The Toronto Blue Jays have had many partners in among their organization over the past few years. This four-part series will help you with some past and present information on the Jays’ single-A teams and up.
The Lansing Lugnuts are the single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Midwest League. This full-season team has been part of the Blue Jays system since 2005 and has a rather historic track record. The team was founded as the Lafayette Red Sox in 1955 and would eventually become the Lugnuts.
They moved to Lansing as part of the Kansas City Royals’ organization in 1995. The stadium at the time was named Oldsmobile Park and has since evolved into a beautiful ballpark in downtown Lansing named Cooley Law School Stadium.
The organization has had a collection of different affiliates over the years as they have been moved around. The Lugnuts have been part of the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, and the Boston Red Sox. As the team has been relocated from place to place and team to team they have turned out plenty of Major League players. Below is a summary of some of the standouts that have passed through Lansing on their way to the show.
Jeremy Affeldt, Henderson Alvarez, Kevin Appier, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Goins, Yan Gomes, Kendall Graveman, Adeiny Hechavarria, Rich Hill, Drew Hutchison, Casey Janssen, Brett Lawrie, Jesse Litsch, Carlos Marmol, Daniel Norris, Kevin Pillar, Mark Prior, Marc Rzepczynski, Aaron Sanchez, Travis Snider, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Zambrano, Roberto Osuna
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A few of these players are on the current Blue Jays roster. Aaron Sanchez has become the team’s ace and broke out this season as a full-time starter. Sanchez finished 7th in the AL Cy Young Award race this past season. At the age of 19 Sanchez played for the Lugnuts and dominated the Midwest League for through 90 innings. He recorded an 8-5 record while posting a 2.49 ERA and 97 strikeouts. Kevin Pillar had a brief stint with the team also but his solid hitting moved him to Dunedin quickly.
This past season the Lugnuts had the benefit of seeing what could be the future of the Blue Jays foundation. There was plenty of talent hanging around Cooley Law School Stadium this year.
Sean Reid-Foley and Jon Harris pitched phenomenally for the Lugnuts to kick off their 2016 campaigns. Both of them pitched their way to a promotion and were among the Jays top prospects entering the season. They currently sit at numbers 2 and 6 on the prospect list.
The Lugnuts have a great list of possibilities for their roster this coming season as well. The end of the 2016 season showed the debuts of some exciting players within the Jays system in Lansing. J.B. Woodman, Cavan Biggio, Joshua Palacios, and T.J. Zeuch. These players just made their professional debuts and could be among the organizations tops prospects going into the 2017 – 2018 seasons.
Lansing has had a historic past and has a bright future to look forward to. The team is poised for success with all of the talent that has been drafted by the Blue Jays over the past few seasons. If you have not had the pleasure of following the Lugnuts, jump in and enjoy the great brand of baseball that they are turning out each season.
For more on the Lansing Lugnuts stay tuned to the Jays Journal and follow their broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler. He hosts a podcast named “Around the Nest” which often features broadcasters from all around the Minor Leagues and Blue Jays’ organization.