LINES OF THE WEEK
May 17th – the organization stretched Sem Robberse out, and the rangy righty rewarded them with six innings of shutout ball. Robberse induced 13 ground ball outs along the way.
Casey Lawrence, who’s been a pro since 2010, tied a career high with 9Ks for Buffalo:
May 18th – Vancouver’s bats were limited to three hits by Tri-City pitchers, wasting a fine outing by Chad Dallas, who induced 7 outs on the ground.
May 19th – ordinarily, limiting your opponent to one unearned run should mean victory, but Buffalo spoiled fine outings by a trio of pitchers in the first game of their doubleheader:
Yosver Zulueta’s defence let him down in his NWL debut – in fairness, a pair of end of the bat pool cue shots and a blooper did the damage. Otherwise, Zulueta was lights out:
Zulueta showed all four of his pitches, using his high 90s fastball to get ahead of hitters, and finishing them off either with high heat or a wipeout slider:
Trevor Hooth, who blogs about Tigers prospects, put together a montage of all 8 of Zulueta’s Ks, including that beauty above:
May 20th – Dahian Santos continues to throw gas, almost giving his outfielders (0 FBs) the night off.
And if it’s Friday, there must be a Ricky Tiedemann special. The 19 year old flamethrower didn’t miss a debut in his Northwest League debut:
Gabriel Martinez/Rainer Nunez
It really is time to take a look at this pair, perhaps the most promising position players in the system outside of Martinez, Moreno, and Jimenez.
Martinez was a 2018 IFA from Venezuela (his uncle is a Blue Jays scout there), who was lauded as a player with projection from Baseball America. He’s slowly made his way through the system, landing on BA’s prospect hot sheet earlier this month:
Martinez started the week off with four consecutive multi-hit games before connecting for his second home run of the week on Friday. Despite so-so results over the first month of the season Martinez was a player that impressed opposing scouts, who lauded his bat speed, ability to make contact, and projectable power. All of those skills were on display last week as he reached base 10 times, connecting for four extra-base hits and crossing the plate eight times. On Saturday he reached base twice against highly touted righthander Andrew Painter, collecting a hit in the first inning before working a seven-pitch walk in the third.
Originally signed as a SS, Nunez was from the 2017 class. BA’s evaluation:
Tall and lean at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Nunez is a righthanded hitter who has shown flashes of offensive promise, hitting well in games when the Blue Jays scouted him. He has a big leg kick, and with his long limbs he has to work to maintain his balance and timing. He has solid strength now and should be able to gain significant power once he adds more weight to a frame that has a lot of space to fill out.
Through a month-plus of the Florida State League season, both players are making their mark with Dunedin. Nunez, now a 1st baseman, is tied for the league lead in round trippers with 9, and is 3rd in Slugging. With 13 extra base hits each, Martinez and Nunez are 2nd in the league in that category.
I asked D-Jays hitting coach Matt Young about the pair’s individual strengths as hitters:
Gabby is just a pure hitter. Has a setup like Bo both early and with 2 strikes. Great bat to ball skills. Gap to gap doubles guy who is tapping into his power so far. Does a nice job of controlling the zone. Isn’t scared to hit with 2 strikes. Very competitive in the box.
Rainer hits the ball as hard as anyone. Really worked on his swing to get the ball in the air more and it’s paying dividends. Aggressive hitter. Does a really nice job of having a plan each AB. True power hitter that can hit it out of anywhere.
A comp we’ve seen for Nunez is that of former Jays farmhand Harold Ramirez. To be honest, we haven’t quite seen enough of him yet to judge the accuracy of that comparison.
Both players have cooled off a bit, but it will be interesting to watch their progression over the course of the season.