The full-season High Vancouver Canadians…..has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
The Blue Jays will have numerous decisions to make in terms of their minor league rosters in the weeks to come. The developmental philosophy in the past has been to have a player spend one full season at a level (combining the two A ball levels), with aggressive promotions not unheard of if the player merited it.
But in this brave new world, teams will have some tough calls to make. With last year still counting as a year of development in terms of the Rule 5 draft, the clock will be ticking loudly for some players. It may be a challenge to start players at the right level when play resumes.
The Vancouver pitching staff may be in flux for much of the season. Players who ordinarily might have started in AA may begin 2021 in the Northwest League, moving up as the season progresses, and an influx of prospects from Extended forces a bubbling up of players from Low A Dunedin.
So, to start the season, at least, this is what Vancouver’s pitching rotation might look like – whenever the 2021 campaign begins.
Adam Kloffenstein, RHP
Vancouver fans will be thrilled to have the ace of their 2019 staff back, but it may not be for long.
Kloff pitched in 2020 in the Indy Constellation Energy league in Texas, where he received some tutelage from the legendary Roger Clemens. With the backlog of starters ahead of him, Vancouver may be the best place for him to make his first few starts. AA New Hampshire should be his ultimate landing spot.
Elvis Luciano, RHP
Remember him? The 2018 Rule 5 draftee showed some promise despite clearly being in over his head as an 18 year old in 2019, but 2021 will be a brand new start for him. Like Kloffenstein, you have to think a promotion to AA will be in the cards for him by mid-season at the latest.
C.J. Van Eyk, RHP
C.J. is an accomplished starter, coming off a strong sophomore season. He had put together some quality starts before the shutdown, and we really liked the combination of pitchability, his feel for four pitches and solid secondary offerings…..(area scout) Brandon Bishoff was a big factor in this decision….we felt like C.J. was a really good fit for us.
Blue Jays amateur scouting director Shane Farrell was high on Van Eyk, and even though he didn’t pitch professionally last year, there’s ample reason to believe the team will skip him over Low A in favour of Vancouver. Even though he has yet to make his professional debut, if he does get to pitch this year, Van Eyk should be on something of a more normal, pre-pandemic development track.
Things start to get less clear from this point on. There are a number of candidates to fill out the rotation, including RHPs Sean Wymer, Troy Miller, Fitz Stadler, and Troy Miller, all of whom last pitched for Lansing. LHP Naswell Paulino, who has pitched all of one inning above short season ball may be a dark horse, along with RHP Roither Hernandez, who last pitched at Bluefield.
The bottom half of Vancouver’s rotation may not be awe-inspiring, but it’s hard to beat the 1-2-3 punch of the top.