We checked in a few weeks into the pandemic to see what players and staff in the Blue Jays system have been up to. Time for an update.
The Punxsutawney, PA native saw his stock slip in his draft year in 2019, but the Blue Jays were pleased to scoop him up on Day Three with their 38th round pick. Sloniger rewarded Toronto’s faith in him by slashing .304/.379/.551 at two short season levels. He was no doubt looking forward to making his full season debut with Lansing this season until the shutdown took place. In the meantime, Sloniger, like all players we contacted, has been doing his level best to stay in game shape:
I’m still doing my baseball activity 4 days a week working on my priority goals that we discussed during spring training and I’ve continued to workout 3 days a week and mobility work as well to keep my body strong and fresh.
On top of that, maybe with an eye to a post-playing career, Sloniger has gotten into coaching:
During this break I started coaching a college summer ball team in the Pittsburgh area. We have games 4 days a week and it’s going great, I’m really enjoying it, it’s keeping me in baseball while we unfortunately aren’t able to play right now.
When asked what he misses the most, he mentions his teammates:
The thing I miss most about playing is the competition and being with my boys. We all keep in touch but I miss being able to put work in and I miss those relationships that we’ve all built together. I’m really looking forward to getting back with the guys.
The crafty lefty and former hockey defenceman from Cincinnati was taken in the 9th round of the 2017 draft. He’s steadily progressed through the system, spending the bulk of 2019 at AA New Hampshire, with a start in AAA Buffalo thrown in for good measure.
Logue has recently been able to hit the gym and throw to a catching partner:
I’ve been able to find a catcher and some hitters so I’ve been able to throw a bullpen and a live BP every week for a few months now. Luckily gyms opened up here a few weeks ago and are still open so I’ve been able to get all my workout and running in as well.
As for what Logue misses the most:
I think the things I miss the most are the adrenaline and competition that come along with a real game, you just can’t simulate that at home. I also miss being in the clubhouse with all the guys. I love going to the field every day and hanging out with all the guys.
Like many upper level players in the Blue Jays system, Logue is considering Indy ball if a spot becomes available, and the organization gives its blessing:
I would consider playing Indy ball or something like that if the Jays thought it was a good idea. Like I said before, there’s no real substitute for an actual game situation and getting any experience like that is a good thing.
The Floridian narrowly missed being named to the Blue Jays 60 player pool after a gins season split between Low A Lansing and High A Dunedin last year. Winckowski too is considering Indy ball. He says he and his agent have discussed the possibility, but like Logue, it depends on the organization’s approval, as well as his willingness to sign a waiver that pretty much put the burden of any potential injury on him.
The native of Baton Rouge, LA, joined Dunedin last year as the team’s media relations coordinator. His 2019 was a memorable season to say the least, as the D-Jays were forced out of their home due to stadium renovations, but the team still captured a hurricane-forced Florida State League co-championship. He’s managed to keep busy despite the lack of baseball:
In terms of during the past few months, a lot of my job has been involved in finding ways to keep our fans connected with our players. I think we’ve been able to do that well with our Jays Talkin’ episodes, and the players enjoy being able to catch up while also giving some insight into who they are to the fans.
Thriffiley put the whole experience – games, players, and fans – as what he misses most:
What I miss the most is just being around the game with the players, fans, and staff. As you know, it’s been two very unique seasons for the Dunedin Blue Jays, and we look forward to getting back to playing games at TD Ballpark when it’s safe for everyone involved.