We’ve got a lot of new, exciting things in the works for you this year here at JaysProspects, and a new feature that we’ll be starting is a daily Blue Jays minor league schedule.
Inspired by the great folks over at Pirates Prospects and posted (ideally) every morning, you’ll find out who’s starting for each of the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates with a bit of information on each pitcher, as well as quick links to standings and any game stories we have posted from the night before. It might be a few days before we can get this flowing seamlessly complete with game stories, but I think it’ll be a great, convenient way to get you the most information on the Blue Jays’ minor league system for that day, and fast.
Triple-A: Buffalo (0-0) vs. Rochester (0-0) at 2:05 p.m. ET
Probable starter: Justin Germano
Named the Bisons’ Opening Day starter on Tuesday, Germano will pitch in the International League for the fourth consecutive season in 2013. Armed with a four-pitch mix of fastball, slider, curveball and changeup, Germano joins the Bisons after dazzling for Triple-A Pawtucket last season and eventually making 12 starts at the big-league level for the Cubs. Germano, 30, threw a perfect game for Triple-A Columbus in 2011 and was signed to a minor league contract by the Blue Jays back in November.
Double-A: New Hampshire (0-0) vs. Reading (0-0) at 6:35 p.m. ET
Probable Starter: Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Another newcomer to the Blue Jays organization, Bibens-Dirkx split time between the Nationals and Rockies organizations last season. The right-handed Bibens-Dirkx, 27, made a pair of starts in between a myriad of relief appearances at Triple-A Syracuse (Nationals), compiling a 5.59 ERA and 1.564 WHIP in 46 2/3 innings. He fared much better at Double-A Harrisburg in a smaller sample, managing a 2.25 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings. He was released last summer by the Nats but quickly signed with the Rockies and reported to Triple-A Colorado Springs, where was shelled, surrendering 20 runs (18 earned) and 12 walks in just 11 2/3 innings. The Blue Jays signed Bibens-Dirkx as a minor league free agent on January 15, 2013.
High-A: Dunedin (0-0) vs. Clearwater (0-0) at 6:30 p.m. ET
Probable Starter: Jesse Hernandez
Born in nearby Grand Rapids and a graduate of Central Michigan University, Hernandez had the privilege of starting the 2012 season with his hometown Lansing Lugnuts. While all the attention was on last year’s Lansing trio of Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, and Justin Nicolino, Hernandez kept quietly producing, and was named the Midwest League player of the week in June, finishing the year with a 2.26 ERA and only 82 hits in 95 2/3 innings. He floated back and forth to Dunedin, his 2013 starting point, a few times last season, compiling a 6.61 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. His best Dunedin moment was easily when he fell one strike shy of a no-hitter, when he was dialed in and struck out a career-high 12 hitters.
Low-A: Lansing (0-0) vs. Lake County (0-0) at 6:30 p.m. ET
Probable Starter: Javier Avendano
Making his return to Lansing as a starter this time around, Avendano gets the Opening Day nod for the Lugnuts. Selected by the Blue Jays in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft, Avendano started out the 2012 season in Lansing as a reliever and posted a 1.48 ERA, 11.6 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 30 1/3 innings. When short season affiliates started getting underway in June, the Blue Jays opted to send Avendano to Vancouver to work on becoming a starter and using his entire pitch arsenal. There, he managed a 1.27 ERA/2.37 FIP in 78 innings (16 appearances, 14 starts) with 91 strikeouts and only 53 hits. Short season stats are hard to really get behind, though, and it will be interesting to watch him back in full-season ball and in a rotation over a longer period.