Seven Blue Jays under the radar stand out in a summer camp


TORONTO – Bo Bichette was locked up during the first week of the Blue Jays summer camp, but it’s something you expect.

The 22-year-old shortstop looks set to build a rookie season that has seen him hit 29 base hits in just 46 games, and he is one of the players you could imagine carrying the offense on his own to points over the next 60 sprint game.

For the key components of the list like Bichette, this time it’s just a matter of tweaking and making sure they’re ready by July 24.

But with Major League Baseball teams carrying 30 players for the first two weeks of the season, there are a lot of low-end battles that deserve special attention, even if the Jays don’t have a lot of really tough decisions to make. to take. make.

These four extra spots will be an opportunity that wasn’t there in March, and that’s all some players need – a chance.

With only 10 days to go before the first day against the Tampa Bay Rays, here are seven Blue Jays that stand out.

RHP Julian Merryweather

The only name from the Cleveland Indians in the much-slandered Josh Donaldson Merryweather, who is currently treating a left oblique strain, has lost almost every two seasons due to elbow problems.

While expectations must be realistic for the 6-foot-4 right-hander, especially given that he’s already 29 in October, the things he has shown since joining the Arizona Fall League in good health in October last were impressive.

I saw and heard enough good things to go out on a member and bring him closer when I did this projection of the Blue Jays roster of 2022, but Ken Huckaby, who called balls and strikes during intrasquad games to start camp, says Merryweather generates some good hitting feedback.

“The only guy who really made an impression on me is Julian Merryweather,” said Huckaby. “He had really, really electric stuff and even the hitters coming in, Bo and these guys said they were really impressed with what he was offering. ”

Merryweather, who has reached 97-98 mph, has a very good chance of impacting the Jays’ pitching staff this summer.

RHP Jordan Romano

Markham, Ontario’s product has many supporters in the Blue Jays organization, and the enclosure role he changed full-time last year is well suited to him.

Like Merryweather, you can dream of a future, high-leverage role on the road and he has the stuff to close out games in the big leagues.

“Romano is currently showing more power with a devastating slider,” said Jays coach Pete Walker. “I know we saw him last year good for a little while, then he had physical issues that kept him from seeing these elite numbers in terms of speed, but he looks exceptional at the moment. It could end up being a big part of this enclosure. ”

RHP Rafael Dolis

Signed in January at a bargain rate of at least $ 1 million (plus incentives) for 2020 – the Jays also hold a 2021 club option for $ 1.5 million – Dolis is already slated for an important role at strong leverage from the start.

Owner of an ERA of 2.49 and 96 saves in the past four seasons in Japan, Dolis may have been even better than previously announced and could start the season in pitch eight in close gear . Ken Giles.

Anytime Roy Halladay the comparison is used, you listen.

“He threw a few pellets that I haven’t seen since I caught Doc,” said Huckaby. “They were just amazing. ”

Walker was also impressed with the 32-year-old right-hander’s stuff, but it’s the presence of a veteran he brings that the pitch coach considers most valuable.

“The fact that we’ve been able to get closer to Japan for a few years with more than 30 stops a year, he knows how to end a game,” said Walker. “His behavior is impressive. His power at his sink, and he also throws himself into the area, an unpleasant split. He has weapons to throw in this league and to throw effectively late. ”

LHP Anthony Kay

With Chase Anderson sidelined for an unknown period with an oblique injury, the door is opened for one of the Kay or Ryan Borucki to break the summer camp in the five-man rotation of manager Charlie Montoyo.

Borucki may be the favorite because he’s in good health and has been around longer, but the organization is pleased with the command improvements that Kay has shown this year.

Simeon Woods Richardson was the price of Marcus Stroman trade, but don’t forget that Kay was a Mets first-round pick in 2016, and he launched much better than the 5.79 ERA in his 14 debut last September.

“I like the way he throws,” said Walker. “I like the way he attacks right-handed hitters on the inside. He’s a talent from the University of Connecticut, so he obviously has that in his arsenal. He was great and he knows how to throw, so I’m feeling really good with our left-handed pitchers right now. ”

RHP Thomas Hatch

Another commercial acquisition under the radar, the Jays became relievers David Phelps in Hatch, a third-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2016.

Hatch hit an impressive 2.80 ERA in six Double-A starts in the Jays’ organization last summer after the deal, but Walker’s first glances this year gave Hatch’s actions even more momentum. more ascending.

“I look at his sides and he is probably one of the most balanced young pitchers I have seen,” said Walker. “He is very professional in the way he runs his business. His business is electric. It’s quietly electric. I think people will be able to see him and understand why we think so much about him.

“I think he’s some sort of sleeper in the group, and he’s someone who will definitely be helping this team at the Major League level soon. ”

1B / DH Rowdy Tellez

Three home circuits in its first two intrasquad games drew attention, but Tellez’s path to the bats became more difficult when the club moved Vladimir Guerrero Jr. across the rhombus.

The easiest way to play for Tellez is via the DH point, but he will have to keep hitting for power, as well as improving the approach to home plate in order to stay in alignment.

So far, so good.

“His approach on the plate looks really good,” said Montoyo. “I don’t think anything has changed for him, because I can rotate this DH point, and he can also play first. If he continues to swing the bat as he is, he will have a lot of playing time. ”

C Alejandro Kirk

Kirk has been buzzing for months now, and I have indicated it as the prospect of watching this season in February.

Since then, all he has done is keep hitting, showing the incredible bat-to-ball ability that has led to a .315 / .418 / .500 slash over three minor league seasons.

Even the weapons of the big leagues cannot swing and miss the big receiver.

Huckaby, who spent the last three seasons as the club’s catch coordinator before being hired as a Triple-A manager this winter, saw him up close.

“It’s the elite contact ability,” said Huckaby. “He doesn’t miss too much when he swings. It is quite impressive. I don’t know if it’s short arms or what it is with him, but he has exceptional hand-eye coordination and timing and he could probably make an impact on the major leagues faster than Riley right now just because of this ability. These are good things. ”

With only five catchers in the pool of 60 players – Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, Caleb Joseph, Riley Adams and Kirk – and depth being paramount this season thanks to the unpredictability of COVID-19, Huckaby thinks Kirk and Adams could hold out in the big leagues if asked.

“I think they could be very, very useful in the big leagues right now – both,” said Huckaby. “They both do a great job of blocking, receiving and throwing, which are the building blocks of what we do. They probably both need work in the mental part of the game, reading the swings, maybe taking all of the information provided to them in the screening reports and applying it in the field, getting to know the staff pitch. They are far behind when it comes to all of this.

“If it came down to that and you needed it in the big leagues, they could both be behind the plate at a high level for this team. “


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