Blue Jays Minor League Notes

Things we’ve learned over the past couple of days…..

-it was something of a surprise when RHP Adam Kloffenstein was not added to the roster for October’s development camp. Turns out that the club decided to shut Kloff down after pitchign in the indy Constellation Energy League in Texas. Kloffenstein pitched in 4 games totalling 7 innings for the Sugarland Skeeters for former MLB slugger Pete Incaviglia, and 56 innings over 15 games for Team Texas, where multiple Cy Young winner Roger Clemens was at the helm. Between the two clubs, Kloffenstein faced numerous players with AAA experience, and compiled a 5.06 ERA. He fanned 60 in 64 innings while walking 33. He was punching above his weight, but fared reasonably well.

On the local front, the Barrie Baycats of Ontario’s Intercounty Baseball League added a former Blue Jays farmhand:

BAYCATS SIGN SOTILLIO FOR 2021 SEASON
By: Ryan Eakin / @ryaneak

BARRIE – The Barrie Baycats Baseball Club announced today that we have signed AAA catcher Andres Sotillo for the 2021 season.

FULL STORY 👉 https://t.co/xkkvj3odEg pic.twitter.com/bXPcIWMn5r— Barrie Baycats (@IBLBaycats) November 3, 2020

Pitchers in the Blue Jays system loved pitching to the veteran Sotillo, who with the depth in the system found himself out of a job this fall. He should be an incredible addition to the Barrie roster.

Over at Baseball America, BA’s Ben Badler had a chat about the Blue Jays organization. Some of the highlights:

-From instructs, a couple of hitters getting attention early on: Leo Jimenez, smooth shortstop who has lacked strength for a while but was driving the ball with more impact this year, and Will Robertson was hitting hitting well too.

– Estiven Machado and Victor Mesia are two young 2019 international signings I think have breakout potential but aren’t as well known to the general public. Machado has a short stroke, twitchy athlete, well-rounded player in the middle of the diamond. Mesia is a catcher who should stick behind the plate and has a chance to hit with some power.

  • (Austin) Martin is sort of a puzzle piece the Blue Jays will plug in based more on the construction of the other players on their major league roster than anything else. I think he’s going to develop mainly as a shortstop but with exposure to other positions like CF, 3B, 2B. Realistically, with Bo Bichette the incumbent at shortstop, I don’t see Martin ever playing there for the Blue Jays, so CF/3B/2B is most likely and may just depend how their roster is shaping up for 2022, 2023 and beyond.
  • (asked about possible breakout prospects) I’ll go with Cristian Feliz, 6-5 corner outfielder the Blue Jays signed out of the Dominican Republic last year. Big time size, bat speed and raw power if it clicks.

Just last week, we learned that MLB was insisting on some significant restrictions on minor league travel. It would appear that they’ve backed off somewhat, but there are still areas of concern regarding getaway days.

MLB had said that getaway games had to start between 12 noon and 4 pm, which was not an appealing prospect in June, July, or August for teams in the south. Games, under the first proposal, could not start before 12 noon without the approval of the parent teams of both minor league teams involved. Thirsty Thursday and school group promotions were both threatened by this, but MLB has reversed itself. Now, getaway day games can start at late as 7:05 pm, provided neither team has to travel more than 150 miles to get to the next day’s game. If the trip exceeds 150, the start time will be moved back one minute for every mile beyond that.

MLB had originally insisted on two busses per road trip on trips of more than 250 miles, an arrangement some teams already had in place. But in some minor league cities, a “sleeper” bus can be hard to come by, so an availability and MLB preference clause has been added. Similarly, the original edict by MLB said that any team travel over 350 miles must be by air, but that now is subject to MLB preference.

The changes MLB proposed were in the name of improving playing conditions for their prospects, but the terms could be challenging to the finances of some MLB clubs.

We’re still awaiting details about the restructuring of minor league baseball – which teams will shift affiliations, and which minor league cities will be dropped. Things seems fairly set from a Blue Jays perspective, but for other teams no so much:

Did…..did we just get dumped via Twitter?! https://t.co/tV7iyVOwA3— Columbia Fireflies (@ColaFireflies) November 10, 2020

As next Friday’s 40-man roster freeze approaches, we expect some activity in the Blue Jays system, as the club decides which prospects will be protected from December’s Rule 5 draft.

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