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.
The Blue Jays drafted lefty Tim Mayza in the 12th round of the 2013 draft and he has worked his way steadily through the organization until making his big league debut on August 15, 2017. While he was on the team's radar after spring training in 2016, he spent most of that season in class-A Advanced Dunedin, tossing 15 1/3 innings in double-A New Hampshire.
In 2017, Mayza shouldered a heavier workload in the spring, getting into 10 big league games and posting a 3.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, striking out nine and walking only one before heading back to New Hampshire to start the year.
While the numbers in New Hampshire weren't necessarily in his favour, Mayza still made an impression, likely from his very high 28.8% strikeout rate with a decent (if slightly high) 10.3% walk rate. Mayza was promoted to triple-A Buffalo and the numbers turned around. In 19 1/3 innings over 11 games, Mayza had a 0.93 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, striking out 19.8% and walking 8.6%.
He found out he was getting called up to the big leagues while on a long bus trip back to Buffalo from Toledo in the middle of the night. He was told that there would be a car waiting for him in Buffalo to take him to Toronto.
While he gave up two hits in his major league debut, Mayza didn't give up any runs, nor did he give up any in his second outing, striking out two to get out of an inning despite giving up a hit. Overall, Mayza was very impressive, striking out 27 in just 17 major league innings despite getting a 6.88 ERA hung on him. His 1.65 WHIP was high but he was giving up hits rather than walks (just four walks) and his BABIP was an astonishingly high .467.
Of course, being a lefty, what's important are his splits. Lefties hit for just a .506 OPS against him in the major leagues while righties hit for a 1.185 OPS, hitting three home runs and two doubles in 42 plate appearances. Obviously if Mayza can figure out how to get righties out in addition to lefties, he can be a dominant reliever against both sides.
With a fastball that sits 92-96 mph and touches 98, Mayza has a big arm and a solid slider that play, particularly against lefties. He could very well step in and be the Blue Jays' LOOGY in 2018 although there will be competition with Matt Dermody for that role in the spring (without another lefty being added to the mix via trade or free agency). Mayza is now 26 and will be competing for a big league job in 2018.
Mayza has 47 days of service time under his belt, meaning that he still has rookie status and will make the major league minimum if in the majors.
2017 Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: C+(the plus is for his excellent strikeout-to-walk rate)
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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!