Baseball fans in the Lower Mainland are gearing up for the return of baseball to Nat Bailey Stadium for the first time since 2019. They should have a decent starting pitching staff to cheer for.
Dunedin may have posted the second-worst team ERA in the Low A Southeast last season, but the core of their rotation was solid, and should move up to High A to start 2022.
The C’s rotation will likely be led by Sem Robberse, the Blue Jays 12th ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline. While we’ve always been high on Robberse, he broke out in a big way last season, and finished his season with Vancouver. The move to a higher level was a challenge for Robberse, and he probably will spend the first half of the season with the Canadians.
Joining Robberse will be Trent Palmer, who authored two 7-inning no-hitters for Dunedin last year, and southpaw Naswell Paulino, who showed a nasty slider in Florida in 2021. Nathanael Perez, Alejandro Melean, and Michael Dominguez likely will compete for spots toward the back of the C’s rotation. Another possible contender for a rotation spot is 2021 4th rounder Chad Dallas, who draws rave reviews for his competitiveness, looked gassed toward the end of the last collegiate season, and hasn’t thrown a pro pitch yet. Vancouver might be a likely destination for that event. A dark horse candidate might be Yosver Zulueta, whose 2021 season ended after only 3 pitches for Dunedin last year. If he’s healthy, he may be sent northwest. And while we’re talking long shots, Dahian Santos, who pitched in both the Complex and Low A SE last year, might make the trip to B.C. Blue Jays VP of International Ops Andrew Tinnish could not say enough about the undersized-but-crafty Santos (“the steal of the class) when they signed him as an IFA several years ago.
All in all, C’s Manager (and Vancouver native) Brent Lavallee should have a solid rotation to work with. There perhaps are no front-of-the-rotation guys there just yet, but there will be some quality arms just the same.