After their 2-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday evening, the Blue Jays called up Glenn Sparkman to join the bullpen, ahead of his Rule 5 deadline.
The Blue Jays had to make a decision on Glenn Sparkman, and they’ve decided to see what he’s got at the big league level before allowing the Royals to get their asset back. The right-hander was acquired in the Rule 5 draft this past offseason, and would have to be returned to the Royals if the Jays didn’t call him up.
This deadline would have come a long time ago for the Blue Jays, except that Sparkman broke a bone in his thumb during spring training, and subsequently spent time on the disabled list while it healed. He’s been pitching well with Triple A Buffalo, and the deadline was coming at the end of Thursday, so the Jays elected to see what he’s got.
In order to make room, they sent Chris Smith back to Buffalo, who had been called up a few days ago after Jason Grilli was designated for assignment. It’s that time of year where rosters get juggled a bit, and it’s entirely possible the front office won’t be done, even after the recent flurry in the pen.
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The Blue Jays struck gold in the Rule 5 draft last year when they acquired Joe Biagini, and we all know how that worked out. He became an important part of the bullpen, and has been crucial in helping will the injury gaps in the rotation this season. The club is obviously hoping the same thing happens with Sparkman, who will likely make his big league debut at some point in the next few days.
Our own Clayton Richer wrote about him a few days ago, and provided a few pieces of information on the Jays’ newest reliever.
"The native of Texas was a 20th round draft pick, 594th overall in the 2013 amateur draft out of Wharton County Junior College. The hurler has only 46.1 innings at the Double-A level under his belt and would be making a significant jump to the majors…Sparkman owns a tidy 2.66 earned run average fanning 262 hitters in 257 professional innings. Like Biagini, Sparkman was also a starter for a good part of his minor league career starting 42 of his 75 career appearances."
With a fastball that sits in the low to mid 90s, a slider, curve, and change-up, it’s hard not to make the comparison to Biagini, whether it’s accurate or not. If the Jays are lucky, anything close would be a big addition.
Despite a lack of big league experience on his resume, there is good reason to be excited about the Texan reliever. At the very least, he’s worth a look before the Royals simply take him back, as they would have without a call up on Thursday.