By: Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away
While most of my simulation of the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays’ season was focused on the big leagues, I did take a look at what happened in the minor leagues with some interest. Since this blog tends to focus on that part of professional baseball, here’s how the Jays’ minor leaguers fared in our simulation using Out Of The Park Baseball 18.
Once again, I’ll note that I didn’t change how the rosters were set up in the roster pack I was using (which was the default upon the game’s launch). It would have taken me hours to actually re-set the rosters to something that would resemble how they will look when the minor league season opens on Thursday.
The Bisons weren’t great, finishing with a 66-76 record. According to the way the game calculates WAR, the Bisons’ best hitter was not Rowdy Tellez, who hit 21 home runs with a .275/.354/.494 slash line with 1.7 WAR, but was Lourdes Gurriel, posting 3.2 WAR (possibly because he added more value with his defense) with a .265/.358/.427 slash line with 18 home runs. Casey Lawrence was the leader on the mound, posting a 3.45 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 151 1/3 innings. Danny Barnes was excellent in a relief role, saving 19 games.
Best Hitter: Rowdy Tellez
Best Pitcher: Casey Lawrence
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
The Fisher Cats were 71-69 but were third in their division. Richard Urena was the best hitter who put up 4.3 WAR in just 80 games (before getting promoted to Buffalo) and he hit 25 home runs and had a .317/.373/.607 slash line. Anthony Alford also had a 4.3 WAR in 120 games, hitting .270/.382/.429 with 14 home runs and 25 stolen bases and Tim Lopes had a strong year, hitting .306/.373/.402 with 36 stolen bases. Ryan McBroom led the club in home runs with 28, hitting .282/.365/.496.
The Fisher Cats weren’t blessed with such good pitching though, as Brett Oberholtzer led the way, with a 10-6 record, a 4.29 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Conner Greene had the second best WAR at 2.3 but had a 5.57 ERA, 1.60 WHIP while Jeremy Gabryszwski was 7-15 with a 5.69 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. John Stilson was excellent in relief, and Tim Mayza struck out over a batter per inning.
Best Hitter: Richard Urena
Best Pitcher: Brett Oberholtzer
Dunedin Blue Jays
The Dunedin Blue Jays were pretty awful, finishing 52-82. Max Pentecost led the way with the bat, hitting .293/.370/.455 with 11 home runs while Alex Monsalve led the club in dingers with 13 but had -0.5 WAR and a .254/.329/.405 slash line. Of note, Matt Dean had a strong year, hitting .328/.420/.538 with 12 home runs in 79 games while Juan Kelly was very solid, hitting .285/.364/.410. D.J. Davis was impressive, hitting .294/.398/.469 in 59 games but didn’t do so well after a promotion to New Hampshire.
Ryan Borucki was dominant on the mound, going 9-4 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, striking out 111 in 121 2/3 innings to earn 3.5 WAR. Jonathan Harris had a 5.59 ERA and Angel Perdomo had a 4.94 ERA and both had WHIPs over 1.60. Dusty Isaacs was good out of the bullpen.
Best Hitter: Matt Dean
Best Pitcher: Ryan Borucki
The Lugnuts were 67-73 and finished fifth in their division. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. was the man at the plate, posting 4.6 WAR and hitting .298/.382/.487 with 14 home runs. Tying him with 14 home runs was Rodrigo Orozco who hit .243/.335/.405 and Ryan Metzler who hit .222/.267/.467. Ridge Smith was outstanding with the bat too, hitting 28 doubles and seven home runs, with a .319/.383/.497 slash line, actually besting Vlad Jr. by 10 points in the OPS department. David Jacob launched 11 home runs with a strong .273/.353/.451 slash line but J.B. Woodman and Josh Palacios were both in the .750 range with their OPSs.
Tom Robson led the club with 2.5 WAR, throwing 149 1/3 innings with a 4.04 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, striking out 133 but Patrick Murphy had the best ERA on the club, with a 3.16 mark and 1.30 WHIP. T.J. Zeuch also had 10 wins but a 4.80 ERA and 1.37 WHIP and led the team with 136 strikeouts. Justin Maese had a 4.79 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, striking out 116 in 146 2/3 innings.
Best Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero
Best Pitcher: Patrick Murphy
The Vancouver Canadians were 46-30 and made it to the Northwest League Finals. They were led by newly drafted Billy Cooke who hit .386/.438/.628 with four home runs in 42 games while Bo Bichette hit a respectable .267/.399/.395 with 26 doubles, two triples and one home run. Andres Sotillo led the club with five home runs in just 30 games and put up a stellar .379/.439/.650 slash line. Reggie Pruitt led the club in stolen bases with 14 (in 16 attempts) with a .286/.368/.421 slash line.
The pitchers featured first-round pick Jake Latz who racked up 2.2 WAR with a 3.81 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, striking out 80 in 85 innings. Ricardo Salinas, also a newly drafted player had a 4.41 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. Yennsy Diaz was next, posting a 3.82 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.
Best Hitter: Billy Cooke
Best Pitcher: Jake Latz
Bluefield Blue Jays
The Bluefield Blue Jays were 39-29 and finished third in their division. It was newly drafted Micah Coffey who provided the most WAR with 2.4 along with a stellar .351/.438/.609 slash line, leading the team with 10 home runs (the only player in double digits). Two other new draftees, Harry Shipley and Z.J. Buster both had OPSs over .850 with Buster coming in at .911 (.324/.411/.500) and Shipley coming in at .856 (.313/.418/.438).
Third round pick Bennie Carlo Perillo was solid with a 4.65 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 71 2/3 innings but Dalton Rodriguez had the best ERA of the starters with a 3.93 mark, 1.24 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings. Our closer was Rafael Monsion (in actuality a newly signed pitcher who will likely be in the DSL this year) who saved a whopping 22 games (which is a ton for a short-season team), posting a 2.36 eRA and 1.20 WHIP while Miguel Burgos had a 2.36 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 42 innings.
Best Hitter: Micah Coffey
Best Pitcher: Dalton Rodriguez
GCL Blue Jays
The GCL Blue Jays were 25-35 and finished fifth in their division. Yorman Rodriguez easily led in WAR with 1.5 thanks to hitting four home runs (in a five-way tie for the club lead) and a .328/.396/.446 slash line. Newly drafted Cody Rutscher hit .333/.429/.444 for a higher OPS in fewer at bats.
Travis Hosterman, a 2016 draftee, led the way on the mound, with a 3.53 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, striking out 72 with just 14 walks in 63 2/3 innings. Out of the bullpen, Luis Sanchez had a 1.45 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 37 1/3 innings, striking out 45 and walking nine.
Best Hitter: Cody Rutscher
Best Pitcher: Travis Hosterman
DSL Blue Jays
The DSL Blue Jays were 33-36, finishing fourth in their division.
Ok, so the game automatically assigned all of the draftees (aside from those taken in the first five rounds) to the DSL and there were a couple of college-age draftees whom I forgot to move to another team. Therefore, we got Chase Hannifin, a center fielder, hitting .381/.462/.584 with eight home runs leading the way.
On the mound, it was Jose Nova who was at the top of the WAR list with 1.4 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, striking out 61 in 55 2/3 innings but newly drafted Lake Dabney struck out more, with 83 in 63 1/3 innings.
Best Hitter: Chase Hannifin
Best Pitcher: Lake Dabney
In the first round, we selected Nick Pratto, a high-school first baseman. I know, I know. There’s no such thing as a first-baseman prospect, but there wasn’t much available with high upside at the #22 position and Pratto offers a tantalizing combination of high average, great eye and some decent power. At pick #28, we took lefty Jake Latz who was excellent in the Northwest League. Unfortunately, the pitching pool was so shallow, Latz was the best pitcher available at either pick and our scout seems to think that he’s barely a major leaguer.
In round two we took high school righty Conor Grady with lefty Bennie Carlo Perillo out of college in round three (he seems to have some upside). Brandon Elmy could be a decent corner outfielder and was taken in the fourth round. The 21-year-old made it to Lansing. In the fifth round, Ricardo Salinas, who could be the best pitcher we took in the draft, was selected.
International Free Agents
We only signed two international free agents at the beginning of the signing period. Catcher Hector Lucero signed for $4.6 million and had a very solid season in 33 games for the DSL Blue Jays (yes, I know that IFAs are normally not allowed to play in the season that they signed but the game allows it so why not take advantage) as a 16-year-old.
Our owner wouldn’t allow us to exceed the $5,000,000 bonus pool at all, so we picked up right fielder Carlos Morfa, another 16-year-old whose upside is not nearly as great, for $400,000. He had solid numbers too.
Richard Urena was outstanding the entire year, hitting 28 home runs combined between New Hampshire and Buffalo, posting a .317/.373/.607 line with the Fisher Cats and an even better .379/.438/.642 line with the Bisons, totaling 6.2 WAR on the season in just 104 games.
Ryan Borucki, whose 2.66 ERA was the best for any starter in the system, gets the nod. He had a high strikeout rate and low walk rate, combined with logging 121 2/3 innings.