Blue Jays news and notes from the morning of January 14th, 2019, including the assignment of two recently acquired prospects and a potential landing spot for the recently non-tendered Yangervis Solarte.
Ronny Brito Assigned to Bluefield
Shortstop Ronny Brito, one of the two prospects acquired by the Blue Jays in the Russell Martin trade, has been assigned to the Rookie-level Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League, according to MiLB’s transactions page.
Brito, 19, slashed a solid .288/.352/.489 with the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors in 2018 over 53 games, boasting an impressive .201 ISO, but striking out 74 times in 244 plate appearances. A more detailed breakdown of Brito’s skillset and past seasons can be found here.
Andrew Sopko Assigned to Buffalo
Right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko, the other piece acquired in the Martin trade, will be headed to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons of the International League, per MiLB. Previously, Sopko, 24, pitched for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Currently unranked on the Blue Jays’ top prospects list, he boasts a career 3.61 ERA in 394.1 minor-league innings, most of them coming at the High-A or Double-A levels. Baseball America said that “none of Sopko’s offerings are truly plus, but he throws strikes and mixes his pitches enough for evaluators to see him contributing in the majors in some form”.
Drew Hutchison Signs With Yankees
Right-handed pitcher Drew Hutchison, who spent parts of four seasons with the Blue Jays, has signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees, the team announced Friday. According to the International League transactions page, he has been assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
In 73 starts with Toronto, the native of Lakeland, Florida tossed 406.1 frames to an ERA of 4.92, racking up 30 wins and 374 strikeouts. Since his departure in 2016, he has appeared in games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, and Philadelphia Phillies, while also briefly spending time in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Rangers Interested in Yangervis Solarte
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According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Texas Rangers have “discussed” the possibility of signing free-agent infielder Yangervis Solarte, who was non-tendered by the Blue Jays on November 30.
In 122 games in 2018, Solarte slashed .226/.277/.378 with 17 home runs and 54 RBI, though he did experience a steep 292 point drop in OPS in the second half of the season. A decent defensive contributor who can play almost anywhere on the infield, he should find a home somewhere before spring training begins.
Rzepczynski Holds MLB Showcase
Marc Rzepczynski, who played for the Blue Jays from 2009 to 2011, is holding a showcase for MLB teams Tuesday, reports Jon Heyman of Fancred. In 2018, he logged 7.2 innings with the Mariners and 2.2 frames with the Indians, boasting an ERA of 6.97 and striking out 11.
After being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in July 2011, the native of Oak Lawn, Illinois spent time as a member of the San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, and Washington Nationals before signing a two-year deal with the Mariners in December 2016.