Blue Jays Minor League Notes and Thoughts

Some notes and thoughts after the first weekend of play in the Blue Jays farm system. In the past, I’ve tried to post daily game summaries, and that’s just beyond the realities of the 24 hour day for me. This season, I’ll endeavour to have something up every Monday (Tuesday at the latest).

Now THIS is how you start the season. Tanner Morris goes yard on the first pitch of the season for New Hampshire:

Joey Murray made his longest appearance since September of 2019 on Friday night. And it went about the way one would expect for a guy who has not pitched in about 30 months:

The good news is that Murray pitched three scoreless innings after giving up 4 in his first inning of work. Overall, he was pleased with his outing: “Still working on getting things to sync up so my velo gets back to where it was, but it’s good to be back.” Blue Jays Director of Pitching Development Cory Popham said, “It was good to see him to bounce back after a rough first (inning). Only two walks to seven strikeouts as well.”

Murray did have good movement on his curveball. He left this one up a bit, but again, that’s not unexpected for a guy who’s had a lengthy layoff:

2021 3rd round pick LHP Ricky Tiedemann was lights out in his pro debut with Dunedin on Friday.

Tiedemann was the talk of the Blue Jays minor league camp, and has drawn Sean Manaea comps. After four shutout innings, he faltered in the 5th, but the Blue Jays player devo staff have to be thrilled. Popham was on hand to witness Tiedemann’s outing, and confirmed that the lefty was dominant through 4 IP, and was impressed how he battled in the 5th.

A guy who we really should start talking about is RHP Nick Fraze. Fraze, a 2019 22nd rounder from Texas State (the school that gave us Tom Henke), grew up playing with fellow prospect Jordan Groshans, and is slowly putting together a case as a one-day back of the rotation big leaguer.

Fraze fashioned a 2.92 ERA in 12 starts split between Vancouver and New Hampshire last season. He’s back in AA to start the season, and if the 4.1 innings of shutout ball he twirled in his 2022 debut on Saturday are any indication, the organization may have to make room for him at AAA by mid-season.

The 6’3” Fraze has a tiny bit of jerky-jerkiness in his delivery that reminds an old Expos fan of Steve Rogers. Like the former ace, he relies on location, movement, and a nasty sinker to get hitters out. He moves the ball around well to all four quadrants. Fraze’s slider has some good down and away breaking action on it:

Fraze throws a down and away change up to LHH that keeps them off balance:

Fraze keeps his sinker at the bottom of the zone, and induces a fair amount of weak contact with it. He also throws a four seamer up in the zone, a chase pitch he gets to use often because he tends to be ahead in the count. His curve was effective early in the start, but in the cold Maine weather he appeared to lose command of it.

Fraze was relieved by Adriàn Hernàndez in the 5th with one out after reaching his pitch count. We used call the latter’s change the best in the system, but Fraze’s compares very well with it. Hernàndez pitched one inning of shutout relief before the rain-soaked affair (the start was rain-delayed as well) was called in the 6th inning. Fraze allowed 3 hits and 1 walk in his 4.1 innings of work, and struck out 4.

We thought you might like to see an Orelvis bomb, a Friday night shot to straightaway CF.

Before we put this one to bed, we had to hold off until Dunedin RHP Rafael Ohashi finished his lights-out performance.

Ohashi, a Brazilian IFA, had an sizzling Low A – Sorry, Single A – debut last season, striking out 17 in his first ten innings over 3 starts. As one might expect from an 18 year old at that level, he came back to earth, and even spent time in the Complex League, but you have to be impressed with his line:

Ohashi’s Statcast data is even more impressive. His fastball/slider combination was obviously overwhelming for the opposition hitters. Yes, he needs a fourth pitch, but those two primary offerings will buy him some time to develop it. He had an incredible 12 whiffs through the first 2 innings with the FB/SL.

Baseball Savant data

Sem Robberse also got off to a good start for Vancouver on Sunday. He gave up 3 second inning runs, but then pulled it together for the rest of his outing:

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