Blue Jays: Jacob Waguespack having a bounce back season in AAA
After a rough 2020 campaign, starting pitcher Jacob Waguespack was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays during Spring Training earlier this year. He would go unclaimed through waivers and would join the Buffalo Bisons in AAA to begin the year.
The right-hander was acquired midway through the 2018 season from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for the southpaw reliever Aaron Loup, as the front office was selling off veteran assets for controllable young players during the rebuild.
Waguespack would make his major league debut in 2019 for the Jays’, appearing in 16 games (13 starts), and would pitch to a 4.38 ERA with 63 strikeouts through 78.0 innings. His sophomore season in the majors was one to forget however, as he would make 11 appearances out of the bullpen and would surrender 16 earned runs through 17.2 innings, pitching to an 8.15 ERA as he bounced between the alternate training site and the major league roster before finishing the campaign on the injured list.
The Toronto Blue Jays DFA’d Jacob Waguespack earlier this season and the right-hander is performing well in Triple-A this year after a rough start to the campaign.
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His best shot at making the roster this season was in the bullpen but Waguespack would get DFA’d to make room for Joel Payamps during Spring Training, ending his chances of making the Blue Jays roster for Opening Day.
The 6’6″ Mississippi alum would begin the season in the rotation for the Bisons and would have a rough start to the year, surrendering five earned runs in his first start of the season. He would find a groove to finish out the month of May but it was a strong June that saw Waguespack really shine, making five starts and giving up only seven earned runs through 24.2 innings with 23 strikeouts. This strong month saw Waguesback bring his ERA down to 3.43 on the season.
He would make one more start to begin July but has now transitioned back into the bullpen, pitching multiple innings and usually following a starter. This past month, Waguespack has pitched 11.1 innings and has only given up one earned run with 11 strikeouts, joining a very stacked bullpen in Buffalo that includes pitchers like Bryan Baker, Connor Overton, Hobie Harris, and now Tayler Saucedo.
While he is pitching well, it is tough to see Waguespack rejoining the Blue Jays roster any time this season considering he is off the 40-man roster and the current roster does have a pretty stacked bullpen (evident by the team trading John Axford to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday). There are also other dependable options in the Bison’s bullpen that could be viable options before the right-hander like Saucedo, Baker, and Overton, pushing him further down the depth chart. He does have the ability to be a starter which is good for depth within the farm system but his path to the majors is most likely in the relief corps.
That being said, it is nice to see Jacob Waguespack pitching well and providing the Blue Jays with another option down in the minors in the event the organization requires him at the major league level.
He does have experience in the big leagues and with a bounce-back 2021 campaign, Waguespack is setting himself up well to make the jump back to the big league stage in the near future, whether it is with the Blue Jays or another club.