, but just two were earned against the Senators in five and two-thirds. He gave up five hits, walked one, and hit a batter, while striking out three. The former second round draft pick has not been pitching poorly, but has fallen off the mark from what was getting him noticed early on. He needs to get back to pitching six plus innings and five plus strikeouts, but the five consecutive starts with one walk or less is a positive sign.