Blue Jays Pitching Prospect Update: Top young arms exceeding expectations

Oct 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Fans line up to enter Rogers Centre prior to game three of the ALCS between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Fans line up to enter Rogers Centre prior to game three of the ALCS between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-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 (1-2, 1.96 ERA)

19-year-old Justin Maese has looked exceptional in his debut with the Canadians. In four starts, he has given up four earned runs, zero home runs, walked just one batter, and struck out 15. To finish off June, Maese went seven shutout innings as he scattered just four singles and one double while striking out four Hilssboro Hops hitters. On June 3, Maese lasted just a third of an inning after giving up a run on two hits. He threw just ten pitches and left the game after fielding a line drive early in the first inning. With information hard to come by in short season A-ball, the hope is that the young right-hander left the game as a precaution and will be set to make his fifth start this weekend for Vancouver.

Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A

Jon Harris (7-1, 2.50 ERA)

After his incredible scoreless streak was broken on May 28, Harris’ level of play came back down to earth a bit over the month of June, and it likely kept him out of a promotion to Dunedin. Having said that, he continues to pitch well with the Lugnuts and his two starts in July are a testament to that. He allowed just one earned run against a deep South Bend Cubs offence in six innings on Canada Day. He walked one and struck out four and was touched up for eight hits in the ballgame. He responded to that with seven strong innings against the Dayton Dragons. He gave up two earned runs on six hits and no walks, striking out eight. There are plenty of positives to take away from Harris’ progression over the season, including his strikeout to walk rates, which continue to improve.

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Angel Perdomo (2-3, 2.54 ERA)

On June 27, in his first start since he impressed at the All-Star game, Perdomo struck out a career high 12 batters in six and two-thirds. He threw 63 of 103 pitches for strikes and surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks. Perdomo has been racking up big strikeout numbers all season and it continued over his next two starts, even though they weren’t his best outings. He combined for four runs allowed on eight hits and four walks in seven and two-thirds over the pair of starts and struck out nine along the way. He now owns a deadly 93-32 strikeout to walk ratio in 71 innings this season. Listed at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, the 22-year-old is generating a ton of excitement throughout the organization.

Dunedin Blue Jays, Advanced-A

Francisco Rios (6-3, 1.95 ERA with Dunedin and Lansing)

The young right-hander is on quite the hot streak in Dunedin as his ERA has hit its lowest point since he was called up from Lansing on May 10. He had a start against the Clearwater Threshers and pitched six innings of one run ball, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four. The run scored against him was courtesy of a solo home run. In his latest start, Rios pitched five shutout innings in which he gave up just five hits and struck out five Brevard County Manatees batters. 2016 has been a coming out party for the 21-year-old and he continues to shine without getting the attention some of his teammates have been receiving.

Sean Reid-Foley (7-3, 2.24 ERA with Dunedin and Lansing)

At just 20 years old, Sean Reid-Foley is tearing up minor-league hitters right now and is making quite the impression on Blue Jays scouts and management. The right-hander has allowed just 11 hits in 26 and a third innings since he was promoted to pitch against tougher competition in Advanced-A. He has 32 strikeouts and six walks in that span. In his last outing against the Tampa Yankees, SRF pitched seven and a third scoreless, one-hit innings and racked up nine strikeouts. The only word to describe Reid-Foley at the moment is dominant. His stock continues to rise as the season goes on.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A

Shane Dawson (4-4, 3.63 ERA)

Dawson continues to get the job done at the Double-A level. While he has yet to pitch deep into a ball game, record more than seven strikeouts, and has walked at least two batters in all but two starts this year, he has still managed to put up respectable numbers. Dawson was not expected to go up to Double-A New Hampshire and pitch to a sub-three ERA before the season began. What he has done is pitch to his potential and continue to make strides and develop as a pitcher. The left-hander from Drayton Valley, Alb., has given up his fair share of hits, walks, and runs, but finds ways to get big outs.

He has avoided giving up the long ball for the most part this season, which has been crucial because of his 1.57 WHIP. In his latest outing, Dawson gave up four hits and four walks in just five innings, but only allowed one run to score. His seven strikeouts got him out of trouble, which has been a recurring theme for the 22-year-old.

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Conner Greene (5-4, 3.16 ERA with Dunedin and New Hampshire)

The 2013 seventh round pick was promoted to the team most people thought he would start the season. Last season, Greene was 3-1 in five starts with the Fisher Cats and had a 4.68 ERA. In two July starts with his new ball club, things have not gone according to plan. Greene has a combined nine earned runs allowed in nine and a third innings over two starts. He has given up ten hits, six walks, and recorded six strikeouts. The 21-year-old has issued at least one walk in every start so far this year. Despite the consistent free passes to opposing hitters, his ability to make quality pitches at key times have kept him in ballgames and his impressive skill set ultimately led to his promotion.