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Blue Jays Add Starting Pitching: A look at the system's starting rotations – Jays From the Couch

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The Blue Jays have added three, maybe four, starting pitchers. How has this affected the minor league team’s rotations?

The offseason started off slowly for the Blue Jays Front Office. They were under fire for missing out on several Free Agents but that’s nothing new for this Front Office. Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro have not enured themselves to this fanbase. According to many fans, Ross Atkins should not be trusted to make the big trade or to sign the big Free Agents. These same fans, feel Shapiro doesn’t care about building a winner, that his only goal is to make money for Rogers.

With the additions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, and Shun Yamaguchi the Blue Jays have completely reshaped their pitching staff. This group is not and likely will not be considered with the top rotations in baseball but they should give Toronto a chance to win on most days. This club might still be one or two years away from becoming serious contenders, these additions have elevated the club from a potential 90 loss team to a possible .500 club.

Maybe, more importantly, these additions will improve the depth of starting pitching in the system. Guys who were eyeing up a spot in the rotation in the Spring will have a steeper hill to climb. Competition is never a bad thing.

I’ve listed the potential rotations in Toronto, Buffalo, New Hampshire, Dunedin, and Lansing. I’ve listed 6 starters for each level. I’ve also included a list at the end which includes guys I feel are on the outside looking in at rotation spots. Lastly, I included a couple of names at the end who could surprise and grab a rotation spot, most likely in Lansing.

Toronto Blue Jays

Hyun-Jin Ryu (32)

Tanner Roark (33)

Chase Anderson (32)

Matt Shoemaker (33)

Ryan Borucki (25)

Shun Yamaguchi (31)

A much more experienced group of starter compared to last year. However, this rotation comes with risk. Ryu, Shoemaker, and Borucki have not been the most durable. That is what makes the additions of Anderson and Roark so important. Anderson and Roark should eat innings, give the bullpen a chance at not throwing pitches in the 3rd or 4th innings, and possibly reduce the need to use an Opener.

Shun Yamaguchi is my 6th starter. He will step in if any of the other 5 falter.

Buffalo Bisons AAA

Nate Pearson (23)

Anthony Kay (24)

Trent Thornton (26)

T.J. Zeuch (24)

Sean Reid-Foley (24)

Jacob Waguespack (26)

A lot of discussions can be had about the Blue Jays Triple-A rotation. I feel that Pearson, Kay, and Zeuch are locks to start 2020 with Buffalo. On the other hand, I feel as though Thornton and SRF could find themselves pitching out the bullpen……in Toronto. I would like to see Thornton and SRF continue to develop as SP but understand the need for BP arms. Thomas Pannone is another guy who may have lost his chance at starting for the Blue Jays.

Waguespack could play the all-important swingman role. He could be the Bisons 6th starter and the Blue Jays spot starter.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats AA

Yennsy Diaz (23)

Patrick Murphy (24)

Hector Perez (23)

Thomas Hatch (25)

Joey Murray (23)

Maximo Castillo (20)


Diaz, Hatch, and Perez were set to pitching in Triple-A in 2020. It now seems more likely that they will return to Double-A or head to the bullpen. Perez has the stuff to become an impact bullpen, now might be the time to begin that transition. Diaz’ projection is that of a 5th starter or bullpen, like Perez, now might be the time to make the switch. Murphy had to make some adjustments to his delivery which resulted in some arm soreness. If Murphy can show he is healthy and can be effective with a new delivery than he could push for a spot in Buffalo.

Dunedin Blue Jays A-Advanced

Elvis Luciano (19)

Simeon Woods Richardson (19)

Eric Pardinho (19)

Josh Winckowski (21)

Sean Wymer (22)

Alek Manoah (22)

The D-Jays are going to have a very interesting rotation. After spending time in the Blue Jays bullpen as a Rule 5 pick Luciano should return to starting. He will be joined by fellow 19-yr-olds SWR and Pardinho. I have Pardinho in Dunedin because of the training staff and he did look really good with Lansing when he was healthy. This level could see a couple of piggyback tandems to limit and build up inning limits. This will open the door for former 4th rounder Sean Wymer who wasn’t great with the Lugnuts in 2019. It will also allow last year’s 1st round pick Alek Manoah to bypass Lansing.

Lansing Lugnuts A-Ball

Adam Kloffenstein (19)

Kendall Williams (19)

Alex Nolan (23)

Nick Fraze (22)

William Gaston (23)

Grant Townsend (22)

Edisson Gonzalez (20)

The Lugs should have three 20-ish-year-old pitchers. Kloff, Williams, and Gonzo should see some piggyback starts. This will allow some of the older guys to remain stretched out and get some starts. Gaston is a 6-foot-5 righty out of La Habana, Cuba. He pitched well in Vancouver and should get a chance at the club’s 5th spot in the rotation.

Vying for Starts

Andrew Sopko (25) (Buffalo)

Julian Merryweather (28) (Toronto’s BP or Buffalo SP, If healthy)

Justin Dillon (26) (Buffalo/NH)

Jon Harris (26) (Buffalo, If healthy)

Graham Spraker (24) (NH)

Turner Larkins (24) (NH)

Zach Logue (23) (NH)

Nick Allgeyer (23) (NH)

Curtis Taylor (24) (NH)

Fitz Stadler (22) (D-Jays)

Troy Miller (22) (D-Jays)

Troy Watson (22) (D-Jays)

Juan De Paula (22) (????)

Juan Diaz (21) (Lansing)

Luis Quinones (22) (Lansing after Suspension)


Gabriel Ponce (20) (Lansing)

Possible Surprises

Jol Concepcion (21)

Roither Hernandez (21)

Naswell Paulino (19)

Sam Ryan (21)

Winder Garcia (18)

It seems as though more than half the teams in Baseball are not trying to win. They are either rebuilding or retooling. There is only a hand full of teams actually trying to win the World Series. This way of running a team or building a winner has broken baseball for many fanbases.

The Blue Jays will field a competitive MLB roster in 2020. Despite playing in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, they will field a youthful team with exciting talent. Just because you play in the AL East doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to compete. This defeatist mindset in baseball sucks. The league shouldn’t consist of 10 teams trying to win and 21 teams trying to lose as much as possible.

Ryu is a clear upgrade for a team that appeared thin on starting pitching. He’s risky, sure, but he’s a clear step in the right direction towards trying to win baseball games. He also buys time for the guys listed above to develop.

Featured image credit: R.Mueller

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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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