Liam Hendriks, the Buffalo Bisons’ top pitcher in 2014, is coming back to the Blue Jays organization.
Thanks to a tweet by the Blue Jays, we now know that Santiago Nessy, the Venezuelan minor league catcher, was the price they had to pay in order to bring the 25-year-old Australian righty back into the fold. Originally joining the Blue Jays as a waiver claim in February, Hendriks was dominant in the Triple-A International League for the Bisons, posting a 2.33 ERA and a miniscule 0.91 WHIP in 108 1/3 innings for the Herd, going 8-1 and striking out 91 with just seven walks.
While Hendriks had a 6.08 ERA in 13 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays, he did a bit better after getting traded to the Kansas City Royals (along with Erik Kratz in exchange for Danny Valencia), posting a 4.66 ERA with a 2.20 FIP thanks to 15 strikeouts and three walks in 19 1/3 innings. Hendriks was also excellent with Omaha, the Royals’ Triple-A club in the Pacific Coast League, with a 2.83 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 35 innings. Hendriks will likely be more depth in Triple-A for the Blue Jays and will be available in case of injury or a traded pitcher.
Santiago Nessy, 21, has been a source of frustration for some Blue Jays fans, having been anointed a “Catcher of the Future” after a breakout 2012 season in Bluefield that saw him club eight home runs and eight doubles in just 45 games. Nessy struggled in Lansing in 2013, hitting .241/.393/.375 with just five home runs in an injury-shortened 61 games but the real lowlight in his season came from a baserunning mistake that cost the Lugnuts a victory.
Nessy split 2014 between Lansing and Dunedin, showing some improvements in Lansing but falling off a lot in Dunedin and only playing in 69 games over the course of the whole season. With defensive concerns and Rule 5 draft eligibility coming up, the Blue Jays probably got what they could for the young, right-handed hitting catcher.
While the book is nowhere near closed on Nessy (who will be in his Age-22 season next year), after drafting two catchers early in 2014, the Blue Jays will need to give a large group of players every day playing time. 2014 first-rounder Max Pentecost headlines this group and will likely get everyday reps in Lansing while Matt Morgan (2014 fourth rounder) should probably move up to Bluefield. 2013 16th rounder Dan Jansen probably will get a shot to be the everyday catcher in Vancouver and Jorge Saez will probably stick around in Dunedin after showing that he could handle a regular turn behind the plate. With Derrick Chung and A.J. Jimenez as the other every day players, Nessy was going to have to really prove he could be better than any one of the other players in order to earn his way onto the field.
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