Blue Jays: Chris Rowley is there if they need him
Chris Rowley, an undrafted first lieutenant in the United States Army, has been quietly having a great start to his season in Triple-A Buffalo. His low ERA, along with a decent amount of innings pitched make him a capable spot starter if one is required.
Chris Rowley, born and raised in Cumming, Georgia, is a player who boats a terrific baseball story. Undrafted out of high school, the righty appeared briefly for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays in 2013 before serving for 30 months for the United States Army. Following his service, he spent the 2016 season pitching for the Dunedin Blue Jays, where he pitched to a 3.49 ERA, striking out 86 in 123.2 innings.
After a brief stint with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Rowley eventually made his way to Buffalo. In August of 2017, he was called up by the Jays to start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 18.2 innings in the bigs, he pitched to a 6.75 ERA, striking out 11 and walking 10. It’s easy to see that his major league career is not impressive by any means.
Since rejoining the Bisons, Rowley has pitched incredibly well. In three starts so far this year, he’s allowed just three earned runs in 15.0 innings, good enough for a 1.80 ERA. He has yet to allow a home run and has struck out five.
The only thing that is concerning about his season so far is his WHIP. He has walked 11 and has allowed 15 hits, which make for a WHIP of 1.73. Rowley is obviously not perfect, so his walk and hit numbers are surely something he’s trying to improve in the upper minors.
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With a lack of competent starting depth in the upper minors, Rowley is one candidate for an emergency spot starter, if needed. He has a touch of Major League experience and seems to be admired by the front office.
At 27 years old, Rowley’s rookie status is still intact. He’s by no means a highly touted prospect but should be given a serious look if a starter needs a rest, or scheduling dilemmas have left the starting staff depleted and fatigued.
At this point, Rowley, often referred to as “Chipper”, is one of many options for a spot starter. Also on the list are fellow Bisons hurlers Joe Biagini and Deck McGuire, as well as Fisher Cats pitcher Nick Tepesch.
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