Toronto Blue Jays: A Look Down At The Minor League Farm
By Ben Steiner
High-A: Dunedin Blue Jays
The interest in Dunedin is highlighted by one player in particular, and his name is Nate Pearson. The former first round pick of the Jays is beginning his third season in the organization, and has one of the best arms in the minor leagues.
Not many players can throw a 100MPH fastball, but Pearson has been doing that since college. Three years ago he set the Northwest League alight for the Vancouver Canadians en route to a championship. In 2018, he missed significant time with a broken arm, but again was dominant in his few starts with the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts. This year he has again moved up the ladder, although I suspect he won’t spend very long in Florida.
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So far this year he has pitched two games, and picked up two wins at that. Through those two games he has a 1.29 ERA, good enough for the best in Dunedin. He is the brightest prospect in Florida, however, the team does have another top performer in outfielder Ryan Noda, who leads the team in batting average a .286, and also in RBI’s with five.
Single-A: Lansing Lugnuts
The lowest full season team in the organization, the Lugnuts are coming off of a very good campaign and have received an influx of talent ahead of this year’s campaign.
Reggie Pruitt has been in the Blue Jays system for three years now, and has caught the attention of fans thanks to his blistering base running speed. In the past he has appeared to be rushed at the plate, meaning he is unable to get on base and unable to use his speed. He has never had an OBP above .300, other than his first year of rookie ball for the Bluefield Blue
Jays. This year however has been different, he is sitting at .500 after eight at bats. While the sample size is too small to tell much of anything, it is still a promising sign for Pruitt who is showing more patience at the plate.
Lansing are another team in the organization who have spent substantial time together. They are managed by Dallas McPherson who managed the Vancouver Canadians last season. The Lugnuts also have 16 players who spent extended time in Vancouver last summer. One of those former Vancouver players is 2018 Northwest League pitcher of the year Josh Winckowski; who alongside his former Canadians teammate Joey Murray have been brilliant through seven innings each.
That’s all of the farm teams that are in action right now for the Blue Jays, and that’s the way it will be for a while. The Vancouver Canadians and Bluefield Blue Jays will both begin playing ball in the middle of June. Once they start, you can expect some free flowing roster movement around the minors. Until then, these are the guys to keep and eye on, especially as they will be consistent figures on their teams until the summer.