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The 2015 Lansing Lugnuts Season

A Recap of the Blue Jays Low-A Affiliate Top Players

The 2015 Lansing Lugnuts Season

September 15, 2015

lansing-lugnuts-logoThe Lansing Lugnuts wrapped up their 20th season Monday night with a tough loss to the West Michigan Whitecaps. Just a mere one win away from the Midwest League Championship Series wasn’t the way this talented team wanted things to end.

Fortunately, there are many positives that Blue Jays fans can take away from this exciting squad.

One promising sign includes the way this team continued to compete despite teammates being traded away in deals and players being promoted to high-A throughout the campaign. With the subtractions of Chase De Jong, Tim Locastro, Jesus Tinoco, and Dawel Lugo in late season moves, many wondered how this team would handle their postseason opportunity.

Those doubts were quickly answered in the first round as the Lugnuts swept the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers low-A affiliate) by winning the first two games of the best-of-three series. The club quickly continued to show promise as they went into Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan and took game one from the Whitecaps (Tigers low-A affiliate) on their home field with a 5-4 victory Saturday afternoon.

Needing just one win out of two games at home against the Whitecaps seemed like a realistic goal for this club, but unfortunately the bats became stagnant in game two as the Whitecaps won 8-3 and subpar pitching cost the team game three dropping the contest by a score of 14-5.

Despite the disappointing ending there was another positive with this club and that was the way everybody played as a team every night. With a big influx of players coming in-and-out of the Lugnuts clubhouse all season. The players on this team never missed a beat or failed to welcome a new face with open arms.

Top Performers at the Plate

Ryan McBroom 1B/LF/DH – If you weren’t already familiar with McBroom prior to the 2015 season you are now as the 23 year-old prospect had a stellar season. Named Midwest League MVP in August, McBroom led the league in doubles with 39 and in OBP with a .387 mark. Factor that in with his team leading 90 RBIs and it’s safe to say McBroom is a player Blue Jays fans will want to keep their eyes on in the upcoming years as he has a knack for getting big hits at the right time.

Rowdy Tellez 1B/DH – Carrying a .296/.351/.444 slash line in 68 games for the Lugnuts this season, this big power hitting prospect registered 26 extra base hits, which included: 19 doubles, and seven home runs in 270 at-bats for the Blue Jays low-A affiliate. Earning a promotion to the high-A Dunedin Blue Jays at the beginning of the second half of play, Tellez continued to perform well picking up another five doubles, and seven home runs in 131 Florida State League at-bats. Finishing his season with a .289/.347/.454 slash line. The California native collected 116 hits and only struck out 84 times in 401 at-bats between the two levels.

Anthony Alford OF – Currently ranked the organization’s number 3 prospect by MLB.com, Alford was impressive all season in his first full year of baseball since being drafted in 2012. Appearing in 50 games with the Lugnuts this season, Alford carried a .293/.418/.394 slash line in the Midwest League. Alford’s biggest attribute was his ability to get on base. Registering 55 hits in 188 at-bats was just the tip of the iceberg for this prospect as he drew 39 walks in the first half, which helped him score 49 runs in his short time in Lansing. Promoted to the Florida State League to begin his second half of play didn’t slow the speedy prospect down, as he only got better. In fact, Alford raised his batting average nine points to .302 and his slugging percentage 50 points to .444 in 225 FSL at-bats, which shows why Blue Jays fans are so high on this young outfielder.

Richard Urena SS – Just 19-years old, Urena showcased power that you typically don’t see from a middle infielder. Hitting a team leading 15 home runs in 384 Midwest League at-bats was definitely a promising sign for the Blue Jays number 7 prospect. Like many young players he’s a little aggressive at the plate at times, as he didn’t walk much, and held a low OBP of .289. That said, Urena held a strong .438 slugging percentage in a league where he was roughly 2.4 years younger than most of his competition. Urena briefly continued his success in high-A Dunedin where he registered 31 hits in 124 at-bats.

D.J. Davis OF – The former 1st round pick revived his career this season in Lansing. After a disappointing 2014 campaign in Michigan’s capital, the organization sent the big prospect back for a second go-round in the Midwest League and fans saw a night-and-day difference in Davis every night. Improving his slash line to .282/.340/.391 compared to just a .213/.288/.316 mark a year ago. Davis added an extra 30 hits in 2015. But the most promising sign was that he struck out 48 fewer times.

Chris Carlson OF – Arguably the toughest out in the Lugnuts lineup. Carlson only struck out 42 times in 396 at-bats. But what makes him an even better bat is his patience in the batter’s box. Recording a team leading 52 walks on the season was a big factor to his .379 OBP which was good enough for third in the league. Entering the 2015 season the biggest question mark with Carlson was whether or not he had enough power to move up the ladder. He quickly showcased his value to his organization by registering 115 hits, which included: 21 doubles, eight triples, and seven home runs this season.

Top Performers on the Mound

Conner Greene RHP – Showcasing Greene here is a remarkable story as he wasn’t expected to join a club out of spring training. In fact, Greene initially came to Lansing to take part in their annual exhibition game the Crosstown Showdown against Michigan State and then go back to Florida. Instead, Greene impressed so much in that contest that the organization chose to let him stay with the Lugnuts. But his story doesn’t end there as he earned a promotion to high-A Dunedin and then another one to the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats before seasons end. Pitching 132 1/3 innings between the three levels, Greene recorded a 12-7 record with 115 strikeouts and a respectable 1.32 WHIP. If all goes as planned Blue Jays fans could see Greene at the Rogers Centre before the conclusion of the 2016 season.

Shane Dawson LHP – Canadian Shane Dawson was Lansing’s most consistent starter all season. Dawson led the club in wins with 12 and strikeouts with 98 and was the only Lugnuts pitching representative in the Midwest League All-Star Game. The Alberta native also got a quick taste of high-A baseball in the second half and held his own in his five starts in the Florida State League. Finishing his season with a 15-6 record, 120 strikeouts, and an impressive 1.15 WHIP between the two levels of play and it’s safe to say Dawson is a pitcher to keep track of in the upcoming seasons.

Sean Reid-Foley RHP – Much like Conner Greene, Reid-Foley came to Lansing for the Crosstown Showdown and was offered the chance to stay the season. Just a year removed from high school, Reid-Foley worked through some command issues as he polished his game over the year. Known for his high-90’s fastball, Reid-Foley worked on commanding it better. Also getting a brief taste of high-A, Reid-Foley finished his season with 125 strikeouts and a 11.7 K/9 ratio between the two levels.

Justin Shafer RHP – A versatile pitcher for the Lugnuts. Shafer both started and relieved games this season and he performed well for the Blue Jays low-A affiliate. Impressive in the month of April, Shafer only allowed two earned runs in 19 2/3 innings. Splitting time this season between low-A and high-A, Shafer finished the year with a 1.33 WHIP in 95 1/3 innings between the two levels.

Starlyn Suriel RHP – Dominican Republic native Starlyn Suriel became the Lugnuts workhorse as he led the team in innings pitched with 114 2/3. He was used in various roles over the year, becoming effective in both the rotation, as well as in the bullpen. Not an overpowering pitcher, Suriel relies more on location than velocity. That ability to locate pitches was a key contributor to his 0.69 GO/AO.

Tim Mayza LHP – Mayza was one of the Lugnuts’ most reliable bullpen arms all season. Known for his heavy fastball that repeatedly hit the mid-90’s, Mayza was a hard thrower known for dialing up the heat when needed. So much so, the young prospect was able to record 62 strikeouts throughout his season in Lansing, while maintaining a 10 K/9 ratio in just 55 2/3 innings pitched.


There have been some great strides within the Blue Jays minor league system this year and the Lansing team highlights the quality of talent still cooking in the organization. Alex Anthopoulos’s big moves this summer may have traded star prospects for star players, but there is still a lot of talent left on the farm and it can be expected to see lots of great talent reaching the upper minors and Major League roster in 2016 and beyond.

As for Lansing, the Lugnuts had an excellent season and, even though they didn’t win it all, everyone on the team can hold their heads up high. Congrats to all on a great season. Looking forward to seeing how the team plays out in 2016.