Your week and a half-ly look at the hottest players over that stretch in the Blue Jays farm system.
1. Alejandro Kirk
Why he’s here: 1.232 OPS, .444 BA
Kirk was promoted to Dunedin from Lansing earlier this month, and all the streamlined Catcher (the 5’9″ /220 Kirk is said to have come to spring training 20 lbs lighter this year) has done since his move to the higher level is hit.
Kirk is a good framer and handler of Pitchers, and moves well to block pitches despite his size. The only question marks about his work behind the plate are his transfer and arm strength. They are not weaknesses, but his arm doesn’t rate as plus just yet.
There is no question about the bat.
2. Graham Spraker
Why he’s here: 11.2 IP, 0.00 ERA
Earlier in the year, Spraker benefited from piggybacking with Nate Pearson. His mix of pitches was a good complement to Pearson’s heat, but he’s more than held his own since Nate was promoted to AA.
Over two starts over the past ten days, Spraker tossed an out shy of a dozen innings of scoreless ball, and gave up only a solitary Earned Run in each of his two starts prior to that.
On May 8th, Spraker gave up only 1 hit over 6 IP against the Yankees Tampa affiliate, and followed that with 5.2 innings of shutout ball in his next start, dropping his ERA for the season to 1.69.
3. Patrick Murphy
Why he’s here: 0.64 ERA, 4 Hits Allowed/17 Ks in 14 IP
Murphy had a strong spring training which suggested he was on the verge of a breakout season, if you can call a guy who was the Florida State League PiOY a breakout candidate.
The cool Eastern League weather messed a bit with the Arizonan’s secondaries in April, but as the weather warms, so has Murphy. He took a no-hitter into the 7th inning in his May 9th start, then struck out a career-high 10 in his following outing.
Murphy has an injury history which caused the organization to take it easy (some suggest too easy) last year. The wraps are off, and it’s easy to see him in AAA at mid-season at this rate. Eastern League hitters have been completely over matched against him over his past two starts.
4. Vinny Capra
Why he’s here: 1.226 OPS, 17 TB, 3 SB
It’s hard to believe that Capra was playing college ball a year ago at this time. No one has moved as quickly through the system as he has, and the 20th rounder is doing his part to add to the depth of up the middle guys in the Blue Jays system.
5. Brock Lundquist
Why he’s here: 1.218 OPS
Lundquist had a scorching second half for Dunedin after moving up from Lansing last year. Moved up to AA to start this year, he scuffled through a .176/.291/.265 April, but his bat has come alive this month.
Lundquist shortened up on his swing last year, and began to go to the opposite field with two strikes. Like much of the New Hampshire lineup, his bat has started to wake up.