The Blue Jays farm system split their four games last night as Minor League baseball season opened across the country.
The AAA Buffalo Bisons christened their newly renamed ballpark of Sahlen Field with an 8-3 W over the Yankees Scranton affiliate. Jacob Waguespack served notice to the Blue Jays that he might know of an available 5th starter. Waguespack gave up only a run on six hits over as many innings, fanning an equal number of batters. Cavan Biggio went 3-4 with his first International League HR, while Anthony Alford, just back from a brief trip to Toronto, went 2-4.
In New Hampshire, Patrick Murphy promised to be just as sizzling as Waguespack in the Fisher Cats opener as he struck out the side to start the game against the Mets’ Binghamton affiliate. Having never pitched north of Arizona or Florida before May proved to be a challenge for Murphy, though, as he had trouble gripping his change and throwing his curve for strikes, and Binghamton struck for a pair of runs in the 2nd. A couple of long innings meant that Murphy reached his pitch count early, and was gone after the 4th. Facing the Mets’ 5th ranked prospect in LHP Anthony Kay, the Fisher Cat offence sputtered, as the team went down to defeat, 5-2.
The Dunedin Blue Jays played their “home” opener at Clearwater, and scored 11 unanswered runs to top the Phillies Clearwater High A affiliate 11-2. Nate Pearson was dominant for the D-Jays, striking out 6 in 5 innings, and giving up a single run. Vladimir Guerrero Jr began his journey back from an oblique injury by going 1-4 in his first game action in several weeks. The organization said prior to the game that a decision about the direction of his rehab will be made shortly. In his first full season game, OF Cal Stevenson went 3-4 with a Home Run.
On a cold, rainy night in Fort Wayne, the Lansing Lugnuts were blanked 3-0 by the Padres’ affiliate. Josh Winckowski matched Ryan Weathers, San Diego’s 10th ranked prospect, tossing 5 shuout innings, allowing only a pair of hits while recording 7 Ks. For Winckowski, an Ohio native who moved to Florida for high school, the weather was a factor, saying, “Yeah, that wasn’t a lot of fun, but luckily I had a good mindset.” 8 Lansing hitters produced 1 hit, but the Lugnuts weren’t able to string together enough of them to record a run. Fort Wayne hurlers recorded 14 strikeouts on the night.