By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Taylor Cole's story leading up to his major league debut was one of those that warm your hearts but hopefully the disastrous inning that Cole pitched in his one game in the big leagues won't be the end of it.
After being drafted in the 26th round out of high school and again in the 31st round out of junior college the following year, Cole left school for a couple of years to complete a religious mission in Toronto, of all places, and when he returned going to school at Brigham Young University, he wasn't able to climb the draft boards, signing with the Blue Jays after being selected in the 29th round of the 2011 draft.
Cole's minor league career has seen some big accolades. he was the Topps Northwest League Player of the Year in 2012 after dominating the league (with a 0.81 ERA and .80 WHIP) and he led the minor leagues in strikeouts in 2014 after striking out 181 batters, mostly in the Florida State League. Cole had a solid year in double-A New Hampshire in 2015 but his 2016 season was hampered by injury despite solid numbers when he did pitch.
In 2017, injuries (a shoulder injury this time) kept Cole out of action for the first three months of the season and he surfaced pitching out of the bullpen in early July with three outings in the Gulf Coast League, totaling four innings in which he allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out six.
Moving up to the class-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays, he pitched in two more games, allowing four hits and no walks with three strikeouts and no runs.
Instead of going to back to double-A New Hampshire where he had spent parts of three seasons already, the Blue Jays sent Cole to the triple-A Buffalo Bisons where he continued to work in relief, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless, no-hit innings while striking out seven batters with just one walk.
Called up to the Blue Jays in August, Cole made his one and only appearance on August 9. Coming in to face the Yankees with one on and one out in the eighth inning, Cole gave up a double, a single, a walk and a single (with a runner getting thrown out at home) before retiring his first major league batter, striking out Aaron Judge swinging on a changeup after falling behind 2-0. Cole came back out for the ninth, giving up two singles and hitting a batter to load the bases. He got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out before giving up another hit to Garrett Cooper that ended Cole's day.
All in all, Cole allowed four runs on six hits over one inning, hitting a batter and walking one with one strikeout. Cole also broke his toe in that outing and was put on the DL. He was later released and was re-signed to a minor league contract but did not pitch again in 2017. Cole elected free agency after the season finished.
At the time of this writing, Cole hadn't been signed by any team and there's a chance that he re-signs on a minor league deal with the Blue Jays. I sincerely hope that he gets a chance to improve his big league stat line.
Cole was released, re-signed to a minor league contract and then became a free agent at the end of the year.
Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: Incomplete
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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Check out the Handbook page for more information!