Winter League Update: Christmas Eve Edition
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Merry Almost Christmas, Blue Jays fans and while we hope you have a Blue Jays-themed gift under your tree (or received one for Chanukkah), here’s the next best gift we can give you: an update on how the Blue Jays are doing in their Winter League action!
The Arizona Fall League has wrapped up so we’ll start off with the Australian Baseball League. David Harris continues to rip up the league, leading Oz with his .379 batting average while also getting on base at a .455 clip and slugging 569 with eight doubles, a triple and four home runs. All of that combined leads the league with a 1.024 OPS. Jason Leblebijian is also doing well, hitting .318/.404/.553 with 14 doubles (tied for first in the league), a triple and five home runs. The Blue Jays’ other hitter, Derrick Loveless, is hitting .227/.353/.433 with five doubles, three triples and three home runs.
The Blue Jays have two pitchers Down Under, with Phil Kish posting a 5.51 ERA and 1.90 WHIP over 16 1/3 innings, walking five and striking out 10 while Colton Turner has a 6.66 ERA and 2.01 WHIP over 24 1/3 innings, walking 17 and striking out only 13.
A little closer to home, Andy Fermin continues to sit on the bench in the Dominican Summer League and is just 1/4. Emilio Guerrero is also not getting much playing time there (after a decent showing in the Arizona Fall League). Guerrero is 1/5 in three games with a run and two strikeouts. Juan Kelly is 0/0 in one game while newly acquired Junior Lake is much more of a regular, hitting .255/.378/.415 with three doubles,a triple and four home runs in 106 at bats. Melky Mesa, recently re-signed, is hitting .281/.353/.433 in 32 at bats and Dalton Pompey has left the league wtih a .143/.182/.143 slash line in just six games. Most interestingly, Richard Urena is holding his own as an everyday player, hitting .258/.278/.323 in 93 at bats over 33 games. He’s not striking out too much against better and older pitchers (20 Ks) but has only walked twice.
Recent signee, Scott Diamond, pitched in three games in the Dominican Republic back in October and hasn’t been seen since. He’s got a 5.40 ERA and 2.04 WHIP over 8 1/3 innings. Roberto Hernandez, also recently signed to a minor league deal, has a 4.95 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 20 innings with just three walks but only 12 strikeouts. Bobby Korecky has gotten hit a bit since our last update and now has a 3.86 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 14 innings with seven walks and 16 strikeouts. Another recent signee, Pat McCoy pitched 12 2/3 excellent innings with a 2.13 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, striking out nine and walking six. He was most recently spotting pitching just a few days ago on December 20.
Several players are playing in Venezuela with minor league signee David Adams hitting .234/.319/.380 in 205 at bats, with 13 doubles, a triple and five home runs. Ezequiel Carrera has hit .262/.384/.377 over 17 games with three doubles and two triples and Gabriel Cenas is 0/2 in two games.
Several pitchers are throwing in Venezuela with Miguel Burgos allowing a run in 1/3 of an inning. Tiago Da Silva is pitching well with a 1.82 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, walking just five and striking out 16 in 24 2/3 innings. Casey Lawrence is likely finished in Venezuela after making eight starts (his last one on December 4) and logging 36 2/3 innings with a 3.93 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, walking 12 and striking out 25. Finally, Jonathan Torres has a 3.18 ERA and 1.76 ERA, getting into 18 games (with just 11 1/3 innings), walking five and striking out 12. The lefty, who turns 21 on New Year’s Eve, has very heavy splits with just one walk and 10 strikeouts against lefties.
Infielder Jorge Flores is benefiting from everyday playing time in his native Mexico, hitting .243/.367/.284 in 148 at bats with six doubles. Francisco Rios has been hit hard, posting a 7.24 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over 27 1/3 innings with 13 walks and 17 strikeouts. Dalton Rodriguez has allowed six runs in just one inning, also in Mexico.
Finally, we head to Puerto Rico where oft-injured A.J. Jimenez has only played three games (and none since November 1), going 2/8 with a home run. Dickie Joe Thon is 1/6 in Puerto Rico (playing for two teams). 18-year-old pitcher Jose Espada has gotten into two games, throwing three innings, in Puerto Rico, allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts. Chris Smith has been dominant in Puerto Rico, throwing 20 1/3 innings and allowing just two runs (0.89 ERA) with five walks and 22 strikeouts for a 0.84 WHIP.
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