Starting a pitcher with just 17 professional innings under his belt in Triple-A is as aggressive as it gets, but that’s exactly what the Jays player development group decided to do as minor league baseball kicks off on Tuesday. for the first time since the end of 2019.
It’s just further proof of the win-now mode the club has gone into.
A lost 2020 season to prospects and the mysterious nature of trying to expand to other baseball venues last summer sparked an interesting internal debate regarding assignments this spring.
In Manoah’s case, he balanced the relative lack of professional innings experience with his NCAA pedigree and the fact that he’s already 23.
Then he went out and became the subject of spring training, showing off big league-ready stuff on several outings against veteran New York Yankees bats.
Gil Kim, director of player development for the Blue Jays, admitted that the spring games were rated a little differently for the outlook this year.
“It was really different,” Kim said. “Each year you go into spring training weighing a bunch of different variables and factors with respect to past performance, recent performance, where each player is in their development curve and a little bit of how they look. spring training, but not as much. And this year, we’ve probably factored it a bit more, given last year.
Even though these were just Grapefruit League games from early to mid-March and always had to be taken with a grain of salt, it was impossible to ignore the dominance.
Manoah struck out 15 in seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and walking no one. His only flaws were three pitches that escaped and ended up dipping batters.
It was as good as it gets for a prospect in March, and it impressed the makers of Jays.
He needs to be challenged.
“The thought process behind Triple-A was primarily driven by two reasons: one, to challenge him at the highest level that we thought he was ready for, and two, to put him in the best team environment with a combination of players and staff where we felt really good about Alek’s potential to grow with this group, ”said Kim.
“Obviously, Alek hasn’t thrown a ton of the ball the full season, but we felt the combination of things, abilities and especially his competitiveness and resilience would give him a very good chance to continue. to develop to a level where it is challenged.
With a Triple-A starting assignment, Manoah would only need to put together a mini series of good starts with the Buffalo Bisons, who play home games in Trenton, NJ, while Sahlen Field is renovated in anticipation. of the arrival of the Jays later. been, to have a lot of claims for a call-up.
How many innings Manoah is available for this season will ultimately be a question, as will be the case with many young arms of the Jays.
Kim says monitoring workloads will be an ongoing process that typically doesn’t have a clear answer or definitive number.
“This is one of the main things that everyone thinks about and that everyone is aware of,” Kim said of round limits after a shortened 2020 season for the big leagues and a completely lost season for the leagues. minors.
“There are some things that we’ll need to look at a bit more in-depth, but overall we’ve traditionally focused on fatigue levels, on maintaining speeds, obviously on the actual number of innings and throws pitched, and on different types of monitoring and fatigue testing. . I think this year will be a good challenge to stay responsible and disciplined in these processes as we go through a season, and I’m sure we will learn a lot from it. I wish we had all the answers. We certainly don’t.
NOTES CARNETTE SCRIBBLINGS
Launch hopeful Eric Pardinho isn’t quite ready to quit Tommy John’s surgery, but Kim expects the 20-year-old right-hander to return in time to present a branch this summer… Too bad to see the right-hander Anthony Castro. season interrupted by forearm tension. Before landing on the IL on Sunday, Castro had staged six scoreless outings and was quickly becoming one of Charlie Montoyo’s most trusted options. Claimed waivers from the Detroit Tigers over the winter, the 26-year-old’s four-seam fastball and 95 mph break ball were nearly unbreakable at first … Hyun Jin Ryu (glute) is eligible to come out of the IL for the series final in Oakland… Heading west, the Jays reliever box posts the fourth best ERA in baseball at 2.61… Last week, the offense was in trouble, scoring about 3.8 points per game, which was below the league average. After breaking out against the Braves, the Jays are 12th in baseball at 4.6 points per game.
STATUS: 0 for 35
This is not the statistic you want to see if you are a catcher Danny Jansen, but that’s what the 26-year-old endured, spending nearly a month between hits before a two-stroke performance Sunday in the final against the Atlanta Braves.
The stretch matched the franchise brand established by World Series hero Ed Sprague during the 1994 campaign.
Jansen’s icy bat lost him playing time to Alejandro Kirk, but the 22-year-old substitute suffered a hip flexor injury and landed at the 10-day IL on Sunday, giving Jansen a chance to resume daily work.
Despite the right glove – his mark of plus-3 defensive points saved is tied for second in baseball among catchers – Jansen will have to find a way to turn the situation offensively or the Jays could look in the commercial market for an update. veteran level before the trade deadline.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We will manage his load and his work, but we have to communicate. We need to talk to him. If he feels like he needs a day off, we’ll give it to him. This is why he was at DH, we are careful.
—Charlie Montoyo on management George Springerquad injury
TWITTER QUESTION OF THE WEEK
“Are there any prospects under the radar that could make a late season appearance like Alejandro Kirk did last year?” “
—Steve J. in Buffalo
REPLY: Manoah is the ultimate wild card in terms of potential impact, but a few players that I thought I could help in the second half have already been put into action.
Josh Palacios looked good in his first big league cameo, while many young arms of the ball like Castro, Ty Tice, Anthony Kay and Thomas Hatch etc., have already been requested.
There’s a pitching wave ahead with Manoah, Simeon Woods Richardson, starting at Double-A, and Joey Murray, but I wonder if Otto Lopez can potentially play a role if given a chance in August or September. .
I wouldn’t call the 22-year-old utility infielder ready at this point, but he’s on the 40-man roster, he’s capable defensively in both midfield and outfield, and his batting skills. -a-ball give it to him. a chance at a contact-oriented profile, similar to Santiago Espinal.
It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Woods Richardson at the end of the year.
THE CALL LIST
Five players who most deserve to be called when the need arises:
RHP Nate Pearson, Ox Triple-A: Now recovering from the groin injury he sustained in early March, Pearson will start the Bisons opener on Tuesday. Montoyo said he was competing for a job and a chance to get back into the big league rotation.
RHP TJ Zeuch, Ox Triple-A: After spending the minimum amount of time on IL breastfeeding shoulder tendonitis of 10 days, Zeuch is in good health and is likely to return to the big club in a longtime male role at some point. He’s also part of the Bisons’ rotation, which also includes southpaw Nick Allgeyer, Manoah and Jacob Waguespack.
AJ Cole, team of taxis: The veteran right-hander has an opt-out in his minor league contract this month, so expect to see him used at some point. The problem is, he’s not on the 40-player list.
Rowdy Tellez, Ox Triple-A: Having just beaten .183 in his first 18 games, Tellez was a strange man when Springer came back and needed some DH. Tellez will have another chance, but his only job is hitting, so he’ll have to start hitting Triple-A.
RHP Joey Murray, Triple-A Buffalo: He’s a bit down the depth graph at this point and is currently slated to come out of the Bisons box, but a solid run from the invisi-baller will get people talking about Murray as a potential contributor.
OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK
Highlight a system player you need to know:
SS / CF Austin Martin, Double-A New Hampshire
The Double-A roster is packed with talent to start the season, and Martin starts alongside fellow field star Jordan Groshans.
The plan is for the pair to split the shortstop reps for the Fisher Cats.
When Martin is short, Groshans will play third, his likely house in the long run.
When Groshans runs out, Martin will patrol the center court.
“These two young men have put in a tremendous amount of time, effort and work to develop as a shortstop, but they are also talented athletes who can play in other positions as well,” said Kim. “We see developmental and athletic value in bouncing from place to place, as we’ve seen here. [in the big leagues]. »
Almost 11 months after draft day, how Martin performs on the pro pitch in the first month or so will be one of the more interesting storylines to watch out for.