Toronto Blue Jays: Full Scouting Report on Each September Call-Up
Some of these call-ups will be making their major league debuts, while others have already seen time with the Blue Jays earlier this season.
With Toronto just 5.5 games out of the second wild-card spot in the American League entering play on Tuesday, these September call-ups could end up providing the Blue Jays with the depth required in order to make a run late in the season.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these new call-ups and predict their roles on the team for the duration of the 2014 season.
Daniel Norris, LHP
There’s no doubt that Daniel Norris has earned a call-up to major leagues after having a breakout season in the minors this year.
The 21-year-old posted a combined 12-2 record with a 2.53 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 124.2 innings pitched between three levels of the minor leagues (Class A-Advanced Dunedin, Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo).
Norris has some of the best stuff in the entire Blue Jays organization. The left-handed pitcher features a mid-90s fastball and combines it with a devastating curveball and slider.
Much like they did with Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, the Blue Jays will likely initially have Norris pitch out of the bullpen in order to get him acclimated to the major leagues. This strategy will also let Toronto control the amount of innings that Norris will throw this season.
Dalton Pompey, Outfielder
Not many Blue Jays fans had even heard of Dalton Pompey when the season started. But the Canadian outfielder has since become one of the team’s top prospects after having a spectacular 2014 season.
Pompey began the year at Class A-Advanced Dunedin, where he hit .319/.397/.471 with 29 stolen bases in 31 attempts. This performance earned the 21-year-old a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire, where he proceeded to hit .295/.378/.473 in 31 games before being promoted to Triple-A Buffalo. A slash line of .358/.393/.453 in 12 games with Buffalo convinced the Blue Jays that Pompey was ready for the major leagues.
Offensively, the switch-hitting Pompey profiles as a leadoff hitter with speed who has the ability to get on base. Defensively, his speed gives him the range required to play centre field effectively.
With the Blue Jays already having several extra outfielders on the bench such as Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose, Pompey doesn’t figure to see a lot of playing time this month. He’ll likely be mainly used for pinch-running duties. But regardless, this is still a great chance for the young prospect to get his first taste of the major leagues.
Kendall Graveman, RHP
Kendall Graveman is still a relatively unknown prospect compared to some of the other names on this list, but the right-handed pitcher had as a good a 2014 season as anybody else in the Blue Jays’ farm system this year.
The 23-year-old Graveman posted a combined 14-6 record with a microscopic 1.83 ERA in 167.1 innings pitched between four different levels of the minor leagues (Class-A Lansing, Class A-Advanced Dunedin, Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo).
The one thing that sets Graveman apart from other top pitching prospects is that he doesn’t have overpowering stuff and instead relies more on his control in order to get batters out.
The Blue Jays will likely use Graveman out of their bullpen in September. If he puts up a good showing this month, Graveman might even have a shot to make Toronto’s starting rotation or bullpen during spring training next year.
Brandon Morrow, RHP
Brandon Morrow began the 2014 season in the Blue Jays rotation, but a finger ligament injury limited the 30-year-old to just six starts.
Morrow’s numbers weren’t pretty in those six starts, as he posted a 1-2 record with a 5.93 ERA in 27.1 innings pitched. Because of this, it appears that the Blue Jays will use the right-handed pitcher in a relief role rather than inserting him back into the starting rotation when he returns.
When he’s healthy and on his game, Morrow can throw his fastball in the mid- to upper-90s and complement that with a swing-and-miss slider. His potential has long teased the Blue Jays, but trips to the disabled list these past two seasons and inconsistency has really stunted Morrow’s growth.
It will be interesting to see if Toronto decides to pick up Morrow’s $10 million option for the 2015 season this offseason.
Anthony Gose, Outfielder
Once a highly touted prospect, it appears that Anthony Gose has now fallen into a reserve outfielder role.
The 24-year-old has bounced between the Blue Jays and Triple-A Buffalo several times this season and has posted mediocre numbers for both teams.
In 69 games with Toronto this season, Gose has hit .234/.333/.291 with 14 stolen bases in 18 attempts. In 51 games with Buffalo, the left-handed hitter has a slash line of .244/.305/.346 with 21 stolen bases in 29 attempts.
With the likes of Kevin Pillar and Dalton Pompey on the bench, Gose likely won’t be getting regular playing time in September. But he’ll serve as bench depth and likely be called upon as a pinch runner or a defensive replacement late in games.
Sean Nolin, LHP
Sean Nolin spent the bulk of his 2014 season in Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 4-6 record with a 3.50 ERA in 87.1 innings pitched there.
While the 24-year-old Nolin doesn’t exactly light up the radar gun with his low-90s fastball, he has very good control and can throw all of his pitches for strikes.
Like all the other pitchers on this list, Nolin will likely pitch out of Toronto’s bullpen during September. Considering that the Blue Jays have just two other left-handed pitchers in their bullpen, Nolin should get plenty of opportunities to pitch.
Making a good impression this month will give Nolin an inside track to making the team during spring training next year.
Ryan Goins, Second Baseman
Ryan Goins should be another familiar face for Blue Jays fans.
The second baseman has had two previous stints with the Blue Jays earlier this season, hitting .197/.222/.262 with one home run, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored in 43 games.
The 26-year-old Goins did have a solid offensive year in Triple-A Buffalo this season, though, hitting .284/.337/.253 in 97 games.
While he’s not much of an offensive threat in the majors yet, Goins’ defense at second base is above-average. This makes him an ideal late-game defensive replacement.
With the Blue Jays lacking depth at second base, Goins can assure himself a permanent roster spot on the team by continuing to play great defense and improving his offensive numbers a little.
Dan Johnson, First Baseman/Designated Hitter
Dan Johnson is another player who should help bolster the Blue Jays bench in September.
The 35-year-old hit .232/.381/.434 with 18 home runs, 56 RBI and 62 runs scored in 107 games for Triple-A Buffalo this season. Johnson also had a 13-game stint with the Blue Jays earlier this year, hitting .235/.349/.382 with one home run, seven RBI and eight runs scored.
Because Johnson can play first base and DH, the Blue Jays can use him in order to give players like Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind a day off.
Johnson is also a patient hitter and has a high OBP. This could also make him a valuable pinch hitter late in the game.
George Kottaras, Catcher
The Blue Jays signed George Kottaras to a minor league deal this past August. Prior to signing this deal, the Canadian catcher had spent time with the Cleveland Indians and the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this season.
In 14 games played in the majors this year, the 31-year-old Kottaras has hit .269/.375/.615 with three home runs, five RBI and four runs scored.
With both Dioner Navarro and Josh Thole ahead of him on the depth chart, Kottaras figures to be the third-string catcher on the team and could provide insurance in case of injury.
Toronto had three catchers on its roster earlier this season as well when Erik Kratz was on the team, so this arrangement will be nothing new for Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
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