As the Blue Jays have been slowly building their minor league depth, nowhere is it more apparent than at the upper levels.
That’s not to say that (beyond the obvious names) it’s bursting with talent, but there is now an accumulation of some serviceable talent.
Take the potential candidates for the starting rotation, for one, where a baker’s dozen candidates may be vying for spots:
Barring injury or a highly unlikely collapse, Pearson will only be around Western New York for a half dozen starts. But there will be plenty of competition for the rotation spots behind him. Murphy came out like a house on fire in AA, but Eastern League umpires decided to put the kibosh on the toe tap in his delivery at mid-season, and the results from his new mechanics were mixed. Hatch came over from the Cubs at the trade deadline, and reports were that he started throwing a cutter just before he was dealt. The results he had with New Hampshire (0.76 WHIP/.205 OppBA) in a half dozen starts suggest that after repeating AA last year, he may be ready to move up a level. Diaz made his MLB debut in relief, but it was a brief and unsuccessful one. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before he and/or Perez are moved to the bullpen full time, but the Blue Jays will likely continue to start them for the time being. Aumont was the off-season’s feel-good story, returning to the Blue Jays after four years away, which included a stint in the Can-Am League, and a brilliant performance for Canada at the Premier12. Waguespack is likely one of the odd men out with the rotation upgrades the Blue Jays have made, Paulino was limited to 7 starts last year, and SRF remains a question mark, but he figures to have a role somewhere with the Bisons.
The Blue Jays have some decisions on their hands.
Unless the Blue Jays raid this group to bolster the major league bullpen, this will be one of the strengths of the Bisons. It’s a group with a couple of swingman-types (Pannone, Saucedo), and a group of guys who can pitch as set-up men or close (Tice, McClelland, Baker). If the Bisons are a playoff contender, the bullpen may be one of the main reasons.