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Vancouver Canadians Bullpen Bonanza

I’m going to admit something here.  During my recent piece where I previewed the upcoming Northwest League North Division final between the Vancouver Canadians and Spokane Indians I spoke false twice.  Not quite lies.  Let’s call them half truths.  I’m using this forum to rectify my mistakes as well as provide a bit of statistical analysis as pertains to my second falsehood.

Firstly, prior to taking a deeper look at the Canadians lineup I stated ‘Both teams may see a few promotions prior to tonights game but with the C’s having already mined Bluefield’s best players and the Texas Rangers only having an Arizona League team below Spokane, I’d be very surprised’

The reason I’m calling this a half truth?  I had an inkling first basemen Rowdy Tellez may show up for the playoffs.  When I was told that anyone coming down a level specifically to play in the playoffs would need sign off from the league I was temporarily thrown off the scent and published the piece accordingly.

Of course, about an hour after publishing, I was thrown a bone and was able to break the news of the Rowdy one’s imminent arrival:

As stated, I wasn’t hugely surprised by this news.  The Blue Jays m.o. over the last few years has been to get their prospects a taste of playoff baseball in front of five thousand fans in Vancouver.  I’m guessing fact that Tellez was only in Lansing for 12 games made it palatable for the league’s braintrust.

The surprise came a few hours later when rumours started to circulate on twitter that Rowdy wasn’t the only top prospect joining the C’s.  Apparently 2014 second round pick (and consensus draft day steal) Sean Reid-Foley‘s season isn’t quite over yet. Read any scouting report on the Florida right-hander and you can see why people were so surprised that the Jays were able to land him with slot bonus money.

At 6’3″ 215 pounds he as impressive size and uses it to his advantage with his fastball.  Generating downward plane and good movement with his two seamer.  Most reports I read also raved about his pitchability and command.  That wasn’t necessarily on full display during his pro debut as he walked nearly 4 per 9 in the GCL. That number is skewed by a few bad outings though.  Of his nine appearances in the complex, two went for a single walk while four produced none.

Talking to Chris King who scouts the GCL for Baseball Prospectus he was very impressed with SRF’s curve ball.  A pitch he used primarily as a show off pitch for scouts in high school. Given none of Reid-Foley’s outings went longer than four innings, I’d have to guess he was on a 50 pitch count in Florida.  Can’t see that being extended here so the 19 year old will slot into the C’s bullpen.  Bit of a jump from 9am games in the GCL to a Northwest League playoff series:

Unless he throws tonight I’m going to miss him.  Which is gutting, but I wouldn’t have thought the Jays are going to start him in Lansing next year (that being said, they were far more aggressive with pitching prospects this year so I may be dead wrong on that one) so may get another chance.

Speaking of the bullpen, I’m reminded of my second half truth!  When discussing the ‘pen I said this, ‘If I find the time I’ll try and look at them in a bit more detail.’  You could have given me all the time in the world, I wasn’t going to write about the bullpen.

SRF’s inclusion inspired me.  Below is a table of bullpen activity since I did my pitching stats piece on the 24th of August:

Name IP Total IP Recent K/9 BB/9 K/BB WHIP Season WHIP Recent BABIP LOB% ERA FIP FIP Recent
Jonathan Wandling* 11.2 9.1 4.63 3.86 1.2 1.46 -0.68 0.297 72.30% 4.63 5.45 -0.57
Phillip Kish 14 9 7.71 2.57 3 0.71 -0.29 0.171 90.00% 0 2.96 -0.72
Alberto Tirado 35.2 7.2 9.08 7.07 1.29 1.49 -0.12 0.255 71.40% 3.53 4.77 -0.68
Andrew Case 44 7 7.57 2.66 2.85 1.16 0.05 0.282 81.60% 2.45 3.98 0.04
Michael Kraft 21 6.9 10.71 5.57 1.92 0.95 -0.10 0.163 90.90% 0.86 3.58 -0.16
Daniel Lietz* 33 5.8 7.36 6 1.23 1.79 0.20 0.354 63.60% 5.73 5.15 0.33
Yeyfry Del Rosario 24.1 3.1 12.95 7.03 1.84 1.52 0.04 0.308 70.70% 4.07 4.85 -0.65
Mark Biggs 28.2 3.1 8.16 5.97 1.37 1.81 -0.12 0.351 55.80% 6.91 3.99 -0.13
Adaric Kelly 11 2.8 8.18 4.09 2 1.36 -0.14 0.303 80.00% 1.64 3.36 -0.41
Justin Shafer 22.2 2 9.13 2.78 3.29 1.46 0.11 0.357 57.00% 5.16 3.29 0.04
Jose Fernandez 24.2 2 8.76 4.01 2.18 1.62 0.03 0.372 68.30% 4.01 3.33 0.07
Brett Barber 14.1 2 6.91 3.14 2.2 1.47 -0.07 0.34 52.00% 6.91 4.17 0.37

*Wandling and Lietz’ innings pitched are skewed somewhat by recent spot starts.

It’s  hard to get very far when discussing these guys without mentioning the contribution of Phil ‘Kish of Death’ Kish.  The second year pro out of Florida has put whatever disappointment he may have felt when demoted and has done exactly what the Jays organization expected.  Provide stability to the back end of the C’s bullpen.

Despite not being a prototypical closer as far as stuff (I saw him throw three straight pitches in low 80s to one hitter) he does everything you need.  Works quickly, throws strikes (only four walks in 14 Ips) and limits baserunners (0.714 WHIP) by not allowing a ton of hits (3.9/9) either.

As for the others?  Despite the small sample size most are trending in the right direction, lowering their WHIPs and FIPs late in hte season.  If things go well for the starting staff they’ll work five innings minimum per start.  After that, first Spokane, then whomever, are going to get a steady diet of Tirado, Kraft, Case, and YDR before the Kish of Death comes in to nail things down.

The C’s bullpen definitely have the arms to get this done, they just need the lead going in to the sixth.

After Game One was postponed due to rain, the sun is shining in Vancouver and I’ve just absolved myself of two half-truths.  Can’t wait for tonight.

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