Blue Jays MiLB Recap: Top Prospect Urena Turning Season Around

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 14: The batting gloves and bat of Jose Bautista
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 14: The batting gloves and bat of Jose Bautista /

Jays Journal takes its daily look into the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League system. Tellez continues to struggle in Triple-A, Urena is slowly regaining his blue chip status, and Bichette continues to shine.

Buffalo Bisons vs. Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds)
5-1 Loss

The Bisons’ offense struggled to get going in this one as they were held to just 6 hits and 1 run. Michael Saunders recorded a hit in the game but his average still sits at a paltry .159. However, if the Blue Jays need an outfielder due to trades or injuries, Saunders could be one of the front runners to be called up. Meanwhile, Rowdy Tellez continues to struggle in Triple-A as he went 0-4 with a strikeout. In an interview with Sportsnet, Tellez says his struggles stem from the “hype” he received during spring training and that this year is a learning experience. Hopefully, Tellez regains his status as a top 1B prospect in 2018. Unlike Saunders and Tellez, Gregorio Petit and Mike Ohlman enjoyed multi-hit games in this contest.

Like the offense, the Bisons’ pitching also struggled. Starter Luis Santos actually enjoyed a solid start going 5.1 innings and allowing 2 runs. However, the bullpen failed to replicate his success as Wil Browning and Tim Mayza gave up 3 runs. Even with the poor outing, Mayza’s ERA stands at a shiny 2.16 and he is a strong candidate for a September callup. J.P. Howell also pitched in this game as he continues his rehab assignment. Howell pitched poorly (0.2 IP, 2 BB, 1 SO) but still managed to come out unscathed.

MVB: Mike Ohlman (2-3, 2B, RBI)

Next Up: Brett Oberholtzer (1-7, 4.82 ERA)

New Hampshire Fisher Cats vs. Trenton Thunder (NY Yankees) 
3-1 Loss (5 innings)

More from Toronto Blue Jays Prospects

Like the Buffalo Bisons, the Fisher Cats’ offense struggled mightily in this one. The Fisher Cats managed to record just 3 hits and scored only 1 run. Hits were recorded by Richard Urena, Ryan McBroom, and Tim Lopes. Urena continues to turn his season around after a terrible start. After batting .213 in April and .235 in May and June (for the season), Urena has raised his average to .249. In his last 10 games, Urena is batting .293. Urena was a top 5 Blue Jays prospect entering the 2017 season and if he can continue to rebuild his value, then Urena can be used in a trade to fill other roster needs or act as a stopgap until Bichette’s arrival.

John Straka was the only pitcher to toe the rubber in this one as the game was rained out in the 5th inning. Straka struggled in his 4 frames of work allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk.

MVFC: Richard Urena (1-2, 2B, R)

Next Up: Sean Reid-Foley (6-7, 4.74 ERA)

Dunedin Blue Jays vs. Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies)
2-1 Win

The Blue Jays’ offense managed to score just enough runs to win this game. Bichette continues to shine as he went 1-4 with an RBI single (.395 Avg). Darrell Cecilliani began his rehab assignment and went 1-3 before being replaced in the 8th inning. 2014 first round pick Max Pentecost also continued his quietly strong season going 1-4. His average sits at .289 and he is a name to watch out for in 2018 as he continues to gain experience and build strength after shoulder problems kept him from playing in 2015. This is a guy who was highly touted and considered the best catching prospect in his draft class just a few years ago.

On the pitching side of things, Josh DeGraaf had a very strong outing. DeGraaf went 6.0 innings allowing only 1 run while striking out 3 and his ERA stands at a very impressive 2.67. Speaking of ERA, Jackson McClelland lowered his Dunedin ERA to a minuscule 0.56. McClelland’s season ERA (combined with Lansing stats) stands at a sparkling 1.29 and if he continues to dominate single-A, then a promotion to the Fisher Cats could be imminent.

MVBJ: Josh DeGraaf (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 SO)

Next Up: Nik Turley (2-0, 0.68 ERA)

Lansing Lugnuts vs. Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros)
3-2 Win

Like the Dunedin Blue Jays, the Lugnuts’ offense scored just enough runs to back the outstanding pitching and earn a win. The offense was led by Rodrigo Orozco and Luis Silva who recorded multi-hit games. Orozco went 2-4 with a double, a walk, and a run batted in while Silva went 2-3 with 2 singles and a walk. Mitch Nay, Ridge Smith, and Mattingly Romanin also recorded hits.

The story of this game was Yennsy Diaz. Diaz started this one and pitched 6.0 shutout innings while only allowing 5 hits. He struck out 5 but also ran into some control problems walking 4. The Blue Jays signed Diaz in the 2014-2015 international signing period. Diaz has a 3 pitch arsenal with an electric sinker, solid changeup, and a curveball that’s a work in progress. If Diaz can continue to harness his command and refine his secondary pitches, look for him to continue his success and quickly climb the ladder.

MVL: Yennsy Diaz (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 SO)

Next Up: Osman Gutierrez (2-7, 9.60 ERA)

Next: Blue Jays: JJ Podcast for June 19- “Hope and Misery”