Blue Jays: Numerous pitchers standing out early in the AAA bullpen

Mar 18, 2022; Sarasota, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Adrian Hernandez (74) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2022; Sarasota, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Adrian Hernandez (74) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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While a trio of infield prospects dominate very top of the Blue Jays’ top prospect list, the club does have some solid depth when looking at potential Major League pitchers, headlined by Ricky Tiedemann at #6 and Sem Robberse at #7.

While both players are still years away from knocking on the big league doors, the pitching staff in AAA Buffalo features a few players who are really starting to impress on the mound, especially in the bullpen.

Overall, the club is sporting a 4.02 ERA which has been heavily influenced by a majority of the starters sporting high numbers while the bullpen alone is doing well at a collective 2.86 ERA, which is currently ranked #2 in the International League.

Let’s take a quick look at some pitchers impressing early in the Bisons bullpen this season.

Adrian Hernandez

While he started the year in AA, right-hander Adrian Hernandez has dominated this season wherever he has been asked to take the mound. He earned a quick promotion from New Hampshire after just three outings and 4.0 innings of work and has yet to allow an earned run since joining the Bisons squad.

Through 11 outings, the 18th ranked Jays prospect has allowed just three hits through 12.0 innings of work while striking out 18 batters compared to four walks. Since being promoted, Hernandez has earned four saves, primarily being used in high-pressure situations late in games.

Regarded for his plus changeup, Hernandez is quickly becoming a prospect to watch that could break through and make his MLB debut sometime this season.

Matt Gage

A product of the San Francisco Giants farm system, reliever Matt Gage has bounced around throughout his career in the minor leagues.

After being released by the Giants back in 2018, Gage had stints with the New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks, and some reps in both Independent Ball and the Mexican League. The left-hander joined the Blue Jays on a MiLB deal this past offseason and so far in AAA, he has been lights out in the bullpen.

Through 14 outings, Gage has allowed just one earned run and seven hits while racking up 17 strikeouts and six saves through six opportunities. Boasting a career 3.97 ERA through seven seasons in the minors, this could be the year that Gage finds himself on an active roster if he can continue to hold opposing batters to a .143 average.

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