With Florida not being exactly a desired spring destination quite yet, news from Blue Jays minor league spring training has been sparse to say the least. There are a few things to update you on, though….
Perhaps this is only important to the players and their families, but you have to feel for a player who is released at this stage of their career. RHP Caballero, in addition to having one of my favourite names of any Blue Jays farmhand, is a Marcus Stroman-sized righthander who was a heralded July 2nd signing in 2017. VP off International Ops Andrew Tinnish said he had a “wipeout slider,” but Caballero, who was injured for much if 2019, was one of many who was impacted by the 2020 Covid shutdown, and walked almost a batter per inning in 25 relief outings at Low A last year. Southpaw Monsion was a late 2016 signing, and never really developed as the organization hoped he would.
C Gabriel Moreno was among fifteen players sent to minor league camp on Monday. Some thought Moreno was set to possibly battle for a spot on the Major League roster this spring, but Visa issues delayed his arrival in camp. Supposedly, the 2nd-best catching prospect in all of baseball did not take the news well, but after having missed almost all of the last half of last season with a broken thumb, Moreno still needs a bit more development time. With 3 backstops possibly breaking camp anyway, Gaby was the odd man out. Perhaps he could have stayed in big league camp for a little while longer, but Buffalo was always going to be his Opening Day assignment, anyway. Sending him out now allows him to work with the Buffalo pitching staff, and make up for missing reps. He’ll be in Toronto before long.
Orelvis Martinez turned a lot of heads, and the club must be thrilled with his progress. Still, he doesn’t need to be protected from the Rule 5 (or whatever becomes of it) until next year. Martinez will likely start the season at Vancouver, with a mid-season bump to New Hampshire. If Leo Jimenez, who went 2-11 in spring training, can come anywhere close to hitting big league pitching one day, we’ll likely see him alongside Orelvis on the left side of the infield come 2024. When they signed him in 2017, Tinnish had this to say about Jimenez:
“(He’s a) really, really great kid….(He’s) bilingual, great make up, ultra young in the class – a late May birthday – he really has lead-off or #2 hole potential….if you asked me right now who has a chance to play SS in our system, Leo would be at the top of that list. The way the body moves, the way the arm works, the instincts, he’s a really good, future upside defender.”
Some injury updates……RHP Joey Murray, who was shut down after only two-thirds of an inning last year, threw four innings last Friday, and looked very good. Murray will have one more outing before being assigned to a full season team (maybe Dunedin if they want to be cautious, or Buffalo if they feel he’s fully recovered). RHP Eric Pardiño, whose comeback from Tommy John surgery in February, 2020 has been bumpy, has thrown live BP at camp, but his assignment to a full season team will be delayed. The Blue Jays are reportedly pleased with his progress, though.
If you’re a MiLB.tv subscriber, you’ll get an early season look at Dunedin when they play in Bradenton (the only Low A Southeast – sorry, Florida State League – team streaming their home games) April 26-May 1. There’s more news, but I’ve promised to keep at least one thing under wraps for the time being, which I find difficult, but stay tuned. Rosters should be out (one would think) by Monday…..We’re less than a week away from Opening Day, guys.