By: Quinton Amundson
DUNEDIN, Fla—Toronto Blue Jays prospect Starlyn Suriel was seen by many as a pitching workhorse in 2015.
He pitched 114 innings last season for the Blue Jays’ Class-A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts. It was a significant trial, considering he had never pitched more than 100 innings in a season before last year.
Statistics indicate Suriel struggled at times with this increased workload. He adopted a new off-season training approach to remedy this.
“I didn’t want to throw a lot because of all the innings that I played last year,” said Suriel, in an interview translated from Spanish by a team representative. "I focused on running and a lot of gym work.”
He says he is optimistic that resting his arm and being more mentally prepared for a heavy workload will allow him to post better hits allowed, runs allowed and walks allowed totals.
Each of these numbers was significantly higher than the results he managed during the 2014 season, which he split between the Lugnuts and the Vancouver Canadians.
In 17 games played in 2014, Suriel allowed 72 hits, 32 runs and 23 walks. In 25 games played last season, those figures ballooned to 127 hits, 64 runs and 31 walks. Also, his ERA increased to 4.16, compared to 3.30 the previous year.
The 22-year-old says he is “trying to learn something everyday” at the Blue Jays minor league spring training camp to aid his effort in producing a better season.
He notes there has been a more energetic atmosphere at this camp, compared to his first in 2014, due to the exciting Blue Jays playoff run last fall.
Suriel says he hopes, “by the favour of God,” that if he produces this season he will be called up to play AA baseball in the Blue Jays system.
For the right-handed pitcher making it to the Blue Jays one day would be the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
“As a child I was always a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. Even I was to take less money I would go to the Toronto Blue Jays.”
The next step in his journey will begin early April with the opening of the minor league baseball season.