We’re now two weeks into the Arizona Fall League and the Toronto Blue Jays’ seven representatives on the Salt River Rafters got into some more action.
Outfielder Kenny Wilson has been getting pretty much every day playing time and has cooled off since his hot start. In his first game this week, he went 3 for 5 but went 1 for 15 in his other four games. He also stole four bases without getting caught this week and is hitting .333/.421/.364 cumulatively.
Infielder Andy Burns only got into three games this week and went a solid 3 for 11 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base (but was also caught stealing once). He made a few errors (although one of them was made playing first base) but is hitting .300/.348/.350 in the AFL.
Catcher Derrick Chung has been catching the Blue Jays starters so he got into three games this week (with two starts from Drew Hutchison and one from Aaron Sanchez). After a rough first game of the season, Chung had a good week with the bat, going 3 for 8 with a double, a run scored and two walks (with only two strikeouts). This performance pretty much matches what he typically does with the bat: solid contact, not a lot of strikeouts but not a lot of power. He’s hitting .273/.385/.364 overall.
Reliever John Stilson hasn’t been as good this week, getting into two games: one good, one bad. Stilson had one shutdown inning, striking out two and earning a save and another outing in which he gave up two runs (one was earned). Overall, the 23.14 ERA does not look good although I’m sure that he’ll make the necessary adjustments.
Marcus Stroman has been extremely effective out of the bullpen, lighting the radar guns at velocities up to 96 mph and throwing four pitches effectively. You can see from this video, posted by Baseball Prospectus writer Jason Cole, Stroman has been dominant and he is opening a lot of eyes who think that he can be an effective starter in the majors. This week, Stroman pitched twice (one inning in each appearance), gave up no runs, one hit, no walks and struck out four batters (including three in his second appearance). Overall, in four innings, Stroman has a 2.25 ERA and has given up three hits, no walks and struck out 5.
Aaron Sanchez, the team’s #1 prospect, hasn’t been faring as well. In his one appearance this week, Sanchez gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in his two innings. Keith Law, a writers who’s been very high on Sanchez, particularly after Syndergaard and Nicolino were traded last year, wrote that Sanchez has been going backwards in his mechanics, leaving pitches up and falling behind hitters. He still loves his stuff though. You can see Sanchez pitch on this video from Baseball America.
Finally, Drew Hutchison made two starts this week and carries a 0.00 ERA for the Salt River Rafters. In his first appearance, Hutchison went two and two-thirds innings and gave up two unearned runs on three hits with two strikeouts. His second appearance yesterday was much better. He threw four hitless innings and struck out five batters. Overall he has a very nice 7:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
It’s interesting to see some of these results but, of course, the small sample size warning is fully in effect. Hutchison and Stroman are the two most polished players that the Blue Jays sent and have showed it. Hutchison has almost 60 innings of major league experience and a full season starting in Double-A for Stroman appears to have helped him develop a cutter and changeup that are both keeping the ball off the barrel of the hitters’ bats.
So far, Kenny Wilson has been streaky and Andy Burns has been solid while Stilson and Sanchez look like they have some things to figure out. Finally, Derrick Chung has been Derrick Chung and it looks like the level of competition hasn’t overwhelmed him at all.