Blue Jays Pitching Prospect Update: Conner Greene stays hot in Dunedin

Feb 25, 2016; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Conner Greene throws a pitch during spring training camp at the Bobby Mattic training center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Conner Greene throws a pitch during spring training camp at the Bobby Mattic training center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-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.

Vancouver Canadians, Short-A

Justin Maese (0-1, 2.45 ERA)

The 19-year-old right-hander from El, Paso, Tex. was drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2015 MLB draft. He pitched 35.2 innings last year in the Gulf Coast League and registered an impressive 5-0 record with a 1.01 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 19-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Maese earned himself the opening day start with the Canadians and likely exceeded expectations as he gave up just one run on two hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter in five innings of work. His second start of the season was a bit rockier over the course of six innings. Six runs crossed the plate while he was on the mound, but he was only charged for two earned runs. He gave up eight hits, walked one, and struck out five.

The 6-foot-3, 190 pound righty should be an exciting arm to watch over the course of the season and is worth the hype.

Matt Smoral (0-0, 13.50 ERA)

At 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, the big lefty is an intimidating presence on the mound. He has had a rough go to start his 2016 campaign, however, after missing out on the starting rotation. The 22-year-old from Ohio has made two appearances out of the bullpen and things have not gone well so far. In two-and-two-thirds, he has surrendered four runs on two hits, four walks, and four hit batters.

Smoral was a compensation pick in 2012 and has struggled in his first few years in the minor leagues. While he has no issues racking up strikeouts, control has been a major area of concern. So far over the course of three seasons, he has walked 83 and hit 21 batters in 96.1 innings. This year could be a kind of make-or-break season for Smoral.

Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A

Angel Perdomo (2-2, 2.45 ERA)

The Midwest League all-star game made it a short week for the Lugnuts and Perdomo did not make a start. But what he did do was make an unforgettable impression on the rest of the league with just three pitches. Perdomo’s lights-out first half earned him a spot on the All-Star team and he made the most of what little chances he had in the ballgame.

Perdomo came in to relieve his teammate in the sixth inning and made his job look easy when he blew three pitches by Milwaukee Brewers catcher Mitch Ghelfi to pick up a quick strikeout.

Jon Harris (6-1, 2.36 ERA)

Harris joined his teammate at the all-star game and pitched two-thirds of the sixth inning, striking out one. But before the fun at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Iowa, Harris started against the West Michigan Whitecaps for the first time this season. He pitched six-and-a-third innings of two-run ball while allowing six hits, one walk, and striking out six. Harris threw 97 pitches — his highest pitch count of the season — which is another definitive sign that there are no injury concerns for the 22-year-old.

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Dunedin Blue Jays, Advanced-A

Conner Greene (4-4, 2.69 ERA)

It took until his 14th start of the year, but Greene finally pitched passed the sixth inning this week. It was most certainly his best start of the year and the youngster is on a roll right now, with just two runs against in 19 innings over his last three starts. He threw 91 pitches in seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and nothing but two singles, one double, and two walks against him. To top it all off, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Greene’s ERA is a season-low 2.69 and with his strikeouts up and walks down, could be ready for a promotion to Double-A to kick off the second half of the season.

Sean Reid-Foley (2-0, 0.00 ERA with Dunedin)

Coming off the most dominant start of his young career, where he racked up 12 K’s in seven scoreless innings, Reid-Foley picked up where he left off this week. He was just as effective, even without the strikeouts in his first start against the Tampa Yankees. The right-hander went six scoreless, and gave up just a pair of singles and a double with three strikeouts. Reid-Foley picked up his second win in as many starts with Dunedin and has not allowed a run since his promotion

New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A

Shane Dawson (4-3, 3.62 ERA)

It was a double-start week for the Canadian and Dawson and his games played could not have been more different. He failed to get out of the second inning in the first one as he gave up five runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks. He was lifted after throwing just 28 of 51 pitches for strikes. The lefty made amends in his second start of the week on the road against the Erie SeaWolves. That time around, he pitched five innings and allowed a run on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

This week is a fair summary of the 22-year-old’s up and down year, as he continues to discover himself against the tougher competition in Double-A ball.

on June 16.

Next: Morning Brew: Notes on Syndergaard, Saunders, more

Jeremy Gabryszwski (4-3, 3.32 ERA)

After lowering his ERA in four consecutive starts, Gabryszwski broke the streak with three runs against in five innings of work. He struck out just one batter in a rather underwhelming start in which he threw 38 of 69 pitches for strikes. The three walks were the most he has allowed in a game since he walked four on April 24. The game was just a blip on what has been a strong season for a formerly unproven pitcher.