C’s Alumni Update – Thomas, Kelly, Shafer, Cook & Zeuch Off To Good Starts With Dunedin

Vancouver Canadians Lane Thomas

Lane Thomas is tied for the Dunedin team lead in runs batted in with seven.


cs_alumni_updateWith 22 players having Vancouver Canadians connections on the 2017 Dunedin Blue Jays roster, some are off to good starts while others are still trying to find their way in the Florida State League.

The top offensive performers with the D-Jays among former C’s are 2015 teammates Lane Thomas and Juan Kelly. Thomas had a triple, a single, a walk and a stolen base in Wednesday’s 11-10 loss to the St. Lucie Mets. The Toronto Blue Jays’ 5th round pick of 2014 from Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tennessee has three multi-hit games in his last five contests to boost his batting line to .262/.354/.381. He’s walking just over 10 percent of the time but that is diminished by his 27 percent strikeout rate.

The 21 year-old right-handed hitter is trying to regain his form from his first pro season in 2014 when he hit a combined .281 with the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield Blue Jays, a performance that ranked him as the Jays’ 19th best prospect according to Baseball America.

A career .239 hitter in the minors, which included a .225/.257/.301 stint in Vancouver, the Jays are keeping Thomas away from the dirt after trying him at second base during his time with the C’s and with the Lugnuts last year. So far, Thomas is enjoying life in center field as he has not committed an error so far this season.

juan_kelly_swing

Juan Kelly has only been kept off the bases just once in his first 10 games with Dunedin.


Kelly had an eight-game on-base streak snapped but has been aboard at least once in nine of 10 games to date. The native of Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic has four two-hit games, hitting .264/.304/.377 with six doubles and five runs batted in. The 22 year-old switch-hitter  – who joined the Jays as a free agent in 2012 – is looking to build on a solid 2016 with Lansing  after hitting .274/.356/.448 with 35 doubles, six triples, 12 homers and 6 runs batted in. The 5-foot-10 first baseman was also 11-for-11 in stealing bases. That was a huge improvement from his time in Vancouver where he had an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .617, where his 13 percent walk rate was his best skill.

Here’s how other former C’s are faring with the stick in Dunedin.

  • Cavan Biggio – .250/.286/.300, 5 RBI, 2 SB
  • J.C Cardenas – .244/.279/.341, 2 2B, 3B, 4 RBI
  • Andrew Guillotte – .227/.300/.295, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 4 SB
  • D.J. Davis – .222/.323/.259, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 SB
  • Connor Panas – .217/.250/.348, HR, 2 RBI, SB
  • Max Pentecost – .208/.240/.375, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
  • Deiferson Barreto – .125/.125/.125 – 8 ABs
  • Mike Reeves – .111/.385/.111 – 9 ABs

Dunedin is hitting .261 with a .339 on-base percentage as a team, good for second place in the Florida State League. Their slugging percentage of .347 leaves them sixth.

Vancouver Canadians Justin Shafer

Justin Shafer is dealing in Dunedin in 2017 with a 0.00 ERA over eight innings.


Turning to the mound, five former C’s hurlers are sporting 0.00 ERA’s in the early going. 2014 righthander Justin Shafer thrown eight scoreless innings over four appearances, posting a WHIP of 1.00 and an impressive strikeout/walk total of 11-2. The 24 year-old 6-foot-2 hurler – taken in the eighth round of the 2014 draft from the University of Florida – is keeping the ball down as evidenced by a 56% groundball rate and has not given up a homer as of yet.

Vancouver Canadians Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook has kept Florida State League hitters in check with a .145 batting average against.


2015 Vancouver righty Ryan Cook has put up six scoreless frames to start 2017, scattering just three hits and a walk while whiffing eight batters. He won his lone decision against the Clearwater Threshers April 8. The 23 year-old Richmond product is trying to bounce back from a trying 2016 spent mostly in Lansing where he lost six of seven decisions with a 5.30 ERA, spent mostly in the bullpen. About to turn 24 on May 4, the 2015 free-agent signing is hoping to return to New Hampshire, where he pitched a shutout inning last season.

2016 first-round pick T.J. Zeuch is getting his feet wet at the Florida State League and has spun five shutout innings in two starts. The former Pittsburgh Panter has yielded just two hits and two walks while ringing up eight batters. So far, Zeuch is keeping his infielders busy with ground balls two-thirds of the time when the ball is hit into play. The worms at Nat Bailey Stadium also had to duck for cover when Zeuch’s ground-ball rate approached the 70% level.

How’s how the other former C’s hurlers are doing on the hill.

  • Daniel Young 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 5 K, 2 BB
  • Denis Diaz 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 3 K, 5 BB
  • Conor Fisk 0-1, 2.53 ERA, 10-2/3 IP, 13 K, 1 BB, SV
  • Josh DeGraaf, 4.05 ERA, 6-2/3 IP, 9 K, 1 BB
  • Angel Perdomo 0-1, 5.59 ERA, 9-2/3 IP, 4 K, 6 BB
  • Tom Robson 1-2, 6.43 ERA, 7 IP, 9 K, 1 BB
  • Ryan Borucki 0-1, 6.46 ERA, 15-1/3 innings, 18 K, 6 BB
  • Andrew Case 1-1, 6.75 ERA, 6-2/3 innings, 6 K, 1 BB
  • Jared Carkuff 0-0, 11.57 ERA, 4-2/3 innings, 5 K, 1 BB, SV

Dunedin’s team ERA is 3.61, which places them ninth in the Florida State League but they have the second-most strikeouts with 121.

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About Niall O'Donohoe

My name is Niall O’Donohoe and I am an avid follower of baseball, specifically Canada’s Teams – the Toronto Blue Jays and their affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians. My blog beginnings began in 2007 with Batter’s Box, where I’m still allowed to write stories, summaries and photos about the Blue Jays minor league system under the alias #2JBrumfield. The blog formerly known as Niall On Baseball, C’s Plus Baseball follows the C’s from behind the lens at Nat Bailey Stadium. The reason for the name change was to reflect the main purpose of this blog, which is to deliver plus coverage of the C’s through photos and observations of the players striving to make it to the major leagues, be it with Toronto or one of the other 29 MLB teams. From time to time, I do make it to other baseball games outside of The Nat and will post about them here as well. If you like what you see here, please spread the word about CsPlusBaseball.com by tweeting about this website or using your favourite social media platform about this website that pledges to deliver awesome content about Canada’s only affiliated professional minor league baseball club. Spread the word by legal means only. Don’t write it on any bathroom walls or spray paint any buildings because I have no bail money for you. Still, anything you can do would be very much appreciated!
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